I feel like I’m on a permanent emotional roller coaster ride, one that takes me up and down, left and right. This ride tugs at my heart; makes it feel like one moment it’s breaking then the next moment it’s growing larger than life.
Sometimes I want to just get off. I want to stop the ride and walk away…but that’s for sissies, right? Someone who just can’t take the turmoil; can’t handle the ride. “That’s not me.” That’s what I tell myself. Life isn’t supposed to pass you by; you’re supposed to be 100% part of it. The good with the bad, the happy with the sad, right?
At this moment, my head is pounding; a major headache is trying to come on, a headache from holding in emotions…being emotionally strong.
Today I took 10 boys to the market so they could use the money they saved to buy clothes. Such pure excitement in their faces, Angry Birds t-shirts, a new pair of shorts. Our little miser, Socheat only bought a pair of shorts, the t-shirts were too expensive for his taste - he would rather let his saving grow. After the clothes-shopping extravaganza, we went on to buy meditation snacks for the week.
Normally I bring one or two of the high school kids with me to the market when we need supplies. When I showed up at the ‘snack shop’ with 10 boys in tow, we soon drew a crowd. There were ladies pinching cheeks, rustling heads, laughing at the boy’s excitement upon seeing so many choices. I never see our boys act shy; but at this time most were a little overwhelmed. I heard “Wat Opot” amongst the adults talking, but didn’t see a change in their attitude. A sign that maybe, just maybe the past “oh no – AIDS-Wat-Opot kids” is becoming just that - a thing of the past.
One moment I was at Wat Opot feeling sad at the loss of Lan Krome and the absence of Wey (who for the first time, had been with his father for over a week) and the next moment, I was at the market laughing and feeling like my life couldn’t get any better.
When I came back at Wat Opot and put the snacks away, Wey’s father had brought him back. His father is trying to be a good man; trying to stay away from drugs; trying to be a good father, or did he find out that Wey is just not old enough to be put to work and earn money for the family… Wey had the normal disoriented look about him, the typical adjustment going from one home to another. He shyly walked into the café and showed me that his father had given him money and he wanted to check out the snacks he could buy.
I wanted to scream with joy and grab him and hug him; but I couldn’t. I had to let him get used to being back at his Wat Opot home again. He bought snacks for himself, then for his friends. He asked me for more of his money, left and came back with a sweet treat for me. Wey loves his food; especially snacks and is not usually one to share, so I considered his gesture of giving food to all of us his version of a hug and I for one, accepted it whole-heartedly.