“Of Name confusion and pseudonyms”.
As I have mentioned previously, all the names in my blog have been changed to protect the real identities.
Unfortunately I sometimes get confused with my ‘re-naming’, and have occasionally used the person’s real name by mistake and, as I did yesterday, I got my pseudonyms confused.
In yesterday’s blog I confused Geoff, (The wife abusing alcoholic who swore at me), with Jack, the friend from Oz who passed on some hurtful comments made by Dave about me.
Anyway, the names have now been corrected, and I apologise for any confusion this may have caused.
Yesterday afternoon the three of us went to the bar/restaurant where Tan used to work and of course a great fuss was made of Tan’s daughter, Fon. I sat at the bar, wrote my blog and sipped water.
When I had finished I had three glasses of wine, and then Tan drove us back to Jomtien.
Fon was tired, but refused to sleep and was playing up a bit. Tan became a little frustrated as she wanted her to sleep so that she could do some housework.
I had seen it all before and took it in my stride and took care of Fon for a while, freeing up Tan to wash the dishes and tidy up. (The best of a bad deal, methinks)
We put Fon to bed but she still wouldn’t sleep. At least she wasn’t crying, so I wasn’t too bothered, but Tan was feeling a bit tired and stressed and was a bit curt with me.
It was nothing really, but I became a bit upset and the result was predictable. I had about a fifth of a bottle of Sangsom in the kitchen and I quietly drunk it with cold water as Tan went about her business.
I did this in secret, which is the sure sign of an alcoholic, and I am not proud of what I did. It was silly and childish.
Tan is such a nice person. No one is perfect and she is not used to taking care of a young baby and was entitled to be a bit ‘out of sorts’. God Knows I am often enough.
Anyway, no harm was done, Fon finally slept at around eleven thirty and Tan and I were asleep soon after midnight.
We all slept and slept and slept.
We slept right through until almost one p.m. this afternoon when I finally got up, leaving the other two still asleep!
(Fon had woken a couple of times in the night but was given a bottle of milk and was soon nodding off again)
Today I feel better than I have felt in days, and will redouble my efforts to keep my booze consumption to an absolute minimum.
MARDIE (Part 10)
I hung up the phone and looked at the immigration officer.
“My lawyer has told me not to sign the document,” I told him.
He looked at me for a long time in silence, and then picked up my passport and handed it back to me.
“If you try to work you will be prosecuted”, he said, and then told me to report back to his office in two weeks’ time.
Back at Mike’s employment agency, I recounted what had transpired and Mike called the lawyer who assured me that it was all bluff and that nothing would happen to me if I started working.
Between them they pretty much convinced me that I had nothing more to worry about. So Mike started to set up interviews, and I decided it was time to move out of the guest house I had been staying in since my arrival and find more permanent accommodation.
I found a lovely studio apartment in downtown Montreal at a rent I reckoned I could afford, based on the kind of salaries that were on offer for accountants, and somewhat recklessly signed up for a one year lease.
Once settled into my new bachelor pad, complete with TV and telephone ( a luxury for me in those far off days), I decided to call Mardie to let her know how things were going.
Although I had been preoccupied with immigration and other matters over the past few weeks, I was now starting to miss her like mad and was quite desperate to hear the sound of her sweet voice.
To my dismay and disappointment, Mardie’s phone appeared to be out of order and however many times I tried, I was unable to get through.
In desperation I decided to call my American ‘benefactor’, Jim, who I had met on the bus and had been so kind to me.
This time my luck held and Jim answered the phone. I explained to him how things were going and all the trouble I had had with immigration and he immediately suggested that I take an overnight bus to New York that weekend to visit with him. He was sure he could find me a good job in New York if I wanted one.
I explained that I had pretty much burnt my bridges now and was committed to staying in Canada, but he still insisited that I come for a visit and assess the situation.
He even told me that he could arrange for me to obtain a green card, which would allow me to live and work legally in the USA.
