About Us

Contact Us


The 21st Century

Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters
Lifestyles 1
Lifestyles 2

The International Writers Magazine
One night in KL

A girl named Merisa
Murray Walker

I've never gotten to know a seventeen year old girl before. It has been quite enlightening.

Okay, you can't just tilt your head to the side, close your eyes and open your mouth. You're not Cinderella and I’m definitely not Prince Charming.
You see if I do the same thing nothing happens. It's like two dead jelly fishes lying next to each other on the beach. You have to be more forceful.
Tighten the muscles in your neck and push your whole body up against me.
Now decide which direction you want to come in from, left or right. What feels more natural? It doesn't really matter since it always changes. Now, look into my eyes. Open your mouth just a little bit and softly kiss me with your lips. No tongue, just use your lips. Hold it there. Taste my breath. Good, now softly grip my top lip and pull back slowly- and then move in again. This time open your mouth a little more and try and make as much contact with me as you can. Find my tongue with your tongue. Stop, stop, stop. The lips are good the tongue not so much. The tongue stays inside the mouth, the worst thing you can do is paint my cheek with gob. It may seem passionate, but it's really not. Alright.
You have to get this stick of Juicy Fruit from me. No hands and no biting. Feel around, good. Now I’ll get it from you. Kiss me again and then feel under my top lip with your tongue. Trace it across and then lift it slightly. Good, it's getting better. I'm going to keep my mouth closed and you have to open it. You see your tongue is your tool of entry, it's kind of like a crowbar. One more exercise. Push me against the wall as though you are mad with me. Use both hands. Push harder, you're mad remember. Now move in as close to me as you can. I want to feel your heartbeat. Now kiss me with every muscle in your whole body. Good.

English teacher in Taipei and now snog tutor in KL. Life takes one on an interesting journey. No complaints. There's an awkward moment when you're chatting up a girl in a pub and you ask her what she does and she says she's just finished high school. I could sense the ghost of Hubert Humbert urging me on even though she's clearly past the nymphet stage. Anyway, at this point I’m thinking she must be nineteen. Nineteen is okay, right?. (I’m 27 by the way.) "So, how old are you?"
"How old do you think I am?"
Merisa is a seventeen year old girl from Zvornik, a small town on the border between Serbia and Bosnia. Our lives overlapped at Finnigans Irish pub in KL on New Year's. Me with silly drunken eyes, liquored breath and her looking fresh and awake like cherry blossom. If she was carrying her school bag I would never have gone up to her. Would have a been a giant shame. Clear green eyes, long wavy blonde hair, soft white skin, puffy lips. Beautiful. All the features in all the right places, harmonized. Of course I went to speak to her. The impression made by me was not bad. (I’m trying to remember what I said so that the effort can be duplicated at another time.)

She took me out for dinner a few days later. Some place called 'Euro House' which is owned by a fellow Serb. He specializes in twelve varieties of European cuisine. I gorged myself as I’m known to do when food runs from an open tap, their hospitality making my head spin. Being treated like royalty coats any memory with a sheen like that of a polished sports car. My hostel had no room service. No pool either. So, upon invitation, I decided to move my bags across to their small flat just outside KL. A modest flat with no frills. I spent most of my time reclining on the couch listening to their story.

In July, 1988 Merisa's father was planning a trip back to Serbia. He had been working in Iran for the last
months and was desperate to be with his family. Merisa was almost two and had recently taken her first clumsy steps. Her brother was eight and growing up fast. Merisa's mom had been sending him pictures of all the special moments. Her father would have returned much earlier, but his contract kept getting extended. Finally, on the 3rd July he was scheduled to fly to Belgrade. At check-in, he was required to pay extra for all the presents he was bringing. He then boarded the plane. The following extract is from: .….
Capt. Will Rogers III, USN, spent his career preparing for combat. Winning his commission in December 1965 at the age of 27, Rogers came late to the navy, but he made up for lost time with a gung-ho attitude and - after a spell on the staff of the chief of naval operations - friends in high places. In 1987, Rogers won command of the navy's most prized high-tech warship, an Aegis cruiser. The billion-dollar Vincennes seemed a sure ticket to flag rank. But Rogers, who like many peacetime naval officers had never been under fire, longed to see action. On July 3, 1988 Captain Rogers got his wish. He sought out and engaged the enemy in a sea battle in the Persian Gulf. From the captain's chair of a warship combat information center, he made life-and -death decisions in the heat of conflict. It was the moment he had yearned and trained for, and it should have been the apex of his life in the service. Only it wasn't much of a battle. Rogers had blundered into a murky, half-secret confrontation between the United States and Iran that the politicians did not want to declare and the top brass was not eager to wage. The enemy was not a disciplined naval force but ragtag irregulars in lightly armed speedboats. Fighting them with an Aegis cruiser was like shooting at rabbits with a radar-guided missile. And when it was over, the only confirmed casualties were innocent civilians: 290 passengers and crew in an Iranian Airbus Captain Rogers's men mistook for an enemy warplane.…. Merisa's Dad was one of six Serbians on Iranian Airbus 655. Her mom found out on TV that her husband was dead. His body was found and identified.

