The water is warm and dark and comes up slowly. It’s reaching my thighs and sucking at the tops of my shorts. The music on the beach is a far away noise. The boats anchored in the water are silent. Warm water sucks and soaks in all my clothes and salt gets trapped in my hair. There aren’t any stars up above because the moon is too bright. The boys are on the shore and can’t see me, but I can see them, the electric lights behind making them look like shadows.
This feels really fucking awkward—sitting here with this middle aged man with his black blazer and slacks and surrounded by raver girls with crop tops and feathers in their hair. I suck on those sugar and booze Bacardi drinks that taste like flat soda with a lemon twinge and wonder if this is how all those twenty-something Thai girls in tight dresses feel when sitting next to an old white lummox. Except I’m white and he’s Thai and I wonder if we make a curiosity display when I squirm under the eyes of those Euro-tongued raver girls. But hell, we got on the speed boat for free and everyone else forked over thirty dollars one way.
We got on the beach for free too. All neon skin and fried food and noise, sandals and water and sand and garbage, and that warm warm December air. The crowd, the crowd, perhaps I can loose him in the crowd. I’m being ungrateful. But no, no, I have to get free inside the crowd. He grabs my hand and I tug on it, tug tug into the crowd. Tan sweat bodies press and funnel—booze and buckets and straws and shouting, ice and neon and sticky wet concrete, sticky wet feet and agonizing bathroom lines.
The music’s getting louder, getting louder. Funnel funnel go the bodies. Letting go of the hand and feeling it grab mine again. Try to lock arms—no, let’s hold hands—the full reach of my arm is the space in between us. Pumping pumping music and pock marked British boy faces with neon green swirls and girls in every shade of bleach blonde. The funnel, the clog, where the road ends, push through, push through, can’t see above heads and harms, the beach, the beach; we’ve made it to the beach—a strip of wild noise with the inky silence stretching forever in front of us.
Shitty electro music, beats with no soul. Avocado and Mitch and Big Red, falling forwards and backwards and losing each other. Let’s all dance. Micheal and I split a mushroom shake to make the music bearable. He’s never had mushrooms before, but this isn’t a trip; it’s just a body high. He’s disappointed and orders more. They thin them out as the evening gets later. A young Thai guy with a neon bandanna and crazy eyes. The boys shout out. They know him. He holds up a blunt. No one has a lighter. Blue dance pagoda with less shitty music. I take it and find boys with cigarettes and share. Too blasted to finish it all. Give it to some English girls. New friends. They ask where I’m from. Swedish asshole wants to know why I say, “America,” and not, “United States.” I start to explain, but his mouth is on a girl and he’s not listening.
It’s that time, that boring time, when Mitch suddenly notices I have breasts and Avocado’s kissing Big Red and then climbing on his shoulders. No, not Mitch, shoulders like bricks. That leaves only Michael, tall and long limbed. I don’t want him. A boy runs up and grabs my hand and asks to make out, skinny and pale. He looks surprised when I say “No,” shrugs and scurries off. I need a place to sleep or a way to get home. If Michael grabs a girl then I’m wet and alone with twenty dollars rolled up in my bra. How much does it cost to get home? How do I get to the pier? What time in the night is it? Can I sit on the beach until dawn? Michael is an okay kisser.
The bathroom the bathroom is splendid! Oh those blue tiles and oh that hot hot water! There’s even a curtain, a curtain! The water doesn’t spill onto the toilet. Fresh fluffy white towel, divine. He says to take as long as I like; he’s a nice boy. I do. Oh how I do. Only, drying and now I’m naked and now, and now, what’s expected I know and do I want to and not really and how should I and oh drat I suppose I will. Kisses mechanical and tasteless. Limp nervous laughter. He says we’ll try in the morning. The bed, the bed oh sheets, oh clean white sheets divine!
Morning breakfast on the beach with bleach blonde girls and mango fruit shakes and Mitch and Big Red order shrimp cakes and salads and there is that Thai guy with the blunt last night bringing the food and no he didn’t get any sleep last night, just partied until six and then clocked into work and no a 100 baht tip is measly leave him 500. And we laugh and talk and they pay and what good friends I’ve found on this first day of five days. Overpriced too tight shorts and clinging shirt at the shop around the corner to replace salty wet clothes and Michael has a motorbike and he’ll take me to the pier. To the pier and gone. Gone.
There’s no one to talk to now here on the boat just watching the couples and the friends watch the water pass and talking in their own tongues; and there’s no one to talk to now here in the van just a little girl full of stickers and she’ll give some to you; and there’s no one to talk to now here on the beach just the sand and the water and the families like little specs at the resorts down the beach. And there’s no one. There’s no one. There’s no one. There’s no one.