Kultida Boutique Guesthouse
“Just a lime soda please. I am strict with myself and refrain from any liquor. The thought of drinking it makes me eerily nervous. Trust me, liquor doesn’t do us any good! ….Why? You may well ask. … Let me tell you a tale!! ... Believe it or not, it’s up to you. But l tell you this, it happened; it happened to me! Even now just thinking about it in order tell you, this eerie feeling creeps over my body and makes me shiver even though it was quite some years ago.”
I came to Bangkok from my country home, to sit for an exam to get myself certified as an art guide. I had booked my accommodation in a three-story house right in the middle of the city; very close to the public subway and sky train. It was a perfectly suitable location for me to easily get to the institution for the exam. Next to it was a large green area, which was called ‘Lumpinee Public Park’. All of it was a perfect fit for my taste and budget. I had received the booking confirmation, and was standing in front of the door. I pressed a key code and entered the blue steel fence, as I had been instructed by Khun Max, who I guessed was a young man about the same age as I was at the time. He had written that the house was inherited from his mother in law. He was proud of its beauty and he had decided to keep it, and rent it out during the time he was completing his education abroad.
He had said there would be a housemaid to do daily cleaning, and miscellaneous maintenance was organized on a regular basis; and had wished me a pleasant stay.
I had asked for a favour to pay in cash instead of using a credit card, as I possessed none. He had agreed, and instructed me to hand it over to a housemaid when checking out.
It was a nicely shaded house with a garden. Inside, the lobby was decorated with an old-style chandelier, and various paintings hung on the walls. I walked upstairs to the second level, where I found the single fully furnished room that I booked as advertised on a website, with a garden-view window. A door key was placed on a bench inside. On the same level I also found a larger room with the door shut, and a shared bathroom, which looked quite spacious and clean.
Later I went to the institution to enrol myself for the exam which was scheduled to be in the next couple days. I then spent the rest of the day with a good colleague from Bangkok. He showed me around the city and some of its sites; various temples, national museums, and art conventions, before having our purchased packed meals in the Lumpinee public garden.
I enjoyed the day despite having some anxiety for the soon-to-come exam. In this house, it was very comfortable. The landscape of its garden was filled with plants of various kinds. Even though the area was limited, it was well designed. Flowers and rows of bushes were all around a small pond, with a cute running fountain in the middle. Over one side of the house, there was a small breed of a banyan tree, of which the branches and air roots occupied a third of the garden area. Sounds of birds were in the air, giving me an emotion as if I were home.
At the hour of dusk, garden lights were automatically turned on, bringing rays of yellow-green gleams here and there. I observed some reflected sculptures. There was a black tiger that stood calmly near the front, a pair of egrets mounted at the centre of the pond, and an outdoor couch over at the side of the house.
In front of the couch stood a carved white marble statue of a lady wearing thin layers of satins. Once I came nearer I had this intense feeling that the sculpture was hauntingly life-like with an exquisite looking face and hand gesture. I sat down on the couch, taking a closer look. Her eyes looked directly down upon me. Her charming face held a trace of a smile and I could sense such kindness that I wanted to caress her face and I had this feeling and that at any moment she would reach out and touch me.
I took a bath, did my laundry, and hung up the clothes. Before going to bed, a foreigner showed up from the larger room on the same floor. He and I greeted each other and spoke for a moment. I learned his name was Tomas, from Poland, and he was going out for dinner. His time here had been such a pleasure that he planned to extend his stay for several weeks.
I slept well enough that night, though some sounds of rain and talking were perceived, as well as a bang of a closing door during the night. It must have been the long day I had had.
When I came back that second day it was late. The house, both inside and outside was clean.
The housemaid must have come and done her daily tasks.
I planned to sleep early for a fresh mind and brain, since I had to ready myself for the exam the next day. But that wasn’t easy; I couldn’t sleep. It could have been the anxiety of my impending exam
With nothing better to do, I went down to relax in the garden. Night birds singing came from the bushes near the place. The night was filled with clear air and wind. I walked around till I stopped at the couch in front of the statue. There she was, the beautiful young lady. I examined her thoroughly touching her body. This masterpiece was created by the hand of a real expert. The smoothness and delicacy were all displayed in every aspect of her body. The arm sleeve bored a letter, K. and below it there was a signature beginning with a P. I imagined the K could for ‘Kultida’, as was the name of the guesthouse, and the signature with the P could be the name of the creator of the masterpiece which had me mesmerised and spellbound.
I prayed to myself while staring at her, ‘May the flawless curves of your body that ignites my appreciation and stirs my emotions bless me with the best during my exam.
