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This has probably happened to you before – realising you love someone when she’s gone, leaving you heartbroken with an unspoken emotion. It did hurt, didn’t it? And it will continue to hurt as you try to keep your hopes up that she will eventually come back to you. But you won’t know for sure. Will you choose to wait? Or, will you just accept the fact that it’s not really meant to be.

This dilemma is the focus of SEA Write Awardee Sok Chanphal’s “Sneha Sopheap Boros” book that was published in 2018.

The story centers on an immature boy named Bunnar, who comes to city to pursue his bachelor’s degree. But more than narrating Bunnar’s academic journey, the book highlights the main characters journey of love.

Bunnar’s good friend is a girl-hunter, and it has become his mission to find Bunnar girls he can sleep with. Despite not wanting the situation he is being put in, Bunnar does not refuse when his friend tells him to go to a guesthouse with the girls he has chosen for him.

However, Bunnar refuses to make love with the girl when they arrived at the guesthouse. Embarrassed, the girl runs away and left Bunnar to pay all the bills. Unexpectedly, Bunnar finds out that the owner of the guesthouse is his female classmate, Pheany. Bunnar doesn’t have any money with him and asks Pheany to spare him from more embarrassment. Seeing how hopeless Bunnar is, Pheany finds a reason to mock and hate him more.

Pheany continues to see Bunnar with different girls. This causes her anger to grow. Bunnar, meanwhile, never gets the chance to tell her his side.

But one day, he sees her crying alone. Bunnar suddenly felt something for Pheany – it could be pity or care; he doesn’t know. He later realises that he wants to take Pheany’s pain and make her happy. But it’s too late already. Pheany disappears, leaving Bunnar confused.

Bunnar goes on with his life, trying to heal his wounded heart. He graduates and gets a good job as a tour guide in Siem Reap. He does not only get a salary, but a free accommodation as well. He shares his room with a tomboy employee named Vannak.

Doing good in his job, Bunnar gets closer with his genius manager, Khemery, who later admits that she’s falling in love with him. Bunnar doesn’t hesitate telling Khemery how much he likes her, too.

Overwhelmed with how life has unfolded for him after his first failure in love, Bunnar shares his joy with his roommate Vannak.

But life doesn’t run out of ways to surprise Bunnar. He finds out that Vannak is actually Pheany – the girl he has long been waiting for, the girl who broke his heart. Pheany is actually just disguising herself as a boy because of family problems.

If you’re in Bunnar’s shoes, what would you feel? Who would you choose – the girl you’ve grown to adore and adores you back or the girl you used to love but left you hanging?

Get a copy of this novel at Scholar Library.

Author: Sok Chanphal
Publication: Seavphovjivet, 2018

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