pearls around the neck • 65
Author: Ohnmar Win, Myanmar, Rangoon, 2012
Edited by Susan Surrat
Illustration: Ohnmar Win.
Mya Mya and her first boy friend Htay Khin lived the same love story. When she met him at the age of
sixteen, he was two years older and they fell in love right away. They often sat together at the riverbank
in a small corner, under a tree or an umbrella, so that no one could see them. He was good looking,
with a good sense of humor and he was kind. She was in love with him and she felt the urge to be closer
to him. But what kissing and sex was all about, nobody had ever told her. She only knew that it was
what married couples did and they made babies, and it was not something nice. When they kissed for
the first time, it felt absolutely amazing.
A few months later, when they were kissing intensely at the river bank again, Htay Khin touched her
body feverishly all over. It was such a wonderful feeling that she was ready to give in, forgetting all the
consequences that would inevitably follow. So they had sex together, although she knew it was wrong,
and she was not allowed to tell anybody, especially not her parents. Life went on. They met each other
more often than usual, but they didn’t talk about it.
A few weeks later she realized that her body was different: she was pregnant.
When she told Htay Khin, he seemed surprised and shocked and he asked her to give him time to
Weeks passed. She was feeling anxious and lonely and, although scared, she had no choice but to tell her
mother. Her mother was upset, yet they arranged the marriage with Htay Khin.
Everything went fast; their first son was born just a few months after the small wedding they held at
home and 12 months later, their younger child was born. They lived together with her parents in the
one-room hut and hardly ever had time together at home or at the riverbank. Htay Khin’s behaviors
towards her changed rapidly; he became severe. He had to work harder to support his new family and
his parents. Sometimes he left for days, and then for weeks, to Pyi Town to buy commodities to re-sell
back in the village. She was busy taking care of the kids, doing the household chores and earning some
extra money with sewing.
Life inspired by her favorite movies was different from reality.
He became more and more distant until he was just like a stranger. One day, when Aung Aung was
two and Win Win was nearly one year old, Htay Khin packed up his luggage for his usual trip to Pyi
Town, left, and never came back.
No support fees, no divorce, and no chance to convince him. Only the tears, helplessly. A month later,
she heard from someone in the village that Htay Khin had remarried and that he was living in Pyi
There she was, alone with two kids relying on her. She was only 19 years old, herself still depending on
her own parents. She was facing the responsibilities of a woman much older than she actually was.
She felt so much sorrow and so much anger about the scene of the fallen rose petals in the love movies.
Therefore, that day, she had decided that he was dead.