The night was so restful and dreamy. My dream was filled with the beautiful smiling marble face, then rain began to pour down. When I woke up it was the time I heard a loud bang of a door or was it a window?
It was the right time to hurry up. I had to start getting ready to go out.
My friend and I enjoyed the evening at a shopping complex in the city and had a good dinner; it was already quite late at night when I got back to the lovely house.
I connected internet, and booked a plane ticket to my home. The flight was going to be in the early next morning. I realized that the cash payment for the house was to be handed to the housemaid, but I wouldn’t be able to meet her in time. So, I wrote an email to Khun Max, the owner, as to whether or not I could place it somewhere in my room.
I waited till he replied. ‘In this case I hope you can insert it under the door of the large master room on the third floor upstairs. It was my mother-in-law’s, and I keep it for my private items. Only the maid can unlock the door to get the money. I will send her a message informing her’
The room was dimly lit, showing large area consisting of a bed and other carved wood furniture. This no doubt was the nicest room in the house kept private for the owner. The mattress was tidily laid with bed sheet and untouched blanket. The clean floor had a faint bit of dust. Once in a while it might be cleaned by the maid.
On one wall a full body-size mirror was fixed. The wall on the other side had a closed window with curtains. A corridor was there on the other side, and I could see no one. A dressing table was laid with some cosmetics, and next to it, there was a shelf with various kinds of drinks in bottles from which to select and several glasses.
I could not stop from succumbing to temptation and took a crystal glass and poured myself a brandy from an already-opened bottle. The taste was wonderful. While having another sip of it, above the shelf, my eyes fell upon a big painting. It was a lady’s portrait. I looked at the face; and I was looking at the face of the carved sculpture beauty in the garden that mesmerised me. She was sitting with her legs crossed and with a broad cheerful smile. The picture was perfect and life-like, even though some minor touching up was noticeably unfinished. I stood still drinking and admiring it, soaking in what I saw on the picture for so long, until I heard a sound. People were coming.
With excitement, the first movement I made was to immediately hide, in the corner on the side of a closet, feeling embarrassed to be present in a room of others having shamefully poured myself a drink from their selection of drinks.
The strangers coming inside were the same well-dressed young man in white and the pretty lady I saw the night before. He slowly carried her in his arms, closed the door, before laying her down gently down on the bed. He kissed her (actually both kissed each other), with laughter and some talking. I was hiding in agitation, and hoped to find the right moment to get out. Holding a half filled brandy glass, made it a difficult for me to appear on the scene and announce that my being in their room was a mistake. I was looking for a space to place my glasses, when I stopped instantly the moment I saw what was in the mirror. The lady face was so familiar. There was no mistake, I knew; she was the one I had been looking at and dreaming on a few moments before.
“Come on Kul let’s get it done” I heard the man’s voice.
As requested, the lady sat down on a chair, crossed legs, and smiled. It was the prettiest smile that I had ever seen.
The man took one picture frame on a stand, which I was not sure when and where it had been there before. He began performing the painting work. All the while, they were talking and laughing… so happily. I knew the man’s name coming from her lips, it was ‘Prin’.
I was so frightened. On the contrary, I found the face of the lady was not showing any concern or expression of alarm. It looked as if there was a ‘Mona Lisa’ smile on her lips. At the same time her hands were caressing the man’s hair and shoulders passionately, as if all would be fine.
She then got up and walked to open the window. The noise of the rain was getting louder, and wind blowing in. She said something to Prin, who I saw now in the mirror laying still on the bed but the words were not audible to me; then I saw that she was half way climbing
Without hesitation I sprang out of the corner, shouted directly to her in the mirror, “No...! Stop! ………………………………………”
When I turned to the actual window, what was there froze my eyes and my whole body. The window was completely shut with curtains all in place. I looked at the bed it was empty and well arranged. His body gone.
Not any sound of the rain or anything. All was quiet. The only sound was the wetting in my pants. I started for the door. The knob, however, would not open, at the same time, the room went black. I shouted, and fainted.
......Consciousness came to me when there was someone knocking at the door. I met the Russian who must have been awakened, or interrupted in the night, asking me what the matter was.
I gave no answer but thanked him, and rushed down immediately, grabbed my bags from my room, and ran all the way out to the gate. It was the start of dawn. I did not forget to close the gate, and when I did so, my sight went straight toward my beloved carved sculpture. I turned away from it. Up above it to the third floor of the house, the window was right there, fully closed.
My compliments to Mr Bruce Bonny for the English version.