The saga begins here: Pens Available on Thursday...

When my marriage broke down, so did my mental well-being and life. It’s hard to pinpoint when it all started to fall apart. Was it before or after that prostitute that one drunken night? During the Christmas holiday I spent entertaining myself with my co-workers while She worked? Or when I got that great job only to get screwed over when I discovered they needed a temp worker, leading me along until it was too late? I insisted She have a job for her own self worth and to contribute to the family expenses. She never made enough money to contribute to anything but her own pocket, but She also worked enough so She was working when I wasn't and vice verse  When we were “together”, She was so tired from working, and on a different sleep schedule that we never spent time together anyway. We lived separate lives and both of us made barely any effort to change it until it was too late.

Already a heavy drinker, left to my own devices, I began to drink more. By the time She finally moved out, I was drunk nearly every day and soon after that, “nearly” disappeared from the phrase and just became every day.

Even now, a couple of years later, I don’t try to figure out who to blame or maybe I ignore my own faults. To say She left because I was drinking is an easy assumption to make but I think that’s a cop out. I was drinking when I met her, while I courted her, and married her for 6 years. It wasn't like I was some fabulous guy who turned into an abusive alcoholic after marriage. And I started to drink much more after She was gone, leading to my current situation. It got much worse after. It was like my best friend dying except She wasn't dead and She was no longer my friend. I was a stranger in a strange land in my own house. She abandoned me in a foreign country to fend for myself in a foreign language after depending on her for basic necessities for my entire life here. At the same time, my visa and passport both expired. My passport was easy to replace, the visa, not so much.

At the Immigration office, due to our separation and separate addresses, our 6 years of marriage was now under investigation as a fraud. It seemed pretty fucking real to me. To make things worse, She was actually in New York with her new boyfriend. While I was struggling to keep my life from falling apart, She wasn't even in the same fucking country, further eroding my credibility.

My life included our (now “my”) dog, our (my) apartment, with all our (my) furniture, including the refrigerator, washing machine, TV, bed, etc. Since, I no longer had a wife or any need to be in a foreign country in the first place anymore, I still had to deal with getting rid of it all and I needed a visa to do it. I was also technically married and couldn't get a divorce, even if I wanted to because She wasn't in the country. At one point, She had added her niece to her family registry and this unknown element came as quite a shock when asked by the reviewing immigration officer if I had a daughter with Her. It was more than a shock because it was nearly a year after she had left and therefore more than possible, however unlikely (due to a lack of a sex life before our split), that the daughter was born without my knowledge. I was greatly relieved to discover later it was her niece. At the time, my stammering reply only further destroyed any credibility I may have had left, convincing the immigration officer that my marriage really was a sham. I was told to return 6 months later.

In the meantime, as I dismantled my previous life and my current one disintegrated in a haze of cigarettes and booze, I naturally became more cynical and combative about my country of residence.

 I was bored and lonely. I couldn't stand being alone in my (our) apartment. I went to drink at bars, but not socialize—just so I wasn't sitting alone. I was hostile to any attempts by strangers to be friends. I didn't need new friends; I had Jim & Jack to keep me company, as well as few Russian girls and my usual suspects. I rejected Korean and Koreans, and when pushed, I fought back.

I would get so blindingly drunk, sometimes I never made it the couple of blocks home, opting to pass out in a doorway along the way instead. Roused by a concerned police officer, I thought I was being mugged and attacked. This got me my first fine of $4000 for preventing an officer from fulfilling their duty, or “obstruction of justice”. I didn't pay it. I had no job or money and my source of income was questionable, if nearly non-existent. I had odd jobs and sold most of my (our) belongings. Near the end, I had an empty house with just my clothes, a few pillows and blankets, my laptop, and an internet connection and that’s about it. Everything else, including the refrigerator, was gone, although I kept the vacuum and washing machine right up to the last minute.

Back at the bars, I ended up in two more incidents, resulting in two more $2000 fines for a total of $8000 of unpaid fines. On the visa front, She had returned to Korea and we finally divorced. I was scheduled to get a new visa, but now rid of all our (my) belongings, I decided I no longer needed a visa since I wasn't married and no longer had any stuff tying me to the land. I bought a ticket to Thailand instead, said my good-byes and went to the airport.

Only to be blocked at the departure gates due to my $8000 in unpaid fines. At this point, a sad, pathetic story becomes surreal and ridiculous. It becomes a Catch-22 on an epic scale.

A story of fucked if you do and fucked if you don’t... Continue to the next page>>