Mastodon Michael Perry

The loneliness of the expat

I don’t know about expats or people that live here as they do. They come here alone. Find a measure of solitude. Like my acquaintance M. What is it he wants? He would say to be left to himself. But I think in his soul and heart he wants. Wants someone to simply say,

M I love u. Need you. Want to make you happy and care for you.

To him it means he gives up all he has now. So I ask myself.

What is all?

I lived alone with great measures of solitude for 15 years. In small rooms in Newark California to Airbnb places in Vietnam or Malaysia. Found the full measure of myself but honestly only became lonely once. One time around some Christmas time in Saigon I felt like the strings that bound me were loosening. Like I was alone in the world. And lonely. So I went to Vincom plaza mall and had ice cream. I watched the Vietnamese shopping. Kids running to look in toy stores. I ate the ice cream.

Life came back in full measure and I left. Years later I would find someone. She became my full measure but not a replacement for the solitude. I still have such a measure of it. But when I need a shoulder or a body or she does or we both do we have each other. To cry or laugh. To share life’s coffee shops with brilliant latte moments. To exchange words and thoughts and deeds. Often times to just have love in my life. Someone to say

Honey I got you. You are mine.

There’s possessiveness that does not take away. When my Khmer woman leans into me at night and her body says yes. When she smiles and kisses me on her way to shop or have time with family. See the difference? I’m hers. All the way. She’s mine. The same distance. But we are two people. It’s a fallacy two can be one. There’s not enough room in here or there. Mixed up? Strange? Yep. But I know what it is I have. What M sees when we talk. And I feel his desire bowstring pulled taut on his frame. His Khmer girlfriend or ex or whatever knows too. S feels it. She wants him but he’s convinced somehow his solitude or desire for time alone evaporates. I can’t tell him and have him believe loving someone does not take away. It only adds. So be it M.

I’ve found you don’t lose one thing by gaining another. At least in my life. Alin is not an ex wife replacement. She is so much more than my ex wife ever was. She cares for me. Holds me. Tells me in her calm and stubborn way,

Honey you are mine forever. In my heart. My soul. My mind. I need you and will have you.

There is no smothering or loss of my moments alone but not lonely. But each thing becomes so much more. More to hold and feel and live with.

Poor M may never become the richer in the later part of his song. The notes sound discordant when we talk now. He sounds petulant and unsure but insists like he does that all he has done no matter what is so much better and more brilliant. That is perhaps the thing that drives me from him. Nothing another person has done ever is enough to him. He must achieve more even with dressing up a story he has told me before.

But I think it’s really because his spirit sags. He does like Thoreau says and lives in quiet desperation.

No one can offer words or things or ideas to M. Because he has had them before. So I go and do the things I find my worth in. Walking along the river. Finding flowers to photograph to send to Alin. Telling her I love her sexy body. She shakes her head and playfully slaps me on the shoulder. I feel bad for M but a person decides their poison and passion in life. Then they have to live it or live with it.

Sorry M. You decide on your path and so you must fulfill it. Now I swim in the pool patiently waiting.

This blogpost is done.

May 2, 2023