An arc of light that reflected the joy and sadness of a man's life had
gleamed in mother's consciousness and finally focused on the slight
sadness of human existence, a sadness of one about to leave this world. A
life mingled with joy and sadness about to go, an extremely simple but
It was Sunday, so I had no school. Uncle Be asked me to go downtown
with him. At a junction, under a row of towering big hardwood trees, I
saw a lot of people surrounding cages with birds of every description.
Immediately, Uncle Be stopped. Then he proceeded to a bamboo cage with
two birds billing and cooing to each other.
He walked softly to the back of the house. The lock on the door on the
side of the house had been pried open. He became very nervous. He heard
some small sounds and saw light from a torch in the front of the house.
N. and her old mother lived in one of the two adjacent ground-floor
flats. The poor old woman's neighbours could hear her daughter-in-law
nagging loudly all the time.
He received the news of having matriculated as a post-graduate
student in Russia and had one month to prepare before flying out. It
should have been a piece of good news, but he did not feel so happy. On
the contrary, he was somewhat depressed. It was as though he was doing
something in the eleventh hour.
Reaching our condo drive, instead of parking my vehicle inside the
garage, I headed straight for my hometown to stay away from our small
apartment in the huge concrete high-rise. I wanted to avoid the lonely
situation that had reigned over our place for many days on end.
For many nights, the thinking had suddenly wakened him up from the
feeling that he was floating, and he stayed wide awake right after that,
even some time through to the next night.
When N opened the letter box, he found it lying amid some newspapers.
It read: "A writ will arrive in a few days. Get ready!" Seeing her
husbands dejected face, his wife, who was sweeping the floor, asked:
Finally, spring passed rapidly. The light green tender buds began
turning darker. The last yellow leaves were gently floating down to the
ground. A hot gust of Laotian wind started to blow over the high
mountain range into the Vietnamese lowlands.
It got dark quite early. The news about the storm was still on the
radio. The bonze and Sang had dinner earlier than usual. The praying
also happened earlier.