Readers' Submissions

A Cold Day In July

  • Written by Ishiro
  • August 1st, 2016
  • 6 min read




The Granite Belt in winter is not the best place to be holed up in an unlined Titan steel shed with a concrete floor. Outside, the rain was falling but I had the convenience of mains power connected and had my computer, DVD player and TV, so I suppose it was not too bad. I had an electric heater and an electric jug to make coffee or tea – and a King-size Dunlopillo bed and plenty of warm clothing to keep me snug.

That was back in 2000 – but today, in July 2016, here I am holed up in this brick apartment in Brisbane. The rain is drizzling down and it is cold outside but I am snug and warm inside, thinking where those intervening 15 years have gone. The other common thought is that my mind is still in Thailand, just as it was on that cold day in July, 2000. I wanted to be there so badly in 2000 – and here I am, feeling exactly the same in 2016.

I have made that journey, to my Land Of Smiles, too many times now to recall – and I often say to people that I doubt that I have the ability to do so one more time again – but that same old longing is still in my bones. It never really goes away. Once you are bitten by the charm of Bangkok (The City Of Angels), you can never be free.

It's strange how rain has a way of tying events in my life together – significant events that were markers that one never forgets. Good old fon ฝน – the rain – and how I had cursed it so many times – but quietly-welcomed that thread that tied it all together.

BNE Intnl Airport on a rainy afternoon, 12 August 2005: Waiting for Thai Airways' 777 to dock at the air-bridge and looking out to the hard-stands where raindrops are splashing into the puddles. That was probably the lowest and most desperate I have been to get back to Chiang Mai.

Two weeks had passed by since leaving Chiang Mai to come back to Brisbane to get another Non-Immigrant Type '0' Visa that would give me another 12 months in 90-day increments. As it turned out, I was leaving there again on 13 September 2005. To do that was like tearing a piece out of me – and I doubt I have ever recovered from it.

The Dixie Chicks released their “Top Of The World Tour 2003” on DVD – and one of the tracks on the DVD was “A Cold Day In July”. That DVD was instrumental for me by inspiring me to make the effort to get back again to Chiang Mai, after an absence of two years. I threw the disc on the player this afternoon (17 July 2016) and all those memories and feelings came flooding back over me as Marty Maguire coaxed those beautiful notes and tones out of her fiddle. I remember particularly the song “Cowboy, Take Me Away” – and seeing someone in the audience holding up a sign reading “Marty. Take Me Away” – and oh God, I wished she was able to do that for me and drop me off in Chiang Mai.

COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY

I said, I want to touch the earth
I want to break it in my hands
I want to grow something wild and unruly
I want to sleep on the hard ground
In the comfort of your arms
On a pillow of blue bonnets
In a blanket made of stars
Oh, it sounds good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue
Set me free
Oh, I pray
Closer to heaven above and closer to you
Closer to you

I want to walk and not run
I want to skip and not fall
I want to look at the horizon and not see a building standing tall
I want to be the only one for miles and miles
Except for maybe you and your simple smile
Oh, it sounds good to me
Yes, it sounds so good to me

I said, cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue
Set me free
Oh, I pray
Closer to heaven above and closer to you
Closer to you

I said, I want to touch the earth
I want to break it in my hands
I want to grow something wild and unruly
Oh, it sounds so good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue
Set me free
Oh, I pray
Closer to heaven above and closer to you
Closer to you
Closer to you
Cowboy take me away
Closer to you

Songwriters: Martha Maguire – Marcus Hummon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn-GoshohiQ

I'll be honest and say that Chiang Mai was not my favourite city – that was always Bangkok – but, as long as the bond with Wan was strong, I would always go back to Chiang Mai. So, after that 2-year absence, I went back in 2007 and everything was just as it was in 2004/5. It was as if I had not even been away.

A COLD DAY IN JULY

The moon is full but my arms are empty
All night long how I've pleaded and cried
You always said the day that you would leave me
Would be a cold day in July
Your bags are packed and not a word is spoken
Guess we said everything with goodbye
Time moves so slow when promises get broken
On this cold day in July
Sun's comin' up, comin' up down on Main Street
Children shout as they're running out to play
Head in my hands here I am standing in my bare feet
Watching you drive away
Watching you drive away
You said that we were gonna last forever
You said our love would never die
Looks like spring and feels like sunny weather
But it's a cold day in July
Oh, sun's comin' up, comin' up down on Main Street
Children shout as they're running out to play
Oh oh, head in my hands here I am standing in my bare feet
Watching you drive away
Watching you drive away
The moon is full but my arms are empty
All night long how I've pleaded and cried
You always said the day that you would leave me
Would be a cold day in July
Here comes that cold day in July

Songwriter: Richard C Leigh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIml0zdWb50

There's no point in trying to apportion blame to anyone or anything – I guess the next absence of three years was the “killer” – and the 2010 time in Chiang Mai convinced me that enough was enough. Yet, there still remains that wistful longing to have things just as they were in 2007. Pretty damn selfish, isn't it, when it was me who did all the leaving? Please don't make the same mistakes as I did. Yes, I did ask her if she would leave Thailand.