I went to Bangkok after my birthday in March 2003. I was to meet Was there and Kearns was flying over from KL for a couple of days. Most of my time was spent by the pool with a book and having dinner with Was after he had recovered from the night before.
I was staying at the Penninula, our budget hotel of choice within walking distance to everywhere I wanted to go.
My love affair with Bangkok goes back a long time and some days I would take myself down to the pier and just spent the afternoon wandering up and down the Chao Phraya on the local passenger ferries.
Kearns and I hired a long boat one afternoon and spent a few hours roaming in and out of the many Klongs feeding off the river. The smells and the colour of this City never cease to draw me into its grasp.
I loved travelling with Was, we would generally catch up for breakfast as he was coming home from one of his wild nights, I would have the day to myself and then we would catch up in the evenings before he ventured out again for another wild party.
I had been home for a couple of weeks, when I went down to the Shift to meet some friends for a drink. I had not seen them since I had been home and was looking forward to catching up and telling them about my trip.
I was idly playing a poker machine for the princely sum of 14 cents a throw, as I waited for them to arrive.
You sat down on the stool next to me.
From that prosaic beginning, you have been by my side for most of the last 14 years.
I suppose there have been less romantic first meetings, but they would be hard to imagine.
You joined us for dinner and over the next few months I came to know this difficult, determined man who would have such an impact on my life.
I say know, because even after fourteen years, I still don’t understand you.
You were leery of my family and the impact they had on my life, you feared the precarious way I earned my living, where some months would be diamonds and some were stone.
Somehow though, we managed to stay together and started to dream of a life with each other.
You were bound to your family because of their limited English and age, so for most of the week you would not stay over, but we would see each other for a bit, most nights and the weekends were our time together.
Gradually, you came to know each of the girls, as well as Sas and Douglas and slowly, you infiltrated our little family with your smile and your charm, as if. LOL
I was proud of your career and your commitment to the large international Charity where you worked.
There would be many tough days and some tears, we were two independent people each inextricably tied to our families for different reasons. Somehow, we managed to tread the fine line between love and hatred. In many cases, they are simply two sides of the same coin with passion being the connection.
I am glad you walked into the Shift that night.