Some of you guys make me laugh.
You seem so sure that my latest fling will end in yet another disaster. Of course you may well be correct, but for goodness sake give me a chance.
I have deliberately not told you much about Wan’s background; partly because I want to be a bit mischievous, and partly because I know that if I do tell you, you will examine everything I write in the minutest detail and without doubt, you will find fault and send me opinions and advice full of gloom and doom.
I also suspect that even if I was to write about Wan, many of you won’t believe what I tell you. So it’s better to remain silent until I have established the truth or otherwise of her story for myself.
So far, nothing she has done or said has led me to suspect she has not told me the whole truth about herself.
I know I am the world’s biggest mug as far as women are concerned – especially Thai ladies of the night – but believe it or not, I always know very early on what I am getting into. I understand far better than you think just what motivates these women and how deceitful and self serving most of them are. God knows I’ve had enough of them, so if I don’t know by now I never will.
But there’s that self destructive streak in me that still makes me get involved with them, regardless. I must have masochistic tendancies.
And I’m telling you that Wan is completely different. Maybe I can make you understand if I tell you that far from me worrying if she will really be a good, honest companion, my main concern is whether I can stay with her and remain faithful to her. Wan is a lovely, delicate sensitive lady, but she hasn’t got the sexual allure that the whores have got.
Yesterday afternoon the two of us went for a walk from my condo, along the beach into Jomtien proper, where we sat down and had a few drinks. (She water, me beer).This is the first time I have sat on the beach since I have lived in Jomtien. There was a picturesque sunset, soft cool breezes wafted around us, and the beer tasted extremely good.
After an hour or so we wandered to a nearby pub and I ordered some food. There were a couple of scantily clad ladies there who immediately caught my interest. I don’t know what it is about these whores that turn me on so much, but it is something I will have to fight if this relationship with Wan is to get anywhere.
As I was eating my meal, an elderly guy came in who I immediately recognized. He was one of the long term members of the morning AA meeting. He looked at me and noticed the beer on my table.
“I see your still researching then, Mobi?” he said with a smile.
“Yes, Mick, still researching.”
We left shortly after, and I didn’t drink again.
All told – yesterday afternoon I had four small beers, and last night I slept like a baby for over nine hours.
MARDIE (Part 1 )
In the Vignette, “Azzy – My love”, I wrote that Azzy was my first real love.
Upon reflection, I am not sure if that was really the case. Certainly Azzy was my first wife, and for sure it was by far the longest relationship that I had experienced up to that point in my life.
But there were two significant relationships before I ever met Azzy. The first was probably more of a teenage infatuation, but the second was the ‘real deal’.
The second was with a lady called Mardie, and this is what happened.
I was only twenty one when I met Mardie.
It was 1967 and Mardie was working as a temporary secretary for my employers, an American oil company, at our plush offices at Berkeley Square in the West end of London.
I had been working there for several months as an accountant, my first ‘proper’ job after completing my five year articles as a trainee Chartered Accountant, when the lovely Mardie walked in one day to report for work.
She was also twenty one, and worked for one of the largest temp agencies in the world, having been seconded from the New York office on some kind of exchange programme.
Mardie was petite, ( I like my women that way), slim, with a slightly swarthy complexion, and glorious legs that left little to the imagination in her micro min-skirt that was all the rage in swinging London. I was fascinated by her New York accent and her unique, outgoing approach to life – so different to all the English girls I had known up to that point in my life.
Mardie wasn’t brash – far from it – but she was very a confident, self assured young lady who knew what she wanted in life, and right now it was to see England and enjoy herself as much as possible.
I shared ‘Mardie the secretary’ with a few other accountants in the office, and she immediately hit it off with everyone who were all captivated by her good looks and friendly, outgoing personality.
I was immediately attracted to her – as were a number of the other young accountants in the office – but such was my shyness and inexperience with women, that I had already resigned myself to being one of the ‘also runs’. Indeed it was inconceivable to me that such a lovely person didn’t already possess a string of boyfriends.
