koh mak: day two

what protects me from what goes bite in the nite

Koh Mak, Thailand

I woke up feeling out of sorts, the sort of out of sorts you feel when you wake up in a strange place. This usually passes but not when you realise that it is the case. You are in a strange place where north and south mean nothing, where you have zero orientation. I stared for a very long time at the mosquito net that protected me from all that bite in the night. I don’t think I dreamed. I usually recall my dreams.

I felt the rising tide of panic, the what the fuck were you thinking going off to an island that runs on diesel and shuts down its power station a few hours each day. On Christmas, when there was noche buena waiting for you somewhere on another planet. I didn’t get up. I reached over for my phone and it read 8am. I took a photo of my cocoon and thought that it might not be such a bad idea to spend the rest of today in my nest. Outside I could hear the shrieks of little kids, the revving of motorbikes, and a splatter of languages. I looked for my laptop and considered writing, in case you missed me. But then I thought you must be hurrying about last-minute christmas shopping. I didn’t want to whinge about being lonely though I suspect this is hardly original this time of year. So yes I am feeling lonely, but also brave, adventurous, and young.

my writing desk

my writing desk

Then I saw it, ran my hands over its surface, and wondered how I could have missed it. Forget the beach, eating, riding a moped, swimming in the sea, making love. Here was a writing desk, it wasn’t intricately carved but it was made of old wood, cracked in some corners, like it had been hauled from the sea and brought back to life one sandpaper, one loving stroke of varnish at a time. It was imperfect like me, and we two imperfect beings met in a perfect moment. I thought of that last scene in Lost in Translation where Bill Murray raced after Scarlett Johansson and whispered in her ear. We never find out what he said. But we know he said the perfect thing.

The desk overlooked the tin roof which blocked the view to the beach. But I could hear the waves. We mustn’t be greedy.

you can also read koh mak: day one

About listentothebabe

writing is the teeth that gnaw on my bones.


  1. Love this piece – it’s sensual, poetic, hopeful and also speaks to the loneliness so many of us feel at the holidays, sometimes even when we are surrounded by others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joseph

    I love the way you string your words. It’s beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. estelea

    Cheers to all those imperfections that make the moment perfect! Enjoy your little retreat, and moreover please share it. We are all done with shopping now 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andy Lewis

    Travel on. Eight to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: koh mak: day three | listen to the babe

  6. I think what Murray whispered to Johansson is “Francis makes me do this. Don’t get angry when I kiss you.”

    Liked by 1 person

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