Today I have been sober for 55 days.
Once again I have to apologise for my prolonged absence, but as I you can probably imagine, I have been a mite preoccupied with “affairs of the heart”, and other nonsense.
You will recall that my wife had advised me she was planning to take her family home on Friday, 16th. I asked her how long she planned to be away, and she replied: “Two to three nights”.
Although I was delighted at this piece of good news, I also “smelt a rat” as it was totally unnecessary for her to stay at her mother’s in the village for 2 – 3 days. As a rule, she never stayed there for more than one night, except for a week ago when she ‘allegedly’ stayed for one week!
I ‘innocently’ asked her, if she was really planning to stay there for 3 days? She thought for moment, and realised that I might call her mother to see if she was there (as I had done on the previous occasion), so she changed her story slightly by telling me that she would stay with her elder half sister who lives in a shack in Sa Kaeo town.
“You know,” she said, “the one who you don’t like who is rude, gets drunk and talks too much!”
Well, after all this time, I think I know when she is being economical with the truth, and I can say with certainty that there is no way she would dream of staying with that sister in her place for one hour, let alone 2 – 3 nights.
Anyway it was academic. She was doing exactly what I had expected and what I had hoped she would do – go away for a few days after spending a week at home; no doubt going back to whatever she is up to in Bangkok, with whoever she is up to it with.
So Friday morning I started to pack surreptitiously. It was important that the houseboy didn’t twig what I was up to, and as my office is open to the rest of the house, I had to be very careful. I also couldn’t do any packing in my bedroom as the maid would go there every day to clean up and make the beds etc.
In the afternoon I gave the houseboy some money to buy some whisky. By 11 p.m. he was drunk and fell asleep, and I was able to continue my packing without interruption.
However I soon realised that I was getting too tired to finish everything that night, and in any event there wouldn’t be enough room in the car for all the stuff I planned to take and as the wife would be away for several days there was no real rush.
So I packed half a car load, carefully loaded it up when no one was around, and delivered it to my condo that night.
The next day (Saturday) was the big day, and I started to pack in earnest. Once the maid had finished in the bedroom, I went upstairs, locked the door and packed all my stuff except the clothes on hangers that I wanted to take from there. I kept the door locked, and went back down to my office and packed as much as I could without making it too obvious what I was up to. But there was a limit to what I could do without anyone seeing me, especially as I wanted to take a few things from the kitchen and store room to my new home.
So when I had done as much as I could before the son and houseboy retired for the night, I went out to have some food, and returned after 11.pm. The house boy was ready to go to bed, but to my horror, I found the wife’s son with 3 friends playing video games. He told me his friends were staying the night.
I was dumbfounded. I knew kids, and I knew they would be playing those games half the night. Even when they finally decided to call it a night and go to sleep, I would have to avoid waking up four people instead of just one. So I made an ‘executive’ decision to send them home. I told my wife’s son that no one had told me about this plan for his friends to sleep over when his mother was away, and very authoritatively told him that “I was in charge”! The house boy also protested that he had no knowledge of this plan (but I’m sure he was lying).
The son was very upset, but I insisted. However, the next thing I knew my wife was on the phone!! By this time it was past midnight. She was drunk and had just spoken with the houseboy, who I assume had called her. Anyway, to my relief, she agreed with me, and told everyone to go home, which they did, somewhat sullenly.
That was the last conversation I have had with her.
As soon as the boy went to bed, I pulled out all the stops and continued packing in earnest. I was putting my things into huge plastic bags that I had bought in the local market. They are absolutely ideal for this purpose, and much better than boxes. They also fit easier into cars. I used them last time I packed up and left, which turned out to be something of a ‘dress rehearsal’, but gave me invaluable experience for the real thing, which was now happening.
I was all packed by around 2.00 a.m. but now I had to take everything out to my car. This was quite a task by myself, especially as I am no longer a ‘spring chicken’, and my health and fitness levels are sadly not what they once were. I knew the only way I could successfully move everything out to the car that night was to take it very slowly, and to ease my burden, I dragged as much as I could along the floor of the house.
But even so, it was a huge undertaking, and well before everything was out there I was breathless, pouring with sweat and started to get pains in my chest and arm – all the signs of an angina attack. I rested for a while, had some water, and continued. There was no way I was going to give up with half the stuff in the car and the other half packed but scattered all over the house.
By this time I was either going to make it, or die in the attempt.
Slowly but surely, I got everything out to the car, where I then had the horrendous job of loading it into the boot and onto the seats. I wasn’t sure if it would all go in, and had to plan very carefully if I was to succeed. I just couldn’t face the prospect of having to come all the way back to pick up a second load.
By now it was past 3.30 a.m. and eventually everything was in the car except for all my clothes from the racks in the dressing room. The final part was the worst – as I had to go up and downstairs about half a dozen times to carry the clothes out to the car on their hangers and squash them all up on top of the other bags on the back seats.
Finally, at around 4 a.m., more dead than alive, I was done. I took one last look around the house to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind and I was gone. I drove down the road, and parked up and rested for a while. My pulse was racing, my heart was hammering and I had a splitting headache. But I was free at last. After 6 long years of misery, I was finally free.
For the first time in weeks I felt like a drink. I really wanted to have that drink to calm my pounding nerves and to celebrate my successful departure.
My God! Did I want that drink!
But I sat there and resisted. The urge slowly passed.
I drove to my new condo block in Pattaya with the intention of parking up and unloading everything the following morning. I drove up to the entrance to offload a few things I would need for overnight – or what was left of the night – when before I knew it, the porter was taking everything out of the car and piling it onto a trolley to transport to my room. I was so exhausted that I let him do a “lion’s share” of the work, but I did my bit, which further exacerbated my precarious physical state.
In fact, I have just a vague memory of the final stages of getting everything onto the trolley, into the lift and up to my room on the 8th floor. I have no idea how many trolley loads there were and have no recollection of falling asleep, which I later discovered had occurred without me taking my pills or my overnight insulin shot.
Thanks to my ‘Higher Power’, I am still here to tell the tale. But I was not at all well for several days and my muscles ached from head to foot from all the unfamiliar physical exertion made on that night.
Since then I have been settling into my new home by the sea, and I have also been helping my friend, Dave, from Bangkok to get his visa renewed.
More about this tomorrow, and then I will go back to Mobi’s story, as I know you are all dying to read the next installment with bated breath………