The bus was empty except for me and two Thai locals. I was absorbed with writing in my journal, directed my attention to filling the blank pages with capital letters: “No attachment, no sex.”. This was going to be my new motto starting today. An antidote to all the promiscuous men who just wanted to fuck and nothing else and spun some spiritual bullshit story around that.
That one promiscuous bastard. That’s why I had decided to go to the monastery because he had used me like an object in the way I desired to be used and then discarded me as that same object, something I had not desired. Although this new motto symbolized my newfound chastity, my body wanted much more. It had been as if a pressure point had been massassed deep inside my psyche, unleashing a vast reservoir of sexual tension that had been building up for aeons which was now coursing freely throughout my body and the energy field around that, without anyone to share it with or anything I knew that I could do with it. It had been a release like no other, purifying my psyche from tensions I never knew I had built up inside of me. I desired him back to continue this shedding process – the bastard. Belgian Iranian anthropologist Thai massage teacher assistant, incompetent and stupid dominant in bed. Yet it had been my first experience with this kind of play and it was so freakingly good for me.
Now I felt I was coming to an understanding. The sweet pleasures of “free” sex have a bitter dark side, like the I Ching notes: True joy is found within, while sensual pleasure is always fleeting. Delightful pleasure is conjoined with sadness and anguish. I had decided then I was looking for durability, never again to be some discardable object to abuse. Not to be lured by pseudospiritual stories of non-attachment and free sex, as if the Buddhist teachings of this have anything to do with striving for merely lust.
As I peered up from my musings on the paper, I saw the population of the bus had significantly thinned out in the six-hour drive. My Chinese female friend had gone ahead of me to the monastery, the sweet, cheerful girl whom meeting pulled me out of my misery and for whom I had secretly developed a full-blown lesbian crush. But because I was still studying massage and didn’t feel, as I so often do, that I had not quite yet done enough, I had hanged out longer in the white square that was my room in Thailand. Visualizing death by hanging in the bathroom, or other gruesome ways to end my life, imagining the release of blood splattering the white tiles of the shower.
This monastery was my way out, it would reset all my addictions, suffering and life. I wanted a fresh slate, a tabula rasa – without destructive relationships with men, without falling into the pitfalls of lust. Earlier at a Japanese-Thai hippie festival, a handsome Japanese boy told me that the character for desire is conjoined of lost and valley. The connection between sex and spirituality is such a conflicted one, how to deal with sex in an ethical and still completely gratifying way? So finally my decision was to share it only with people I would be able to build a story and a life with, for the rest, I would wander around the valley by myself.
In my journal, I built mentally this striving and wish to be free from desire, while my body was aching for more of the sweet release that my moments with that bastard had given me. Next to him, I dreamt lucidly the entire night, drifting from waking dream to another, while finally upon awakening – this daily reality seemed just as dreamlike as the night’s dreams.
He brought all of my previous philosophical deliberations on the subject to the surface. Although polyamory which has a strong set of ethical rules was my fascination at that time, he proposed something even more radical: “No expectations, no commitments, no attachments, just sweet and delicious sex.” He made it sound like we were going to share a cupcake together. And I had really worked up an appetite, waiting for months as chastely like a nun for the guy that was now more of a figment of my imagination than someone who was an actual person in my life. Doubt filled my mind and made me susceptible to him.
So after three weeks of spending intimate time together, he suddenly went for some other girl. I had thought he was afraid of falling for me, as I thought all guys eventually would. Baffling to me at the time, it seemed that this heartless guy actually could disconnect sex from any romantic intention.
A slur of negative emotions ensued, with the gloriously shining escape in the white-robed life of the monastery as an escape. Meditation was to free me from my manifold desires. Or so I thought. The forest monastery with the brown-robed monks would teach me austerity and help close the floodgates of my unleashed sexuality.
Tales of monks kissing laywoman frightened me. I wanted nothing more than safety. This empty bus was frightening me too. Was it my imagination or could I feel the voracious looks these two guys were eyeing me with? I swallowed hard and tried to comfort myself.
The sun had just set, I had just missed the early bus at 7 am and took the one at 1 pm. I hadn’t thought about arriving in the dark in the middle of the Thai wilderness as a solo female traveler. It would take me twenty minutes to walk from the busstop to the monastery, the friendly guy I met at the coconut stand told me.
Finally, I arrived at the bus stop of Wat Tam Wua. One of the two guys in the bus disembarked together with me. He was a boy of around twenty-one years old. I had already asked the bus driver for directions and he had pointed at a road going inwards to the forest. A full moon hovered above the stunning natural landscape. Towering green mountains revealed a path lined with orange flags waving by daylight, now they were colored purple.
The boy – as it was nothing but a boy to me – grinned at me and I spoke English to him “I’m going to Wat Tam Wua, it’s this way isn’t it?”. He replied in Thai and hand gestures which I understood as:”Yes this is the way, shall I walk with you?” I smiled broadly, naively thinking to myself this guy wants to accompany me in order to keep me safe from lurking fiends in the darkness. “Thank you for walking with me, I didn’t expect it to be dark when I arrived,” I say pointlessly as it is clear he doesn’t understand a word I say.
I kept my eyes on the road as he tried to strike up a conversation with me, he puts his two index fingers together in a motion which means something like “Are you together with someone?”. Apparently, this question is very interesting to him as he continues asking it, even though I didn’t really want to talk about it. I shake my head and just babbled on. “Oh wow, the moon is so beautiful.” and kept walking.
Then he extended his hand, trying to hold mine. I fumble his attempt, feeling wildly uncomfortable and giggle nervously. I say “I don’t want to hold your hand. No.” but my uncomfortable demeanor comes over as weakness. He tries again. This time grabbing not only my hand but my arm. And while I become stunned, stumbling as the weight of my huge backpack makes me almost drop, he pushes forward into the bushes, dragging me and pushing me down. Amidst the brambles and weeds, he sits on top of me as I struggle to get away, deterred by my backpack. He grabs me by the throat. His hands make the motions of trying to strangle me. But rather than a fear paralyzing my body, I feel horrendous rage overcoming me. I scream in my mother tongue, I attempt to lash out with my backpack bound hands and arms and then I sink my teeth deeply in the soft flesh of his hand, using all of my jaw strength.
I feel so powerful and although his actions are as if he is an experienced rapist, to me he is nothing but a sad little boy who has gone into a situation over his head. I want him to pee his pants from fear for me. I feel his trepidation, the lack of strength in his grip shows me his weakness and my vicious bite thankfully drives him away.
While he walks away to my disdain – I had much preferred he would have runned home to his mother – I bring myself upright with a struggle, all the while cursing and shouting at this bloke. Debating in my head whether I should chase him for revenge or go into safety, I choose the latter.