This piece was originally posted in June as part of a writing challenge.
The flight was long and then I had five hours in KL airport, not just an airport but the Low Cost Carrier Terminal. I braced myself for a long wait. The only place with a table was a small cafe. I’d need to buy something to legitimately sit there. I had been through the terminal a few times before and knew that the veggie curry puffs were excellent and the coffee not bad. I’d had worse. Last time I’d been in KL had been for a Muslim wedding. The daughter of good friends. I smiled as I remembered the weekend. She had had a difficult time since she had been orphaned when she was twelve years old. She had been whisked away from life in the USA to be immersed in the religious household of her grand parents. Now in her twenties, I felt confident that this man she had met would allow her to continue to grow and blossom in the way I had seen in the last few years. I had no concerns that this marriage was based on anything other than equality.
I sat down and started to nibble on the curry puff. Crumbs of the delicate pastry fell in my lap. I brushed them away then sipped the coffee. It was better than I remembered. With a sigh I sat back and looked around. A couple of men sat to my right. They were drinking beer and talking. Their voices boomed throughout the cafe. This wasn’t their first beer of the day.
“Oh shit mate. Sounds bloody tragic,” said the one wearing shorts that had slid down exposing the crack between his cheeks. Builder’s bottom we used to call it.
“I’m going back to a law suit against me,” said the other man. He wore a Chang Thai beer T-shirt. Two elephants under a palm tree. His arms were folder, resting on his ample belly. Both arms were heavily tattooed.
“I’ve got a nine month old in Thailand”
“Those Thai birds”
“Did she sting you for money?”
“Aren’t they all like that?”
“60 grand – two million bhart.”
“Got the baby and the bird and no money.” Builders bottom took a long deep drink of his beer.
“They can be brilliant.” Tattoo gives his new friend a lurid grin and wink.
“Thai birds eh.” He lifts his bottle. “I’ll drink to that.”
“She runs the wheat farm. Knows where the money is, knows which truck is on the farm, who the driver is. A tight ship.”
“Found yourself a real good Thai woman.”
“I go for a swim and she’s sitting waiting for me. She says you don’t worry ’bout me. You swim. She’s sitting on the beach, mate, waiting. I ain’t used to that. Then the baby comes. Different story. I’ve a nine month old son. Looks just like me.” He puffs his chest out. “That’s a big thing, mate. But she’s gone village.”
“They all go village, mate.”
The clip clop of shoes announces the arrival of a petite woman or was it a girl?
“Oh grab us a couple of beers will you,” Builder’s Bottom says, “if you have any money left.” He eyed her shopping bags nervously.
She deposits an assortment of duty-free shopping on the seat next to me. She is serene and quite beautiful. Close up she must be in her thirties. She smiles at the two men, then walks to the counter.
I wonder what is behind her smile.