AD is the whitest guy I know. It’s weird to say, given that we stand on the same side of the fence. And to make a point, I’m not exactly chucking things across the yard at him. Instead, think of it as me hurling a tall white guy into a crowd of lightly colored brown people. That’s what AD represents in this country. Now, I’ve thought about it. This isn’t racist. It’s a metaphor about colors and sizes. I’m no more than that annoying guy who points out the green shit wedged in your teeth or the one saying that “Dave Mathew’s Band isn’t really a ‘band'”. It’s just a talented South African WITH a band: Guy-Semicolon-Band. So please, don’t take me for it if I invoke my first amendment right to the semicolon. Like Dave Mathews and like the broccoli in your teeth, it’s meant to be allusive.
And when AD walks out onto the Soi, this mama jamma is exactly this indeed: allusive. And in spite of it, we shouldn’t take it away from him: he’s the coolest guy I know. Tall, blonde, handsome, AD gets the Thai girl’s going. He’s a sore thumb, who just happens to keep it on the down low. A sore thumb that wants to get to know the ladies and whom the ladies wanna get to know. (Side note: as apposed to literal, this could also be taken as innuendo.)
I have an imaginary Tinder profile pic in mind. I don’t know why. Please don’t ask me why. My mind goes to a weird place sometimes. But, maybe, he’s got a jean coat slung over one shoulder; thumbing his way across Ban Pa In. Maybe he picks up a Thai soccer mom? Here and there. Maybe a sensible lady from Bangkok? Usually there. Defiantly not here. Ttam pretty much wrote that rule after a Thai lady came knocking one afternoon. I guess she was trying to return the money he’d spent on her for the date. It’s not what you think. She wasn’t a hooker. It was just a weird situation. Ttam’s not very good with confrontation. To this day, he still peeks the door an inch before fully opening it. More on that later.
The anomaly of it all, the secret that lives in him, is that AD… actually cares. His moral code is sound; honest and forthright. The truth is, the true picture is, that he buys them dinner. Listen’s to them. Provided they speak a little English. He genuinely gets to know who they are. If it’s not right, he politely bows out. Sometimes, even that’s tough for him too. Which only further proves that he’s a good guy.
See AD’s not looking for what most single, white western men come to Thailand for. He cares about a connection. He’s had the real thing before. And once you taste that ice-cream, there is no turning back. The other flavor’s are shit. Mercy, this I know. Not even rainbow could do-in this hopeless romantic. Yet here we are, one year ago. On a night, not so different than those of the last few. And the Soi was busy.
And there’s a boy and there’s a girl. And these two meet and its Platonic. She sends a text. Say’s something like: “Hey! You…like…live in Ayutthaya!?”
He might of said: “Chaiii”
Hence, a generic conversation would soon be drawn, inevitably, leading to long silences. It wasn’t him. It’s the 21st century: Wait to text- what not to say, when to say it, how to say it. There are social maneuvers; unwritten rules. If you take too long, if the notifications are off. There are factors at play; untexted laws that know no cross cultural boundaries. One day, a year later, he’d forgotten her.
But as it was, she had been thinking of him. Leaving for another country, and with no attachments. She was visiting Ayutthaya when the most fortunate of circumstances occurred. She…on that night… was destined.. to cross paths…with none other…than the man…we call…Ttam!
Ttam!!! Remember him!? Not AD! You were probably thinking it was AD. Anyway, she’s after him and he, for the record, was a perfect gentleman. I mean, if gentlemen also means you’re a bastard. Because he was that too. When AD entered the scene, there was no competition between them. AD didn’t care. At least, not for this flavor of ice-cream.
She stayed the week and though AD wasn’t even that hungry for it, the shop was still open. Maybe it was open for Ttam first, but who’s to really know something like that. I mean really? One afternoon, when Ttam was with his girlfriend, he received a message from the store owner:
“Well, I’m just not gonna answer that one”. Ttam said surely. As if inching his door closed again. Ttam rested his phone on the table and watched it vibrate for a few more minutes. When it finally stopped, a second phone, in the not so distant future, resumed at equal pace.
“It’s hot in Thailand” AD reasoned to her via text. “Maybe we should get some ice cream?”
And they did. They got ice cream that night…and maybe the night after that. I’m not really sure. And when they were finished, she left. She was relieved. He was relieved. Even Ttam was relieved. In most senses of the word. Who could blame them? Casual sex is a staple of our youth. They literally build websites for it.
Day’s passed easy and without a passing thought of her. One morning, AD is enjoying his breakfast. We’re chatting about the Soi, about work. Ttam makes a comment about the Thai girl. AD says:
“Yeah I got a text from this guy Omar. Says he’s her boyfriend”.
“What!? Really!? No way.”
“Yeah man, he lives in America, they’d been seeing each other for about a year now.”
“Shit…” I said with a hint of grief. I mean come on. You would too. You’re lying if you say you were never that guy…about something in your life.
“Was he Thai?” I asked in confusion.