It was very tempting, for all I had wanted to do in the first place was to move to New York and be near my Mardie.
I told him I would think seriously about his offer, and in the meantime would he kindly do me a big favour. I explained that I had been unable to contact my girlfriend, Mardie and was concerned that something may have happened to her.
Ever the gentleman, he said it would be no problem at all and asked me for her phone number and address and he would see what he could find out.
The following evening he called me and told me that he hadn’t been able to contact Mardie by telephone so he had travelled up to Queens and gone to see her. He reported that both Mardie and her flatmate were at home and were fine, and that their phone was simply out of order.
He then repeated his request for me to come and see him in New York, and after all he had done for me I didn’t feel I could refuse, and agreed to come the following Sunday and stay for a few days.
I reasoned that if I was going to new York, I had better go there before I started working.
But by far and away the greatest incentive to go there was that I would be able to go and see Mardie, now that I knew she was at home and well. I was missing her so much.
True to his word, Jim met me at the New York bus terminal and escorted me to a huge black limousine of a certain vintage and drove me to his massive apartment in downtown Manhattan.
I was shown my bedroom and introduced to Jim’s daughter, who lived with him. She was Marie, a lady probably in her mid thirties who was very large and obviously handicapped, both mentally and physically. They lived together in this enormous place and Jim doted on his only daughter.
I believe there must have been people to help take care of Marie when Jim was away, but during the brief period I was there, I never saw any sign of them.
The following morning, Monday, Jim took me to meet some people in a large Mahattan office and copied all my ‘employment documents’ and I filled out some application forms.
He explained to me that the company was engaged in classified work for the government and that I would require security clearance, but he felt sure he would be able to arrange that for me.
I was interviewed and the company was very keen to employ me. There is no doubt that the letter of reference from the senior executive of my ex employer, (the American oil company) seemed to carry a lot of weight.
On our way back to his apartment that afternoon, I asked Jim about the green card. He explained that through his contacts he would find a US citizen to marry me. He would pay the fee involved, and as soon as I was issued with my green card he would arrange for a divorce.
This plan came as quite a shock, but as Jim seemed so in control of the situation and was clearly able to pull so many strings, I came to terms with the idea pretty quickly.
Except that in my own mind I began to dream that the obvious solution to avoiding any ‘underhand dealings’ was to persuade Mardie to marry me.
Back at Jim’s apartment, I tried Mardie’s phone number. To my surprise it was back working and Mardie’s flat mate answered the phone.
I asked to speak to Mardie, but was told she was out. I enquired when she would be home and asked if it would be OK if I popped round later that evening to see them.
There was a long pause before the girl finally said they would be pleased to see me and suggested I see them there at around eight p.m.
With much eager anticipation I rushed up to Queens that evening, looking forward to seeing my love at long last.
The flat mate answered the door, and when she showed me in, there was no sign of Mardie. My heart sunk.
It sunk even further when the girl informed me that at that very moment Mardie was winging her way to Puerto Rico for a vacation.
“Puerto Rico?..… Vacation?…. why?…. with who?….”
“She’s gone with friends – it was a last minute decision.”
“But why? You told me she would be here, to see me…”
“Mobi, she asked me to tell you to come. She asked me to speak to you.”
I sat in silence, staring at her, not believing what I was hearing.
“Mobi, Mardie has been very distraught and stressed out lately. It has been affecting her health. She has been quite ill and has had to take many days off work. She’s not as strong as you think she is.”
“I don’t understand, why is she so stressed?”
“You really don’t know?”
“No,” I replied, but was starting to get an inkling.
“It’s because of you Mobi. She is so upset about you. She knows how you feel about her and she feels so guilty about it because she cannot return the feelings.
She is so grateful for everything you did for her in England and she is very fond of you and worries about you.
“But she doesn’t love me? ” I asked, forlornly.
“No, Mobi she doesn’t love you, but she doesn’t want to hurt you. She doesn’t know what to do, so her friends told her to take a vacation and get away from it all.”
