Life Life

29/12/2021 - 15:28

Truong Tien Bridge in a misty morning

Hue has entered the season of mist. It is when walking on the Truong Tien bridge, one suddenly recognizes the city is wrapped in soft floating mist. One stands on the bridge, looking at the river full of milky mist, hearing the sounds of fishermen paddling. Mist lingers among trees and grass in the verdant parks. It is as if the whole city were slowing down and it looks so beautiful like a painting.

The cyclo carrying an old woman and her pot of hot beef noodle soup was slowly crossing the bridge. It was as if the cyclo rider had been carved into the morning mist. Breezes from the river blew up tiny sparks from her charcoal stove, creating a fire flower in the dim mist. 

Someone ran after the cyclo, trying to take its picture. “Misty Hue is so beautiful.” His voice was as soft as the early mist. Strangely enough, the compliment of a stranger made me feel proud. 

Taking advantage of the dim light, street venders displayed their fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers for sale on the bridge end for a while. Morning exercisers dropped by to buy some. As soon as the sun appeared, the city became bustling as usual. Those street venders quickly merged themselves into crowds, leaving clear sidewalks for pedestrians.

I stopped for such a long time just to look at an old woman tending her vegetables at one end of the bridge. There were just some vegetables in her baskets. Drops of clear dew perched on her grey hair. Some fell down further and wetted her shirt. Her image suddenly reminded me of my mom home. Over there she used to make ends meet so that her children could go to school. 

I remember the early mornings when I followed my mother to the market in the countryside. The village road was also covered in milky mist. I pedaled on the wet misty gravel road, holding my mother’s hand. The boat also sailed through the white mist curtain to the marketplace.

In the mist of the cold early morning was the buzzing sounds from marketgoers. I did not know why those bustling sounds at the marketplace made me feel so peaceful. It was like when I was standing on the Truong Tien bridge, looking at the winding Chuong Duong road along the river, hearing echoes of shopping and selling. I felt as if I had been home. 

I saw a young man jogging across the bridge stop to help the woman pick up the vegetables that had just fallen off her bike onto the street due to the broken rope. 

She lived very far away from the city, at the upstream of the river. As early as 3 a.m., she cycled to the market to sell pomelos, bananas, jackfruits, and green tea leaves which she had bought from around her village. At 5 a.m. she rode her bicycle back to the village market to sell vegetables, meat, and fish to villagers. Her bike was so old that it became heavy. I could see the fatigue in her eyes, but I liked her lively smile.

Seeing the young man waving off her gratitude, I did not know why I felt so happy. Just like the nod in return I had received when I nodded to thank the woman in the car for her slowing down to make way for me at the “six-way” intersection in the city. I saw her smiling bright eyes and visualized her bright smile behind the face mask. It was just a very slight nod in response, but it made me excited all the way home. 

By Linh Chi