Stickman Readers' Submissions January 22nd, 2015

One Never-Ending Kind Of Love

Isn't it strange how the most basic things can make you remember, so strongly, the events, places and people who have made such very deep impressions on your consciousness? For me, those events, places and people are mostly centred on Thailand and the Thai people I have known away from Thailand. Chiang Mai takes the pride of place in my memories – even though it was not my favourite city, back in 2004 – until I met her.

My attention has never been captured by the allure of wealth (in a monetary sense) or fancy and valuable possessions that so many people spend their whole lifetime in trying to accrue. People have always been the most important wealth that I have encountered in my life – always placing them far higher, on the scale of importance, than material possessions. After 3 marriages and a string of dalliances, there are certain memories that stand out above all the others – places that I keep visiting in my past – time and time again.

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Sure, I like good hotels, good restaurants and the occasional luxury of flying Business Class – but some of my happiest times have been in basic surroundings with people whom I have had a special connection. Circumstances, age and wisdom all dictate that, at this point in my life, it is time to start taking stock of what has been done – and if those deeds have been successful, moral and correct – or not. I feel, with mounting complex health issues crowding in on me, that my time from now may be shorter than one would have imagined way back when life was an endless wire.

I have been reading over some of the first submissions that I sent to Stick, way back in 2011. Back then, I was writing under the alias of Chalermchai – and I feel that some of those subs may not have been editorially as good as some of the later ones – but they were brutally honest and written with almost total recall of the events that I still sit and wonder about. To be honest, that is where I am most of the time, these days.

When I think of that period of which I wrote – 2004 to 2010 – I would go back to that time without a moment's hesitation, if I had the chance. You know, the sad thing is that decisions made then are not the decisions I would now make, if I had that period over again. You try to do the right thing to make two people happy by splitting yourself in two – but all you achieve is to make three people unhappy – two special people for whom you care very much – and yourself is made unhappy, as well.

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Thailand is certainly not the easiest place for a man to make logical decisions – there is temptation on every corner and, no matter how hard you try, one very often fails to be strong and do that which is right. Not so long ago, I was writing to Stick about regret over poor decisions I had made in the past – and his response was … "It's so easy to look back and say that what we did may not have been the best decision – but it was the best decision at the time and that is why we chose to do what we did back then". I can see the wisdom in Stick's words – but why do I still feel uncomfortable when recalling those regrets? Perhaps it's the guilt factor pricking the conscience. Sometimes decisions are made based on purely-selfish reasons – and that is not to say that one is a bad person – merely that lack of foresight can take over, along with the failure to think through on the consequences of our actions.

Many of my earlier subs were narratives of my time shared with Wan – a person whom I have come to regard as The Love Of My Life – and, after many years of analysis and reflection, I truly do believe that there is only one person in this life that I was destined to be mated with. Through the later subs and on into the final subs, more recently, her name comes up again and again. She is part of all that I do – with me always in every day and night – although I do realize that the same circumstances may not be true from her perspective. I handled things very poorly when we were very close – allowing guilt and attention for something that was already finished, to intrude on what I had with Wan.

I do not presume to understand what drives other men on their journey through the minefield of Thai/Farang relationships – each journey is unique – but I do understand the mistakes that I made, resulting in a heavy load that I will carry to the end. My point in writing this is to try to save others from making a similar mistake to the one I made with Wan.

The first requirement is that you know exactly what it is that you want to come from a liaison with a Thai girl/woman. DO NOT – under any circumstances – enter into a serious liaison with another person unless you have severed any connections from past relationships. You CANNOT have a meaningful relationship with another person while your mind is with someone else.

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The second requirement is that you have sufficient financial resources available to sustain a new, serious liaison, so that it can progress to a proper relationship. DO NOT enter on this course of action unless you can fulfil promises made in the heat of the moment. Better still, DO NOT make promises in the heat of the moment.

My biggest mistake was in depleting myself of resources in dalliances with Thai girls and women – and in finally marrying with one and taking her to my country – along with her two children. By the time that marriage had run its course and fallen apart, I was seriously undercapitalized and in no position to be embarking on a new relationship – particularly since I was not yet divorced. To do this is like putting the cart before the horse – the fault lies with the hostler, not with the horse. I also wasted a lot of money on unnecessary air-fares between Thailand and Australia – yes, it earned me a lot of Thai bonus points – but they were points I could not afford.

