Stickman Readers' Submissions July 4th, 2014

Unspoken Feelings

What must it be like to have feelings of love for someone and to not have the courage to tell them how you feel? In The West, the art of conversation and expression has almost vanished in modern society – largely because of our addiction to social media as a conduit for personal trivia. In Thailand, the usage (per capita) of social media by smart-phone has probably exceeded the use in most Western countries as Thais have always loved their cell-phones – but things seem well out of control when bar girls prefer to use their Androids or I-Phones rather than interact with bar patrons. Who gives a rat's arse about who posts a "selfie" of their butt or boobs – or discusses the negative aspects of the person with whom they shared dinner last night. Are we really interested in this garbage? Well, judging by the volume that is transmitted, there must be an enormous number of lame-brain deadheads out there with nothing better to use up their time. The art of conversation and expressing thoughts is dying a slow death.

Speaking of the art of conversation and expressing thoughts – let's take the following case in point. Two Law students – let's call one John and the other one Kim, both of whom shared a happy, carefree friendship that always was a close bond right through College. They were both a bit "quirky" – even sharing the same sense of humor and got along like a house on fire – on a Platonic level. After Graduation, they went their separate ways – Kim becoming a successful Law practitioner and John forming a Law-practice partnership with another male Graduate from the same Alumni.

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Eventually, Kim married and she and John lost contact in the hectic and often stressful world of Legal practice. A case came along in which John was defending an Action by The State to extend jail time for The Defendant – an old man of 76, formerly jailed for armed robbery and the new charge of attempting to escape custody. The crazy part was that he would have been released in 1 month in any case. What a strange turn of events followed in the assembly of participants in this Trial before entering the Courtroom. The District Attorney happened to be Kim – John's friend whom he had not seen or heard from for years. She was overjoyed to see him again – as he was, also, to see her – and they hugged warmly and talked briefly about their past. She told him she was no longer married.

In the Courtroom, Kim led The Prosecution's case and argued for The Defendant to be found guilty of the charge and given a further 12 years' incarceration – doing quite a good job of presenting her case. I found this to be a very strange situation for two former very-good friends to be in a position of adversarial argument. When Kim completed her summation to The Jury – John stood up, and began his Defence summation to The Jury. He related a story of how, he knew a young man in law school, who had made one very silly mistake that he had regretted for the rest of his life. The man had loved some lady very much but never had told her how he had felt at the time – and, as time drifted away, she had never really known how he had felt about her after going their separate ways. It was a very moving presentation where he likened the Defendant's mistake to this man's mistake as a bad error in judgment made by someone desperate in wanting to do something that he needed to do to prove to himelf that he was capable of following through, just once, with something he believed in – and not really understanding the gravity of his actions.

When the Jury retired, Kim came over to John and said "You were referring to you and me, were you not? Why did you not say something to me at the time to tell me how you felt about me. I felt the same things." John admitted that what she asked him was true – "Yes, I did love you but was afraid to tell you because I didn't want to risk destroying what we had as friends, if you had rejected me".

The Jury found The Defendant "Not Guilty – due to a moment of temporary insanity" and John finally asked Kim out to have dinner and dance. They had a wonderful time that evening and the time came to say "goodnight" – Kim said "Why don't we have lunch tomorrow?" John replied "I will check my diary and I will call you". In reality, John was still stuck in his same position – unable to take things any further and having no intention at all to call Kim for lunch for fear of failure. The look on Kim's face said it all – she knew he wouldn't call. I found it to be such a shame and a wasted opportunity to come together as they always should have been.

After thinking about this scenario, I wondered about the thoughts of a Thai man seeing the woman he loves being taken away by a rich foreigner. Whether the Thai couple are married or not doesn't matter – it is the feelings that matter – and, for Thais, that is so much harder to express than it is for a foreigner. Thai women will always say that foreigners always tell them that they love them – but that is something that a Thai man will very seldom say. But, just because a Thai man does not tell the Thai woman he loves her, that does not mean he doesn't love her. I often have misgivings about the morals of taking a Thai woman away from her home country – do we really know if she is married or single? And if she is married or merely in a loose or permanent relationship – and does not tell us so – I feel we are doing a grave injustice to both of them.

I often think about Natalise's ex-husband – and the thoughts he must have experienced when he found out that she was intending to leave Thailand to come to Australia with me. Sure, she was divorced and told me she had two kids. Granted, he may not have been the ideal husband for Nat – as he had a gambling problem and was a bit of a womanizer – but who are we to throw stones? I have to ask myself "Was I any different to him – and how would I have felt if I were in his place?" Even though they had divorced, did he have some vague idea that they would get back together? After all, he had gone to the extreme measure of kidnapping her on two occasions before Nat and I had met and keeping her locked up in a room in his home town. Was that an act of power control or an act of someone not wanting to lose the person he still loved?

What I remember most of all was the visit he made to the apartment complex where we lived in Sathorn. It would appear that he arrived some time in the early hours of the morning and we were woken by the Security Guard knocking on our door to tell Nat that there was someone who wished to speak with her downstairs. I think Nat had been expecting this as she had mentioned a day or so previously that he had made inquiries with her sister about where we were living. Nat wanted to go down alone to speak with him – but I was having none of that, so I went down with her to see what this was all about – not that I really had any doubts.

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He was lounging against a concrete-block-wall near the road (apparently under the influence of grog or "ya-ba") and beckoned for her to go over to him. It appears that he wanted to take back the motorcycle that she had – and wanted her to hop on the back and leave with him also. She refused, so he went to a pile of rubbish by the side of the wall and picked up a piece of metal and started to brandish it toward her. I told Nat to go up to the apartment and call the Police and I stepped up to him and made it very clear that I would take great pleasure in rearranging his face unless he pissed off very quickly. He was a skinny little twerp and I was twice his size and fairly fit – so I pushed my clenched fist up close to his face and said "Fxxk off, you useless bag of shit or I'll fxxxxxg-well do you in".

It appeared to do the trick, as he withdrew and I went inside and rode the elevator upstairs to see how Nat was doing. The Police arrived in around 10 minutes and conducted a thorough search but could find no trace of him. Of course, they advised us to attend the Police Station to make an official report – which we did, later that morning – but nothing came of it. Perhaps because we didn't offer a "contribution" for their help and the Police Benevolent Fund.

In retrospect, I often think that this whole episode need never have happened if only Nat and her ex had taken the time to talk about mutual feelings instead of focusing on anger – way before she and I had met. Perhaps Nat and I may not have met – but that's not the issue. What is important is communication – or rather the lack of it on the part of Nat and the ex in times past. I will never know if his actions were based on "control" of what he may have perceived as a "possession" of his – or if his actions were based on love for the person he had once been married to and had two children with her.

It amazes me why some people have so much difficulty in expressing feelings or needs. I do remember when my second wife and I first got together and were establishing the ground-rules for what is needed for a relationship to be successful. She believed that no relationship can last unless there is honest communication between the two parties. I agreed with that – what brought us undone was a change in location and lifestyle, money issues and property possession. Perhaps, no matter how hard one tries, some things are meant to be a certain way, regardless of how we plan.

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