I woke up jumping. There were a bunch of guys arguing loudly in their language up there by the garage. May Linh was not in bed. I could smell the coffee. Was she in the garden? What time was it? And these guys up there screaming, or so it seemed. Then I heard May Linh’s voice from up there calling on me. Somehow she knew the noise had woken me up. “It’s my luggage’s delivery, don’t worry, I’ll handle it” she yelled. “Ha, Ok,” I yelled.
May Linh had arrived in my house by the beach two days ago and told me she’d had her luggage delivered. I didn’t think much of it. We had a contract that stated she was to be living nude with old Mr. Me and so far so good. Indeed, as a matter of fact, I thought it was a good idea she had her luggage delivered. I would have been ridiculous trying to move a canteen at the train station.
So I went to the toilet and had a shit. On the clock, it said 8:30 am. 8:30 am!!! What the fuck? I was rarely in a good mood this kind of early. So I was sitting there and I could still hear a bunch of guys screaming and yelling in their own language. All this racket for luggage? What the hell? So I wiped, washed my hands and went back to the bedroom to put on my shorts and a T-shirt then I went up the path to the garage to see what was up.
There was a white flatbed truck, and a grey van parked behind it. There were at least ten of those guys, all of them talking at the same time and, among them, May Linh, all that in their own lingua. When I saw her I went blank for a second. She was wearing the dark dress I knew but she was wearing it this time over a black blouse with ample sleeves and with a black belt. She had pulled her hair back hard in a ponytail and that gave her a look of authority that all those guys seemed to mind. And she was wearing her rubber boots! And, on the truck’s flatbed, there was a grand piano! A grand piano!!!! What the fuck!
When she saw me, May Linh waved at me. “Hello Mr. You,” she said. I saw a bit of concern over her face. Then all of those guys saw me and they all stopped talking at once and were now staring at me. ‘Do you want me to bend over?’ I thought, sarcastically.
“Hello,” I said to everybody.
“So this is your luggage, a grand piano????” I asked May Linh and there was some impatience in my voice.
“Yes,” she said, adding in a hurry “and now we don’t know how to get it in the house because it can only get in through the front porch. They want to take it around the house and take it down to the beach by the shower but I think it’s too steep and they pretty much agree to that so we don’t know what to do.” So I knew the price of coffee.
“Well,” I said, impatient again, “seems to me that, if they can carry the piano about 200 m through the jungle to the guest house, then they can use the existing path back to the house. It’s a gentle slope and they’ll easily reach the front porch.” Indeed, the fact is that, from the garage, one can’t see the guest house hidden by the vegetation but it is there and, to me, it didn’t seem too hard to get to it.
“That’s what I thought they should do,” May Linh said.
And she turned around and went to talk to this guy. I knew now who was boss of this brigade. He went to get a machete, gave orders to his crew, and followed her. When I saw May Linh trek through the forest I understood why she was wearing those rubber boots, snakes, and all these guys wearing tongs and that’s why they were reluctant and that’s why she had to open the way through there. ‘One small woman in rubber boots leading ten strong guys in tongs’, I thought. I was wearing tongs…
Anyway, guys were now busy taking the piano down from the truck, talking a language I didn’t understand the first word. I figured it would take them a while to get to the front porch and I somehow trusted May Linh to get her piano in there in one piece. So I went back inside.
Once in the kitchen, I knew it was too early for me to eat anything but I filled a cup of coffee and went to the front porch. I could hear them all yelling above the house although I couldn’t see them. There I smoked a cigarette and looked at the ocean. It felt different, the light, the feel of the waves, and I knew it was because it was the first time I was seeing it so early in the morning. So I went to swim.
When I came back, I saw they hadn’t reached the guest house yet so I took a quick shower outside then went inside to put clothes on. Again I wondered if it was such a good idea to have taken all doors down, I didn’t like too much the idea of a bunch of guys coming into my home. I had another cup of coffee and a cigarette on the porch. I could hear their progress. They would have to walk right by the garden.
Then I decided to go out and left through the back porch and got on the motorbike. I figured I didn’t have to tell anything to May Linh, that she would see the bike was gone. I drove through the jungle then through the village and went to the resort. Once there, I headed to the restaurant and bar, a place called the Lemon Tree, in English.
The bartender and owner, an Australian guy by the name of Carter, knew me already.
“Mr. You,” he said with a friendly smile, “what brings you here so early?”
“I was out of coffee and once I was in the village I figured I might as well have a coffee here,” I said.
“Ok, a cup of coffee for Mr. You. Do you want it with a chaser?” he asked, amused.
“Cream and sugar,” I said. Indeed Irish coffee would have probably been helpful, I thought.
There was hardly any one there yet so we shot the breeze with Carter. Then, around noon, I had a ‘Californian sandwich’ – what a joke! – with a beer. The place was filling up for lunch and waitresses started to get busy. The waitresses were all white, young and, I suppose, sexy girls. I knew how they would look like twenty years from now. The locals were in the kitchen, or were busboys or janitors. I knew some local maids were now prepping the rooms, and happy to have a job with that. Carter was busy but I didn’t need to look him up to get my beers.
