Koy, the thai hooker

06Sep08

Bangkok, Thailand. I was 18. Walking down Koh San Roh a girl grabbed me by the wrist and asked me in her broken English to have dinner with her. It was more like she motioned the act of eating because she only spoke a few words, like “love,” “Meriken Man” and “I like Robby Williams.”
I had just eaten but I went with her anyway. It’s against the sensibilities of Thai women to eat when the man doesn’t, so she force-fed me pork fried rice. She was a very sweet, insistent girl of 17.

That night I went to her bar where three tall ones waited for me. “What’s this?” I asked, to which she replied, “I wan get yoo drunk.”

I awoke the following morning with a head three times too large for my skull, three spent rubbers on the ground, an empty bottle on Sang Som by the bed and two joints smoked down to the nub. She entered the guesthouse with coffee and fruit, then gave me a massage.

Our conversations were limited but we had a nice time together for the next three weeks. She toted me around town like a handbag, paying for all our meals, my drinks, the hotel room. She treated me like royalty, the only rule being that I couldn’t acknowledge the existence of other women. This was easy enough; the way she glowered kept all other girls at bay.

One day I awoke to find she wasn’t there. I looked all over for her. When I inquired at her bar, her sister who spoke much better English explained to me that Koy had to go back to work. She had been on vacation with me, but if I wanted to see her again I’d have to pay 2000 baht a night. I was so naive. It never occurred to me that she was a prostitute. I felt a terrible, crushing sadness and I wanted nothing more than to rescue this poor sweet girl from a world of inequity. But I was only 18 and I had less than a grand to my name.

I spent what I had to keep her away from the German sex tourists for as long as I could, staying up all night to hold her in her room that had posters of New York City and lovers embracing or kissing beneath umbrellas. Like me, she still was just a kid. Then, I ran out of money and had to return home early. I tried my best to explain that it wasn’t my choice, but she grew distant and cold. I told her I’d come back for her but she didn’t believe me. And she was right.

It’s been years since I last saw Koy, but the other day, walking down the street in San Francisco I smelled her perfume on a passerby. Everything in my body, heart and mind short-circuited. I walked into the nearest bar and drank myself stupid. And as I write this now, it is the first time I’ve ever cried for her.



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