As a service to our readers, Khmer Times is pleased to publish the full version of the late Ek Tha’s book Long Love, Short Life. The book is published in segments. Below is part 89, the end of the book series. In last week’s segment, the newlyweds return to Sakura’s house in Phnom Penh, where a gecko scares Drake away. This week Sakura and Drake visit Angkor, the serenity of the sprawling temples belying the turmoil of the country’s past.
He turned to kiss his wife as they walked along the river bank to get into the boat. Please don’t kiss me in public. This is Cambodia, not California. I am shy as a Khmer lady. We’re not supposed to do it according to our culture and tradition even though we’re a couple,” he told Drake, who now took his hand to make sure the crowd didn’t separate them.
They got the tickets. “Please get round-trip tickets,” Drake told his wife, who replied, “There is only one type of ticket and we will be safe and return to shore after sailing on the Mekong.”
Drake grabbed two life jackets, put one on his wife and then himself, saying, “better safe than sorry, honey.”
The handsome African American stretched out his legs and arms to warm up his muscles and be ready in case the boat accidentally capsized.
“I’m glad to see there are a lot of boats coming and going so we can cling to one of them in case of an emergency,” Drake said as the speedboat carried about 15 passengers, including Chinese women whose bags are bigger than their bodies. . I started from the river bank and began to navigate among the small waves.
After enjoying the boat ride and taking in the sunset view, they came back home after dark and heard the gecko sound from the bathroom. Sukura had to accompany Drake to the bathroom and chase the animal away.
Drake didn’t sleep well because he was annoyed by the gecko’s call, “tektok ke…tek tuk ke…” over and over every hour or so. “Oh my god…the sound is louder than the sound of Big Ben’s bell in London.”
Sometimes Drake would open his eyes to make sure no gecko had crawled across the space in the room near his bed.
His restlessness woke Sakura, who learned that the animal was terrorizing her husband.
“Just close your eyes and sleep, Drake. The gecko will not come to bite you or cling to you. The animal has lived here for a long time, from when it was as small as a finger to now when it is as big as your wrist. Lizards eat insects that fly in this house. You are too big for the lizard to eat you.
“You’re fine. I need to recharge my batteries as much as I can. We’ll fly to Angkor Wat temple tomorrow,” he said and fell asleep like a baby around 1 a.m. on the heavenly bed of love.
It was 7:30 am, Sakura gently woke her husband up to make sure they wouldn’t miss their flight to Siem Reap, the home of Angkor.
Once Sakura landed in Siem Reap, she shed tears remembering when she and her dad waited for her mom more than four years ago. She briefly told her husband about that moment. Drake understood her sentiment: “Honey, please smile again. I’m always with you. I know that what happened is far from over, but I will help you in any way I can. Your tears can’t solve a problem sometimes, so be strong, strong, and strong again.”
Drake held her hand in one hand while with the other he carried a brochure about Angkor. He learned a lot about the temple: “Sakura, keep smiling again like the Bayon temple statue, where the images look like smiling human faces, regardless of their individual origins.”
The next day, the young couple toured the temples. They were excited, especially Drake who for the first time could see the most beautiful temples he had ever seen in his life.
They both wandered from one temple to another, Drake looked towards another temple in the corner of the complex and said, “The name and fame of Angkor built by your Khmer ancestors will last forever and I wish this temple to last forever as well.” .
Drake, who is quite impressed by the development of the wonderland, can’t wait to say, “You’re lucky you were born in this country…and…” Sakura interrupted, “Well, it depends on which area you’re talking about. I mean, I lost my mother to a bullet from an unidentified gunman while walking home in Phnom Penh, but at the same time I agree with you on the social development of the country.”
Drake also struggled to understand how with such a great culture, traditions and kind people something like death camps could happen. “There are complex trends and reasons that contributed to the genocide of the Khmer Rouge.” Sukura tried to explain to her husband.
“The internal consequences in Cambodia together with the impact of the external influence of the Cold War pushed my country into the abyss of slaughter and destruction. The US bombing of my country during the Vietnam War was also partly to blame for Cambodians joining the communists, too much was too much. You need to get a real history book and learn about it. But remember for now that this is the new Cambodia in an old land.” Drake interrupted, “The most important thing to us is that I love you as much as you love me so that the Sakura flower continues to bloom and bloom all year long.”
Sakura laughed out loud and raised her hands in the air, “…and Angkor bears witness to our everlasting love, and that love will shine forever in the Realm of Wonders.”
- Tags: long love short life