John was back in Kuala Lumpur (KL) for a month. It was yet another of his many trips to the city which he had learned to enjoy and relax in. Based in England where he grew up he regularly had to make this trip to follow up a project he was responsible for.
He used to say to his wife Ella that he needed a portion of warm weather with regular intervals, and as long as his employer paid for it he did not mind making the trip. She had gone there with him a couple of times but her job made it not possible for very long.
John liked KL and had learned to appreciate the cultural and culinary aspects of the city and Malaysia. He stayed in a hotel very centrally located, walking distance to many nice restaurants and to a big shopping mall. And as a bonus he had a direct view over to the Petronas Twin Tower which has a commanding location in the center of the city.
The afternoon after his arrival, fairly well rested after the long flight, he went to check with the concierge what events that might be on in the vicinity. Today one of them told him that there was a concert in the lounge in one of the hotels near by that very night. John decided to go there after dinner. This was a hotel he had heard of but never visited.
It was just a 10 minute walk to get there. After arriving in the main lobby he took the elevator up to the lounge which was located on the top floor. When exiting the the elevator he could easily hear the music and the singer. He just followed the sound and suddenly stood at the end of a huge hall almost the length of the building. This was the on the very top with the grandest view of Kuala Lumpur. In the large hall was an enormous swimming pool. The length of the pool ran almost the entire length of the floor. On each side of the pool there were large windows, and along them were little tables and seats for guests to sit with a drink or something to eat, and at the opposite end of the pool was a spacious area with the bar itself behind it. The view embraced almost 360 degrees of the center of the city and was just amazing.
In the area by the bar were more chairs and small tables, and in the corner a stage with space for a small orchestra.
The attraction tonight was the band located on stage, and their female singer. The band was a quartet consisting of piano, bass, drums and saxophone and they performed with excellence jazz songs from the late 40´s and 50´s. This choice seemed to go down well with the largely expat audience, which was sizeable.
John found himself a table fairly close to the stage. When the singer performed “My funny Valentine” he was really moved and impressed. She appeared to be a local Malayan, with a beautiful round face with eyes full of life and interest in the people around her. She was of medium height, and carried herself with grace and self confidence. His guess was that she was in her late twenties. She was brown-haired and shapely and had an air of sophistication and warmth, she had a beautiful singing voice and a very attractive smile. She was clearly an accomplished singer that engaged the audience while walking around while she sang.
John could not take his eyes off her. She may have noticed that, as suddenly she looked at him, stopped for a second and smiled to him, then moved on. He was hooked.
Then there was a intermission. He sat there innocently with his beer but looked at her as she finished the song. She looked at him again, he smiled and gave a small nod, and she walked over and sat down. He said
-Hello – I really like your singing.
She smiled and said -Thank you.
He asked -You must be a professional singer?
-Thank you, but no – I have a day time job and I do this some evenings.
Where are you from?.
-I live in England but am here for a few weeks on business.
Then they talked for a while about living in KL and what is was like to be a visitor.
She told him her name was Mahia.
The intermission was over, and she made her final performance that evening. When she was finished she actually started slowly making her way out after the applause, but John managed to catch her and asked if he could meet with her for lunch the following day. She accepted! He was thrilled but was not sure how exactly this would pan out.
He did not live there, was happily married at home, and had absolutely no reason to even consider starting a relationship with another woman apart from one thing: that he had become “infatuated”. So he did not want to think of anything else but an instant gratification during his short stay. From the moral side it was wrong enough to meet up with another woman for the reason of being hooked. Worse would be if it lead to a sexual relationship.
John simply did not want to consider these consequences. He thought that if his wife did not know then there would be no harm in going out with this very attractive girl.
But then there would be his conscience. He was not a person that did not care and who had been brought up with what he consider moral values that would kick in with regret and a bad conscience if he went through with a relationship with this girl.
However, he suppressed these thoughts and decided to go ahead.
Years ago he first met his wife Ella at work, where he was responsible for a construction project. She was the budget responsible at the client.
She was attractive enough but this being a professional relationship he did not think of it developing into something more. They got on well and worked well together, but that was the scope of their relationship for a long time.
Then he was posted overseas for 6 months and his replacement took over the day to day client communication which included Ella. They did not have any contact with each other in this time period.
