Story number 1 - THE CHIEF (fluff)
This morning, I said goodbye to mom and dad. They still don’t get why I want to do this.
But I am an explorer. I want to know things of the world, learn new things from other people. Things that may be strange here, might be normal elsewhere. But mom and dad, they just don’t get it. They don’t get me. They never did.
I am so excited to join Mr Augustine during his stay with the natives. It will take me about 3 weeks to arrive at my desired destination.
And my journey will start now.
A man sits inside a train, looking out of the window as the journey of his life begins. Kongpob is his name.
An only son. A man smarter and more curious then others. A gentle soul. Someone, who feels different, maybe even a little weird. Like he doesn’t belong.
While his parents want Kongpob to settle down and marry a nice girl, he himself wanted to see the world. Explore everything there is. Explore how life can be different ftom what it was now. He had no time for love, since he wanted to travel. And though he never told anyone, he had no interest in marrying either.
So to avoid a forced marriage to a girl, was part of his decision to say yes to Mr Jeff Augustine’s request to join him on the man’s exibition.
Jeff was a known man and also Kongpob’s big role model.
The young explorer pushed his black wire rimmed glasses back on his nose and smiled while the train took him a step further to his destination.
4 february 1838
Things haven’t worked out how I wanted them to work out. I reached my final destination earlier today, and a few days later then expected.
After the carriage couldn’t take me any further, I walked the last part of my journey, till a few young boys, I guess they were about 14 years of age, picked me up and took me further into the woods.
After a good walk, we reached their grounds. I fínally reached the tribe after almost a month on the road!
I was taken to the elder of the tribe and though we didn’t speak the same language, I learned from him that Jeff had passed away not long before I arrived.
I’m alone in my tent now and I feel so sad. I feel lost and heartbroken and frankly... I don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t speak these people’s language and my stomach is having trouble taking their food as well.
During the first few weeks, Kongpob learned the customs of the people he stayed with. He reported everything in Jeff’s logbook that the elder gave him. He tried to pick up the work that Jeff started. He had found detailed drawings of camp and each of the tribe members.
Kongpob learned from Jeff’s notes that the head of the tribe was a man called Arthit. A young man, eager to learn about the modern world, just like Kongpob was eager to learn about the native’s world.
A lot of the men were not present at the moment, including the chief. Kongpob still hadn’t seen him.
The members of the tribe dressed him in the same clothes as they all wore, meaning only 2 small pieces of leather covered up Kongpob’s manhood and behind.
The explorer observed the people of the tribe as best as he could and with his cleaver mind, he learned himself a few words and little sentences fairly quick.
He helped whenever he could and after a while, he found his place in the tribe and things got better.
16 april 1838
Today was a good day. I was so lucky to witness one of the women give birth to her firstborn.
It was a very special moment in my life. The moment that the little baby came into this world... I don’t even know how to express how I felt in words!
It is such a common thing. Women give birth every day, every hour, every minute and every second in this world. And yet, it felt like a true miracle to me, and it really was.
A new life was born and I was there to hear his first cries.
The woman named the baby Ruhdgamo, which means warrior. Ruhdgamo Kongpob was his full name. The second name the baby received was my own. I was never more honoured or touched then at that exact moment. I was so proud of her and the baby!
When I reached my own tent, I cried my eyesballs out.
Over the weeks, I learned that crying isn’t for men in this culture, so I did my best to hold back until I was on my own.
Writing this down now, left me in tears again.
During his stay, Kongpob learned all about plants, flowers and herbs, and their healing powers. When he was bitten by mosquitos, the older medicine lady taught him what to use on the bites, and it really helped.
He explored nature and made drawings of every new plant and animal he saw for the first time in his life, and slowly, the explorer felt happier and happier each day, though it still felt like something was missing...
He was conflicted into staying with the tribe and finishing Jeff’s work, and returning home, back to his family.
19 may 1838
Today, I learned that the warriors will return home soon. I don’t know the exact reason of their absence, but I think it has to do something about going away to hunt and celebrating boys become men, but I don’t really know that for sure. The elder tried to explain but it was hard for me to understand.
I hope that when the men return, they will accept me too, like the elders, women and children had accepted me.
I am still debating if I want to stay here. Not being able to have a decent conversation with someone is the part that is the thing that saddens me most.
A lot of noise was hearable, coming from outside. Kongpob opened up his tent and curiously looked at the commotion. People were screaming, jumping, dancing and crying.
In the distance, Kongpob saw horses advancing. Their hooves imprinted the ground with rhythmical stomps.
The closer the horses came, the better Kongpob could see them, the men that rode the animals. Halfnaked they were, and their long, black hair swept through the wind.
