As I travel to the little village of Kampong Lorong Buangkok for a new project, I’m not expecting much except for friendly neighbors and a cheap place to stay. I don’t expect to learn some life lesson about the importance of living in simplicity or how to be grateful for what I have. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve just heard it countless times, so it kind of loses a little meaning. I’m a journalist for a major travel website, and they wanted a look at the “elusive” kampong.
“Elusive” isn’t the way to describe it, it’s just tiny. There’s about thirty people who don’t do much except live their quiet lives and are content with it. There isn’t some kind of secret or crazy strange society lurking within the bounds of the village. Unfortunately, people just cannot fathom that a “unique” place can be normal, thus I am here, just so they can learn that it’s not exciting, and I can learn nothing.
I get off bus 103 late in the day when the sky starts to glow a salmon color and all the bugs of the night come out to sing and eat me alive, cross the bridge, and follow the road to my new little temporary place.
I’m only a little nervous because these people don’t like everyone bothering them or treating them like animals in a zoo just because they live in the last kampong in Singapore. Why people actually board planes to come here to walk through a village where the most exciting thing you might see is an old person waving at you is beyond me. I get it, it’s still standing strong against all odds and all, but I don’t get why people spend actual money to get here. There used to be tons of floods so they built a canal. That didn’t work. Then someone was going to spend $10 million to create a drainage system, but the government decided the 30-ish residents weren’t worth it and denied it, so now there’s tons of floods again. It’s truly an illustrious history.
A tall, tan man who can’t be more than thirty-five greets me at the Kampong border. I’m surprised that he’s not Singaporean or old like I expected everyone to be here. He’s wearing a t-shirt that appears to have once been gray with khaki cargo shorts that fit him all too well. His body is masculine, with a thick neck and broad shoulders and arms and a smaller waist with strong legs. He walks briskly to me and grabs a couple of bags off my arms.
“Welcome to the village, I’m Peter. I’m your new roommate Follow me.”
A small trickle of sweat drips from my bra down to my jeans, tickling a little as it slides down. The only people who find DD’s to be a ‘blessing’ are the people who don’t have them. Of course I have to be disgusting at this moment. I have a gallon’s worth of under-boob sweat and this poor, strikingly handsome man with the voice that could charm a hundred fishes out of water has to witness it.
“What’s your name?” he asks, guiding me through the little run down Kampong.
“Arielle.” I say.
All the houses have open gates and open doors. A small older lady waves and Peter shouts, “Hey, Mrs. Goh!” She smiles and it makes me smile.
We walk up to a tiny house and up the steps through the open door. He shows me a small empty room except for a twin bed and says, “Home sweet home”.
I never thought I’d be so excited to have a tiny window air conditioner. I ask why he’s alone and he explains that his mother and father adopted him from America when he was young but they were older when they adopted him and passed away a few years ago. He helps his neighbors with their yard work and house maintenance and explains that his dirt stains are from a runaway chicken he had to chase down and tackle. After the explanation, he helps me unpack my few things (mostly notebooks) and he leaves me to unpack, offering to share a drink with me later. I politely decline with the excuse that I have tons to start writing tonight. I’m not sure how he believes me because he walked me through the village; he has to know there’s nothing to write about. I’m actually just nervous to drink around anyone else. I have a habit of not keeping my hands to myself or my clothes on my body when I’m inebriated. Which is terribly embarrassing, because I’m nothing like that sober.
The night passes and I manage to get even more sweaty. It’s after midnight and Peter and his brown eyes said goodnight about an hour ago. Brown eyes are so underrated. They’re deep and rich and always show emotion just a little more than other colors somehow. I ponder this across the minuscule living room and into the bathroom, locking myself in and immediately stripping. Peter has a full body mirror. I stop and look at myself. My horribly fried from college phases golden blonde hair with reddish brown roots peeking through, my huge thighs that get all jiggly when I walk, my boobs that aren’t cute and perky the way only girls with ant bites for tits have. My waist is tiny and curves into my humongous hips and thighs. I know I’m not fat, I’m ‘curvy’. My whole body can be comfortably used as a pillow because I’m soft and feminine. But guys like Peter don’t go for that, he would probably pick a model, a sexy woman. And like I said, I’m keeping my expectations low for my Romance In Kampong Lorong Buangkok.
