Life behind that smile
It is 12 o'clock in the night and I'm eating Phad Thai at Sukhumvit road. My girlfriend is working and I return to her apartment to go to sleep. Her apartment is one 16-sqm room (incl. the bathroom) which she shares with her 2 "sisters", who are not her sisters of course. My girlfriend told me that tonight the mother of her sister would come to Bangkok with the baby of her sister that is raised by her mother in Buriram. Calculation figures out that she had a baby when she was 16 and probably became pregnant when she was 15. A great start of life, isn't it? Well that happens at the rural rice fields of the Isaan.
When I arrive at 1 o'clock in the night only "young sister" is sleeping on the floor (because the floor is cooler as the bed). So I go to sleep at the bed where later also my girlfriend and the other sister will sleep. Around 2 o'clock someone arrives at the room and "young sister" opens the door. Two older women with a baby come in. They settle down in the room and I fall asleep again. At 3 o'clock my girlfriend and the other sister are arriving in the room and they start chatting and playing. Despite the fact that "young sister", my girlfriend and I are trying to sleep the baby is allowed to play with an electronic sound machine that makes a lot of irritating noise. Then also another sister (sister Lek) arrives and it seems that the other older woman is her mother. So by that time there 2 older women, 3 sisters, 1 baby, my girlfriend and me.
The next time that I wake up it is 6:30 in the morning and the beautiful sunlight of the sunrise is shining through the door into the room. I overlook the room and see "sister Lek" sleeping like a baby in the arms of her mother. Her arms around the body of her mother as she never wants to let her go again. Is this the same girl that is working in the so famous nightlife of Bangkok (the city of the fallen angels)? My girlfriend sleeps in my arms and next to her is Joy. Her face is in the morning sun and she looks with a smile to her baby in the arms of her mother. That is the place where her baby feels home and save, not in her arms. Then Joy turns around and when I look to her I can just see that she tries to hide the tears in her face. No she will not show those tears to her baby, her mother or anyone else. She has to sleep, so she can work again the next day to earn money so her baby can have cloths, food and hopefully a better education as she ever had. She will smile; will I ever learn to see what is behind that smile?
Published on 10/20/10