The warriors had returned home.
21 may 1838
The men are back. They came home, a few hours ago.
One man, the one riding up front, spoke with the elder. I recognized him from Jeff’s drawing. It was Arthit, the chief of the tribe.
After their conversation, 2 other men grabbed me by my arms and dragged me inside my tent. Those men I also recognized. They were Prem and Knot. They spoke 1 word to me. A word that I have learned the meaning of as “stay”, though no words were needed, as I got the hint.
So, I will wait in my tent till they come back, but I must be honest; I am still shaking as I write this down. I don’t know why I need to wait, how long I need to stay put or what they will do to me. I can only have faith that Jeff would never have asked me to join him here, if the men were violent. I am scared.
Kongpob was startled when the flap of his tent swung open and in came Knot again. This time he was alone. “Come.” he said and signed with his hand that Kongpob should follow him.
Knot guided him to the chief’s tent. The broad man opened up the tent and pushed Kongpob inside, where the nervous explorer stood before the chief.
Arthit sat on the floor. His legs crossed. He resembled Jeff’s drawing so much. Only the real Arthit was even more handsome then the one in the drawing. He was slender with slight muscles. His skin was fair. Kongpob could see all of it, as Arthit also only wore a single piece of clothing to cover up his intimate parts.
The leather fell exactly between his crossed legs, hiding his manhood. Kongpob didn’t mean to stare but he did and quickly looked away again.
Arthit’s hair was long. Probably the longest of all the men at camp. It was black, full and shiny as the campfire danced it’s light upon it. Just like the fire made the man’s black eyes twinkle with little stars.
“Leave.” Arthit ordered in the native language.
Kongpob was surprised. He figured out that the man maybe only wanted to look at the strange guest from the other world. So, Kongpob obediently turned around, ready to leave the chief’s tent again.
“Stay.” Arhtit said next.
Kongpob halted his steps and turned to face Arthit again. Was the man playing with him?
“I see you speak a little of our language. The elder had told me today, but I wanted to see for myself,” Arthit said. Not in his language this time, but in Kongpob’s, though a heavy accent was there.
“You... You can speak my language?!” Kongpob asked with wide eyes. He was certainly surprised.
“I can,” Arthit answered.
“Jeff taught me. I am very sad he passed away during my trip. The elder told me the sad news today.” Arthit said, looking how he said he felt.
Kongpob didn’t recall he read in Jeff’s journals that Arthit could speak their language this well. Jeff mentioned he taught Arthit some words like; food, yes, no, I, you. Stuff like that. He never expected Arthit to be this good.
“I too am very sad. I think he passed away just before I came here. I didn’t even get to say hello to him in person.”
Arthit nodded. “He was a good man. My people gave him the best and most respectful goodbye he could think of.”
“I thank them for that.”
Arthit smiled, making him even more handsome in Kongpob’s eyes. For as far as that was even possible...
26 may 1838
It’s been 5 days since the warriors returned.
Me and Arthit talk every day. We talk about life, his world, my world. We learn, share and we teach each other. I can’t explain how glad I am he is here now.
Talking to him seems to be the highlight of my day.
Everyday after the tribe eats together, I join Arthit in his tent, together with the other younger men. I try to talk to them, using simple words, but I have deeper conversations with Arthit.
While the other men go to their tents early, I stay behind to talk to Arthit till I hardly can keep my eyes open. Arthit then sends me away to my tent, telling me that tommorow will be a new day to talk again.
He is so wise for his age. And a good leader to his people too. I feel so much respect towards him.
Tomorrow I will be attending the celebration of the marriage of May and Aim. I have witnessed a birth here, but not a wedding yet. I am curious how these people celebrate it here.
“Beautiful.” An older lady said when she was done with Kongpob’s facial painting. On his chi and neck were black curly lines, matching the paintings on the other mens faces.
“Thank you.” Kongpob said and he bowed to her, showing his gratitude.
When Kongpob stepped outside his tent, the sun shined on his face. He squinted his eyes. It was a warm day, like it always was, but today there was a little cool breeze as well, making it an even more beautiful day.
When he opened his eyes again, in the distance, he saw Arthit. The man’s long hair was bounded by leather strings into a sort of low ponytail and decorated with all kinds of different feathers. The bottom of the chief’s hair almost reached the roundings of his behind.
Kongpob couldn’t help but wonder how the man’s hair would feel like. How it would smell like. If he was honest, he thought about Arthit quite a lot. And not all thoughts were pure...