There was one particular ‘Romeo’ in our office, Jim, who seemed to spend his entire spare time chasing, and usually succeeded in ensnaring young ladies that he met and it didn’t take long for him to get his hooks into Mardie.
Within a few days of Mardie coming to work for us, he was escorting her from the office most evenings and he had clearly chalked up yet another conquest.
My faint hopes of trying to date Mardie were dashed and I resigned myself to yet more despair and disappointment.
At that point in my life I was desperately lonely. I had recently made the big move from my parents’ flat, and had rented a room in a large house in Bayswater.
But London can be a very unfriendly and lonely place for a single young man who had left all his friends behind in East London and was too shy and lacking in confidence to make new ones – especially friends of the opposite sex.
If Mardie hadn’t been American, I doubt if the relationship would have ever got off the ground. In the 1960’s, the men were still expected to make all the running as far as ‘chatting up ladies’ were concerned, and most English girls would never dream of making the first move, regardless of how much they may be attracted to a particular man.
In this regard, the Yanks were about twenty years ahead of their English cousins, and American ladies held no such compunctions in being the first to make an approach to a member of the opposite sex.
Mardie knew that I liked her – after all I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she walked seductively around the office in her high heels and micro minis, exposing most of her stunning, tantalizing thighs.
She would always give me a very warm smile, and when she came into my office to bring me her completed correspondence, she would sit down and chat for a while.
My shyness with her slowly evaporated and we started to get on very well together. She was intrigued by my reserved, English manner, and I was equally fascinated by her American mannerisms. We shared a sense of humour that poked fun at each other’s culture and language differences.
One day, out of the blue, Mardie asked me if I would like to have a drink with her after work.
I asked her about Jim – the guy that she seemed to be dating on most evenings. She brushed off the mention of his name and told me not to worry about him, that he wasn’t her boy friend.
I was completely bowled over and immediately agreed to a date that very evening.
In spite of her assurances about Jim, she obviously did not want to make our date public knowledge, and we arranged to meet downstairs in the reception area of Berkeley Square House, the building where I worked.
I remember vividly to this day meeting her at the appointed place and time, and walking down the road together She took my hand and at that moment, I must have been the happiest man in London – possibly the world.
She was truly a lovely girl, very intelligent and a delightful personality. Her grandparents had immigrated to the USA from the Lebanon, which her explained her slightly swarthy, exotic appearance.
One date followed another, and together we explored London. We went to all the well known tourist spots – many of which I had never visited – and also enjoyed lovely summer evenings at riverside pubs and other romantic places, many of them recommended to me by my work colleagues who knew far more about London than I did.
My colleague Jim, who it transpired had fallen head over heels for Mardie, was none too pleased. He never spoke to me, but would commandeer Mardie for hours on end in the office. They would go into a huddle and Jim never gave up trying to persuade Mardie to give him another chance.
Mardie had told me that she had liked Jim very much at first, but that he had ‘come on too strong”, became very possessive and made too many demands on her. When she tried to assert her independence, he had had turned very angry, almost violent and she was a little scared of him. She told me that Jim wasn’t a particularly bad person, but she didn’t want to be involved with him anymore.
The whole office knew what was going on. Mardie had dumped Jim for me, and Jim wasn’t talking it lightly. When he wasn’t spending countless hours trying to persuade Mardie to change her mind, he was soliciting the sympathy of fellow workers, accusing me of stealing his girlfriend. It wasn’t long before the office started to split into two camps – those who supported me, Mobi, and those who threw in their lot with Jim.
I had the lion’s share of support, as I was seen as the young naïve, ‘innocent’ victim of Jim’s ridiculous accusations, but Jim also had some significant support from a few key people.
Mardie couldn’t stand it anymore, and one day she told me that she had requested a transfer to another company in London. I was pretty upset, but could see the logic of it, and after that things in the office calmed down a little, but Jim and some of his ‘supporters’ rarely spoke to me.
The relationship continued to blossom, and I spent many a happy evening at Mardie’s flat that she shared with two other young ladies.
