Dec 16, 2010

Rasamee’s reply to my breakup message of last week — where I told her she could not come over anymore — was one of puzzlement. To avoid any kind of confrontation, I’d given a flimsy reason: my inability to sleep well when she was with me. She deserved a better explanation so I sent a second email, this time using Google Translate, listing the things she had done that I had not liked (such as overreacting to my request to move to her side of the bed). To soften the blow, I reiterated my promise to nevertheless provide her with some Christmas money.

This elicited a counter complaint, one that always arises in relationships involving people from different cultures: I do not understand her. (Guilty as charged, though when I only get three hours of sleep I’m not in much of a mood to understand anything.) But there seemed to be no anger or vindictiveness in her response, as I had feared there might be. In fact, I thought Rasamee showed some class, thanking me for my message and promising a Christmas gift of her own. Then again, my intent to provide financial help for the holidays perhaps contributed to her pleasantness.

The last part of Rasamee’s email contained some upsetting news: one of her friends, who also works at the bar, was recently killed in a motorbike accident near the CarreFour Shopping Mall. Apparently the woman, who I’m not sure was driving or just riding along, was thrown into the side of a truck when the bike collided with it. It’s of course very sad to hear of the death of a young person, but not completely surprising given the way the Thais drive. The motorbike riders are especially aggressive, worming their way forward between waiting cars at the intersections, then charging through en mass the instant the light changes (and heaven help you if you are trying to cross anywhere at that moment). They act like the rules of the road do not apply to them — much like Seattle bicyclists.

This brings up a minor reason why I broke things off with Rasamee — she is one of these people to whom bad things seem to happen. Her son has a motorbike mishap (and what a surprise there) where he fractures his arm and requires periodic X-rays; her last paycheck was smaller than she had expected; a friend gets killed. Now I understand that one needs to be supportive, but these troubles occur on a near-weekly basis. Depressing.

But not so bad that I’m going to completely stop seeing her. Last night, to my surprise and perhaps against my better judgement, I found myself going to Rasamee’s bar to offer her some moral support. Turns out she was taking a sick day, so I later sent an email saying I’d stopped by and will try again tomorrow night.

What’s the matter with me? There are no special obligations here. I am completely free to move on to someone else (who, hopefully, has fewer problems). However, I feel so sorry for Rasamee I cannot do that, cannot completely walk away from a decent person who is having to endure so much misfortune.

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