written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU
It is a summary of love story of Reka and Dani.
Yes, both of them are women.
It started when Reka was at seven years old.
She lived with her parents and she had a brother.
One Sunday, her parents brought her and her brother to visit her grand parents' house. There were aunts and uncles visit them too.
Her parents bought toy.
They gave her a shield and gave her brother axe. Both of them were made by rubber. Then they told her to play with her brother.
As her brother got axe, he hit no mercy on her. Reka used shield to protect herself. She did not like to play and she cried to her brother to stop, but he did not stop. He was laughing and happy to hit her.
Reka was hit whole body even head. She cried to her parents to tell her to stop but her parents said to her, 'Play with brother.'
'But he hits me.' She told.
'I give you shield. You are stupid not to able using it.'
Reka was upset when she heard her parents reply.
Look at her brother, he was younger than her and he liked violent game, he hit his axe with full of strength on her. With no stop.
The old people including her parents, aunts and uncles, watched them happily. They were glad when they saw her brother laugh. No one cared about her.
Then her brother hit her head strongly. Reka was angry. She put her shield down, grabbed the axe and pulled it from his hand after that hit on his bottom. Her brother cried. Her parents ran to see. When they learnt she hit him, they beat her.
Reka felt unfair. She just hit her brother little, but everyone blamed her even her aunts and uncles. Her brother just got red mark on his bottom, everyone pitied him, but on her hands and body got dark bruises and also there was small cuts on her arms, no one cared about her.
Everyone gave her a mean look and said she was bad girl.
They took her brother inside, left her standing under the sun heat.
Reka went out to sit on pavement near the gate. She looked at her arm bleeding.
Then Dani appeared. She was older than Reka 3 years. She rode bicycle and stopped when she saw Reka. She walked to her.
'What are you doing here?' Dani asked Reka.
Then she saw her arms bleeding. Dani took bandage from her bag - in bicycle basket - and placed on her injury.
Reka looked at Dani. She found light shining over her and Dani.
Then Dani smiled at her and left.
Reka remembered such image until she grew up. Sweetness and warmth from Dani treasured in her mind. She tried to find her, but she did not know where she lived and what her name. She did not meet her since then, but she remembered her and she wished to meet her again one day.
15 years later, Reka was a woman.
Her parents arranged her with a son of her father friend. Reka did not like him, but she did not want to refuse her parents, so she agreed to engage with him.
After that, one Sunday, her fiancé brought her out. Her parents permitted.
Her fiancé drove her to have meal outside town. They stayed there until evening. Reka found it was late evening, so she told him to take her home. He agreed. He paid bill and drove her back, but not to home, he drove to quiet and dark place.
'Why you bring me here?' Reka said.
'We engaged already.' Her fiancé claimed. 'Even though, you have to give me, so give me early it is fine.'
'What!! No. Take me home now.'
She stressed her word, but her fiancé did not care. He jumped from his seat to kiss her. Reka pushed him back. He grabbed her hands and kissed her face and neck. Reka cried, 'Let go of me.' then she screamed HELP. Her fiancé covered her mouth. She bit his hands. He was hurt and pulled his body away and Reka took chance to slid from his car.
She ran away.
The street was quiet and dark. She slipped and fell on the ground. Her ankle was hurt.
Her fiancé followed and caught her.
Reka refused not to go with him.
When they were fighting, a woman showed up. She stopped her car and came out.
Reka cried for help. Her fiancé told that lady that she was her fiancé and they got little dispute, but Reka called that he wanted to rape her.
That lady pulled Reka to stand behind. The man threat it was not her business, but she was not scared, she said she would call police to find the truth. Hearing that, the fiancé shut up. He changed to be sweet to Reka and called her that he would take her home, but Reka shook head. Seeing her action, the lady said she would bring Reka home herself. Then she took her to her car and left.
In the car, Reka told everything to that lady.
The lady just said she should tell her parents and should not get married with that man. Reka noted her words in mind.
She took Reka home then left.
When she entered, she told her parents all. Her parents were angry. Her father called his friend - father of her fiancé - to call off the wedding, but she did not what they talked with him, after the calling, he was calm and said to her to forget the incident. Reka was surprised to hear that.
'Why?' She asked her father. 'He did this to me and you still want me to get married with him.'
'He loses his mind just once, forgive him. And you will be his wife soon. It's normal.' Her father said and her mother agreed with him.
'No. I don't get married with him.'
Reka exclaimed and ran to her room.
She cried for she did not believe her parents did this to her.
Next day, her fiancé came to apologize. Reka did not come to see him even her parents called her.
Not only her fiancé but also his parents came to apologize almost everyday, but she did not forgive him. She was scared that that man would hurt her after marriage. She did not believe that man.
Her parents were angry. They forced her to get married, but she refused. She was determined not to marry such a man.
That fiancé bothered her everyday. He also went to her office.
Reka was stress. She did not want to see or hear from that man.
One evening, when she arrived home, she saw car of that man family before her house, she decided to go somewhere. She went to have meal at a coffee shop and met with the lady whom had helped her. They sat and talked.
Reka felt she was familiar, but she could not recall.
She was told her name was Dani. Yes, it was Dani from 15 years ago, but Reka did not remember her face clearly.
Only thing she could remember was a necklace pendal that Dani wore. Then she asked and knew she was a person she has waited. Reka was so excited. She did not believe her eyes that she could meet her. Her wish became true.
Dani remembered Reka too.
She asked Reka about her issue and she told Dani.
Dani felt not happy with what she met. She gave her phone number and told she could call her anytime.
Well, no need to tell much. Reka and Dani fell into deep affection that they themselves did not realized too. They just knew that they cared about each other, they concerned about each other, and they missed each other.
Rekas' parents still forced her to marry with that man, but she agreed to die, she would not get married with that guy.
When they forced her strongly, she went to stay with Dani. She lived alone for her parents immigrated to abroad. And they developed their hearts and realized it was called love.
Few weeks later, Reka brought Dani to meet her parents and exposed their love. Her parents were angry and beat Reka and wanted to lock Reka in room. First, they thought of calling off the wedding, but when they heard Reka loved woman, they decided to get her married with her fiancé. Not matter how bad he was, at least he was a man and her family did not want relatives to look down once they learnt their daughter was lesbian.
That day, in the past, re-appeared in Reka's mind. She busted into anger and ran away to live with Dani. Her parents called police to arrest Dani but Reka spoke out everything to save her beloved. Her parents were angry and decided not to recognize her as their daughter. Reka did not beg them. She accepted silently.
Their story was exposed to neighbors and they discriminated them.They did not talk or contact with them. Though, they did not mind because they understood people could not accept them and they could not force them to accept.
Danis' parents were open. They did not stop them. They allowed them.
Reka and Dani were glad to hear that. They were happy that they could live together, but not in Cambodia. They needed to immigrate to another country where they accepted them.
They applied their visa and waited for their decision patiently because of corona virus novel.