Man and man together were seen as a sin from where Kongpob came from. Only devils commited those kinds of sins. That’s why he never dared to tell his parent’s the truth, that maybe he was a devil too. And that’s why he could never let Arthit know he thought about him in a sinful way.
Kongpob was ashamed, but he couldn’t stop his own thoughts. And they came to him every day. And he also couldn’t stop his heart from wanting to stay close beside Arthit as often as he could.
27 may 1838
May and Aim just married. It was a beautiful ceremony. Both looked beautiful. People gave them handmade gifts. I too made something for them. Though I can not draw as detailed and as good as Jeff could, I master the basics. So I made a little drawing for them of a train. They loved it. To them a train is something mystical.
So many things I am used to, are so other-worldly to these people.
Currently I am waiting to join Arthit in his tent again, like I do every evening. I wonder if the feast continues there.
About an hour after Kongpob laid down his fountain pen, Arthit came to him.
“Arthit...” Kongpob said as he stood up, a little surprised. It was the first time that Arthit had come to him. Mostly Knot came to fetch him, or Prem.
“Kongpob, I...I want to warn you that tonight isn’t exactly like other evenings. You know we are free spirits. We live how we want to. You know that, right?”
Kongpob nodded. That’s something he liked about these people.
“If you want to leave tonight, to go to your own tent, I will respect that. Well... I guess you should just see and experience it for yourself.” Arthit grabbed Kongpob’s hand, making the explorer’s heart skip a beat.
It was the first time they touched each other and it felt great but also confusing to Kongpob.
Arthit pulled the other with him. It was late in the evening already and it didn’t take long before Kongpob understood what Arthit meant.
All children and elderly people were off to bed.
Outside were women and men, intimitly kissing and touching each other. Not only intimate but also shameless and free. Some even completely naked.
Kongpob tried to keep his stares to himself, he felt his cheeks getting hot.
In Arthit’s tent everything seemed normal. Men talked, smoked the pipe and laughed, like they always did.
Kongpob talked to Arthit about his parents, when all of a sudden he heard a moan from somewhere out of the tent.
Kongpob didn’t think to much of it and ignored it.
“I can’t help to wish for a brother sometimes.” Arthit spoke.
“Yes I know what you—"
Kongpob stopped talking when a louder moan cut him off. He turned his head around. What he saw there and them, was an imagine that would be imprinted on his brain for the rest of his life.
With open mouth, he witnessed 2 men, Prem and Wad, kissing and caressing each other. Prem had one of his hands underneath Wad’s leather flap and moved it up and down as Wad sucked on Prem’s lips and tongue.
Kongpob looked at Arthit with wide eyes.
“I told you, you can leave if it makes you uncomfortable. When we talked, you told me that man and man aren’t supposed to be together, that it was a sin where you lived. But here with us, it’s not. After a wedding, people express their love freely for everyone to see. Of course when things go too far, they can take it to their own tent.” Arthit raised his voice next. “Like Prem and Wad! Maybe take this to your own tent from now on!”
“...” Kongpob still wasn’t able to talk.
Always, he had felt strange in his life, thinking about men in obscene ways. And now, it seemed he wasn’t the only one?! Prem and Wad were lovers? Is it really possible for men to be lovers also? Weren’t they all devils like he had learned as a child? Did Arthit find it ok?
He looked around and saw more men kissing, not all, just a few pairs.
“Yes, chief.” Prem said as he took his mouth from his lovers, and he and Wad both stood up.
Kongpob saw how the leather around there hips was tenting, their bodies clearly showing signs of arousal.
Kongpob quickly looked away with flushed cheeks. He felt so strange. Like a weight had been lifted of his shoulders. But also like it was even more confusing now. He felt his body responding to what his eyes just witnessed and before he was fully hard he stood up and fleed the tent. He needed air.
Arthit looked at the man panicking and running away from him.
The chief felt sad. These past days he had developed warm feelings towards Kongpob. But how could he tell the other, when Kongpob explained that man and man were a sin from where he came from?
Arthit didn’t want Kongpob to hate him.
30 may 1838
Ever since what happened a few days ago, things aren’t the same beteen me and Arthit. I am afraid he might be angry with me, even though he said I was free to leave.
After I left his tent, cried myself to sleep like a baby would do. I was relieved and confused. Relieved that there was a chance for me to be myself around these people, but confused about Arthit.
I just hope he isn’t to angry with me. I never meant to insult him and ignore him. But things just feel so strange all of a sudden. Things I learned at home were totally different here, and I loved that. As I write this, my tears leaves stains on the paper again.
I want to tell Arthit how I feel. I think I have the courage now. He might laugh at me or not respond to me, but I want to tell him my feelings. I thought about it for 2 days and this is what my heart wants.
