Bullets

Do you know how it feels in your chest when you realize that the noise you thought sounded an awful lot like a gun shot is a gun shot and that the girl 30 feet away isn’t holding her foot to check out her toenails when blood starts pouring into her hands. 

There is a sinking feeling. But there isn’t enough time to find the bottom of the sinkhole because the second shot moves you. Faster than you think it could and slower than you wish it did, but it moves you. It moves you into bushes under stone fences and then it pauses. It listens to one, two more shots. It calculates the silence. Then it moves you again, to a safer place where you can stay.

The calmest person is the girl with the partial bullet in her foot. Shock maybe. But we don’t move. Khmer and Westerners alike. We stay. We wait. Four shots, but we fear for more. None come. In time the girl’s friends take her away to find a clinic that will take the bullet out. Molly and I have a drink to stop the shaking. It doesn’t work, but we don’t drink more. Then two shining lights. Smit walks in, somehow informed of our misfortune, and Dara behind him. They put us in the tuk-tuk. Dara rides my bike and Smit drives us home.

Don’t worry Mom. Don’t worry Dad. I know that you will which is why I haven’t told you yet. I don’t want to wake you up in the middle of the night again with this news. You would never sleep again. I phoned you after Isaa’s accident. I’m not phoning you now. This is important: I don’t feel unsafe. I just feel unlucky.

Here is an earlier day at the same pool: “the Martha Washington”.
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