There’s a childlike excitement in his eyes I regrettably never anticipated; they flitter erratically – anxiously consuming every detail of the metal box before it’s snatched away. In the brief, eternal moment, I’m choked by the brutal unfairness of it all.
I knew it before, but it has never looked at me expectingly in the eye, eagerly awaiting my next move. I see a child – illuminated – suddenly hopeful that all is possible, and I feel guilty; guilty that I am responsible for letting the metal doors slide open; guilty for even allowing him a glimpse inside the mythical, illusionary box.
“Ping!” he mimics.
His entire adulthood he has afforded little by driving foreigners from A to B in Cambodia’s most famous city. It’s often hours before a passerby agrees to a ride in his tuk-tuk on any old street, so every day he wakes early to get a good spot outside the extravagent hotel with the white pillars. Waiting lazily in the polluted air, he anticipates the next wealthy guest who will walk down the steps he has never dared to step on.
At least, that is, until today.
Photographs from Siem Reap, Cambodia