live a life,
At the first glance of you, I knew something would happen.
In that morning, from Hoàn Kiem Lake where I lived by to the West Lake
where the conference took place, I walked through half of Hanoi,
which, for now, seems a religious journey to see you. You were silent
and peaceful in a corner of that middle-size conference room when I
stepped in. Under the cloudy sky, you looked such a little bit of
melancholy that made me notice you immediately among all the present
participants who were talking and laughing. Without words, I sat
beside you with one empty chair between us, and thought of ways to
talk with you politely.
You were the first Vietnamese girl I talked with. I would not forget
how we started with the first conversation. I showed you photos I took
on the way to ask you what the Vietnamese in the photos mean. You
thought for a while to organize the English words and then translated
to me with smile that started from your mouth to your eyes. Since
then, I started the journey of curiosity about you and satisfied by
I was impressed by you during the activity relevant to cultural
identity, in which the facilitator told us to draw something that
could symbolize us. You drew a vine growing up around a tree, and you
explained that you were not that social type and wanted to have
something to support you just like the tree. I now feel so sorry about
my reaction because I didn’t fully understand what you had meant by
that painting. Afterwards, through your mouth, when your life stories
printed in my brain, I finally understood each word you said in front
of me at that time.
During the whole official conference, there was not even one
coincidence that made I sit with you around the same table during the
meals. What I could feel comfortable was only the official
conversation and expressions interacting with you during the sessions.
I was afraid of the indifference might grow just like the wild grass
in the fields if you don’t continue cultivate the rice. At that time,
I was even not sure about your whole name, so I just remembered the
country you represented and then checked in delegation list, and then
added you in Facebook that I didn’t often use. You were certain to be
curious about why I checked with you face-to-face during the break
whether I had already added you in Facebook, which just meant that I
wanted to impress you that person added you yesterday was me.
When the conference was over, I searched you with all the efforts
among the people who were engaged into taking photos and talking. I
found you, asked for a together photo, and then gave you a small gift.
Without saying anything special out of the mouth, I just smiled to
you. I didn’t know whether that would be the forever ending of the
meeting, which drove me to say something but none in reality.
Fortunately, I met you in the party. You still wore that blue suit and
sweater that made me recognize you immediately. For you, I joined in
the game. For saving you from the punishment in the game, I proposed
to dance with you but with a little hesitation that just made me lose
the opportunity to do that, because you already ran to some people to
scare them to fulfill the punishment.
I chatted with you a lot in Facebook with any beautiful words I could
think of. Luckily, all the efforts made sense. You gave me positive
replies and we could further many interesting topics with happiness
and tacit understanding.
I would never forget your sudden appearance during the final hotpot
party. You stepped in and then looked at me. What I had was only
surprise and hesitation. What should I do? I asked myself. The answer
of me was just passed through nearly all the people to sit beside you
and chatted with you. That conversation gave me the chance to
translate your Vietnamese name into Chinese so that I might remember
them as long as I could, because Chinese characters made more sense
than Vietnamese letters for me. After the hotpot, I chose to continue
to stay with you and also other people to a coffee shop on the West
Lake. We continued chatting, and what we chatted seemingly wasn’t
important. What was important, in my mind, was just with you. After
the coffee, I again chose to stay and moved to an abandoned house near
the West Lake. Several people including you and me sat on the roof of
that house and had a whole view of the lake. And of course, chatting
continued between us, only us, during which, you asked again and again
for the permission from your mom to stay a little longer with me.
On the day before I left, I invited you to guide me to travel in
Hanoi. You drove a bigger motorbike compared with your figure, and I
sat behind you in the air of you. The wind blew your hair and all the
fragrance flooded into my nose and mouse. We visited the National
Ethnology Museum where you told me your whole life story of your
isolation in Sweden and happiness in Thailand, which, in my view, made
you such a peaceful and silent girl. The life story continued to be
told by you in a Chinese restaurant, and I was still a good listener.
The egg coffee shop would be an unforgettable memory during my whole
life. Under a “White Elephant” picture that we just talked about,
sitting closely with you on a big bench, we shared our hobbies about
detective story and science fiction. In my eyes, all the time, you
were beautiful in terms of the way that you spoke English in, and the
smile that appeared in your face.
And your face was seemingly what I only remembered during the visiting
in National Military Museum, though I loved histories and military
You drove me to your university for submission of your graduating
documents which made me have a chance to walk around the place you
lived and studied for nearly four years. In here, I knew that you were
active and famous. And also, in here, I knew you had a boyfriend.
On the bench in the campus, I confessed my affection to you, and you
also did that. However, there were some words, as you said, that you
couldn’t say and you would rather choose to bury them into your heart
forever. There were some obstacles, as you noticed, that you couldn’t
ignore and you would rather choose not to overcome. I just looked at
you even though you felt shy and asked me to look away, but how could
I look away from you?
You wanted to go home earlier before the sunset which really meant
something to me and I understood. I hugged you in front of the hotel,
and went into the hotel directly without any single one
And now, looking out of the window, I see the moon that you can also
see in the sky. However, it may be the last opportunity for us to see
the moon in such short distance in the same city. As I sang in the
gala, the moon just represents my heart. And maybe just like the
Vietnamese joke you told to me, the moon can represent my stomach
because it was cured by the therapy of you.
In this world, many people gradually love each other in every single
day because of a series of moments just like what we have, but also,
many of them, who choose to stay together, finally suffer from the
love during the whole lives.