Arthit looked surprised when Kongpob came for him. They had practically avoided each other for the past 2 days. At least that’s how the chief felt about it and it pained him. Arthit was very afraid that Kongpob really didn’t like what had happened during the evening of the marriage. The man had been so distanced from him since.
“Arthit, can we talk?”
Arthit nodded. “Shall we go for a walk? We can talk then.” he then proposed.
“Ok.” Kongpob answered. He liked to walk. Nature looked so beautiful here.
They walked in awkward silence for a while. Arthit waited patiently for Kongpob to begin talking, since he was the one to flee away from him, not came to his tent the last 2 days, (not even when Knot asked him to) and was the one who wanted to talk now.
Kongpob finally opened up his mouth. “Arthit...”
He didn’t know how to say it. How does one tell about his feelings? In his mind, he had the conversation a dozen times already. But now the time was finally there, he forgot what he wanted to say.
“Yes?” Arthit asked when the other was quiet all of a sudden.
“Are you mad at me?” Arthit whispered.
Kongpob stopped in the middle of the forest. Arthit did too.
The explorer swallowed and let his eyes roam all over Arthit’s halfnaked body. His long black hair fell to the front and laid upon his chest.
“I’m not mad at you, Arthit. Are you mad at me?”
Arthit shook his head.
“No I’m not. I was dissapointed. I know you didn’t want to see me because of what happened in my tent. I just hoped you could get over it and respect that things here aren’t like at your place. I told you that you could go. I just didn’t expect that you would ignore me afterwards. I was sure that you were mad. You say you are not. What is it then, Kongpob?”
Kongpob grabbed one of the chief’s hands.
Arthit looked at it, a little surprised, and followed his hand as Kongpob took it higher, till it stopped in front of his mouth.
“It wasn’t like I didn’t wanna see you. I was just confused and scared that you might be angry with me, because I just left you and needed some time to myself.” Kongpob said, his warm breath against Arthit’s hand.
Kongpob then gave a little kiss against the knuckles, which made Arthit’s breath hitch. He swallowed hard as Kongpob caressed his own cheek with the others’ hand. His cheek felt hot to the touch. The man blushed a deeper shade of red.
“I was confused because I always thought I was the only one having these feelings... I mean..” Kongpob drew a big breath “It’s hard to say..”
“Just tell me, Kongpob.” Arthit cupped both his hands around Kongpob’s face now.
“I have always known I had feelings for... men. And not for women.” Kongpob’s bottom lip trembled and with overflowing eyes he told for the first time in his life, out loud, how he really felt, that he liked men.
His heart pounted in his chest, “And I like...”
Arthit looked at him with sympathy, his eyebrows pulled up in the middle. He softly smiled.
“...you.” Kongpob said and released a little sob.
“Come here.” Arthit pulled Kongpob in his embrase and hugged him tightly. “I like you too. I was so afraid you were mad at me as well. I guess we felt the same way.”
Arthit almost squeezed the life out of him and then let go again. He took a step back.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cry in front of you.” Kongpon sniffed.
“It’s ok.” Arthit smiled.
“What do we do now?” Kongpob asked as he sniffed. He whiped away his tears. Arthit helped him and caressed his thumbs underneath Kongpob’s eyes.
“Well... I want to kiss you. May I?” Arthit proposed.
“I have never kissed someone. But I would like you to be my first.”
Arthit placed his hands around Kongpob’s waist and pulled him closer.
“Oh...!” Kongpob released a surprised high pitched sound when he bumped against Arthit’s chest.
His heart beated fast and hard, he wondered if Arthit could feel it. He wondered if he could kiss correctly? He wondered if-
And then, before he knew it, another pair of lips were presses against his own. A short peck before Arthit took his lips away again, and placed his forehead against Kongpob’s.
It felt like Kongpob’s lips were on fire, they tingled and felt hot. He noticed the heart inside Arthit’s chest was beating just as fast against him as his own did.
“W-was that all...” he breathed against Arthit’s lips and laughed a little awkward.
Arthit took of Kongpob’s glasses and folded them. “That weird thing of you pokes in my eyes.”
“It’s not weird. I need it.”
“You don’t need it now.” Arthit said and with the glasses still in his hand he wrapped his arms around Kongpob and kissed him again. Not a soft little peck this time, but a real kiss. Deep and sensual.
A kiss that took both their breaths away.
18 august 1838
I am so happy.
Today will be a day of love. My face is decorated with black paint again, just like last time. It will be the second marriage I will witness since I live with the tribe.
And today it will be extra special because the one getting married is the chief himself.