THE WRITERS POST

(ISSN: 1527-5467)
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.

VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2

JUL 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VU THI AN

___________________________

PIECE OF ME

 

 

 

It was long ago that I lost it-in the frenzy of the migration to the promise land, the USA.

A huge piece of me had evaporated into nothingness. It was surreal; it was a nightmare of sort. In an instant I became a nobody. I came to the strange land not knowing that I was coming. I brought with me a lot of baggage: my childhood memories and the dreams of being able to change it all, to mend it all, once and for all, the war torn homeland, for the sake of the little suffering children of Vietnam.
Nobody in this new country knew who I was. They just saw a frail, shy teenager who spoke no English. But I was sure that they could read in my eyes, the hope that someday I'd find it again, a piece of my heart that was gone.

And the time past, the snow came and gone, dissolving my tears and erasing some of the images. It seemed I became frozen in time. It seemed I would always remain the young lass, just like at the time I left. Gradually, I learned how to speak the language that I used to abhor, I learned not to cry during lonely nights. Slowly, piece-by-piece, I put myself together and managed to fool myself into believing that I'd already forgotten everything I left behind. Strangely enough though, I stopped thinking in my language, I found it difficult to utter even the simplest greetings in Vietnamese. When I encountered an old Vietnamese friend at a local mall, I froze. No matter how hard I tried I could not think of any Vietnamese word, so I just said "hello" then walked away. No, actually I ran away, as fast as I could.

Years past and Internet became a household word. I got on the net to find ideas for my business, and stumbled on Social Culture Vietnamese, a newsgroup. I read some posts and in replying to them, I found that I could not remember a lot of words. But from there I found a piece of me that I thought was gone for good: poetry. Actually, it has always been there, buried deep in my heart. Like the spring buds that were warmed by the sunrays for the first time after a long snowy winter, poetry brought me back to life, filled me with indescribable emotions. I began to feel again, the numbness in my heart slowly disappeared and all the aches and pains returned. I transcribed them all into poems. I wrote and wrote and wrote ... transferring the images of the rolling hills of Dalat, the moonlit nights on Mekong River, the green color of rice field onto white pages so that I could hold on tight, a piece of that which defined who I was then and who I am now.

Two weeks ago another piece of my past was revealed. Through my long lost cousins I found an organization whose members are from my hometown Tra Vinh, created by my former high-school teacher who taught me civic education. Through their web site, I located a couple of my parents' acquaintances. I read their special yearly publication and saw an article written with kind words about my father. Many of the members know my parents, my brothers and sisters. They know of our home, and our neighborhood.
All of the sudden I became lost again, back to the time when I was just a happy little girl. I would sit and imagine that mom was still there, on the front porch, sewing, or cooking, waiting for dad returning from work. I'm imagining that my sisters were still there, coming home from far away cities, young and pretty, and my brothers, the most mischievous boys in our little town, were there still, in the garden, making canons from the trunks of papaya trees and carbide in water, so that they could set them off later, just before bed time, generating loud noise in the still of the night.

And at that moment in my imagined world I just realize I've found everything that I've ever lost. My beautiful hometown Tra Vinh, my family and friends, their loving memories are now intact, tucked away safely for me, in my heart and mind, forever.  


VU THI AN

 

 

THE WRITERS POST (ISSN: 1527-5467),
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.

VOLUME 6 ISSUE 2 JULY 2004

 

Editorial note: All works published in this issue are simultaneously published in the printed Wordbridge magazine double issue 3 &4 Winter 2003 & Spring 2004. (ISSN: 1540-1723).

Copyright Vu Thi An & The Writers Post 1999-2004. Nothing in this issue may be downloaded, distributed, or reproduced without the permission of the author/ translator/ artist/ The Writers Post/ and Wordbridge magazine. Creating links to place The Writers Post or any of its pages within other framesets or in other documents is copyright violation, and is not permitted.

 

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