At the beginning of any liaison, expectations and feelings are likely to be at the highest level – and what is to follow will determine if that level is maintained for the long term. In analysing the course of my relationship with Wan, it was unbelievably-strong from December 2004 through until around June 2005. Without any reservation, Wan is the very best I have ever known in any woman – she expressing the wish to marry sometime around March, 2005. There is no doubt that I would have been deliriously-happy to marry with Wan – and I told that to her Papa. Explaining to the family that I was still married to someone in Australia but planning to divorce in early 2006, was a difficult matter to tell – but Papa accepted that and all was well.

As life settle into a routine for us, I was convinced that Wan was the person that I would wish to be with for all time – the only problem for me being thoughts of what lay back in Australia that had to be dealt with, eventually. One thing I do feel comfortable with was the fact that I told Wan, soon after we met, that I was married but separated from my wife – and we were planning on filing for divorce. The purpose of one of those trips back to Australia was to help fill out the Federal Divorce Court application papers. I did find that a difficult thing to do – but some things are unavoidable.

Living together with Wan made me very happy and gave me a feeling of peace – she was always so considerate and loving – everything I had ever hoped for in a partner/wife. The truth is that I always did regard her as my wife/mia – and I saw myself as her husband/sarmee. Still, I noticed subtle changes in her demeanor/mood, sometime around June/July 2005. That's not surprising because we seemed to be getting no closer to making our partnership legal – and she began to become more introverted and wanted to sleep more than previously. I suppose we all use sleep as an escape mechanism from reality, so I could understand the changes happening – with no definite time-line set down for marriage for us.

My drinking became a problem because I also could see no way out of the situation we had both created – and I also included "sleepers" to my list of bad habits, to counter the sleepless nights that had begun to be another problem for me. Yet, I always loved Wan and could never imagine life without her in it. To me, life without Wan was not really living – I regarded her as my "Queen" and would have given her everything she ever wanted – but that was impossible due to the diminishing cash reserves and the growing level of indebtedness that was dragging me down the road to bankruptcy. Strong measures were needed.

I spoke with Wan about my returning to Australia to address the finance issues and to get assistance for my drinking and pill problems – promising that I would return to her as soon as that had been done. She agreed that may be the best choice for us but it was not something that I was able to accept easily. I left Chiang Mai on 13 September 2005 – one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Looking back to that time, it is easy to see that I failed to provide the duty of care to the person I had come to love more than anyone else – and what had been the high part of my life came down to nightly telephone conversations. After a while, the calls to Thailand became less frequent and e-mails came down to perhaps one each week. Then they dropped off completely. So began a very black period for me.

It was August 2007 before I got back to Chiang Mai to be with Wan again – and it was almost as if nothing had changed at all between us. It was a little bit like time had stood still for us – but there was no ignoring the fact that Wan had become thinner and her hair was not the carefully-groomed hair that I knew so well. I felt ashamed that I was very likely responsible for these changes and wished so much that I had not needed to leave her, back in September 2005. Our time together was wonderful but somehow different – yet how could it be any other way – 2 years apart is a long time and people change in small ways. But she was still my Wan – and I loved her as strong as I did back in 2004.

Our next time together was not until August 2010 – far too long apart – but, to me, she was always in my thoughts and we would exchange the occasional e-mail. That final time together could have been nothing other than how it turned out – a revelation of how far we had drifted apart. Both of us had new priorities in life and I had mastered performing Thai songs – while Wan had her own business and a new vehicle. It made me happy to see how she had made a life for herself – but I still had feelings of sadness that we had moved on – in different directions.

My wish is that I had been in a position, back in 2005, to provide all of the things that we both wanted so badly. It is wrong to perpetuate a situation where dreams and promises crumble and fall into dust. People become disillusioned and cynical when those dreams and promises fail to materialize – and, although the intention was good, that does not diminish the wrong. Please think carefully before embarking on the journey that I have recounted here.

Wan will always be the most significant person to come into my life – and, although the time together was relatively short, I will never forget what we shared. She truly is the very best I have ever met.

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