Friday, December 22, 2006

You see honey

February 2003

'You see honey, because I didn't do very well at school, my father ask me to leave when I am only sixteen. But I cannot get the kob when I am so young, so my father speaks to his friend who works for the Government. And they get my age changed on my ID so that I can get the job. My father says I must work, if I cannot go to school. So you see, thet is not my real date of birth'

This didn't seem possible. 'That's terrible' I said, 'what happens when it is time to retire?'

She didn't understand the question, so I chose not to persue it. 'I just think it will cause you all sorts of problems in the furure'

'No honey. No problem at all. I will never tell anyone. You mustn't tell anyone too. Promise me honey'
'Who would I tell?'

At that point the doctor called her, and we went back into the surgery. The doctor could find nothing wrong with her, but gave her some medicine anyway. 'Keep my mother happy' said Maggie, by way of an explanation.

I didn't speak as we headed back to the hotel, her story made me feel uneasy, although I couldn't have said why. I thought I would persue it another time.

It was late again, by the time we got into bed, but fortunately Maggie seemed very keen to make love. And so the day ended well.

The next morning (Friday) we were up very early, and by 9 oclock were sat on a rather luxurious coach heading toward the Chinese border.

Friday, December 15, 2006


February 2003

I could see that Maggie was tired as we traveled back, so I encouraged her to sleep, by resting her head on my lap. The train journey was not particularly smooth though, and my efforts failed.

When we got back to Hong Kong, we walked toward the bus stop, we were going back to Maggie’s house for supper, as she needed to pack a few clothes for our tour, which was to start the following morning.

After supper, Maggie complained about not feeling well, a slight cold it seemed, but after some discussion with her mother, Maggie said ‘my mother asked if you will take me to the hospital’
‘Well of course I will, but why do you need to go to hospital?’
‘My mother is worried, because we are going to China tomorrow. You know, she doesn’t want me to be ill when we are traveling, and China is so backward country, she thinks better get some medicine today’
‘Ok babe’

I held her in the taxi, she seemed weary but nothing else, she certainly didn’t have a temperature.

Fortunately, the hospital wasn’t busy, so she saw a doctor quite quickly, he said he would need a urine sample and asked her about her periods. My memory was better than hers. Then Maggie was given a sample bottle, and we were asked to wait in reception until they had the results.

Maggie handed me her examination card, and headed for the ladies room, and of course I read it whilst she was gone. It didn’t say much, just her Chinese name, address and identity number. But then I noticed her date of birth.

I looked away………… it must be wrong, I thought……... then I looked again. Without doubt it said that her year of birth was 1961, and to confirm this, the next box stated her age as 42.

Wow. Older than me, and much older than she’d claimed to be. 1961. I couldn’t believe it.

I wasn’t angry, if anything I was rather pleased, as I too had been less than truthful about my age.

Monday, December 11, 2006


February 2003

A few moments later we were sat around a small table, with a coffee pot in front of us. Maggie’s sister poured, and the conversation turned to weddings. They were supposed to be getting married later in the year, although it seemed unclear when.

The possibility of a joint wedding was mentioned. I was careful not to express any opinion, although of course, it was absolutely impossible. Errol kept making faces, as if to express his fear, the reluctance he felt or the pressure he was under. I smiled. I didn’t mind encouraging him.

Then he asked me, ‘have you ever been married before?’

‘No’ said Maggie emphatically, and nothing more was said. She looked rather animated, I noticed.

Maggie said we would get married around Easter time. She didn’t say anything about her plan to leave Hong Kong. Maggie’s sister said that in that case we would be married before them. I was asked how I feel about marrying Maggie.

‘Very happy’ I said, hoping I looked sincere.

Maggie didn’t drink her coffee, she never did, ‘not good for skin’ she said.

We continued shopping for a while, I bought a pair of sunglasses costing less than £1. I thought I better go back with something. Then as Errol negotiated for a few more watches, Maggie asked me to wait whilst she and her sister went shopping alone for a few minutes.

When she returned, I was told that what she’d bought was a secret, and that I would find out later. It was late now, and time to leave. I soon forgot all about Maggie’s secret.

Maggie and I were to travel back alone, as Errol had to go to Guangdong for work. We stood outside the train station, and said our goodbyes. Errol shook my hand and said ‘nice meeting you, your quite a guy’

I never saw him again.

Friday, December 08, 2006


February 2003

The next morning we had to be up fairly early again, since an arrangement had been made to go to Shenzhen with Maggie’s sister and Errol. We had to meet them at the train station at 11am.

Going to Shenzhen presented me with a problem. I only had one entry left on my China visa, and I needed this for the tour Maggie had planned, which departed on Friday. However, Maggie was confident that I could get a one day visa on arrival, so we took the chance.

