She moved from Cambodia to Mexico for work. Her recent work made her travel, sometimes she liked it and sometimes well...strange thing about desire is you always want what you don't have or what others have.
Sometimes you wonder, if having what you want diminishes the value of it or the way you get what you want, changes it. For her it was an earned experience and she was thankful but she didn't know if she liked it yet. It was too early.
Life had been a mix of good, bad and worse. But now she was in control and guess that made her happy. She no more had to deal with people she didn't want to, do things she hated. People who could take advantage of her vulnerability and not think twice, were history.
She knew it wasn't easy reaching there; but she did and though no one would ever know, she knew some where, the sacrifice was big and forced.
"Entonces, ¿cómo fue tu viaje? ¿Cansado? ¿Habla usted español?"
"I am sorry?"
"Spanish! Do you speak?" He asked her, handing her a cup of coffee.
"Oh no, I wish I did but no" she smiled. There was something about him that she liked. Maybe his enthusiasm. He was introduced to her just few days back as part of the team she was to get trained with. There were five people. Each different characters and each training her on something but she liked Ray the best. He was always polite, smiling and had a child like innocence. He was not a native but lived in Mexico long enough to know his way around and speak the language. He liked to learn about cultures, people, way of life and that helped him with his work.
This was the first time she was out with him.
Her next task required her to know him well and they needed to form a team bond. Plus he would be the only help she will have in the new country.
"So how do you find Mexico?" Ray asked, to continue the conversation.
"I like it, full of life"
"Yeah, and full of people who will be ready to take this life" He smiled.
She kept quiet. Waited for him to say more.
"Like the coffee? Not the best but this was the nearest" He smiled again. Nice smile, she thought.
"Nothing I can complain about, am glad to be out finally"
He agreed. They were in training for hours and it was tiring, work all day and that too in a new place. She was an expert at her work but needed training to be part of the group, to be able to control her reactions and to be able to believe in what she is doing was right. She would be sent across the globe to cities which needed her skills and not her. Her asset was she looked like a young working girl, always smiling and completely an unknown and average face. Add to that, the fact that she was smart and betrayed by life, people. Her own people.
"So we go to London soon?"
"Yes" she confirmed knowing it's already confirmed and she has no choice.
"Am all packed" he was always ready for a go. His friends joked about him being born on the road. His knowledge about different countries and cultures was a big help for her. She had never been to UK. He was to make her meet few of the group members. It was part of making the upcoming task easier.
She was smart but nervous. There were too many things hanging there. What if's, that had no answer except the logic of survival. He knew the dangers too but he was part of it and had accepted the danger. They went back, had dinner and chatted after dinner for a while. The routine continued for few weeks.
After few weeks of knowing each other the bond did convert into friendship. However both knew about each other as much as any one else in the group knew about them or about the rest.
Next day they traveled early to make sure they don't miss the flight. They were boarded as husband and wife going for a holiday. She was acting all excited and smiley and he was smiling back, holding hands and muttering sweet nothings.
Over the next few days they traveled from one city to another. The drive mostly was beautiful and she enjoyed his conversation and company.
Trust for her was difficult. After seeing real faces behind the masks people generally wear, she didn't easily trust others. But somehow she wanted to trust him. Maybe because she was lonely or didn't know what would happen the next minute and she liked him. She felt secure. But was it security after all?