Some tourists, a man and a woman with kids, Germans I think, asked me if I lived here – how could they tell? – and if I could tell them of a good place to visit. I told them to walk a mile in any direction out of the resort and take any path or biddy road they would find and to look around, that they would see peasants at work in the fields, paddies, farms, small hamlets or fishermen’s wives scaling today’s catch, or awesome bits of forest with snakes in them. “It’s all there for you to see and that will probably be the best souvenirs that you’ll ever have from this vacation,” I said. I was sincere and being nice.
I guess the male tourist wasn’t expecting this answer and I guess he didn’t like the tone of it or he didn’t like my accent. “Where are you from Sir?” he asked, with disdain on his face. OK asshole. “I’m French,” I said. I saw that, to him, this explained it all. He was waiting for me to ask him where he was from but I knew already and didn’t care. Indeed, the kids and wife were already tired of exotics. “Let’s go to the pool,” the kids were asking and you knew that’s what the wife wanted too, that the idea of walking a bit outside of the resort was too much of an adventure for her. Locals don’t even wear deo, I could hear her think. And he, poor fuck, going “yes dear”. He had tried and given it up all in one motion. Just like me before.
“You’re in a bad mood?” Carter asked.
“I guess,” I said.
Once lunch service was over, we played backgammon with Carter. He’s a good player but I won most of the games and that got me free beer.
By the time I came back home, it was dark outside and I was happy to find the house lit although, save of course for the ruckus of the forest’s bugs, it was utter silence. I grabbed a beer in the kitchen, took a leak on the way and went to the front porch. May Linh was there, nude I could tell, sitting in an armchair, reading. There were candles on the tables. I had seen the piano in the living room. I lit a cigarette, sat in my armchair and looked out at the ocean. May Linh waited a little bit but, as I wasn’t saying anything, she put her book down on the table and got up. She moved slowly enough that I could get a good look at her. Then she went inside. And, few seconds later, I heard the first notes.
And, just like that, there was enchantment. I couldn’t believe it. May Linh was playing and her music – classical music – was suddenly filling the whole house, and the beach, and the forest, and the sea. All of a sudden there was this piano and the music was overwhelming and all of a sudden I was submerged with emotions. At some point the sound of music was so pure and so unexpected in those circumstances I felt a swell of sensations, like crying but with no tears. I resisted the urge to get up and go inside. Instead I closed my eyes and I could feel the notes escaping this house, escaping this ocean, escaping this planet and reaching the stars, where aliens live, just so they wouldn’t be gone forever in outer space.
I remained in this kind of stupor for I don’t know how long – May Linh hadn’t missed a beat – but I finally got up and went in. She had her back to the bay window, as to get the light on the keys during the day I guess. She must have sensed me coming in because she stopped playing.
Then she said: “This was Chopin.” And she closed the lid.
I understood. ‘Ok May Linh, relax’, I wanted to say, because, after hearing her play, I knew now this piano of hers was not a whim. I didn’t say anything though, I just stood there, watching her back.
“My dad had a hard time saving the piano,” she said, not turning around, still seated on her stool. And she was nude although I could only see black hair and the small of her back. “We had to hide it, and it remained hidden many years in the basement of our little house. I couldn’t play it of course. Even my husband never knew of it. Now times have changed and I can play again.”
I remembered her story, how the Party took away her father’s fortune. I remembered the piano lessons and the English lessons. If her piano playing was as good as her English, then she was good, very good. I would never know because I’m no musician but it seemed to me that she could play. At least her music did something to me and that was already plenty as far as I was concerned. And her English was incredible, probably better than mine now that I thought of it.
“I’m going to bed now,” she said.
“Ok,” I said and it was the first word I had pronounced since coming back. So I went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer. Coming back, she was washing her teeth and I got a good look at her nude body. In the mirror, she saw me looking but averted my eyes. This too was a first.
So I went to the porch and waited until the house was still. I finished my beer and went in. I too went to wash my teeth. I had seen her, in the middle of the bed, laying on her left side. I washed my hands real good, turned off the light and went to bed.
I slid under the sheet. She had her back turned to me.
“Can I sleep tomorrow morning or do I have to be prepared for more luggage?” I asked.
“You’ll be able to sleep tomorrow morning,” she answered.
“Thanks for the piano,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” she said.
So I put my hand on her shoulder, smelled her hair and felt her warm body. I caressed her and when I reached her ass, buttocks didn’t squeeze. She moved her right leg a bit to open up and I gently massaged the lower edge of her sex for a while. It got a bit wet. So I wetted her anus with it. I felt her tighten up, then relax. So I gently massaged her butthole until I felt it opening up a bit and starting to aspire my finger. So I fondled May Linh just a little, staying on the edge. I gladly realized that I was starting to control my brain’s stealth explosions. It was awesome.
Then I pulled slowly my hand back up and over and caressed her belly and then I moved up to her breasts. She moved her right arm so I could do so. This was the first time I could touch her breasts. It was as firm as I had guessed. So I grabbed one tit full in my hand, put my nose in her hair, pulled my body up next to hers and that’s how we went to sleep.
“So this was Chopin!” is the last thing I thought.
Next episode: May Linh gets busy, Adam sits still
Previous episode: Adam wonders if those rubber boots are going to walk right over him
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