Read it , then you will know.
She was young. She had dreams,
“No, its fifty riel or the kanya walks.’’ Srey heard her master say to a potential customer. He was having one of his “she is still fresh, she cost more’’ conversations. Many times, her master had recited this fable yet it never failed. He had dark skin, chocolate brown eyes, a double-chin and a plastic smile. There was something about his smile that never seemed to betray him, his smile made them want to trust him.
Fresh, she was sickened by the word. The bargaining period was always the easiest part. All she had to do was sit there, look pretty and smile. Smile, sweet vain smiles that would fool even the cautious. The trade off would end with a hand shake and a promise that all would be well. “Have fun,’’ he would say and then the hard part would come. Srey wondered what her claimed purity would cost her this time. They always had a reason, customers always want something. Whether they were looking for a cheap quickie, the hope to be cured of a plague (AIDS) or maybe just sick lonely bastards who couldn’t get it anywhere else ; they all came for something.
A middle-aged, double chinned male who got nervous by the second walked in to the room. He wore a wrinkled white shirt and pants that were too tight to sit in. He was a definite candidate for the lonely and pathetic list. He ran his hands through his almost bald scalp, trying very hard to get himself together. Then as if by nature said “Sorry.’’
Sorry.Srey had not heard that one before. Sorry for what? What he was going to do to her? It was very different from the usual hey sexy, to try and make her comfortable or don’t worry honey , I will do all the work, when they noticed her ill health , frail physique. They would borrow her body and then trot along with their sick lives but never did they apologize for it. He was different, but it didn’t make him any better. He mangled his belt as if to undress himself , and said “I decided to breath, no need for panic.” From nowhere, without warning he then said “Got to go, see you around’’ and walked out. It was as abrupt and out of the blue as it was familiar. They all said they would be back.
Moments later, her master entered the room in a manic rage. He looked to the left , then right. “ You just lost me a lot of cash. I am going to kill you bitch!’’
I put down the worn-out, two day old newspaper. The news paper read: 15 year old Cambodian girl found DEAD! I was disgusted and distraught. I was fifteen and I had dreams. How could our lives be so different? Why her, why not me? Why not all of us? When It hit me, the dark cold truth. The question wasn’t why, the question is who are you? Are you the victim, survivor or are you the monster? When we decide to ignore the deathly sorrowful world around us because its not happening in your backyard or we just do not want to know. We are the monster. This evil, this darkness we made it and we will become it .
Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred. How did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us? That we now send our children out into the world like we send young men to war, hoping for their safe return but knowing that some will be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows, swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?
She was fifteen. She was innocent. She is dead.