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This is my love poem to the wonderful, sexy, lovely, amazing, spectacular, shy, wild, passionate, inhibited, deeply contradictory women of Indonesia, and to the wonderful land of Indonesia itself.
It is written in prose, but it has bits of attempted poetry and, I hope, moments of shining poetry. I wish I had the talent to be a true poet.
Everything in this book, from people to places and events, is fiction.
It is also all still completely true.
Sometimes I’m very ashamed of what I did.
Sometimes I wish I had done everything different.
Sometimes I think I could never do anything any different.
God knew what I would do.
He is always watching, even when we are not listening.
Beginning at the End
She was crying…
Her emotion was flowing out of her, erupting, gushing, overflowing, spilling out of her uninterrupted. I don’t think she could have stopped crying, talking, or pouring out her emotions even if she wanted.
She cried like a child who has just lost her parents. She cried like a young mother who has just lost her child.
She did not cry like an old woman who lost her husband. Her loss was not one she expected, and she did not have the comfort of a long life together. Her loss was that of losing a chance at that long life together.
She cried like a woman who has just lost the love of her life. I was that to her, and I didn’t deserve it.
I had never before in my life been the target and lucky recipient of such unabashed, unashamed, uncensored, un-self-conscious love.
Not from other women, not from girlfriends.
Not from my parents, not from brothers and sisters nor close friends.
Not even from an ex-wife.
This woman-child had known me less than a year, less than one twenty fifth of her life and one fortieth of mine, and yet she was giving me this life and love and life of love and love of life without shame or reserve, holding nothing back.
The best trained and most skilled stage or film actor at the finest heights of emotion to move an audience could not have been moved as much as I was moved now, and continue to be moved by the thought of it years later.
She was the love of my life…
I was hers…
…And we will never be together.
…And that is all my fault.