The Never-Ending Story
I awoke to see I had received a text message from Nat, my ex Thai wife. “I have something to tell you, please call me” it said. I was a bit fragile that morning. The previous evening I had been with my brother and youngest son to see an old pal playing an acoustic session in a newly refurbished pub in Tipton. There were a few old friends there and the intention of a quiet beer had turned into proverbial lager frenzy in the twinkling of an eye.
I would call her after I had my blood transfusion (aka my first morning cup of tea) and when sufficiently awake. I notice with some amusement the request involved me calling her back at my expense.
Those of you who follow my ramblings will know the story of the misadventure with my erstwhile Thai wife Nat, a story I thought I had closed the chapter on a few times.
I had even mentioned her in my last submission; I reflected that I did not feel particularly embittered or resentful to her although at the time I was quite desolate at her departure.
For those newer readers I tender a bit of background. Nat was a Thai lady I met on my first visit to the kingdom. She had dispensed the full four star Thai girlfriend experience upon me. She repeated the same the second visit I made. She was not a classic Thai beauty but she was affectionate and intelligent with a well-developed sense of humour.
By my third visit she was working for a property development in Chonburi owned by an English company. I know she had a short affair with Tom, the owner. I knew she entertained aspirations regarding this relationship. That was until his English wife found out and finally put a stop to it. At his wife’s insistence Tom sold up his interests in Thailand and ceased any contact with Nat.
We had remained friends in that period and corresponded regularly. I would always spend some time with her on my visits to Thailand in between my mongering activities. Our association remained platonic during that time. However, over the four years our relationship developed from an infatuation into a sincere friendship and had matured into a genuine affection. On my visit in November 2007 with the building project finished the year before she had finally recognized her ambitions with her employer were a delusion. We talked seriously about our relationship. She is enthralling and infuriating in equal measure but no one has ever enchanted me like she did. She was the only woman I cared enough about to seriously envisage spending the rest of my life with.
After considerable discussion she accepted my suggestion to live in the UK with me and share life’s rich tapestry. At Easter 2008 we married in Bangkok and honeymooned in Chaing Mai. Our plan was to live together in England until we accrued the resources to eventually retire or semi-retire to the Kingdom. In August that year she got her spouse visa and in September I collected her from Heathrow. For a few months we lived an almost idyllic life in a flat in Wednesbury.
But in December I lost a job I loved. I quickly found another in Cambridge and she came with me but I suspect her doubts had begun. When I told her the Cambridge plant was to close in a few months it merely confirmed that I was not the solution she sought. In March she left me to work in London. I rationalised it was a chance for her to earn money to send home to service her debts which I could no longer do. She returned to Thailand in November. I admit I was devastated and felt a failure.
The next two years was a difficult time for me with short unrewarding contracts in a succession of towns. A nomadic existence and long periods of unemployment culminated in my suffering spells of the black dog of depression. I am a resilient fellow but the recovery process took almost a year. I still did not hold any feeling of resentment against Nat and in fact felt a degree of empathy for her actions.
I made a visit to Thailand at Easter 2011 and we divorced in amicable circumstances. I met up with her in Bangkok on my return from a project in China in 2012 and we spent a few pleasant days together. I was reconciled to a new friendship with her.
It was mid-morning before I phoned Nat. We exchange our usual pleasantries inquiring about our respective families. I asked what it was she wanted to tell me. She asked “Promise me you will not be angry” to which I reply “I have put up with an awful lot from you in the past and was not angry then, so go ahead”.
“I am a Nun” I thought she said. I took a moment to take this in. I was not surprised as her mother had mentioned that when she returned home in 2010 her father, a Buddhist monk, was so angry with the way she had treated me he insisted she spent a month in his monastery as penance. But no matter what English skills a Thai lady has, sometimes the perceived conversations are often on a parallel course that will seemingly never meet until infinity.
I begin to progress the conversation to ask if she was back in her father’s monastery but she corrects me saying “No, I have not cut all my hair off.” After a brief pause she adds “I said I was a Mum, not a Nun”. I was still bewildered but as I had recently sent £250 as my contribution to her son's wedding so I was patently aware she was a mother.
She then dropped her bombshell…. “I have a daughter and she is luk krueng.”
I was initially relieved that this was her news but did not fully comprehend; we can all be a little obtuse at times. I was just thankful she was not asking me for money.
I recall an obtuse moment in a conversation with my youngest son some years ago. I had been admonishing him about the amounts of marijuana he was imbibing. It was not through any morality, I was just worried that he was showing signs of paranoia associated with excessive consumption. He assured me he was cutting back so it was disappointing when his mother later informed me that she had found a significant bag of weed in his bedroom. I will always remember when I questioned him about this and reiterated my concern about the potential hazards; he stalled me and said “No, Dad, I am not using that much weed personally… I am dealing it”.
“That’s ok then” I said. In retrospect I could not believe I actually said that.
In fairness to my son I am happy to report he subsequently gave up dealing the weed, got his act together and is now in the final year of a degree in international affairs.
It would have been a wonderful idea if I was the father of Nat’s daughter. I was already the father of two sons from my first English wife, two splendid chaps in their early twenties of whom I am immensely proud. It was always my desire to have a daughter but my first wife insisted I have a vasectomy following the birth of our second son 23 years ago. The sad thing is she began refusing sex with me once I had it. I have a theory that some women need the danger of conceiving to enjoy sex, and once the risk is removed their interest and passion evaporates. But I digress.
