Thursday, May 19, 2011
The once serene Cambodian forest had become a terrifying place to be, with more deadly anti-personnel landmines scattered indiscriminately along the path we walked to escape our blighted land. Daylight was fading fast, and the world turning blue around me. It was nearly impossible to see the telltale threads connected to some of the mines that detonated when tripped, sending shrapnel everywhere. The pressure of an unlucky footstep would trigger other landmines, obscured by heavy vegetation. I looked for them vigilantly though, as we trekked single file toward the Thai border. Reaching our destination remained in the hands of fate. We were precariously close to leaving Cambodia.
Without warning, from up ahead, I heard it, that dreaded sound of a muffled explosion. My heart sank. I stopped and looked up. But all I could see was the canopy of tall trees, thick hanging vines and bamboo surrounding me, and reaching above me to the sky, blurred by my tears.
I said a prayer to the God spirits, and forced myself to take another step. My feet fit into the footprints of the others in front of me. Then I took one more step, and then one more.