When John came back, he returned to the same role as before. But something was different. When he first met Ella again he suddenly felt a certain excitement over seeing her. He felt that she picked that up, and after meeting again they decided to get together for lunch the following day.
The relationship developed quickly after that. They found that they had very much the same humour, the same values, and a background that also had a lot of common elements. They had both grown up in a middle-class family in rural England, had much the same opportunities for further education etc. And most important of all: they had now grown seriously in love with each other after working together other over time.
They married, and he became totally devoted to her and would never consider anyone else.
But now he had suddenly decided to go out with Mahia. He was so far away from Ella that it was a bit unreal to think of her in this situation.
So John met Mahia the following day for lunch. It was a very pleasant meeting. They hit it off.
She told him about her life. She was 29 – so he had guessed correctly about her age – and she had lived all her life in KL, and had a job as a secretary.
He: -I am glad you could meet me.
She: -Thank you for asking – I wanted to meet you again.
He: -Tell me about yourself.
Mahia went on to describe her life to him – she was born to a Malayan couple that had lived in KL for a long time. She grew up in a caring family but one that did not have much money and where the parents worked long days just to manage. She had no siblings and therefore had the special treatment that a single child gets.
She had lived all her life in KL. Her father died when she was in her mid-teens and now she lives with her mother and supports her.
The thought hit him that the reason he was of interest to her, could be that as a foreign guy that might have money therefore could make her life a little more affordable. It was impossible to know her true intentions at the first encounter. So what did his gut feeling tell him?
Then he realized he really did not care. It shocked him to understand that he would have such an attitude. However, his intentions with her were not of a serious nature but simply to have a good time while at the same time honouring his responsibility to his wife whom he really did love and care about. He knew that even if no sex would be involved this was morally wrong, but he considered this and decided to look at such a relationship with Mahia as one that no one he knew would ever know about. How his own conscience would deal with this he did not want to think of.
He found her very bright. He also found her very attractive and really wanted to get to know her better. She told him she had been married before. It also came out that she was struggling financially and therefore she had taken the evening job as a singer.
She told him she was supporting her mother who was sick.
It was impossible for John to detect whether or not she told him these things in order to get sympathy and hence maybe some financial support. That could be one possibility, but the other side of this could mean that she just was very honest. Time would tell, he thought.
They decided to meet up again on the coming Saturday. She let him take the initiative, which he liked – no obvious or open pressure, at least. The plan for the day was to do KL sightseeing. Although he had been there several times before, it was the first time he would have a local guide. He looked forward to it. No strings attached.
The day arrived. They had decided to meet outside the Petronas Tower. For him that was just a brief walk.
As he walked up along the amazing water displays towards the space in front of the main entrance he saw Mahia. But she was not alone. Next to her stood a boy, his guess around 10- 12. He was flabbergasted but tried not to show this and smiled to them both when he approached, then gave her a brief hug and turned to him. Mahia introduced him:
-This is my son Aati. He really wanted to meet you.
-Hello, Aati, I am John. It is nice to meet you.
Aati looked at him with some uncertainty then smiled a little and said
Mahia suggested the first destination to visit. And so they walked. She was quite talkative to John but she made sure that she included Aati in what she said and translated from English to Malay so that he would be fully included. That impressed John.
There was no explanation from her as to why she included her son in the outing. John would only be able to find that out if he met with her at a later time and would be able to ask her.
After the walkabout they ended up in a restaurant where they had lunch, and during that John asked Mahia if they could meet again in one of the first days after.
So two days later they met for a drink. John had done a lot of soul searching in the meantime and had come to the conclusion that he and Mahia had to stop seeing each other. Since he did not have the intention of a serious relationship his conscience had finally spoken to him after he had met Aati. He knew that it can sometimes be very, very damaging for kids to bond closely with adults only then to lose them after a short time, and this he did not want Aati to be exposed to. His honest explanation to Mahia was that he had found that he could not commit to a relationship with her as he already was married and did not want to hurt neither her nor his wife nor Aati. To his great relief she hugged him, told him she appreciated what he said, and they parted with smiles on their faces.
John had come home to Ella and had honoured Mahia´s and Aati´s feelings.