A dying rose
I was in the city centre when I first met Mea Pia. She was actually a friend of a friend’s. By the look in her eyes, I could see that she was suffering intensely. I predicted it had everything to do with relationship but the subject was never brought up. My friend briefly introduced her to me, but most of my conversation were mostly engaged with my friend instead, until at one point she felt like talking.
“I found out you went through a painful divorce,” she said to me, trying to stir a conversation. All I did were raised my eyebrow and smirked. I didn’t feel like elaborating that topic so I kept silent. I guess because of my ‘cold shoulder’ she decided not to continue the conversation.
Suddenly, until, we met again in the city centre.
“Hi, remember me? Mea Pia…” she touched my shoulder and I quickly turned around. “Ahh.. yes! I remember you. How are you?”
“Not so good,” she sincerely told me. “I’m sorry but I need to talk to you about something. Do you think we could talk privately?”
“Sure. What’s wrong? Is everything all right?” we walked slowly to a nearby cafe and at the end ordered some hot drinks.
“Everything is not all right,” she sighed. She started sipping her tea, but I could clearly see that she was trying to hold back her tears. “I knew from a friend that you went through a divorce,” she continued. I nodded. “How did it go?”
“How? what do you mean?” I asked, puzzled.
“Did they ask you to go back?” I saw she swallowed her words. It sounded painful, even for me.
“I did get a piece of paper telling me that within 15 days I will be deported back home.. but they didn’t know about my kids,” I told her briefly. “But because of my kids… also that I have lived here more than 5 years, they cannot send me back…. why?”
The hardest blow
“I have to go back……” right there and then she burst into tears. “It’s just so unfair…!!” tears ran down her cheeks. I felt enormous pain and sympathy for her suffering although I hardly knew her. I noticed that passers-by were focusing on us; wondering what was happening. Spontaneously, I hugged her, wanting to comfort her.
“I don’t mind going back…” she sobbed. “It’s the manner of me going back… that is the worst part…” she kept on sobbing. I ordered more tea to sooth her down.
“I’m sorry,” she quickly wiped her tears. “You probably think I’m crazy. Who am I to you? You don’t even know me.”
“It’s all right,” I tried to comfort her. “My friend’s friend is also a friend of mine,” I answered and gave her a smile. She looked relief.
“It’s just that….. I came here because of love… I supposed, you too..” I gave her more tea and she nodded.
“I don’t know if you knew about my story,” she looked at me straight into the eyes. I shook my head, “No.”
“I needed someone to talk to and Jariya told me a bit about you.. and you seem like a good friend.” My cheeks were rather red when she said that. “Thanks,” I replied.
“You see…. I got married less than 2 years back to a dutch guy. It’s not like I married him for the money. I have plenty myself back in Thailand.”
“The problem is… I used to own 3 restaurants, 3 cars and 2 houses. Because of this guy, I sold everything I owned and came here to be with him. I even ask my son to stay behind in Thailand because I want to be with this guy…. I have a son, you see… he’s 22.”
I kept silent and kept listening. I knew she desperately needed someone to listen to her.
“You know what happened?”
“No,” I replied.
“When I arrived here… oh yes! don’t forget.. he asked me to bring all my money to Holland to be with him. And me, being such a stupid fool, I brought it all. All because I thought this was how it should be once you are in love with that person – you feel like you need to share what you have. Especially when he said that he would marry me. Yes, we got married at the municipality here… but….” then Mae Pia started to cry even harder. My sympathy was even greater.
“He.. took all my money! Then I found out he’s not working at all…”
I shook my head many times. In fact, I was appalled by her story.
“You know…. I never worked as a maid before. Here, people always think that people like me (Thai women – I think that was what she meant) only wanted to marry white guys because of money. I had a great life back home. I had everything. Money wasn’t the object. I wanted to be loved. That’s all. But…..”
Tears kept pouring down heavier and heavier. I was struggling; searching for the tissue pack, which I swore I stashed away somewhere in my handbag. Found it at last! I gave her the whole packet. “Thanks.”
“He forced me to work… you know… cleaning toilets… yes! It’s true… cleaning toilets!!” Her cry was even stronger and people kept on staring at us.
” I have never been so humiliated before in my entire life!! I USED TO OWN 3 RESTAURANTS, for GOD sake !! I cannot believe this is happening to me…!”
I was stunned. Totally stunned. Wow! That was really something!
“Now that I am not producing much income for him.. and I cannot heck it anymore.. he kept pushing me for divorce… and I did… but… he knew… he knew that when I ask for divorce, I will be sent home… but I’m stupid. I don’t know the law.”
I was holding my tears back. I need to look strong for her, but my heart went with her suffering.
“I just got a letter from the immigration that I am being deported home. They reject my residence card now. I have no choice but to go home. He made sure that I go….”
Slowly tears ran down MY cheeks.
“He promised me to bring my son here… he said he will take care of him… HAH! Now…. now.. it’s just lies… I’m going back totally BROKE. I have to start ALL over again… with MY son… I worked so hard the past 20 years and this is how my life ends….??? It’s just SOOOO UNFAIR..!”
She stopped, and all that she did was cry and cry on my shoulder. All I could do was kept rubbing her back and held her tight. But, I, too, was emotional.
We finished our tea. I had no clue how much tea we drank that day, but I knew it was enough to let Mea Pia released her huge disappointment and frustration. She needed to let it go and she chose me.
After tea, we went our separate ways and honestly, that was the last time I saw her. I believed she has gone back to Thailand.
I am glad she chose me to talk. I knew many women like herself who needed someone; a friend; to listen and to show some compassion. It’s not easy when you are totally alone in another land and hoping that love conquers all and love makes everything possible….