Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lost Friendships

I would be sorry if I didn't write about these two sisters. Their names are Nhan and Nhin (These two names together mean yielding, giving in, being passive). They were my good friends from Sunday school. They did not live in my village. I did not have years of childhood experience with them or grow up with them. I only knew them from attending first communication classes. It was only a few short months but I always have them in my heart. We shared lots of memories from picking wild flowers from the church courtyard, picking up pebbles and also split toasted peanuts between us from a small store in the hamlet close by the church. One Sunday, after class, I followed them home. I am not sure, but I think they lived in a place that was designated especially just for the Vietnamese soldiers' families. Their house were very small but there was warmth and love. I got to meet their mother. She was very nice and kind. She let us go to the back and play with water in a big tub. Of course, we did not know of bathing suits and of course, we were all wet later. Afterward, she fed us dinner early, so that I could go home. We ate steamed rice, tiny fish grilled with crushed red chili and lettuce dipped with fish sauce. It was simple but I enjoyed it very much. I never did get to meet their dad because he was far away at some battle field guarding and protecting our motherland. I did not know any until years later how lucky I was compared to them. I did not have my father home for dinner or at night, but at least I got to see him most days. They probably did not get to see their dad but once or twice a year. Thinking of this makes me want to cry for them. They were so proud of their dad just like I am proud of my dad and all the men who fought for the country.

In 1972 the Communists (Viet Cong) came in and took over Bong Son. This made everybody evacuate the city. At that time, my family had already moved to another city named Qui Nhon to escape the Communists. My dad worked as a new elected official in Qui Nhon. When the evacuation happened, I thought of Nhan and Nhin even though I had not seen them for years. I rode my bicycle to Qui Nhon's main church location where I heard most of the people were to migrate to. I wanted to see my friends and their mom and maybe their dad, too, but because I was very young and there were too many people, I was not able to find them. I rode home on my bicycle with tears in my eyes.

By Thai Le Nguyen

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