This is a translated article from Koosang Koosom Magazine, written by Roongrath of Kanchanaburi in Thai Language, translated by Nye.
I bought a house (still making payment) hoping that I will live there after I retire. Across the street lived a 50s year old thin male with a dark complexion, he was there before I bought the house. Every time I came to stay on my day off, I‘ve often seen him watering his plants or feeding his dog. I noticed that he often looked my way and tried to make small talk.
Until the past Songkran festival (Thai New Year), he was drunk and had the courage to walk over and gave me 3 cartons of salted eggs as a gift. After talking to him I found out that he took an early retirement because he had kidney failure. He had to have a kidney dialysis every week, so I blurt out and asked him the obvious.
“Then why are you drinking? Please stop, otherwise you might go to sleep and not wake up.”
He said that he was heartbroken. His wife left him, she took off with a car and 20 Rai (7.9 Acres) of land that she tricked him into giving it to her. I then gave him a pep talk.
“We have to love ourselves first, money and personal processions are just material things that we could get later, but our health should always come first.”
I would stay at the house during my day off, and he seemed happy to have me as his neighbor. I often stood on my side of the street to talk to him and had never invited him inside since I live alone, my husband passed away. And I had never gone inside his house even though I received numerous invitations, whether to meet his siblings or relatives that visited him from Pak Tai but I managed to politely turn down the offer each time.
Until the end of July 2011, he came over and said, “Would you be my girlfriend? You don’t have to work, just come help take care of me. I can support you, I have about 100 Rai (39.5 Acres) of rubber farm.”
I replied back, “You should give yourself time, you might think that I’m the right person today, and this might change tomorrow. There are no certain things in life, you should not make a quick decision like this.”
As for me, I only think of him as one of my neighbors, and nothing more.
On July 31, 2011, this time he came inside my gate and asked me to marry him. It was on a Sunday, he said to me “Please promise me that you will because tomorrow morning I’m going to see a doctor.” I didn’t know what to say and replied back, “I’ll go visit you at the hospital.” And from what I understand, after the kidney analysis he would stay at the hospital at least 1-2 days.
The beginning of August I was so busy at work that I didn’t have a chance to go back home until Saturday August 6th. I went over to his house, it was locked and I thought he might be staying at the hospital like normal. I went back home to clean my house and after I finished I sat down on the sofa. I was so sleepy, this never happened to me before and I normally don’t take a nap in the afternoon. As I was about to fall asleep, I thought I saw someone standing in front of my house. I tried to fight my drowsiness and looked at the front. I saw him standing there. He looked so sad, and bitter. He stood there holding 3 cartons of salted eggs, both of his wrists were tied with white strings. When I was about to get up to go talk to him, he was gone.
I thought it was strange, I walked over to his house and saw that there were many people there. Normally his relatives were pretty noisy when they visited him, a lot of chit-chat and laughter. But today they were very quiet and when his brother saw me he came over. He said,
“Phee Sak passed away (Phee means older brother in Thai) . He passed away on August 2nd, and his body is in Surat. Will you be attending his funeral? The viewing is every night until the 10th.”
I was speechless and didn’t have a chance to say anything. All of a sudden his dog started to howling and wagging his tail at the same time. One of his relatives saw the dog’s reaction and said “Phee Sak must have come to get his things.”
His brother said that right before he passed away, he complained and said, “Nong Roong (my name) was mean. She promised that she would come and visit but she never did. I’ve been waiting for her for 2 nights now.” Then around 10 pm (22:00) that night he passed away.
August 14, 2011, I came back home like normal and spoke to the next door neighbor who Khoon Sak (Khoon means Mr. in Thai) often asked her to look after his dog and cat while he was at the hospital. She told me the things that happened before she knew that he had passed away. She said,
“One morning I walked over to see his dog, and thought it was kind of strange to see his bowl empty. It was odd that Khoon Sak didn’t feed him, I thought I heard him cooking for the dog the night before.
Then later someone saw him walking in front of his house in the rain. He was walking back and forth, like he was thinking about something and that person walked over to talk to him. His body started to vanish right in front of that person. The next morning people started talking that he passed away. At that time I thought they were crazy and even argued with them that Khoon Sak was home cooking every night. Then the person that saw him asked if I’ve seen him during the day time. After giving some thought, what that person said was true.
It bothered me so bad that I decided to call his number but his brother answered the phone and said that Khoon Sak passed away. He will come by to pickup his brother’s personal belonging in the next 4-5 days and will also pickup the dog. He had asked if I could look after the house for him.”
At the end I didn’t have a chance to attend his funeral and ask for forgiveness that I’ve never visited him at the hospital like I had promised. But I do have good feeling for him and that will never change. I think people are strange, when the person is still alive we might find them annoying, but once they are gone we can’t help but feel sad. I guess human are not stone and statue, we all have feeling, please know this Khoon Somsak.