Life Life

17/09/2019 - 07:52

A day in Hue

My friend asked me “Let’s go out. It’ll be a miss if we don’t in such fine weather. I’ll come and pick you up. You see, the fall has already come.”

The gate with red leaves of Terminalia catappa in the season of changing leaves in Hue. Photo: Khanh Dang

I said yes, still knowing that it was greyish out there as a result of the hurricane Bailu, though it would not rain as forecast. After a while, it was sunny, lightly and transparently. It was such as wonderful feeling when the wind was just breezing at the deserted corner.

A leaf fell down the tree base where the cafe owner had wooden board installed as tables to serve customers. The name of the cafe was no longer ‘Xua’ but ‘Paris Coffee’ but the space remains unchanged, big and quiet enough for my friend to drink the milk coffee and for me to enjoy my golden pine apple juice.

Except for the blond woman sitting behind us who sometimes ‘roared’ through facetime, it was all comfortable place and time. My friend looked up the half-open window and said it was the place where the first proposal was popped to her 30 years ago.

As my friend was trying to hide the emotion, I didn’t dare to ask her whether it was the first love affair or the current. And disgracefully, I told about the story of another girl friend who spent the last amount of money on a drink to confide in tears to me all about the breakup with her boyfriend.

My friend was unlikely to mind it. It was just a memory which is a pain to one but a sharing to another. Anyway, when we were young, we couldn’t sense that pain was much more bitter than tears.

It was just a sadness of the fall. All that took my friend’s heart and mind anywhere anytime was her child, except when she was caught up with work. Honestly, I really wanted to have certain authority to assign her with successive tasks and duty so that she could partly fill in her emptiness.

And after such busy work, she could arrange a trip to visit her child overseas without thinking much about how to save money for travel. I would like to advise my friend to keep writing articles as a way to accumulate emotion and money.

Suddenly, she shifted the topic to the Facebook button ‘like’ when she read my post. “Hue is so awesome, isn’t it? It really is...”

It was not the first time she said so, but it was full of sadness when she said so after a return from a visit to her child in Thailand. She was hardly used to the modern pace of life, the space of high buildings and non-stop rushing people on the streets, even when she was stood by her beloved child.

She talked about what she experienced there, such as a noisy corner, a quiet ward, a slow-flowing river, and the visits to different sites in her short-term trip that she found it hard to shape from and within her memory.

Perhaps, it was a flash that came to her mind, just like swift moments when she dropped by twice. Both my friend and I are just as old as our love for Hue that we always compare any places we have been to with Hue and end up with a deep feeling with lovely Hue.

Presumably, it is the way we start the fall on a day in Hue.