Upon getting out of the cold and uncomfortably hard watered shower, I realize I forgot to bring a towel in. I would just call Peter to grab me one, but a) I just met him and b) he’s asleep. I peek my head out of the bathroom door to check if the coast is clear. I decide to make a break for my bedroom since it’s directly across the living room and hope nobody gets accidentally flashed. My plan works perfectly except for the part when I take two steps out and promptly slip and fall straight on my face and make as much noise as humanly possible. I am scared as I do not remember the last time I slipped so hard. Peter’s bedroom door handle turns and I silently curse the day I was born. He doesn’t skip a beat when he sees my body on display sprawled across his living room floor. He asks if I’m hurt in a voice that simultaneously calms me and wakes me up in too many ways. I reply, “No, I’m okay, sorry I woke you up.” He runs to his room and brings me back a towel. I wrap it over my dripping wet and probably bruised torso and thank him. He grabs my hand and pulls me up, bringing us chest to chest. I force myself to exhale and walk away. He couldn’t be interested in me. He held eye contact the entire time.
Monday morning is much less awkward than I expected. He has a way of making everything seem light and not very serious. He acknowledges what happened last night and then breezes right past it. He knows all too well that there might be some underlying tensions in the air but he chooses to ignore everything as if it never happened at all. I don’t even feel all that embarrassed. He introduces me to Mrs. Goh, a 75-year-old woman who’s been at the kampong since its beginning. She tells me the complete history and I trust her because she was there for it all. She asks if Peter and I are “going together”.
He immediately replies with a chipper, “Yes!”
I feel my face heat up but I go with it because Mrs. Goh is just so excited for the happy couple. After we leave I ask him what the hell that was and he laughs. I’m not complaining or anything, but he lied right to sweet Mrs. Goh’s face.
“No worries,” he said, “her lips are sealed.”
Upon leaving the house to begin yard work on Tuesday morning, we were bombarded by at least a third of the village about Peter’s “American girl”. Thanks a lot, big mouth Mrs. Goh. He proudly showed me off to everyone, not knowing much more than my name. He doesn’t even know that I’m 12 years younger than him, and nobody seems to care. I think this is the hottest the gossip gets in this town.
Wednesday is a new day. My fake boyfriend is out doing yard work and I have the day to myself to learn the town, tour guide free. I take pictures of the houses and trees that surround them. While I focus my camera, Peter approaches.
“Done already?” I ask. It’s only three.
“It’s not exactly the biggest neighborhood,” he replies in a cute-but-snarky tone. “Mind if I join you?”
I tell him that I don’t mind. I’m glad he’s with me. I don’t think I’d be able to lie to all these sweet people about our relationship status the way he does so casually. Our walk consists of learning the similarities and differences between us. He was adopted when he was only four, and raised by Singaporeans that loved him unconditionally and showed him a beautiful world before moving to this village, so he considers himself more Singaporean than American. I was raised by different Americans that didn’t care what I did with myself and showed me how to get in trouble before graduating high school, so I found a job that might be able to get me out. He learned how to speak Chinese and do honest work. I learned how to hate authority figures but I learned how to respect everyone else.
We keep walking in the wooded area for a while until I ask if we’re lost. Peter tells me not to worry because he knows the way back. He abruptly stops and whispers with a panic in his voice, “Don’t move.”
I look ahead. Some sort of cobra stays frozen in our path. Let me say here that I am irrationally afraid of snakes. No matter how small or “harmless” they may be. They strike fear into the core of my being. So, seeing one that can actually kill me is an entire new level of snake fear. I stay still, literally shaking in my boots. Peter reaches for a stick slowly. The snake doesn’t like that. It stands up, ready to attack. It races towards me and I can’t move. I’m going to get attacked. Peter swings the stick like a golf club in an attempt to send the snake flying away. It hits only the end of it and doesn’t slow it down much.
Peter lunges forward like a goalie, landing on the ground and grabbing the snake just inches from my feet. It flails around in his hand, ready to bite him. His reflexes are quick and he positions his other hand around the snake’s head, paralyzing it mid-bite attempt. He gets a running start and throws the killer snake as far as he can. I’m not sure if that’s the proper way to dispose of an evil cobra, but I’m not complaining.
The fear is keeping me frozen. Peter walks up to me cautiously. “Are you okay?” he asks with prevalent concern in his voice.
I feel hot tears running down my face and soon enough I’m sobbing right in front of him. I could have just died from my biggest fear. He softly envelops me in his strong and secure arms. He consoles me with whispers quiet enough that I can hardly hear them and gently sways me back and forth. The tears keep coming. I’ve never really been comfortable crying in front of anyone, even at weddings and funerals. But he makes it feel okay; natural even. I cry in his arms, soaking his shirt, but he doesn’t seem to mind. We stand together until I’m reduced to puffy eyes and tiny sobs. Peter guides me back through the thick woods until we’re back on the road to his house.
