Niak ch’muah ei?

I miss Cambodia. My heart aches to love on the girls again. My arms long to hold the kids. Particularly the girl from the sewage alley. I want to hold her again. I want to learn her name.

“Niak ch’muah ei?” I would ask her.
“What’s your name?”

She would tell me. She would tell me and I would know her name and be able to tell you all what it is. I’d teach you all how to say it. It would probably be tough to say at first, but then it will just roll right off the tongue. It’s probably a beautiful name. Maybe it’s Srey Mom or Srey Vech. There are a lot of those names all over Cambodia. They’re popular names, much like Ashley or Amanda or Megan.

It’s probably a beautiful name, to match her beautiful face.

In a way, only knowing her face is good. Without knowing her name, I am forced to remember her face. I am forced to remember the hollowness in her eyes and the dirt on her feet and the curves at the edges of her lips, bending into a frown.

Remembering her face is good. It’s humbling. It’s sobering. It makes me remember that right now, everything I’m doing is for her. For her betterment. For her safety.

I hope she’s safe. I hope she’s well fed. I hope she’s warm when she lays down for bed. But right now, I hope she has a good day. I hope she wakes up to something beautiful this morning.


I like your words.

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