He was loathe to see himself as a foolish old man, but that’s exactly who he was. Dawn found him awakening from dreams full of regret. Opportunities squandered, promises broken. Other people had moved on, but not him. Not really. Sure, he moved across the globe to get a new start, but upon arriving he realized to his horror that he had brought himself along on the journey.
Sure, there were new people for him to meet, new women for him to snare, but what would be the point if it all ended up in the same mess he’d created many times before? He could claim that his intentions were good and always had been, but even he didn’t buy it. It was deception, pure and simple. No use continuing to fool himself.
The only way out of this would involve changing his behavior. He would have to learn to be scrupulously honest in his dealings with others. He would have to stop acting like an addict. Discipline and perseverance, which so far had eluded him for most of his life, would have to somehow come into play. Moderation and routine would become his friends.
He’s an adult. Let’s let him tell his story. “Until I met Wawee, I was still under the impression that pursuing a goal, getting ahead, or pressing my advantage would somehow buy me if not happiness, at least contentment. I was wrong. Because I had no idea what I really wanted, there was no way satisfying any of my transient whims was going to delight me in the least. It would be Christmas morning all over again, sitting among wads of wrapping paper and crumpled cardboard.”
If you knew him as well as I know him, you’d soon realize that though he talks a good talk, he’s just whistling in the dark to keep his hopes up He doesn’t really believe any of those wise-sounding things he says, which is why as time goes on he says them less frequently. He knows his audience is not only graying, but tiring of his pronouncements.
And who am I, you might ask? Besides being your omniscient narrator, I too am an aging ex-pat, a former somebody who now blends into the crowd of horny old men hoping someone will lend them a wink, a smile, or a happy ending. I know him because I know myself. Nothing any of these rheumy vagabonds does or says would surprise me, for I have done and said them, too.
But let’s get back to Wawee. A Burmese girls in her late thirties, she could easily pass for a teenager with a full head of hair and short legs. She’s as smart as she is cute. He’s lucky to have met her. But can he keep her? She may act happy and carefree, but deep down she’s looking for someone to pull her up and out of poverty.
If we ask him to tell us about her, he won’t have much to say, which is a shame, because she’s the only person in his life. He’s already squandered all his other relationships with women, but he is still under the delusion that there are more women waiting for him, just around the next bend in the road. As far as I can tell, the only thing waiting for him down the road is a motorcycle wreck and hospice care.