It’s almost completely dark out when we get arrive at the house. The thing about Kampong Lorong Buangkok is that the sky is clear. I’m sure it’s clearer elsewhere in the world, but coming from Bakersfield, California, it’s not hard to impress me. The sky is the deepest dark blue I’ve ever witnessed. These people with no other entertainment probably count stars every night just because they can. They’re simply radiant. The sky is reason enough to settle down here for life. If I wasn’t a journalist, I always thought I’d be a good astronomer. I’ve always been a little jealous of stars because they get to be so far away from Earth. I catch myself staring and probably looking ridiculous and head inside the almost always open door.
Peter wraps me up in the warmest blanket I’ve ever felt. He guides me to the couch in the living room and puts his arm around me.
“At least while you’re here,” he whispers, “nothing bad is going to happen to you.” I don’t remember anything after that.
I wake up in my bed. I smile at the thought of us. We’ve spent a lot of time talking in the past few days. Our fake relationship feels good to think about. It seems like it could be real. He’s an extrovert with love to spare for every person he meets. I choose too carefully who is allowed in my social life, and even more importantly, my love life. It’s like every brick wall that I’ve taken my entire life to construct get instantly converted to dust when he’s around. I wonder if he feels the same about me or if he just has caretaker instincts.
Makeup has never been my best friend, but I know a couple of tricks to make myself appear a little better than average. I’m trying extra hard today. I’m not sure why I care so much now. Maybe it’s the way he treated me after the snake mishap. I’ve never in my life had someone care for me besides myself. Independence was my only option. It feels good to be taken care of, even if it was just that one time. I hope he tells me how he feels or even just make it a little more obvious. Nobody has time to play around with relationships anymore, and I especially don’t have the patience for one.
The day goes by quickly and easily, I mostly stay inside to prepare my questions for tomorrow. Peter comes home to get various things to help him throughout the day.
I wake up Friday morning prepared to interview the people of Kampong Lorong Buangkok with Peter as my tour guide. By the end of the day, I learned exactly what I expected. They’re regular people who are grateful for their minimalistic lives. Oh, and they don’t want to be bothered by journalists with their intrusive questions. They were friendly, of course. But the questions I had to ask to satisfy the insatiably curious internet were damn near degrading. I just wanted to tell them that I promise I don’t care that much.
By night, I hate myself more than I already did. I think I’m ready to accept his offer for that drink. We sit on the couch in the living room together, sipping on whiskey and Cokes, talking about everything. He laughs so deeply that I keep making an idiot of myself just to hear it. I tell him about my insecurities because I know I can and he slides closer to me.
“We’ve been together for quite some time,” he smiles.
“Shut up,” I say, trying to beg him with my eyes the way the pretty girls do in movies.
Whatever I did works and he kisses me with his mouth closed, sucking ever so slightly on my bottom lip. He pulls me up to his lap and I feel my face heating up. I’m still sweaty from the day and so is he, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He picks me up and carries me to the Queen sized bed in his room, kissing my neck the whole way. I try not to let out more than tiny moans. I can’t let him know this is all I wanted from the second I saw him. He lays me on the bed and I’m amazed at his strength. He bites my lip and I let out a moan louder than I expected to, so he does it again. My shirt comes off and Peter works his way down to my pillowy tits with his mouth. He slides his hand under my shirt and unclasps my bra in one swift movement. His tongue is soft and he doesn’t push it hard against my skin. I catch my breath when he does a tiny bite against the sensitive skin of my nipple, but it feels so good. He’s circling the left one with his thumb and working the right with his warm mouth.
I can feel myself getting wetter as he does his magic tricks on my nipples like he’s some sort of expert. His right hand dances down my torso and unbuttons my pants and slides them down off of me. My underwear is soaked through; I can’t help how bad my whole body wants his. He rubs in soft little circles through the thin cloth. I try to touch the impressive bulge in his jeans, but he holds both of my wrists in his hand and pins them above my head, firmly but not forcefully. He pushes my underwear to the side and slowly slides one finger into me. He gently bites my neck and goes faster and faster. I’m not sure what he does with his hand, but it takes my breath away and I feel like some sort of floodgates are about to bust.
He whispers, “That’s it, you can do it babe,” in my ear and I let my body take over with a big shudder of wet pleasure.