A couple of hours later, I found myself queuing to purchase a visa, with Errol along for morale support. The whole process passed without incident, but meant that I had to find an hour worth of conversation to fill the time I spent alone with Errol. Other than our relationships with the two sisters, we had little in common. Since I didn’t want to be questioned about Maggie and me, I tried to direct the conversation toward Errol’s work. Fortunately he seemed happy to oblige.

There was quite a stampede of people when periodically the barriers were lifted allowing the next batch join the queue for immigration. Then it was another hours wait until finally we were allowed into Shenzhen. It was now almost 3pm.

We took lunch in a nearby hotel, and then headed for the nearby shopping mall, which was it seemed the main reason for the days excursion. The mall was full of counterfeit goods, watches, clothing, sun glasses, sport wear, bags, pens and so on. All well known brand labels; Diesel, Guchi, Louis Vuitton, D&G, Monte blanc, Rolex the list was endless.

Errol bought a few Rolex watches, which after considerable haggling cost him around £2 each, and Maggie’s sister had an almost insatiably desire for bags. For me the novelty soon wore off, and I was grateful when Errol suggested we stop for coffee.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Trump card

February 2003

I climbed out of bed and opened my suitcase. Taking one of the cards, I sat at the desk, picked up the hotel pen, unwrapped the card, and wrote:

‘Babe, do you know how much I love you? From your secret admirer’

I put the card into its envelope, sealed it, and wrote Maggie’s name and work address on the front. Then I put the card down on the desk and walked over to the chair where I’d left my clothing. I started to get dressed.

‘Honey?.......... Why you putting the clothes on?’ Finally she was beginning to wake up.
‘It’s nothing babe, just go back to sleep’
‘How can I sleep? Honey what are you doing? Is something wrong?’
‘No, of course not, I just have to pop out for a few minutes’
‘Go out? Honey, you cannot leave me here alone. What’s going on?’
‘I just need to go out for a few minutes. I’ll be straight back’
‘Why honey? What’s wrong?’
‘Nothings wrong’
‘Then why are going out?’
‘Look, I can’t tell you ok. It’s a surprise’ that was my ‘trump’ card. I was after all doing something for her. I had to do it now, because for the rest of my stay we would be together. What other chance would I get?

‘Honey, I know you are unhappy’
‘No babe, just go to sleep, I’ll be back in a minute’
‘Why do you have to go now?’
‘I just thought I could go as you slept, then you wouldn’t have to know. It is a pity you woke up’

I walked back to the desk, and making some attempt to conceal the card, I left the room, heading for reception. They took the card, and I paid in cash for the postage. Then I added a note on the envelope, ‘not to be opened until 14th February’

When I got back upstairs, Maggie was sat up in bed with the television on. ‘I thought you would go back to sleep’
‘How could I, when you are not here?’
‘Well I’m here now’ I climbed back into bed.

Maggie turned my face toward hers and kissed me. ‘Such nice kiss’ she said, ‘now I am exciting’

Friday, December 01, 2006


February 2003

After dinner, everyone went their separate ways. I thought we would probably take Maggie’s mother home, but that wasn’t to be. It seemed that we were going dancing with Maggie’s sister and Errol, the boyfriend.

Disappointingly, the disco was practically empty. I liked discos to be packed with people, so that my poor dancing is less obvious.

We ordered drinks. I paid, since Errol had picked up the tab for dinner.

With just the four of us on the dance floor, I couldn’t hide. Self consciously I pretended to be particularly interested in the guitarist, frequently stopping to look at him. Actually he was really good’ ‘I play like that’ I whispered in Maggie’s ear. Fortunately Errol hid his poor dancing by acting up, taking the spotlight from me.

I wasn’t sorry when, Maggie’s sister, using tiredness as her excuse, suggested we leave.
It was after 2am when we climbed into bed. I could see that Maggie was really tired. I held her, hoping she would start to kiss me, but she didn’t, instead drifting off to sleep in my arms.

I asked, ‘are you tired babe?’
‘Hmmm, so tired’ she barely whispered.

I knew I should let her sleep. I didn’t feel any desire for sex, but I wanted her desire. I started to fidget, pretending to be too hot or uncomfortable. It wasn’t enough. I moved her away from me, ‘too hot honey?’ she said without opening her eyes.

‘I can’t sleep’

No response. I pushed the covers off, and felt the chill air on my body. She looked at me, ‘is something wrong, honey?’
‘No babe, go to sleep’

She did as I suggested. I was out of ideas. I lay for a few minutes, feeling angry. That was it I decided, this was definitely my last trip, I told myself without conviction. I couldn’t just wake her, although I wanted to. It had to come from her, but how?

Then I remembered the Valentines Day cards.