Usually deep, dark secrets take a few meetings before being revealed. Not this time.
I had been living and traveling abroad solo for about six months. I had almost recovered from a broken foot. I had just ended my two-year relationship. I was ready to explore a new place, prance around on two feet again, and start dating again. So, I did. He turned out to be a killer.
* * *
I landed in Thailand from a girls’ trip to Singapore. I don’t mean to sound boujee when I say this. So, let me give a quick back story: I was living in Vietnam where I met someone who would turn out to be a life-long friend who also lived in Vietnam. Her friend came to visit her for a vacation and we took a trip together to Singapore. From Singapore, we went our separate ways. Since Thailand was a very cheap flight ($60) and I could hide out on a beach while my broken foot healed, that’s where I went.
Okay, back to the story. Once I landed, I settled into a hotel for a few days to work (as an online English teacher). While in this hotel, hiding out, unable to really walk, especially with luggage, I made a post on a Facebook page for the area I was staying: “Can anyone recommend a beach close by that’s fairly easy to get to that I can just lay on while my foot heals?” One old guy commented: “Koh Jim, you won’t want to leave.” After I made a little cash, I hopped in a long tail boat to Koh Jum. He was right. I didn’t want to leave. I laid on a beach, crutch (left one in Vietnam to put pressure on myself to walk because that how broken bones work?) beside me while eating Thai and sleeping in a room with no a.c. or warm water for 10 days. It was amazing. I read several books, I meditated and journaled every day, and I became buds with a 65-year-old couple from the U.K.
After 10 days, I was adamant to continue my adventures so I hopped back on the boat to town. Once I arrived at my hostel, I immediately took a warm shower, threw on clothes, and hobbled with my crutch to the closest bar. I propped myself down on a barstool and ordered a beer. Then another. I met a couple of girls, chatted with them for a little bit, then the live band came on.
He was singing and playing guitar up on that stage. I ordered another beer. I’m still not sure if he really was real easy on the eyes (and ears), I was bored of being cooped up, I was looking for a rebound, the beer was talking, OR all of the above. But, in any case, I sat right there listening to the tunes and sipping my beer. At set break, low and behold, this man walked over and sat down beside me. He introduced himself, I introduced myself, and we had a drink together and chatted. When it was time for him to go back on, he asked what my plans were and if I wanted to continue chatting after the music was over. I did.
We had a fun night. We walked over to another bar and talked for hours. In this time I learned a few things: he was in a serious relationship back home (South Africa) that ended and he moved to Thailand where he played music with his band at local bars and events. (more about his past later…) He rode in the pedicab with me to my hostel, then back in the pedicab to his place. He seemed like a perfectly fun, pleasant, and very attractive gentleman.
So, when he got home and texted me saying how nice it was to meet me and that he’d like to go to the beach the next day, I agreed.
Meeting people that you click with while solo traveling is one of the best parts of the whole adventure. When it comes to solo travel, I often get asked if it’s scary. Well, no, not really and I sure as hell am not going to live life in fear. I am also a smart girl who makes fairly responsible choices. Or at least I try to, which means being cautious of people I spend time with.
Anyways, when you meet someone on a solo trip and you’re into them on a deeper level and the feeling seems mutual, that’s a huge plus. This was new territory for me too because, as I said, I had been in a long-distance relationship for most of my time abroad so I had not been dating at all.
* * *
The next morning he picked me up, I hopped in his car, and we went to lunch. Thai food is my favorite so him taking me to a delicious local Thai lunch spot gave him a few more points. At lunch, laughs were plentiful and the conversation was great.
Then, things changed.
At some point, he casually asked: “What is the most traumatizing thing that has happened to you?” Well, okay, that’s a little deep for a first date but I appreciate it when conversations go past the surface. So, I answered: “My dad unexpectedly passed away when I was nine years old.” As one would do, I asked what his answer to the same question was. Let me just say, it was VERY apparent that he asked me that question so that he could answer it. I got a quick “oh, sorry” to my response before he answered the question.
His response was much more interesting.
“I hit a person with my car and they died.”
This is when my first date abroad got real interesting.
“Well, I was driving home from my girlfriend’s house late at night. It was very dark. All of a sudden a girl was crossing the street on foot. The next thing I knew, I heard a crash. I slammed on breaks and she was on the ground. There was blood everywhere. She was definitely dead. So, I kept driving.”
“I’m sorry. You did what?”
“I had to. In South Africa, you don’t get out of a car at night, especially on that road, and definitely not when it’s that dark.”
“But, you ran over a human.”
“But, I also had marijuana in my car.”
“But, you ran over a human.”
“I know. I ended up feeling so bad by the time I got home that I called my girlfriend crying. She instantly told her mom. Her mom said I had to go to the police.”
“Well, I’m glad someone thought of that.”
“I went to the police and the accident had already been called in so they recommended I drive back to the scene.”
“And they just let you leave?”
“Yeah, I drove to the scene and told them it was me. They saw how distraught I was and they asked me to come in for questioning. I did. But, then they let me go. It was clearly an accident.”
“But you drove off. What if you could have saved her life by getting help sooner?”
“You’ve never accidentally done something awful?”
“Hmmm. Let me think. No. Not that bad.”
* * *
When I felt plenty sick to my stomach and very clear that this wasn’t quite a big deal to him, I went silent.
Do I find some random ride home from this beach in Thailand that is not a touristy area, where I see no marked cabs? Do I hide till he leaves then figure it out? Do I play it safe (hopefully) and stay till it’s time for him to take me back and never speak to him again?”
I went with option number 3.
We paid for our meal, I sat in confusion, we walked over to the sand (from our beachside lunch spot), and we laid on the beach for a short time. I couldn’t take it any longer and told him I needed to head back.
He quickly got up and helped me gather our stuff, no questions. Maybe he made up that whole story to get rid of me fast (I sure hope so) or maybe he just knew that after you tell your date you killed someone that the date would end short. Either way, he drove me to my hostel and asked what time I’d be ready. (Before his confession, we made plans to see another band play that night.). I told him a time, anything to get out of there. I jumped out of the car. I texted him and said I wasn’t quite interested in seeing or speaking with him anymore.
I blocked his number. I blocked him from finding me on social media. And, I checked out of that hostel the next morning. I never heard a word from the Thailand band boy killer again. I don’t even remember his name.