Last Thursday evening, Bob flew in from Saigon to spend a few days in Thailand so I drove to the airport to pick him up, then back to Pattaya for one night before driving to Bangkok on Friday to spend a couple of days with Dave.
I checked Bob into a cheap Hotel just down the road from my condo and we went to a lovely little restaurant, with real table cloths, and an excellent ambience that cooks the most incredible steaks, at very reasonable prices.
They also have good selection of wine, and as both of us are wine lovers – we got stuck in.
Bob pretty much only ever drinks wine, and although I also love wine, I hadn’t had any for quite a few months as once I start I find it very difficult to stop.
And so it proved to be the case.
The wine slid down our throats as though we hadn’t had a drink in years.
We started off with a carafe of chilled white wine, followed by a bottle of red with the meal, then another carafe of white to finish off with outside, as Bob likes to indulge himself with a cigar.
As ever the steaks were perfectly cooked and were delicious.
It was approaching midnight and we were the only customers remaining. The staff made the usual signs that they wanted to close, so we paid the bill, which was very reasonable, and adjourned to a nearby beer bar, where they had some surprisingly good red wine, which we drunk by the glass.
I don’t need to tell you that by 2.30 a.m. we were both feeling no pain, and finally decided to call it a night. Fortunately I had purposely planned our little reunion within walking distance of our respective accommodations.
It was the drunkest I had been for quite a while. Wan, bless her, didn’t utter a word of censure, but simply asked me sweetly why I had come home so late.
The three of us, Bob, Wan and me, had planned an early start the next morning, but of course it didn’t materialize, and we finally got on the road to Bangkok around noon. I was still very hung over and feeling like shit, but Bob seemed to have shaken off the after effects of his alcohol excesses.
(Mind you, I did confess to Bob on the journey to Bangkok, (and now to you, my readers), that after I left him, I had a few whisky night caps in my little Go-Go bar, just down the road from the beer bar, which some of you may recall from an earlier blog and another failed relationship).
So we checked into our hotel and made our way by taxi to Dave’s house on Soi forty nine.
Since I last saw Dave, some of his friends have given him a new nickname – Lazarus, the one that Jesus allegedly raised from the dead.
There is absolutely no question that Dave is an extremely fortunate human being and his genes must be incredible. I have mentioned before that both Dave’s parents lived well into their nineties and in spite of everything that Dave has done to destroy his body, it seems to defy medical science by continuing to function.
Dave was enormously overweight, never takes any exercise, has chain smoked all his adult life, has drunk like a fish for countless years, yet the doctors say that his heart is as strong as an ox, his blood pressure is normal, and his lungs are in pretty reasonable shape.
The guy who christened him ‘Lazarus’ told me that when he and another friend visited Dave a few weeks ago, they were both convinced he had only days to live and that they would never see him alive again.
Certainly the doctors who admitted Dave to hospital four weeks ago have told him that he was within an inch of death and if he hadn’t been brought in on that day, he would have surely died.
Yet last Friday, Dave was up and about, had lost a fair bit of weight, was eating well, and his brain – which everyone was so concerned about – was almost back to normal and he was able to discuss complex subjects in his normal intelligent manner.
Of course he is still weak, and walks with the aid of a stick, and has to rest frequently, but the fact remains that he is once more recovering, and the doctors say that even his liver is starting to repair itself.
He was fit enough to go out with us no less than three times. On two of the occasions for an evening meal at his favourite restaurants, and on Saturday afternoon Bob took him to a music shop where his bought himself an acoustic guitar and some bongos.
Dave finally understands and accepts that he can never drink again. He also understands that he has to ’work’ on staying sober, and part of this process is to try and change his life and daily routines so that he isn’t reminded of booze.
The musical instruments are part of this plan. (Those of you who haven’t followed Dave’s story from the start, I will just reiterate Dave was a professional musician and it was as a musician that he first came to Thailand, way back in 1971.)
