As a service to our readers, Khmer Times is pleased to publish the full version of Ek Tha’s latest book Long Love, Short Life. The book will be published in sections every Friday. Below is the fourteenth portion of the series. Last week Dara offered to give Duongchan a lift home to visit her mother who lives 35 kilometres away on the weekend. This week, Duongchan tells Dara how and why he stole Mr 7 January’s rifle.
Check out the Twelvth portion here: https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50808496/young-love-gets-lift-over-weekend-plan-part-xii/
“What weapon?” she asked.
“Please just get on my scooter and we will talk,” he replied. As Duongchan got on the scooter behind Dara and sped up sending out smoke from the noisy engine scooter, he talked to himself “Oh, shit! I forgot to pick the AK rifle.”
Duongchan heard Dara mumbling but she was unsure what he said due to the noise. “What did you say…you forgot… rattan or what?
“Not rattan but rifle… the AK rifle. I hid it under the coconut tree yesterday behind our classes,” he said as he drove to the tree.
After Duongchan got on the motor scooter, he drove fast to the gun where he hid it under a tree covered with coconut leaves.
“Where did you get this gun from?” she asked.
“I stole it from the training site yesterday. I tried to borrow it from the military trainer Mr. 7 January one time before but he said that he will never ever let me have the deadly gun as he was afraid that this gun will slip into the hands of wrong people or Khmer Rouge and take lives of innocent people like me. So I just stole it then.”
“Why do you need the gun?” she asked.
“I need to protect you. Remember you told me before that the Khmer Rouge attacked the villages in your area.”
“But you cannot defeat the Khmer Rouge,” she argued.
“I did not say I can defeat the Khmer Rouge, I said I need it to protect you from the Khmer Rouge who might come to take you away from me and I will live miserable and alone. Is my answer fair? I know I cannot win the battle against Pol Pot’s soldiers but as long as they cannot take you away from me I win the battle of love.”
“So how are you going to hold this scary Russian donated rifle?” she asked him nervously.
“No problem. The gun has the string and I can carry it in the back and point the cannon down to the earth and you sit next to me so that no one can see it… you can hug me from the back if you want.”
“Shut up please, Dara, you are crazy,” she said. “I am sure the authorities will arrest you en route when they spot your rifle.” Duongchan has not yet finished her words when Dara interrupted and said, “That is why I place it between us. I am not crazy but I just carry it to protect you. That is all.”
This was the second time Dara had visited his girl’s mom. It was Saturday and Dara had planned well that he will make the Saturday as sweet as he could. He will make sure that the 35 km road long will become 350 km instead by slowing his scooter’s speed as slow as he can so that he could spend his time flirting with his girl sitting behind him as much as he could do. Duongchan did not mind either since she seemed to enjoy her weekend wooing with him. They were young they were strong and had no complaints about sitting too long. Dara drove slow, even slower than her cycling speed on the same road. With the quiet and big potholed road, Dara detoured left and right… stopped and started… and sometimes used his left hand to touch his girl’s thigh along with saying that he wanted to make sure that the gun was still with him.
It was a wonderful weekend and they both enjoyed it. Duongchan warned him to be careful when showing off as the gun sometimes hit her thigh and lap.
“Dara, I am not a wrestler… I mean I am not as strong as our Khmer ancestors physically who built Angkor Wat about 800 years ago. Another word, I am just slim but not strong. So, try your best to stay away from big bumps… ok?”
“… that is why I used my hand to touch and massage your thigh to relief the pain… or should I stop for an hour and we can sit under that tree where there are old tree trunks we can sit on, so that I can also see how much pain you get in your thigh… please tell me,” said Dara who tried to get the upper hand on her.
“Oh, Dara… you are such a smart and naughty guy … but let me say this, your scooter is much more expensive than my bicycle, but I find it is not convenient sitting behind you and holding the gun… I prefer to hold a baby on my lap, but not your gun.”
Dara giggled and replied, “you are right, soon we will have one baby.”
“Hah, ha… you are the winner now. I cannot find words to answer you,” she replied.
“You never need to as long as my love for you continues to shine in my heart and head… none of us is a winner here… you are not my loser, but lover… being lover, you do not have to be the winner or loser, but care for each other from the start till the end,” Dara talked as he slowed down the speed to bicycle pace and detoured into a green village where he saw an old woman spread the wet paddy rice crop on mats in front of her house, before the rain falls, to make the grain dry so that she can store it in the barn for a long period of time without decay.
Dara stopped his motor scooter and turned to Duongchan, saying, “She looked like your mom and she has dimples on her cheek I can see from a distance. I cannot imagine how beautiful she was when was young. But one thing I am sure is that she is not as beautiful as you are.”
The views and expressions in the said novel Long Love, Short Life are entirely a work of fiction, and it is the personal work of the author.