Blogging the afternoon on Tuesday
We go out for breakfast almost every day. Either a khmer noodles soup thing which I love across the street, or a bakery down the street, sometimes we visit Temple Bakery and Coffee. Most often though we do Cafe Solari which is a nice small cafe by the river. Sitting there in the mornings we tend to talk far into the morning. Today was a beautiful discussion I think because we both talked about how we got to finding each other. Perhaps not a romantic story about her husband dying and leaving her with a daughter or me getting divorced but the end was both of us waiting. She cried openly telling me about her 20 years waiting for someone. People came and went in her life and she wondered. Years went by. Finally earlier this year some Khmer acquaintances invited her out to a bar. She had an accident earlier and if you look closely at her photos you will see her face is marked from a fall she took on New Years. She felt ugly from that but still agreed to go just to have something to do. They all went to the Beatnik Speakeasy that night. She just went along with much younger Khmer women out of boredom or perhaps a desire to see lights, have a beer, see people.
My story was one of waiting too. Or perhaps I gave up waiting. I mentioned before on the blog my daughter had told me once I stopped waiting I would find someone. I never expected that night as J and I sat drinking and talking about our lives that the next thing would happen. These four Khmer women sat next to us. Three were younger and J was attracted to one. He likes younger women. This other one stared at me pointedly. It seemed even somewhat drunk she was looking into me. I was both abashed and interested. I asked them to join us and that’s when Alin said she knew. She took one more look and the years of waiting dissolved. Twenty of them for her. And she knew. She somehow just knew I was the one and she was determined to not let me get away.
For my part, I was taken with her from the start. She held my hand rather tightly and I took her to my room. We slept together all night, had a little sex, talked a lot and then went out for breakfast. That first date evolved to more dates and she would spend the night at my place sometimes. We would go to the cafe Solari and eat and talk. Things became different. More complex yet more basic. Finally after some time, I asked her to live with me. She had issues. Her daughter wanted very badly to go to school in Phnom Penh and had been accepted for two years but she needed money. People here do not have the kind of money we bandy about routinely. Consider that people here make about $120 a month. Rent can cost $80. That leaves $40 for food and utilities and stuff. We expats are not a rich lot but I make significantly more each month guaranteed. I paid for her daughter to go to school and then I paid her month’s rent which she could not do.
The next day she went out looking for an apartment for us and found this small 1 bedroom efficiency type place on the ground floor of the apartment residence, locked gates, swimming pool, and paved roads. We took it. Somewhere in there I invited her to go to Kep and Kampot with me and we went for a week over Valentine’s Day. Very romantic on the beach at a nice boutique hotel seeing her beautiful body sliding through the wonderful pool. We ate and talked and had sex and talked and discovered more about each other.
It had been 20 years times 2. I had gone that long and she had too. But she told me she knew when she first saw me. Now, in retrospect, it reminds me of my dad seeing my mom so many years before. My mom told me he told his friends,
I’m going to marry that woman one day
And they did.
Sometimes things just take what they take and today as we talked over coffee she cried about being alone but then finding me. She does TikTok videos about me, posts on Facebook about me, takes many photos of me. Teases me and forever just does all the things for me. She told me many times,
you have all of me. There is nothing left Alin can give.
She gave me Khmer friends and family. People that wave at me on the street and yell “Hello Mike”. Kids like today that love to see me and practice their English.
Then there’s tears and smiles
I started this wanting to write generically about today but today was not generic. It was tears and smiles and her holding my hand and telling me I was so much a part of her now. Her heart. Her soul. I sometimes have had issues with words but the 20 some years melted for me and back in January or whenever when we met, looking back on it, I think I knew. Just like my dad said. Just like love does to us at times. Opportunity sometimes knocks softly and will whisk away if you are busy doing the dishes or watching Netflix. It only gives you a moment to find memories and experiences to share. In my case, I have my life now and I have her. We argue and disagree sometimes but she rallies and tells me we go step by step. I take care of her and try to help her with difficult things like her high blood pressure and sugar. I watch over her as I can and need to make sure she eats good food, does not drink too much alcohol, and has plenty of exercise. For her part, she gives me all she has every day.
We sleep, have sex, talk, do. We are. She teases me about doing yoga and meditation but then tells me how important it is. She at first did not understand the walking. Now she gets it.
Finally there is going
I just wanted to write this today because it is not any special day yet it is. It is a Tuesday of our lives. Just a day spent for me, finding a path to go, cherishing the coffee times with her but still having my own path to walk. It all fits together and somehow the 40 some years we both spent collectively disintegrate and we have whatever we have left. Her friends are ecstatic for her. They asked her time and again to find someone but she could not. She told me in her heart there was this person.
It turned out to be me.
Never deny the going or the stopping or the being and doing. Having stuff is not important. Being something and doing something is. Jeff, the meditation instructor I still follow in my heart and mind would say,
Don’t have. Just be.
And that is the secret to it all. And what to be is exactly what the Buddhist monk told me when he gave me the new wrist bracelet. He told me to find happiness and joy in my life. That happened with Alin.
The alternative was a dark and sinister place with no joy or happiness. No Khmer woman to light my way. No family to accept that I am moody at times and need solitude. I’ve moved away from expats but as I wrote before I keep moving in the worlds I get.
And that is the blogging in the afternoon on a Tuesday.