Birthday diary

Pain meds wore off around 4:30 am. Inched out of bed.

Stepped out into the courtyard to gaze at a brilliant tapestry of Winter stars. Caught the lingering sweetness of night blooming jasmine from the garden. Made a cup of ginger tea.

Turned on BBC, caught up on e-mail from the US for a couple of hours. Medicated, meditated. Back to bed for an hour.

Woke to the sound of squeaky kid’s shoes worn by Nam’s one-year old nephew as he toddled after the dog. Cooking smells. Got up again. Slowly.

Two young cousins batted my swiss ball around the pool. Nam’s aunts and parents chatted around the table. Good morning’s in Thai and English. Sunlight flooded the kitchen.

Bacon & eggs, fresh papaya, hot cocoa.

Opened e-birthday cards. Kissed Nam as she came out. Kissed her some more.

Serenaded with Happy Birthday by my Thai family. Presented with a bouquet of roses. First time in my life to be given flowers. Brushed my teeth. Cried.

Piled into two cars. Went the village temple where a monk performed a brief blessing for Nat. Gave him a shrink-wrapped plastic bucket filled with a bag of washing powder, instant ramen noodles, toothpaste, a jar of ovaltine and a rolled up hand towel. He seemed pleased.

Back into the cars. Lunch. Homemade sausage, coconut curry, noodles.

Family headed back to Bangkok. Seven hours driving. Mom & Dad hugged me and told me how much they loved me as a son. And how proud the whole family was. Couldn’t think of what to say. Held them tighter.

Went with Nam to the district registrar’s office to apply for Nat’s death certificate. A local farm couple waited on the bench beside us. Each held a perfect newborn twin girl.

Went to the hospital to pay the balance of our medical bills. In cash. Had a follow-up blood test. Cholesterol too low, otherwise fine. Doctor removed two sutures from my liver drain incision & changed all my dressing. Told me to eat more eggs. Like 4 eggs per day. Asked him if it was worth raising several chickens. Took him a second to get it.

Went to the market with Nam. Admired her Bodhisattva-like composure as she drove, taking calls from friends who hadn’t heard about Nat.

Rimping supermarket. Just the essentials. And a one litre tub of Cherry Garcia. For the first time I let the bag boy carry our stuff out to the car.

Home to change before heading back out for Italian. Played with our dog Maggie while Nam smoked a cigarette in the garden. Remembered that she hadn’t smoked in over a year. Happy to see how much she now enjoyed it.

Garlic pasta at Giorgio. Nam had the t-bone steak but gave half to me.

Back home. Nam expertly changed my dressing. Thoroughly enjoyed a sponge bath. Wrote this diary in bed as Nam drifted off. I soon followed.


Dreamed of flying low over the Andaman Sea. For hours.

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