Laurie Payne’s Blog No3

14 12 2008

Well dear world, these are the shots I was trying to attach to blog no 2 with no success despite hours wandering the gates-mazes and more than enough delicious Spring Porter beer.  Recipe:In a tankard place the juice of one half a lime and three cubes of ice and add one bottle of Spring porter. Yes, Yes, dear purists . I know! Beer with ice! Yuk! But Just trust me this one time . You need invest only one bottle. But it must be Spring Porter from the B.C. Okanagan because it is 8.5 percent and made according to the Bavarian purity law of seventeen something. Only water, hops, malt and yeast were permissible. But despite my bibulous exertions I couldn’t get ‘the pics in the blog and had to resort to help from my dear nerd friends at mediaO2. And what a lovely community they are! So here you are. This is what my home looked like in ‘66. And lest anyone be stupid enough to entertain the idea of doing something similar to some neglected place allow me to offer some advice. Psychiatric counseling. Because in the time I spent turning this wreckage into something habitable I could have built three new places, at one third of the cost and a hundred percent cleaner. That lunatic at the top of the roof is me.On the plus side it was a wonderful place to raise kids and because I had to dragoon them into helping me they are  now brilliant carpenters to add to their university resumes.

 

4.21.1968-untitled-00583 the old house.1967--00581

 Before going to university I had done a number of job-jobs most of which I remember as the biggest waste of time in my life. I wondered who the hell invented work, how it came to be imposed on just about everybody and whether it was possible for an inventive active human to have a satisfactory life without any employment. In fact I loved working and loathed employment largely because none of my bosses use all my capacities and abilities. I couldn’t understand how we had all come to rationalize work as a universal good nor why everyone said they wanted work when what they really wanted was money. Nor could I accept the idea that having two sevenths of my life returned to me in return for five sevenths was a reasonable deal. It wasn’t. Animals don’t spend that much time surviving.

Well , I am on my way to Asia again and thinking about it somehow brought HER to memory again and again , after all these years. I was in the food area on Selegie Rd in Singapore , near little India. I was  wandering the aisles wondering which of the numerous delicious regional foods to have for breakfast.My old journal says: Fans are whirring soundlessly above the din of people eating murthabak, roti pratha, roti telor, mee goreng, nasi goreng, and chicken curry at the stalls of Jamruth Fatima-Muslim food-stall all welcome, Azeeza food stall, Jameela food stall and M.A.Osman-goat meat by the kilo. Mrs Ahmed the street cleaner sits at one of the circular tables lit by the burning brown eyes of her six-pack of stick limbed,white toothed kids unaware that in the machine-festooned West that she watches nightly on her neighbours T.V. such colour and vitality as this has been purged and replaced by the aseptic sterility of the big arches.

I am eating my choice of fish curry when I see the woman.She has the flattened,lovely features of a Malay Chinese and her soft black hair tumbles to her shoulders.She is wearing immaculate white slacks and a striped T shirt. The ensemble reveals a body young and hard as a fish.She saunters past my table and my heart stops for a moment and then recommences a little faster. It is that old alchemic chemistry, not the beauty of her face, her soft brown eyes, but the body language that cried out to me. Like so many Asian women she stood and walked like a princess. It said to me “I am your other half. In me is written the other half of the secret code that all your searchings across half the world have failed to crack” Then she turns moving my head as though I was a marionette, strolls past me again and sits down at a stall table. I cannot take my eyes off her. I bolt my breakfast and rise. I walk past her and return to watch her from a distance, then moving closer I take a table closer to hers where for fifteen minutes I feast on the serenity of her profile. If she has any knowledge of my presence it doesn’t show. I notice her large engagement ring and my aching desire to lift with both hands the cobalt black waterfall of her hair tumbling to her shoulders. She finishes her drink and stands up. As she walks past me she turns for a moment and wiggles her fingers and says “Bye Bye!” and walks out into the crowd on the street. I am too surprised, too shy to move. Is she a hooker? I don’t want to follow her into a business proposition because it isn’t her body I want at that moment, but the Rosetta stone of her very being that will unlock the hieroglyphs of my heart. My shyness and indecision last long enough for her to move out of my vision into the crowd.Then a rush of loss sweeps through me and I get up, urgently and follow her out of the food building. But the surging ocean of Asia has closed around her and she is nowhere to be seen. For several days I haunt the food centre drinking so many cups of tea my stomach heaves.She never returns . Then it is confirmed. My U.T.A flight will lift off for Jakarta the next day.

That was many many years ago. Sometimes I still miss her so much it hurts with all the nostalgia, sadness and poignancy of something utterly precious and lost. Perhaps i will see her when on Wednesday next my plane touches down on Bangkok international airport.If you should see her, Dear World, please give her my blog address.Thank you and bye for now.

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