The Single Queens are back on the scene. They are having a reunion, all checked in at a hotel in Bangkok. After a whole day of shopping and gorging on spicy Thai street food, they are gathered in a room surrounded by their major food groups: wine, beer, potato chips, and chocolate.
Trisha suddenly announces that she just met a guy. American, younger, good looking, but… Sarah interrupts her, “Let me guess. But you have not heard from him since you parted ways in New York.”
“I met him in Manila,” Trisha defiantly insists. Sarah rolls her eyes. Trisha replies, “I work in a museum. Can I help it if there is an abundance of foreign men who visit my workplace?”
Sarah does not want to let her off the hook and says, “Men who bring cameras where they are not supposed to and end up shooting your close-ups, following you around like a lovestruck puppy for weeks, and then leaving. No, disappearing. Like characters from a British spy movie.”
“What does New Guy do?” asks Alexa, while she tries a local beer from the selection she and the queens have smuggled into the room. She almost spits out a mouthful of beer onto the pristine white hotel bed, but manages to run to the bathroom. She throws the rest of the bottle’s contents down the sink.
Leila tries to stop her but is too late. She tells Alexa that the other local beer tastes infinitely better. Alexa wants a San Mig light, what she is used to drinking in Manila with her friends. Leila gives her a Singha instead.
Trisha turns to Alexa and says, “Well, he is a photographer.” Sarah throws an empty bag of potato chips at Trisha. “Wake up, girl. They are the worst!”
Leila asks, “What is wrong with photographers? They are sexy and mysterious. Didn’t you read Bridges of Madison County? I looked up that Robert Kincaid from National Geographic, wishing he were real.”
Sarah, now looking out the hotel window at Bangkok’s magnificent city lights while holding her ice-cold bottle close to her left shoulder, speaks, “Leila, if you would only stop reading sad books and falling in love with fictional men, perhaps we would become bridesmaids at someone’s wedding instead of being crowned Single Queens at our high school reunion.”
Leila makes a face and says, “I do NOT just fall in love with fictional men. There have been real men.”
“Yes, very real,” observes Sarah, “but honey the few times you did have a boyfriend, you had to choose the married ones. Or the girlfriended ones.”
Leila wails, “Sweetie, why are you on my case? At least I had real relationships. The love of your life, whom you worship and work for, does not even see you or notice your newly-liposuctioned arms.”
“This must be the alcohol talking,” Sarah comments, “for we are all digging history tonight. I admit I started it. Come on, ladies; let us take a more positive outlook in life! We are young, okay not so young anymore, we are healthy, and we are successful. Who cares if our respective body clocks are ticking and the men in our lives are still sleeping inside their man-caves?”
Leila laments, “Oh if you were trying to cheer me up you just depressed me more by that statement. Man-caves???”
Sarah explains, “I read about it in a magazine. That’s where they go to when they need to rest, or find themselves, or think. They need to hide from us once in a while.”
“This is why I read books instead of magazines,” Leila comments.
Trisha pours herself another glass of red and declares, “I believe I was trying to tell you all about this new guy I met.”
Alexa encourages her to go on by sitting beside her on the couch. “What does he look like? How long have you been seeing each other?” she asks. She has always been the quiet, unassuming one in this group of strong alpha females.
“He has a dancer’s body, long hair like Tristan from Legends of the Fall, and a Robert Redford smile. He made me wear Filipiniana attire and took a whole bunch of photos. He said I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met,” Trisha scans her friends’ faces, looking for a reaction.
“And yet here you are, growing older by the minute, while he gallivants with his friends out there tonight,” Sarah helpfully states.
“I do not have to marry every man I meet,” Trisha picks out a piece of chocolate truffle, inspects it, and takes a teeny bite. She does not like sweets but needs the distraction.
Leila stretches her legs and complains about all the walking that they did that day. “Let’s go to a spa tomorrow, okay? For the best massage in the world. Nobody does spas like the Thai. They have the flowers and the scents and the music and the lights done just right.”
Alexa notices her friends’ efforts to change the subject, but she must ask, “Do you think this will be it? Us meeting men, losing men, earning money, spending money?” She wants to think there is more to life.
Sarah shakes her head, folds her arms, and says, “Who can tell, really? Our classmates never expected that we would still be single by our 25th reunion: Alexa who had the most admirers in school; Trisha who had the most boyfriends; Leila who had the most fictional boyfriends; and me who always thought I’d end up with my own version of Mr. Darcy?”
Leila plays music from Sting on her laptop, smiles her biggest smile, and ever the dreamer, concludes, “Well, girls, if we must stay single, if we must be without husbands or children or worries or mortgages, then I say we should do it in style. Today, Bangkok, next year, Paris!”
“I’ll drink to that,” Alexa gladly raises her Singha. Sarah too, who has never been to Europe, raises her empty bottle of Chang.
Trisha manages to join in the toast and pose for the Instagram shot, while all the time wondering how Mr. Tristan-Robert-Kincaid can manage to not get in touch with her for weeks. She has met and lost a lot of them, but this one seems worth keeping.
While we will leave them for now, we will soon hear again from The Single Queens.