Saying Goodbye to the Englishwoman Added£1.59
Add to basket
(A short story of 2205 words)

Saying Goodbye to the Englishwoman


by Chrissie Gittins

Helen hadn’t expected to fall so totally in love – with the mist which rose each morning to show the mountainsides dripping with vegetation, with the towels wrapped with casual style around the heads of the Karennis, with the meek and resolute spirit of a people driven from their country by tyrants. Helen had lived in Camp 5 for a year. She’d found the Karenni on the internet one Wednesday afternoon in November.

“I think I’ve got it,” she told Richard when he got home from work.

“What’s that, Darling?” Richard put down his briefcase on the wicker basket chair.

“The subject for my research.” Helen tried to sound neutral.

“Oh good.” There was a pause. “Are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?”

“You won’t be able to guess.”

“So come on!” Richard feigned impatience.

“The Karenni. Northern Thailand. An ethnic tribe from Burma. Karenni is the smallest ethnic state...”

“Thailand! That’s bloody miles away. Hours and hours and days away.”

“Well, a day.” She looked pleadingly at her fiancée. “You knew it would be like this.” She’d been dreading telling him. But what had come out in her voice was her excitement. “It’ll be OK. We can write. I can phone sometimes. Just think – you can visit.”

“I’m thinking,” said Richard, hiding only a fraction of his dejection.

During her year in the camp Helen decided to make the Karenni her life’s work. She lived in their culture and absorbed their concerns. She wore a longyi and learned to speak both Karenni and Burmese. She even willed herself to get malaria – so strongly did she identify with their hardships...

What others say about Saying Goodbye to the Englishwoman - Add your review

© 2023 CUT All rights reserved.