Native English

Short Story Day 124 of 365

22 months.

Twenty-two months was how long Barry and May had been in the Southeast Asian country without a break. They shouldn’t have gone that long, but funds were short working as an English as a Second Language teacher and they only had enough money to get home when their gig was up in two months.

In those 22 months, they had seen civil war, famine, and a drought. Three times they had been robbed at gunpoint, and when a tsunami had wiped out towns and villages in a neighboring province, they spent three weeks in primitive and unsanitary conditions helping those who had lost everything.  

 A tall, European man walked into their hotel, approached Barry and asked, “Do you speak English?”

Barry said, “A little.”

Then the man, a Dutchman, asked for directions to the cheapest hotel in the city and explained his situation to Barry. Barry offered whatever assistance he could, and the man went on his way. 

“Barry, you feeling okay?” May asked.

“Yeah, why?”

“Honey, you’re a native English speaker. It’s your first language. Why’d you say, ‘a little’ to that man when he asked you if you spoke English?”

Barry didn’t say anything at first and then just smiled at his wife.

“Two more months, May, is all I can say. Two more months.”


  1. Just two more months just hang in there two more months and I will have my vacation dream of sunshine and beaches sipping on wine and drinking beer and walking in the Pyramids. Omg ! Just two more months David!

  2. I just have to ask… re: “…funds were short as an English as a Second Language teacher…”
    Just exactly how short is an ESL teacher?

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