Most bodies were too badly mutilated or devoured by sharks. The blood money received from the US government allowed them to live a fairly comfortable life in the small town of Zvornik. They had a spacious house with a garden where the dog could stretch it's legs. This luxury didn’t last for, a few years later, evil was once again stirring. More dirty mud clouding a clear pool. Milosevic in Serbia and Tudjman in Croatia were discussing partitioning Bosnia between their two countries. Milosevic sent his army on the rampage and since the said house was on the border between Serbia and Bosnia, it was in the path of destruction. The soldiers shot the family dog, looted the house and finally bombed it. Merisa, her mom and brother were away at the time. The family decided that it was a good time to move. Somewhere safe. Because of the war, their money was frozen in a Belgrade bank where it's been ever since. They relocated to Malaysia, just outside of KL where they found a cheap flat. They've been living there for 6 years, but are hoping to move to either Australia or back to their home country.

Getting to know people who have experienced such tragedy makes me feel a little guilty. I've been blessed, nothing really bad has come my home. I ended up spending ten days at Merisa's home. I chatted a lot to her and her mom. A strong human spirit has it's own gravity. They move along in life never really getting attached to anything, just living as best they can. There is no speck of materialism. It just weighs them down. I don't know for sure, but I think many girls at some stage imagine themselves as the princess in a fairy tale. It's the Disney world where good always prevails over evil, love being the ultimate force. Merisa is no exception. She enticed me to watch 'Cinderella' and 'The Swan Princess'. Although dramatically, none of these stories are in my top ten, I do appreciate them for one thing: 'die hard' optimism. The idea of hope is so prevalent that it's impossible to ignore. Even if one fails to acknowledge it, I feel it still strengthens that core part of us that still and always will believe that the future will be brighter. Some people need that affirmation more than others. Merisa is a great girl. She's kind, affectionate, ditsy at times, funny in her girly way, charming and above all, innocent. When she rests her index finger on her bottom lip she strikes an adorable pose. She can be incredibly sexy and at the same time so naive. Spending time with her is delightful because her thoughts are so green and girly. I've never gotten to know a seventeen year old girl before. It has been quite enlightening. One of the first questions she asked my was whether or not I liked Britney.

The walls in her room hold up a myriad of pop idols that I’ve never heard of or want to. Reading one day she popped Shakira in my ear and asked if it was okay if she painted my nails. I somehow consented. (That’s off the record by the way.) Lying on her bed together, I told her the story of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Feeling my testosterone canisters emptying, this story was abruptly followed by the myth of the Trojan war. Theseus and the Minotaur also featured. On two occasions I was vividly shown myself at her age. I took her to this classy restaurant with an exotic menu and all she wanted was a hamburger. Come on, that’s what McDonalds is for! And then at a Japanese place it took her over half an hour to try a sushi roll and then after briefly chewing, promptly spat it into her serviette. My Dad had the same issues with me.

My time with Merisa was ephemeral. It’s always like that when you’re traveling. I still speak to her from time to time. I will see her again at some point, not sure when. I want to see her grow and develop even if it's from a far away place. So much living is done in the next ten years that I’m sure it will be exciting for her. Above all, I want her hopefulness to remain intact. If she needs to watch fairy tales for this to happen then so be it. But, as far I’m concerned, she no longer has to imagine being the princess. No frizzle and pop from a magic wand or warm kiss from a prince is needed. She already is a princess and no evil that lurks in this world can change that. (Please excuse the Mills and Boone introduction, it just came out.)

© Murray Walker Feb 2004

Hacktreks - stories about people in faraway places


© Hackwriters 2000-2004 all rights reserved