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A Watched Pot Never Boils

A middle-aged man and woman cross the street in front of me.  They are tall and thin, and both have blond hair and blue eyes.  They are wearing tennis shoes, shorts and backpacking back packs.  They seem to have an easy, comfortable way about them.  The man and woman know each other well.  I find myself staring at the new farang, just as all the Thais in Suphan stare at me.  I am desperate for  them to make eye-contact so I can wave hello and maybe even strike up a conversation in English, but they do not look in my direction.  Instead they enter the parking lot to the hotel across the street.  As they do so they interlace their fingers and squeeze tight, maybe out of celebration of making it to their destination.  As I find myself still watching I look away quickly, feeling as though I was watching a moment that was meant to be private.

My father just returned from work.  He came up stairs in his khaki pants and button up shirt, with his leather suitcase in hand.  He calls up to the dogs awaiting his arrival at the top of the stairs, “Maddie loo. Daisy too!”  He comes up and smiles his huge smile with his chipped front tooth exposed.  I am sitting on a stool in the kitchen talking to my mom as she cooks “my favorite chicken” with couscous and asparagus,  about the latest family gossip or my latest crisis as a young adult. My father makes a bee line for my mother.  He takes her in his arms so that my mother can’t escape. She is much shyer than he when it comes to displays of affection.   He slightly dips her with a wide legged stance to be sure nobody will be dropped and gives her a big, sloppy kiss on her lips.  At this point she has relaxed and given up protesting.  I look away pretending to be disgusted, but wanting to give thema moment of privacy that they don’t receive often enough.  My mom pulls away and acts dismayed with my dad but it’s just acting, her smile suggests otherwise.

As the couple in the street remind me of this scene in my kitchen at home in California, I realize my feeling is no longer disgust, or envy, but excitement.  I find myself wondering when and where and what will he look like. Will he have wild eyes, ready for adventure or soft steady arms ready to calm.  I continue walking, trying not to focus on this.  After all, a watched pot never boils.  I look back in a last attempt to make eye contact with the couple, if for no other reason but to give them a nod or wave in gratitude, but they have already disappeared around the corner.


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