The first official act of my reunion with Sontaya was to proclaim that I would be her “special friend” instead of boyfriend. What this meant was I wouldn’t be supporting her this time around. Before, when I was shelling out eighteen thousand baht a month (@$600) to have a girlfriend at my beck and call, I frankly did not feel I’d gotten my money’s worth and did not want to head down that path again.
In most other respects we picked up where we had left off, with evening swims, DVD movies and wine and cheese, all at my apartment. For Valentine’s Day, we got dressed up and Sontaya took me to the Moon Bar atop the Banyan Tree Hotel. It was a place she had been to with one of her customers and it took my breath away. She’d always been very good at showing me around the city, introducing me to new experiences. It was a trait I both valued and admired.
The magic, however, never really returned. For one thing, the two years of working in a bar had given Sontaya the classic pudgy bargirl figure. It was like she had this large sign advertising her profession and made me a bit embarrassed to be seen with her in public. I also was reluctant to share as much of myself as I did before — such as my tastes in music — having discovered the hard way that the chances of making a connection were slim. Different cultures, different worlds.
Perhaps our second incarnation was not meant to be. But it was strange that it ended up rupturing because of an eight o’clock movie on cable. I had figured that getting back with Sontaya would allow me to have her over on relatively short notice, her bar being less than a ten minute walk away. Doing something simple like watching a movie at my place should not pose a problem…right?
Wrong. After I’d sent the message about the show and when it started, there were troubles with Sontaya locating the bar’s mama-san to get permission to depart for the night. I waited, unperturbed. A cardinal rule for living in Thailand is to never expect things to work smoothly and it was only a quarter after seven. Plenty of time.
I didn’t bother to call again as the big hand passed the half hour mark and started climbing towards the hour. If Sontaya was being held up for some reason, there was nothing I could do about it. What I did not know was that an old drinking buddy (customer?) had unexpectedly stopped by the bar and as I patiently sat and watched the clock, my movie date was busy downing a quartet of Rum & Cokes.
It was an interesting scene when my one and only finally got to my place sometime after eight-thirty, fairly soused. First she parked the bouquet of roses she’d brought as an apology on top of the DVD player. Then, after careful aiming, she plopped herself down on the sofa and explained the reason for her tardiness. Deciding not to make an issue out of it (at least for the time being), I mentioned there was a second movie that had just started on the other cable channel that might be worth a look. But after I had turned it on and my date gamely sat up to try and watch, I decided it was best to just put her to bed and forget the whole damn thing.