He is a bit of an ‘all rounder’ and can play many instruments, but the drums are his main thing, so he now wants to improve his guitar playing skills and write some new music.
So of course we encouraged him to do anything that will increase his chances of staying sober. We had very long chats about just about everything, and there is no doubt that Dave is going to give this thing his best shot. If he fails this time, it will not be for want of trying.
I give him a 50% chance of succeeding, for I know personally how hard it is to maintain over the long haul, and I know of so many who have failed, especially without the support of an organization, such as the AA.
We can only hope and pray and see what transpires. Dave’s father was also a hopeless alcoholic, and he managed to quit when he was in his sixties and he lived to over ninety, never picking up another drink. So who knows?
Bob and I will continue to keep in regular touch and give Dave whatever support we are able to. Bob will return to Bangkok next month and we will spend another weekend with Dave in Bangkok.
I didn’t drink in Dave’s presence when I was in Bangkok, but I did sneak into a few bars and have a few drinks when I was alone. In fact on Saturday afternoon I was a bit pissed, but as I was unable to drink in the evening when I was with Dave, the effects wore off before I went to bed.
Back in Jomtien on Sunday afternoon, I had a few beers and I could sense that I was starting to lose control of my drinking. I feared it wouldn’t be long before it became out of control yet again. My increased drinking was probably the main reason why I became so upset at the personal attacks on me in my blog.
As the days pass I am realizing that I totally overreacted to the “nasty” comments.
It was entirely my choice to allow comments, and I know from my internet forum experiences that there are some vicious people out there who delight in trying to hurt people and who often try to twist words that have been written to their own purposes.
I guess my state of mind was not good when the comments came flying in and I got far more wound up than was healthy for me, as you will see.
I haven’t made a final decision yet about my blog. I have been thinking about closing it down for a while now, before all the nasty comments started, as I do wonder if it is all worth it just for two hundred odd readers. But for now it will continue. I am going to Roi Et for Songkran, and I won’t have much to do if I don’t continue with my blog during the next few weeks, so the ultimate decision will be postponed for a while.
I do believe that overall, my writing has been therapeutic, and has taught me a lot about myself that I hadn’t quite appreciated before, so maybe for this reason alone it is worth continuing.
If nothing else it has made me see very clearly that I do have some severe behavioural or maybe even mental problems and that I can be extremely self destructive.
Yesterday Dang called me and asked me to buy some dog food for my two Shih Tzus. I agreed to drop the food by at seven p.m. but she called me later to ask if I could change the time to eight as she was working late.
I decided to have a couple of beers on the way, and arrived just after the agreed time.
I know now that I don’t love Dang any more. I felt nothing when I saw her, and in a strange way I think it was the first time saw her in her real light, and not through the twisted, sometimes ‘rose tinted’ glasses, that I used to see her with.
She is almost thirty three and is starting to lose her looks. Her face looks tired and a bit old, and she has put on a lot of weight. Her hour glass figure, and beautiful legs were her best features, but these ‘assets’ are fading quickly. I really believe that she can no longer entice me back in the manner that she has done so many times in the past
The dogs went crazy and Dang repeated her offer to let me have the dogs whenever I had a place to keep them.
She was alone and we had a very long chat. Our talk was completely lacking in rancour and was probably the most open and honest chat that we have ever had.
Dang also repeated her offer for me to move back in the house, assuring me that we could live there together but have separate lives and that way I could enjoy my house and save money on renting another property.
I asked her if this offer was good until we sold the house, and she replied that it was up to me. I could stay there forever if I wanted to. She said she didn’t want any more money from me and was determined to pay her way for the rest of her life. She was making good money freelancing as a hairdresser in Bangkok and Pattaya, and hoped to open her own salon within the next couple of months.
She initially said that I could bring women back to the house to sleep with, as long as they left in the morning and didn’t move in, but later she changed her mind about this when I told her a little bit about Wan.