Although I don’t want to admit, I do like this short love but full of
good memories. Since tomorrow, when we are in the different corners in
this large world, when we hear of some news about our countries and
peoples, we may smile to recall the memories and think of each other.
Moments are now flooding into my mind. Those emotional driving when I
sat behind you; Those impressive conversations that I talked with you;
Those delicious noodles and egg coffees I took in with you; Those
laughs and smiles under the “White Elephant” picture about our common
hobbies released by you; Those curiosities about you and satisfied by
you; Those words on the bench in your campus unspoken and buried into
the heart by you; From the first glance to the last hug, moments just
like your name, Minh Chau, will be bright pearl in the sea of my mind.
I do forever cherish all those moments just like cherish parts of my
body. Before I came to Vietnam, I read the novel wrote by Duras,
Lover, and I heard of the famous opera, Miss Saigon, and both of them
are beautiful love story. But now, I would like to forget them,
because I have already had mine.
On the each future single day, I do wish you all the best, which seems
what I only can do at most.
To my beloved,
It’s been 5 hours since the plane took off. I tried to search for the
duration of a flight from Hanoi to Chongqing. They say it would be at
least half a day, so you are probably still on your way.
Notwithstanding my awareness, I still keep the small box of our
conversation on Facebook opened, hopefully the tiny green spot would
appear though I know there is not a chance for that to happen in the
next few hours, even the next few months.
I know it’s hard to access to Facebook around there. Indeed, we could
keep in touch through a variety of other means. Nevertheless, I wonder
if I would do so. I don’t want to ruin the stainless moments we had.
I’m afraid that time would destroy our image in each other’s eyes. But
still, I want to write to you, at least as a last goodbye.
Just so you know, right now I desperately want to feel your close
existence as much as a hundredfold of what I’m been through days ago
while I was waiting for your messages. Perhaps you don’t have a clue
how impatient I was.
To look back on the first impression I had with you, I heard others’
curiosity about you but I never looked at you the way they did. I’m
surprised that I didn’t even notice your efforts. That’s why questions
keep popping up in my head hitherto. Please don’t resent me as a
skeptic at your sweetness and honesty. I wasn’t a kind of confidence
since what you’ve brought to me is a dream beyond imagination.
I knew your intention of never making the air between us intense.
Regardless of your confession that you did the utmost to make me
smile, I still admire the beauty that had already been there in your
every single word.
To talk with you more is to be seduced into the conversations with
you. I didn’t know since when I started waiting, imagining, and
holding back my heart and my mind. However much the time I spent for
you, it still seemed inadequate. I never wanted to miss a word of you.
I was even afraid that if it had taken so long for me to reply, or if
I had talked to you too much, you would have felt that it was a waste
of time. So when I was busy with my work, I urged you to join the
others, not that I didn’t want to talk but to give you enough space so
you’d to want to talk to me more.
I was frustrated by the independence you offered me when you said it
was my decision whether to join the last night at the West Lake, and
whether to stay a bit longer when 40 minutes was all we had left. The
only time you did hold on was when you told me not to leave so early,
to join you on the roof of the old house. That was all that I’d ever
wanted to hear, so I did. While talking to you, I didn’t mind who was
to leave or to stay, who was to sit next to me or not. It was only you
that I did care about.
I cared about the way you listened to me while I was driving. I felt
your warmth and our proximity. I felt for your look while we were
talking at the coffee shop. I felt the indescribably amazing
atmosphere while the things we had in common was one by one mentioned.
The stories ranging from novels, movies, history, and religions to
psychology, philosophy, and even astrobiology. I’ve never bumped into
someone that I could share that much mutual interest, someone with
such a gorgeous mind. That’s when I felt your arm behind my back that
I could fall into whenever I want. I wanted to lean on your shoulders
and fall asleep. But I didn’t have the guts to fulfill all my desires.
When you said you were frustrated because you liked me, it made so
much sense to me. I had been waiting so long to tell you I liked you.
But “like” couldn’t completely express how much you meant to me. I was
thinking ambitiously and selfishly. I wanted to put a kiss on your
lips as much as you did. I hated the embarrassment I had and the
context in which we were.
Getting back to the hotel, I had so much to say but so little that I
could express. I wished you would tell me to stay a little longer,
just like the night before. Our images were about to vanish from
sight, but we didn’t have a proper goodbye in the end. If only I could
hold you for another minute to feel your warmth and heartbeat. I would
cling onto the moment and immerse in it as if I could stop the time.
I felt the inconsistency in your words when you told me about regrets
and the desire of being together last night. You told me to stay but
then urged me to sleep. I was confused at first but it would be so
selfish of me to force you to explain. After all I thought I
understood. So, I chose ignorance instead.
The story of us is just like how we missed the sunrise and sunset. No
start, no end. Just appear to be there and remain an indelible
imprint. The affinity we had was there to be perceived. It reminds us
that once in our lives we witnessed the delicacy of the identical
souls. I would never want this to be just another ordinary experience
so I choose to write to you, to flow my heart with the spectacular
memories we had. This story wouldn’t be comprehensive if it was only
about how you feel. I want you to feel me too.
Thank you for being such a kind and cozy person, to praise my identity
and to let me know you. Wishes wouldn’t be enough. I just hope you
will carry on with your track and continue to be this wonder I’ve ever