I swim in sweet water pools of different riches.
It is late afternoon cooling in the Philippines baranquay. I sit on one of these white plastic chairs that sticks slightly to my back, in this small beer bar, with my two brother-in-laws and a couple of their friends. I have been coming here more and more recently. My comrades enjoy my picking up the tab. I enjoy the curvations and smiles of waitress / dancer / singer Jessie, her breast and rump outlines enticing in her black latex outfit. Her attentions to me have increased with each visit, as her tips from me have increased.
She brings me my San Miguel. As she lowers the beer down before me, her boobies have my eyes, and my heat. A smell of cheap perfume and female air from under her arms flows to my nose, and lingers. Her left arm reaches behind to my back and slowly leaves a circling touch.
She smiles. The angels of lust rush in. "You like me?," she asks.
After the third beer she brings her face to my right ear and asks softly, softly, "You want go?" and points to the little wooden shack about 30 yards away. It is invite with price, peso price, to the climb of man, and down upon smooth brown skin. I have a sense of tightening and coiling and needing: to uncoil, swift release of tension and electric charge, to that calmer place; but still I resist. "No, thank you, no, not now."
Why the added "not now." I wonder at my own words. Of course, truly, I recognise them, as opening to future "yes now" to the shed not far.
I am in this place in Rizal province to build a terrace for my Filipina wife. She is not far, maybe just under a mile away from this spot. It is close enough, still, to deny acceptance to the "yes now." But the tone has become closer to whisper.
Things are actually going quite well with wifey. The terrace is nearly finished. It has become showcase to all in the small baranguay. My wife's status, and her family's, have increased.
In this place where my wife has lived for over 20 years, in her parent's home, where the average wage is one dollar a day, if one has a job, where thought of food is the constant companion, the fact of the nearly finished terrace enhances joy in my wife, and she expresses it in the added frequency of smiles, and the way she moves closer to me each night, her hands lighting me until the flame is put out after the primal consented sweet violence of thrusts and submissions.
The colors of the baranquay have brightened. The people are less cliché as I get to know them. Their culture of course is that permanent separation, but the distances between us have shortened as their stories become more defined; And humor expands in specific experience. Once while walking with one of my brother-in-laws he stopped off the road, lowered his pants and pissed. I did the same. In process I looked his way and noticed his looking at me. He smiled. I smiled. Realised he was investigating the Asian perception that the Western man is bigger.
I have many things on my mind. My Scottish lass in London town, getting closer to having our child. In text and call, she is more intense in imploring me to come be there for the upcoming birth of my son. We first knew it to be a boy by the sonogram outline of the small fetal prick.
I also, in text and call, hear from my mother in Hove / Brighton, to come back to the island of my birth, to be there at first breath of my son, wearing the light green facemask, feeling the slight scrape of the paper material against my mouth, the rubber band holding it feeling lightly around my ears. Of sure miracle delight I anticipate: flower of time of the penetration of the red-haired medical university student I had first met the summer in Thailand while vacationing with my wife.
Things on my mind. Yet things on my mind against a lighter surround – complications, but more affection than affliction. Of course all toning takes place in the grey space, but these days the green is the connecting case. I am not conscious why, exactly, and I wonder at my own feelings, and conclude this startling, unexpected country: I am happy!
The weather is hot and shimmering as I await the way back from the beer bar. My back feels the salty moisture of sweat. The sounds are of happy drunken talk between men and the three brown Filipina women whose efforts are to entertain and entice. Their smiles reflect still white of teeth from still white youth. How old are they, I wonder: eighteen, nineteen?
Each chooses a song at different times and sings a 80's or 90's pop song in karaoke.
As they sing, they sway their bodies and my senses respond. The black silk of their hair take flight. Their dark eyes, half round and bright, dart, and move about in flight.
I am asked to come up and sing. I select an old Stones song and sing along to the words on the prompter.
"You don't always get what you want… "
"… but you get what you need. . ."
I sense ongoing unresolved issues. Small problems can become big problems if you don't face them head on….