The only condition (apart from not bringing whores back) that she insisted on was that I allowed her cousin and son to stay there during school term time. (The cousin looks after the son, who is now thirteen and he would require minimal attention from me.). She said that if I moved back, she would come and go, sometimes staying there and sometimes staying in Pattaya or Bangkok. She said she might even move out completely.
We left it at that, and I told her I would think about it. There is no rush as I still have six months remaining on my condo.
I drove back to Jomtien and decided to go on a binge. I was feeling a bit confused from from my discussions with Dang. I was also a bit upset at Wan, because she had called me several times when I was talking to Dang. I realised that she was understandably concerned about me visiting my estranged wife, but she wasn’t going to improve matters by continually calling me.
I got pretty plastered and staggered home at around 3 a.m.
Wan was upset but didn’t scold me or fight me. She is a very sweet lady and every day that passes I appreciate her more and more.
Today I have been a mess and didn’t even get out of bed until three this afternoon. I’m feeling a bit better now (nine fifteen) and I have asked Wan to try and help me quit drinking.
I am going to give it one more go, and when I get back from Roi Et I will start the meetings again. At least they get me into a good routine.
As I wrote yesterday, I believe I am approaching an important crossroads in my life.
I seem to have two distinctly different ways forward.
The first is to stay with Wan and Jasper which would mean that some time in the next six months, pack up my things and move in with her at her house in Roi Et.
We have discussed this many times now and she has many convincing arguments why I should give up on my suggestion of renting a house and having her and Jasper move to Pattaya.
I think if ‘push came to shove’ she would probably agree to do this, but I know she is totally against it in her heart, and she would never be happy here. She wants to be at her home, with her family, dogs, and garden.
To be honest, there are some very compelling reasons why we should indeed move to Roi Et, not least of which is the money I will save, and the fact that Jasper’s schooling would be much more satisfactory. Wan has said that she has plenty of land, and if I wished it would be relatively cheap to extend the house to accommodate all my stuff, and I could even build a small office, which would be a great idea.
The other way forward is to take up Dang’s offer and move back home.
This would also be a cheaper alternative to renting a house and moving Wan to Pattaya, but of course I wouldn’t be able to move Wan into my house, so that would mean I would have to give her up.
One of my concerns with staying with Wan, is that I may go off the rails one day and destroy her life again, and that would be terrible.
If I give her up and return to my house, what will I do with my life? OK I will be happy at home and be able to relax in relative luxury, play with the dogs, use the pool and so on, but what then?
I can’t have a permanent live-in, and maybe that would be a blessing in disguise, but I know I would be lonely, and loneliness for me inevitably leads to bars and whores.
One of the most interesting things Dang said to me was when I asked her what bedroom she was sleeping in. When we were together and I went away on a trip, Dang would never sleep alone in the master bedroom. She would always sleep downstairs in the spare room, usually with her son.
So she surprised me when she said that she slept alone in the master bedroom. I asked her about it, and she said that when she knew I had left her for good she made up her mind that she had to take control of her life. She said that she was determined to sleep in that room, because if she didn’t it would be a sign of weakness.
I asked her if she felt lonely sleeping alone in that huge bedroom and she looked at me and said:
“Yes, I was very lonely for the first five months, but I was determined to stay there and conquer my loneliness, and slowly it started to get better. Now, I am quite happy to spend hours there there alone. I sleep well and in the daytime if I am home I watch the bedroom television.
Maybe I have something to learn from this.
Anyway, I will go to Roi Et with Wan and the kids and stay there for at least two weeks. Then I will return to Pattaya, almost certainly alone for a while, and see how I feel about things.
I don’t have to make any decisions quite yet, but if I do decide to go back to my home, then I should make that decision sooner rather than later, for Wan’s sake
Tomorrow I will be busy sorting out things for my forthcoming journey, and Thursday I will be doing the eight hour drive, so don’t expect any new blogs before Friday at the earliest.
As soon as I get To Roi Et, I will get back into “Mardie”, finish it off and probably start a new Vignette.