Dien had a close shave the other day at a railway barrier that ran
through the city near her office. The barrier guard was in great fear
when he saw the girl appear out of nowhere and stand motionlessly in the
middle of the rail.
One early morning in late autumn, Hau caught the express train from
the South to Ha Noi, then went upstream to the mountainous district
capital of Yen to pay homage to her ex-husband Hien, who had just died
of a brain haemorrhage.
Having received the Decision of the Provincial Education Department,
Thanh prepared everything in a hurry before heading to Duong Son, a
mountainous district 200 kilometers from home, to start his teaching
As one of the few leading figures in the national performing arts world,
he lived on meagre wages from the State budget in a shabby house
provided by the government with his wife and three sons.
His house was next to mine, but when I grew up, I did not know him.
Mother told me that he joined the army when I was still very small. Only
his mother, old Hai, was left living alone, selling sundries. We shared
a hundred-year-old terminalia tree.
When our Literature-Encouraging Camp*, whose members were almost on the
wrong side of fifty, started its new course, Tram joined us three days
later. She appeared among us like a breath of fresh air while we were in
the large hall.
On the wedding day, in her simplicity, Dung looked so beautiful by
Toan's side. After half a year of being married, Dung was still so shy
that she dared not embrace Toan whenever he drove her on his motorbike
to the market or to visit a friend.
As a wounded soldier with a lot of bomb splinters in my chest, arm and
leg from the crucial fights at the ancient citadel of Quang Tri, I felt
terrible pain in bad weather. But I was lucky to be alive, as most of
my comrades-in-arms laid down their lives there.
Hearing that high-handed voice, the old man quickly recognised that
something bad was about to happen, so he got out of the gunnysack and
sat on all fours. His hunchback was higher than his neck.
Today, he felt terrible pain in his belly due to heavy work. He made
more than a hundred bricks a day, as a rule. Poor man, he was now
mercilessly tortured on the bed after several rounds of drink with his