“I want to know,” I said, “how does she do it?”
The question was presumptuous, of course, but it was the only one I wanted answered. It was the only thought I could entertain, the only speech I could tolerate.
There was a pause, I remember that. Perhaps she was gathering her thoughts. Perhaps she would never have answered because what do you say to blundering Americans anyway? Someone from our group, perhaps unable to endure the silence, spoke for her and the moment was gone. (more…)
It’s been almost two months since we returned from Vietnam and I think I’ve done pretty well at re-entry. There was that little fender-bender in the parking lot but I like to think I’ve recovered nicely and am no longer a menace to society. Still there was a lot missing. The trip had ended with a celebratory dinner at a lovely restaurant lit by candlelight as we left because Hanoi was observing Earth Hour. Then there was the flight home with its unexpected drama that kept me distracted and then everyone was gone, disappearing onto connecting flights, or family visits or, evidently, just into the night. (more…)
We left the bus in a dusty lot and walked into the village. The path wound along a stream that widened from time to time into pools reflecting the roofs and trees. The homes had their own distinct space and yet they interlocked in a tightly-woven pattern. Our hostess, a young woman attending art school in Hanoi, led the way, eager to bring us to the home of her grandparents.
The walk lulled us. Some of our group dawdled, forgetting the social niceties in the spell of the calm. (more…)