Readers' Submissions

Touch Memory



I watch as the workers quit for their lunch break and spread banana leaves on the ground and spray sardines on top and begin to eat as the mid-day heat consumes me in this Filipino baranguy. A recent Stick sub spoke in positive voice of this country. Mainly of Makati. Which is where the rich live.. Here, about 40 minutes from Makati by auto, the scene is poverty and fear of criminals and people losing their inherited land when illness forces theim to sell. Colors are drab. No Thailand golds.

Sweat beads off the workers and me.

I look at the paper showing the sonorgram image of the male fetus I half created. The other half is not my Filipina wife, but is the Aberfeen lass now taking medical studies in London, of whom I met and shared in sheets and bliss one cool morning in Ao Nang.

One of the more respected elders of the Stickman site wrote and told me I faced too many hassles in my current state, especially with involvement with Aberdeen and the fact of the new life created. But I am somehow happy at prospect of oncoming birth of my son. To be or not to be – drama surrounds me, and I am taken in its path with joy.

Thousands come to the Stickman site from their settled lives, and as they sit before their computers, background sounds of domestic noise play, as they dream of Thai beaches and female scents. They often feel too secure to venture into new adventures. Hassles. And yet, readers, your life is playing away, and truly, how is happiness entering the rooms of your mortaged houses, the walls in your dwelling a symbol of the submission of your passions, as the white wife speaks of suburban wants; perhaps your children are playing their video games; or other distractions are played, to avoid truth that society's scripts are to ensure workers be compliant.

I am building my Filipina a terrace for her family home. And I don't know what I shall do then. Aberdeen has been texting that she wants me back to London, especially as the birth of our baby approaches. My mother has become extremely attached to her. I wonder if some of her affection for Aberdeen springs from a British conservatism that favors bloodline path from one's own island.

Memory binds one, and sometimes it can release one. But it is always part of one.

To be or not to be – to be confined by the linear lines – or live the lines off the settled islands.

I purposely play scenes in my head that give me pleasure. Memories of Thailand that set my life for what has happened.

Arriving into Krabi from the air, diving into green, soon to walk along streets of passing soft, perfumed skin, the Thai femmes' long black silk hair decorating their backs as the thousand threads shine for a man's bliss. Their thin frames. Their almond eyes that speak exotic and erotic to this Westernised man. And yet my Filipina wife is Asian, and I was taken from her one morning, by a red-haired young lass from Scottland I met in the Somkiet Buri swimming pool. The fire started when I noticed the lure of her red triangle as she spread her legs under water and red fur escaped from the V of her bathing suit, and slight in just a few strands, the floating hairs started the fire, and grew later into climb, into her inner weave, as we met a later day at a different Ao Nang hotel.

We are compelled by our memories, I suppose. Beyond conscious control, sometimes.

I remember I had this this friend who told me of when he was younger. Around age 16 his English parents divorced: father leaving for a younger, foreign woman in the States. The young man was drawn into the horrible fumes between mother and father and so escaped to spend time with a friend in Germany, in Wurzburg. This was in summer. The two lads went to something called the Love Parade in Berlin.

Drugs, music, meeting other young people. My friend ended up staying in a squatters housing complex inhabited by artists. The other lad went back to Wurzburg.

My friend existed at this complex off the chairty of the group. One day one of the artists told my friend that he could help the group by doing this: to meet this old American man at the Hilton Hotel and just spend time with him. No sex, not to worry. My friend was picked because he spoke English, of course, but my friend was also told to not speak, but just nod his head yes or no to whatever the old man said. This was quite a peculiar request of my friend, but it was a peculiar time for my friend, and he was quite in a stage of life to be manipulated.

My friend knocked on the door of the room he was told the man was staying in. This was on a high floor of the hotel. My friend was quite nervous.

The door opened and my friend saw an old man of grey hair and wrinkled skin in his sixties. The man was thin and had quite a big nose, with blue eyes that seemed to be the opposite of bright.

Nothing was said. The man motioned my friend into the room. My friend's heart started beating fast and hard. He was frightened.

The man spoke: "Don't be frightened. I'm not going to hurt you. Do you understand?"

My friend nodded.

My friend was led into the room by the bed. He remembered the curtains were slightly opened and he could see night lights, millions of them, it seemed, glittering down below in the Berlin night.

The man started to remove my friend's shirt. The old man's fingers felt dry. My friend also smelled an old man's odor from him.

"Please take off your shoes and socks," the old man told my friend.

My friend did so. He was so scared now.

The old man then slowly removed the jeans off my friend. My friend anticipated the worst and shut his eyes. But the old man had stopped. My friend stood in front of the old man in just his white underbriefs. The skin on my friend started to shiver and he noticed how cold the room was. Why was the room so cold?

The old man then lifted up my friend gently and put him onto the bed. All this time my friend's eyes remanined closed.

God he was scared.

My friend was on his back. The old man then got onto the bed, and started holding my friend. Just holding.

The old man started saying, "There. There. It's ok. It's ok."

My friend opened his eyes and just stared up at the ceiling. "There… there… it's going to be ok, " the old man continued, and my friend felt the old fingers just hold him softly.

After what seemed like was a long time, but was probably about fifteen or twenty minutes, the old man told my friend to please get up and get dressed. When my friend got up and dressed, the old man took him to the door. He took 2 one hundred dollar bills from his pocket, and placed them in my friend's hands.

"Thank you….. Thank you…"said the old man. He opened the door and my friend left.

When my friend later returned to the squatter's housing complex, the artist who gave him the assignment listened as my friend described what happened.

"Give me one hundred and you keep the other."

He then told my friend that the old American had been a soldier in World War Two. He was part of the army that had liberated Dachau. Likely, the man was somehow re-enacting somehing that had happened when he had entered the camp. The man was obviously haunted by the experience and what he did with my friend was a way of dealing with the memory.

I don't know why I'm relating this memory of my friend when he was sixteen in that Berlin squatter's complex.

I haven't thought about this in many years. I guess I got on the topic of memory and its own power brought this back.

I face many decisions. I guess I should be aware of my own haunts so that I enter my future and not be effected by a past that can restict freedom from pain.

The pictures in our head, some that are hidden, that may appear when silence captures.

The end


Amazing Properties