“How long will she be away?”
“ I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” I was beginning to sound desperate.
“I don’t know because she didn’t say. She will come back when she is feeling better.”
There was a very long silence as I absorbed this information. The reality of the situation began to take hold in my love-struck mind.
“So what you are telling me is that Mardie doesn’t want to see me again – ever,” I mumbled in a low, croaked voice.
“Yes, Mobi. I am sorry, but that is what I am telling you.”
“Can I ask you one more thing?”
“Does Mardie have a new boy friend?”
More silence, then finally: “Mobi, don’t ask that question. I think it’s time for you to go.”
I looked at her for a long time before slowly and wearily getting to my feet and somehow finding my way out of the apartment, onto the subway which took me back to Manhattan and Jim’s apartment.
I was in a daze and I didn’t know what had hit me. I knew that things were not so good between us, but I put it all down to my uncertain situation and had always convinced myself that once I had settled into my new life, then our relationship would return to how it had been in London.
I was so young, so naive and so devastated. And to make it worse, I was all alone on the other side of the world.
‘A stranger in a strange land’.
It was enough to turn a good man to drink.
The next day I told Jim that my affair with Mardie was over and that while I was very grateful for all the trouble he had gone to in helping me find work and stay in America, I had decided that the best thing was for me to return to Montreal and start a new life there and try and forget about Mardie.
As ever he was very gracious and wished me good luck in Montreal and implored me to stay in touch and come and visit again, whenever I had some free time.
He took me to the bus station, bought my bus ticket, refused all my entreaties to pay him for it and helped me on the bus.
Although that wasn’t the last contact I had with Jim, it was the last time that saw him, and I often wonder what may have happened if I had decided to accept his offer of help and stayed in New York.
I would probably have become an American citizen and spent the rest of my life there.
I never knew who Jim really was. He was an enigma.
What was a person, of his apparent wealth, doing on an overnight bus to Montreal? He seemed to have incredible connections, and sometime later when I wrote to him that I was in Nigeria, he wrote and asked me to check out any available oil concessions as he was keen to do business there! He wasn’t a ‘bullshitter’ – because as far as I was concerned, he delivered.
He was a kind, generous man who helped a fellow human being when he needed help, without asking for anything in return.
A true Samaritan – something of a rarity in this day and age.
I returned to Montreal, prepared myself for job interviews and resolved to put everything behind me and start again.
A few days after I was back , I received a call from London.
On the bus back to Montreal I had written to one of my ex colleagues in London, telling him the sad saga of what had transpired in North America, including the break up with Mardie.
All in London had known her well and knew that it was because of Mardie that I had decided to leave my job in the first place.
My immediate former boss was on the other end of the phone. They had an immediate vacancy in Nigeria if I was interested. At that time Nigeria was in the throes of a civil war, but what the hell?
It didn’t take long for me to decide. I asked him about the cost of a ticket back to London, and he said that if I could pay for it up front they would reimburse me when I got back to London.
A quick check of my finances revealed that I had just enough cash to cover the fare, but it would clean me out entirely.
There were problems – the lease on my apartment, my commitments to Mike at the recruitment office, and even the lawyer, but in spite of all this I decided to take the plunge and return home.
I had come to North America in pursuit of love – and that dream was now dashed. There was nothing really keeping me there.
A few days later, after writing letters of abject apology and grateful thanks to Mike and the lawyer, I am ashamed to admit I did a “moonlight flit” from my apartment with all my belongings and made my way to the airport where I boarded an Air Canada flight back to Heathrow.
I never heard from or saw Mardie again.
When I was in Nigeria , I did write a couple of letters both to her New York address and to her parents’ address in Las Vegas, new Mexico, but never received a reply.
I often wonder what became of her. Maybe she married ‘six foot four Chuck Jr’, and had loads of Chuck junior- juniors.
I will never know now, but I still remember her with much affection.
Mardie was my only true relationship that wasn’t based on whore’s gold.