You were writing a book at the cafe when someone left you a note. There was a phone number.
One of the last time I was in a restaurant in Chiang Mai, I watched a group of women pull out a camera, point it at the next table, and start snapping.
The people there were Americans.
What did the people at the table look like?
I couldn’t see.
The women started asking the people what they were doing, and they were answering in English.
But the people didn’t understand, so the women started taking pictures of the people.
A few of the women left the table to get more pictures, and the people still didn’t understand.
You were writing a book quietly at a cafe when someone passed you a note.
You started reading it and then realized it was a confession.
It was a confession about how you had a crush on him when you were ten years old.
But you couldn’t read his name on the note.
The reason was that he had given it to you in order to make you feel better about yourself.
The guy was on his way out of the cafe, so you handed the note to him and he read it.
Then he smiled and said, “It’s been a long time.”
So, you went out to dinner and spent time talking with him.
The guy was a writer.
He said that if you wrote the first few pages of your book he would write the rest of it.
The thing about those first few pages is that they were about the time you were really young and you had a crush on him.
The guy was the only one who could write a book about that, because he had been in your shoes.
So, you got your first draft of the book written, because you felt better about yourself because the guy had been honest and generous.
You couldn’t wait to tell him about it.
He was a popular guy and he said that he would help get it published.
But you were also worried because your story was about a ten-year-old and a sixteen-year-old.
People would be uncomfortable.
So, you didn’t tell him about it.
When you were twenty-two, you met the guy again.
You had a baby.
The guy said that he would take care of the baby while you wrote your book.
He said that you could have a nanny who was really young.
But you didn’t want to give your baby to a nanny.
You wanted to raise your baby by yourself and be a writer.
So you didn’t tell the guy about your secret.
Instead, you told him that you couldn’t leave the baby with a nanny.
The guy told you that if you could find someone who was willing to help you raise the baby, then he would help you get the book published.
He was really nice to you.
They started to think the women were crazy.
But then the people understood and they started talking.
The people at the table were from San Francisco.
They were doing a film about the elephants in Thailand.
I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but I was glad that the people understood them.
A waiter walked up to the table, “Are you Americans?”
The San Francisco women laughed, “No, we’re from New York.”
The waiter gave them a menu, but they didn’t understand that either.
They went back to their friends and talked.
Then they put the menu down and started snapping pictures again.
The people at the table were in Thailand on vacation.
They were on vacation with their children.
The people at the table had never been to Thailand.
They didn’t speak the language, but they understood that the San Franciscans were having a great time.
I left Chiang Mai not knowing what they were talking about.
But I liked that I could.
I liked that I could listen to the people at the table, and I could try to understand what they were saying.
I liked that I could read their body language, and their gestures.