Winter came and went and we wined, dined and danced the Summer away, going to shows in the West End, spending idyllic evening in pubs, and enjoying ourselves at drunken parties listening to the Beatles music.
For Mobi, the swinging sixties had finally arrived, and one of my fondest memories is of a wild party at Mardie’s flat, with dozens of us stoned out of our minds, smooching to “Hey Jude” which seemed to go on forever – and probably did.
To this day, every time I hear that Beatles classic, I recall that crazy wonderful, love-filled evening I spent at Mardie’s flat, way back in the summer of 1968.
August Bank holiday was still at the start of August in those far off days, and we both decided to take a few days off, and we drove down to the West country for a week’s holiday.
The roads to the West Country in the 1960’s still left a lot to be desired, and of course the summer bank holiday had brought out the world and their cars out onto England’s inadequate highways.
Progress to Cornwall was painfully slow, and after many hours on the road, Mardie volunteered to take over the driving. I was little skeptical about this, as she had never driven on the left side of the road before and I had no idea how skilled a driver she was. Nevertheless, against my better judgment, I moved over to let her take the wheel.
It was a disaster. She drove too fast, did not know how to use a manual gear box and kept hitting the curb on the left side of the road. I was beside myself with concern of an imminent crash, to say nothing of the damage she was doing to my precious car.
I asked her to stop, but she kept going, continuing to crunch the gear box and scrape the curb. Finally I lost my temper and screamed at her to stop.
She stopped, but she couldn’t understand what she had been doing wrong, and didn’t seem to realize that she had been scraping the curb, and scratching my car.
I tried to explain the problem, but she said nothing, and I knew she was very upset with me.
I drove the rest of the way to Cornwall in complete silence, and it wasn’t really until the following day that she began to talk to me and behave in a manner close to her normal, cheerful demeanour.
It was our first real fight, and I suspect that the effects of it on her were much deeper than I had imagined at the time.
Following that holiday, which was not an unmitigated success, we started arguing on a regular basis. It was as though the fight on the road had unleashed our innermost frustrations with each other, and once out, we couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle.
Mardie started to distance herself from me, and made excuses not to see me every day.
But I was still madly in love with her and was totally miserable when I wasn’t with her.
As if to rub salt into the wound, Jim came by my office one morning with a big grin on his face and took great pleasure in informing me that he had dated Mardie the previous evening.
It felt like a stab in the back, and I immediately called her but she wasn’t available. When I eventuially did get hold of her she assured me that the date meant nothing and that she had only agreed to see him because he wouldn’t stop pestering her. I wasn’t sure if she was telling me the truth but was willing to believe anything.
Then the axe fell. It was early September, and Mardie informed me that she had to return to New York. I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why she wanted to go back, I thought she was happy living in London.
She told me that she had a problem with the lease on her New York apartment that she had sub-let to a friend. Apparently the friend had failed to pay the rent for several months and the landlord was now suing her. She said she had no choice – she had to go back, get a job in New York so that she could stay in her apartment and pay the rent herself.
Mardie was clearly resolved on this course of action, and there was no arguing with her. She told me she would be leaving within two weeks.
Those final two weeks were not a particularly happy time. The change in our relationship had left its mark on me and my unhappy state of mind was now compounded by Mardie’s imminent departure.
When the day arrived, I took her to the airport and I was so miserable I was inconsolable. Mardie, on the other hand seemed seemed to bearing up pretty well and showed little signs of sadness. In truth, I think she was looking forward to going home after such a long time away.
I do think however she was sorry for me, and that in her own mind she probably thought that our relationship was over and that she would never see me again.
But for me, I had no intention of letting go just yet. I told her that we would keep in touch and that as soon as it was possible, I would fly to New York and visit her.
She assured me that I would be welcome there at any time. We had arrived at the Departure Gate and we kissed briefly. She looked back, gave a little wave and she was gone.
I drove slowly back to London, feeling very miserable. I loved her so much, and I was determined not to lose her, whatever it may take, and whatever sacrifices I may be obliged to make to see her again.