Sabtu, 29 Oktober 2011

The River Is Wide

In August I took my daughter Angie to the highest point in Thailand. Doi Inthaton was wraithed by fog and I lent her my jacket, even though I had bought her a bright pink poncho in Chiang Mai. She liked anything to do with me. Angie is my daughter. She and I climbed to the highest pagoda and there she asked if i still loved her."Pon lak kunh mak." She was my first child. We spent most of her first five years together, until her mother deserted me for an up-country lover. I have gotten over the pain thanks to my new wife, Mam, and our son Fenway, but my love for Angie remained strong despite her mother's betrayal. I had to ask, "Why?"Angie explained that she opened my computer and saw pictures of another baby, Fenway, and none of her.I felt her hurt and held her in my arms."I will always love you forever." I told her this in Thai with a Boston accent. She made a face like I was speaking Klingon, but then buried her face in my chest. I could feel her heartbeat. My daughter said nothing. She has never told me that she loves me. Angie is a funny girl that way. Her mother was waiting at the car. We had a serious conversation about Fenway. I had kept him a secret. He was no secret now."Angie has a brother."We drove to Sukhothai in long silence ripped to shreds by angry accusations. "You left me. You had a boyfriend. You made your bed. You keep up this shit and I'll get out of the car now and you'll never see me again.Is that what you want for Angie." My anger was verging on cold blood. "I love her 100%"She sat in the back. Like always she said nothing.Nu shut up. No one was right, but Angie came first. Night came fast. The road was difficult. My phone rang. It was Mam. I spoke with her and said that Nu knew everything now. No one was happy, although i had Nu stop at a gas station so i could buy some beer.Sukhothai seemed father away every time I looked at a distance panel, but around 9pm it was only 30 klicks away. The radio warned of flooding. The Yom River was over its banks. Nam tuam. Sukhothai was the ancient Thai capitol. The Burmese had burnt it to the ground on several occasions. There was nothing in the history about flooding, but as we reached the city proper, the water rose higher and higher until it was up to the doors. "This is fucked up." I kept driving towards the muang bulan. The ancient city was on higher ground."Jam dai 5 pii gon. Anthong mii nam tuam." Nu was referring to high waters in Anthong 5 years before. "Jam dai." Sandbags lined the Asia Highway. Water gleamed an inch below the rim. I had never seen flooding like this. It was like New Orleans a day before it went crazy.We reached dry road and found an open hotel. Sukhothai is a town that closed early. We ate a late dinner and I had Angie sit on my lap. She was scared on the racing waters."Mai huang." I told her not to worry. "I will be there always."And the same goes for Fenway.We are family.

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