Peter smiles at me and lets go of my wrists. He picks me up again and takes me into the bathroom. I take his shirt off and unbutton his jeans and I feel his penis bulge. He slides my underwear off and smiles.
“Look in the mirror,” he says. I look at the reflection of my naked body. “Look at how beautiful.”
I smile at him and turn the shower on. It’s hard to disagree with a man like that. The warm water feels so much better than usual on my skin. Peter joins me in the shower and I’m awestruck at how handsome he really is. He pours some soap into his hand and massages my body. His hands slip and slide down me and he gets on his knees. When I rinse the soap off, he pulls me close, gripping the back of my thighs. He kisses up my thighs to my tight pussy that’s still recovering from mildly squirting into his palm. His mouth is on my clit and I’m begging for more and more. He scratches lightly down my back, stopping to slap and then squeeze my ass. “Oh, fuck,” I yell a little too loud and he thrusts his tongue deep into me. I come again for him, and he keeps licking.
He turns the shower off and leads me by the hand into his room again, still dripping wet. He tells me to get on my knees and bend over, then he holds my wrists behind my back in one hand and my hair in the other. The way he touches me doesn’t hurt at all. He spits into his hand and rubs the hole that’s already producing enough lubricant for a while.
Peter doesn’t mindlessly fuck me. He teases me with just the tip until I’m begging and my legs are shaking. He asks if I’m ready to take it and I beg him to give me everything and he shoves his entire cock into me. I scream into the pillow because I’ve never felt anything that big and warm inside me. His erection feels like it’s pulsing, stretching my tight, wet pussy as far as it can go. As he thrusts deeper and faster, he pulls my hair, making me scream for him. He grabs my hips and fucks me harder from behind until we both cum, gasping for air.
He lays down next to me and I collapse, out of breath on his bed next to him. As I listen to the rhythmic breathing of Peter, watching his sculpted chest rise and fall rhythmically, my thoughts suddenly go sour. I watch Peter sleeping, his face drawn in a half-smirk, the face of blissful serenity. Suddenly I envy him. His mind does not torture him with a thousand random thoughts, pulling obligations, fear of failure, nagging obligations. Peter holds none of it. It is as if he went through life like a stone in the river, letting it all pass by him. Not me though, I was more like a sponge. I just couldn’t let things go.
I can feel the guilt building inside me. For a moment, Peter’s face looks like my husband’s, a thought that feels like a blade thrust in my guts. I try to think about what my husband looks like. I have only been in the village for a short time, but it feels as though I am a different person than when I began. Normally I am quite the workaholic. I like to bury myself in work, as it is a good way for me to forget my troubles. Now though, my notepads lay dormant. As guilty as I am, it begins to mix with a feeling of anxiety, anxiety and pure, animalistic lust. My tormented mind longs for a release. All I can think about is climbing back onto Peter’s sculpted body and riding him until the blissful fleeting orgasm wipes my mind free of thought.
It is then that I begin to think. When I first came to this village, all I could think was how small it was, how pitiful. I used to feel sorry for the people here too. Yet deep down, angry. How could they be so stupid? To let their lives be so crude, so simple. Lying there though, next to Peter, watching him sleep guiltlessly through the hot night, made me realize something. I was the idiot. In a week’s time I would leave this small village, go back to the big city, where I am told by others and where I tell myself that the hustle and bustle is comforting. After watching the way the people here work though, how they don’t hesitate to give a helping hand. The way they give without hesitation, live without pride. It is the most liberating feeling I have ever had.
Modern society has told me my entire life who I had to be, what kind of job I should have, how I should look, eat, feel. Here there is none of that. Here you were whatever you felt like being, even if it was just for that day. It was in that moment that I realized I was the idiot. I would never find the same peace that Peter had. I could never surrender my worldly possessions, my pride, to live a life free of fear. My pride is my prison. As I pack my things quietly, ready to return to a life of lies and masks, the only one I know, I realize that I do have a story to tell. The story here is not about some flood, but of a resilient people, one that learned how to live a life of simplicity, of quiet dignity.
They freed themselves from modern misconceptions. The people here never pretended to be something they were not. They simply were, simply are. So that was my story, the story of how the self-centered westerner was humbled, and shown a life free of shackles, of self-perceived shackles. With that thought I rouse Peter from his sleep once more and grab his throbbing cock. He smiles in the darkness. One more time I take him, getting one more taste of a wild freedom I have never known. That was my Romance In Kampong Lorong Buangkok.