As we walked around, Honored Guide talked about his future, how much he hoped to marry and have children. He was born 4 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the youngest of 6 children. He lived with and supported his parents who, at 60, were ‘very elderly.’ His Parents are 5 years older than me, but I didn't come of age during the Khmer Rouge. The universe is not a fair place.
“I think you want what everyone wants,” I told him, “a reasonable expectation of happiness.” We both laughed. Then it was time to go.
Honored Guide, what a great person! I was so lucky to have him as my teacher.
As I got out of the car at the airport, I gave them each a tip. It wasn’t much money by American standards, but Trusted Driver got teary. I was horrified. What had I done?
Honored Guide explained that I’d given them the equivalent of 6 months salary each, a huge amount of money.
I hope everyone reading this realizes how rich they are.
“Good,” I told them. “I hope you use it wisely. Y'all would hurt my feelings if you made me take it back.”
They insisted on walking me into the airport and stayed there, waving at me, till I got through the security check. I hope I’m lucky enough to see them again someday.