Sunday, August 24, 2008

Love is Suffering

Pim moved out this afternoon. The note on the table said, "I am sory. And thank you for everything."

It happened quickly. Just yesterday morning we were holding hands as we waited for her bus to work. But I was already upset. It seems she had plans to go out with friends that night. So in the late afternoon I took the river taxi and Skytrain to see Jerry, and he and Eric and I went to Noriega's in Patpong to listen to Peter Driscoll's rockabilly band.

While there, I got this SMS from Pim: "I am not go home tonight. I know i not nice to i make you not happy. So up to you if you want to separat." I left after a few songs with commiserations from my friends, and went home to drink gin and tonics. I gathered up Pim's makeup from the shelf before the mirror in the bedroom and her toiletries from the bathroom and put them in a bag. In the morning I felt lousy.

I did not want to respond with anger to her message so I waited. I took my laundry to the machine downstairs, a job that had been Pim's. Then finally, after lunch, I sent this text to her: "You're right. I'm unhappy and want to separate now." She came home around 3 when I was taking a nap and saw my packing. I tried to talk but she would not answer and started to complete my work. It had been my intention that she would stay in the apartment, sleeping on the couch, until she found a new place to live. But I couldn't see how to apply the brakes. How could I explain my confused thoughts in an English she would barely understand?

I left for an hour, walking aimlessly in the street, wanting to give her space to do what she thought should be done. When I got back, she was still here and said she was going to her relative's apartment in Nana where her sister Song is currently staying. I began to sense that the decision for this departure was mutual. It's been coming for several months, since her last visit home to Kalasin. We talked, holding hands, she crying and me staring stoically into space, about the good times we'd had and how we wanted to be friends. "I want to help you if you need it," she said, knowing that my inability to speak or understand much Thai was a problem in this very Thai neighborhood. She said "I have to find my life. No more lying!" I gave her some money to help with what I knew would be a difficult time for her.

The move is only just begun. The bedroom shelves are still filled with her clothes. There is a selection of her shoes in the shoe cabinet, and she'll eventually retrieve her rice cooker and bathrobe. I don't know how long it will take to disentangle our lives after nearly a year together, almost seven months sharing the same small space here and at Siam Court.

"Love is suffering" is the tag Pim used for her internet profile when we first met last September. She had been jilted by an IBM repairman from America after a six-week affair. I felt sorry for her and tried to cheer her up. Perhaps she saw me as a way to regain her injured pride. Later she explained her first visit to my apartment which lasted until the next morning by telling me, "I wanted you to love me." It worked. I've discovered that the tag can be traced to French actress Catherine Deneuver who said, "Love is suffering. One side always loves more."

Pim assured me through her tears today that she loved me, squeezing my hand for emphasis. But I know that the difference in ages makes for a difference in attachment. I think she can let me go and move on more easily than I. There's nothing like an old fool. She will look for a younger man, someone who can give her a child and whom she can brag about to her friends. I'm sitting here now, with my usual emotional constipation at such times, trying to hold my broken heart together by tying it up in words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Will,

It's good that you let her go, and good if you can do so nicely.

You are right, she is younger than you and, from what I've seen in your blog, never happy about telling her family and friends. How long could it really last?

So wish her well and put it in perspective. A good year for you, for both of you, and now you can both move on.

You are lucky, you have your practice. Though I know you struggle with meditation at times (who doesn't?!), you are rooted in spirituality. You can Stop. Breathe. Smile.

Rely on your refuge. Stick close to the precepts. The training is for times like this. Rest.

I wish you both great peace and happiness.

Namu Amitabul