It was mid-June. The forecast for the day was over 37 degrees Centigrade for most of the region. In Binh Lang City, it was rather stuffy. Curiously, its small Cao Street seemed to belong to another world: hazy sunshine in the beginning of autumn. Sometimes, early in the morning, a cool breeze coming from the mountains swept over the city and made people wear warm clothes.
A light that is always on
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 sacred life.
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.
A meeting
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.
Less pain in silence
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.
A writ
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.
Eye of the storm
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.


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