Today, we are excited to share the third place winner of our Summer 2018 Flash Fiction Contest. “Rieb Kear (to Marry)” takes place at a Khmer wedding and highlights the melding of traditional and modern ceremonies, as well as the importance in passing on your heritage.
In five years my own son’s first words will be in English, not Khmer. And in ten years he will barely know his grandparents because he can’t speak with them, so when they say they love him he will look to his mother and me.
A Khmer wedding will last for three days.
I told the officiant for the third day of Kim and Phan’s wedding that it was because Cambodians had a lot to celebrate. She hadn’t been to the other two days, the ones that carried meaning for our parents. Only this, the third day, the one inspired by the West that made my generation feel normal. In two years, the officiant and I will have our own wedding. It will be only a single day, and after the outdoor ceremony, when my family gathers at a buffet serving grey meat drizzled with a dark brown gravy they will ask where to put their ang pav—the red money-filled envelopes meant to bring luck to our marriage—and I won’t have an answer for them.