Knowing I could not be the father of Nat’s child I asked who the father was. After a slight delay she answered… Tom. I finally collected my thoughts and asked “When did you have her”. Following a moment’s hesitation she told me” October 2009 but she was born a bit premature.” I immediately grasped she had been conceived sometime after she left me in March …so whilst I was in anguish at her leaving me she was being poked by her former employer.
I evoke a vague memory and I have no idea why I recall it. My pal Norman is psychic. Norman is actually my brother’s father in law but I see him regularly. He is now in his late 60s and he has always declared it has been a burden to him rather than a gift. I remember an incident when he was introduced to two elderly gentlemen. They were well dressed and quite distinguished but as he shook the one's hand he slightly recoiled. Norman apologized for his reaction “I am terribly sorry but as I touched you I got an unexplainable vision and a smell of death”. There was an embarrassing silence, and then the man smiled and rolled up his sleeve to reveal a faded tattoo that was a series of numbers. “I am a Polish Jew and was an inmate in a Nazi death camp for a year until the Americans liberated it in 1945”.
The weekend when Nat left me to work in London I was in the casino club with my brother and his family to hear a singer they had on that evening. As Nat usually accompanied me on Saturday nights they naturally asked were she was. Wishing to make light of her departure hoping it was only temporary I explained she had just gone down to London for a week to help a relative in her restaurant. Norman looked at me and said “She is with that bloke she used to work for”. I was a little astonished but dismissed his remark “That ended ages ago, they have had no contact for years”.
I was surprised because it had been a few years since I had mentioned that Nat was working for an English property company and it had only been in passing. I genuinely doubted he would remember. Norman quickly said “Sorry I have no idea where that thought come from…. don’t believe it for a minute”. Thankfully the singer began her first number and the remark was quickly forgotten. I dismissed the thought from my mind. In truth I had completely forgotten that incident until today.
I was slightly in shock from Nat’s revelation that she had met up with her old employer/ lover whilst living in London after she had left me but was still my wife. Being cuckold was only one of my emotions as my mind went into turmoil. “I had many problems then", was all she offered in way of explanation. I was disturbed but not totally surprised. If I am honest I knew I could never compete with Tom. He was 10 years younger and considerably wealthier than me. I knew long before we married if it came to a choice I would lose hands down. However I was convinced his rejection of her and with the pressure of his wife he was completely out of the equation. It was evidently not so.
What was evident that there is no fool like an old fool?
Blanking the uncomfortable image of him “knocking the back out of her” I collected my wits enough to ask her “if your daughter was born in October 2009 and you have seen me twice since then…..Why tell me now?”
Her reply was bemusing “I know you usually come to Thailand in April or May, I was worried you would find out and be angry”. This example of perverse Thai female logic confirmed despite our divorce she was still keeping me on the back burner. I acknowledge I was always plan B, now I was also plan C.
I asked if Tom was paying for the child’s upkeep and she was a bit ambiguous but knowing Thai women have difficulty telling the truth without being prompted what you actually want to hear, I did not push for an answer. At least she had recognised that any request for money from me would be met with a resounding NO. She did make a request which surprised me “Please do not write story about me “she said.
I wished her luck and ended the call.
For an hour or so I was quite upset. I was particularly annoyed when I recall how with the cost of her visa, bringing her over and settling some of her debts she had cost me £18k which represented my life savings at the time. The knowledge that when she left me she was being inseminated by another man did little for my composure. That he was a younger man with more money and a larger dick than me was particularly unsettling.
I asked myself how many more indignities she could heap upon me.
The customary reaction from Thailand aficionados will be I should have read “Private Dancer”. I declare I did read it when it first came out. It is a wonderful piece of writing but it could not prepare me for my situation. I have also read almost every Stickman submission for the past 10 years. I did the risk assessment and performed the due diligence. There was no shortage of prior intelligence and preparation. I had kept a steady bat but was still beaten by the in-swinger to the leg stump.
I had already established that everything I thought I knew about Thai women was not worth a knob of goat shit. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus then Thai women are from a distant galaxy a few light years from Alpha Centauri.
Forgive the Star Trek allusion I have used before. When you get involved with a Thai girl you think you have fallen in love with an exotic feminine Bajoran woman but invariably you wake up and find you have wed a Ferighee instead.
Was she being vindictive in telling me about her child? I honestly do not think she was but it did verify that the moral compass the Thais employ is very different from ours.
I have had a good rant and got it off my chest; I am conscious that a sense of perspective was needed. I was not the first man to be cuckold and made to look foolish and I certainly wouldn’t be the last. In fact nothing had really changed, we were divorced and she was in Thailand and I was in the UK. My ego may have been slightly bruised but nobody died and in the fullness of time the story will become just another of my colourful self deprecating anecdotes about the capricious nature of women. I decided being angry was a futile exercise akin to pissing yourself in a dark suit when you get a warm sensation but nobody notices. I shall file this one in the ever-expanding cabinet known as “unexpected experiences”.
Will I see Nat and her daughter on my next visit to the kingdom? I am not sure, whilst I genuinely wish them well I need to finally close this chapter in my life.
I may be criticised for my candour and openness in relating this tale. You may also think me too tolerant and far too forgiving but I have had already had far too many years wearing the hair shirt of regret and the cilice of self criticism. Now was not the time for pointless self analysis and recrimination…. it was time to move on.
Writing this account was part of the process. Thank you for listening.
I just cannot see any good (for you) in Nat telling you this info – and I don't doubt that she knows that.
Stories like this are a good example of why one should make a clean break when a relationship sours or runs its course. The idea of remaining friends may work in some cases, but I think you don't really move on until you make a clean cut…