My Music

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Short story


Author:  Trung Thanh Nguyen

Translated by Vuon Le 
Dusk was pouring down on the mountainous region, which made me speed up my motorbike on the free road. When reaching the Dam of Suoi Hai, I saw her, a girl filling out at the age of about 16 with nothing on. She was heedlessly looking at the calm and vast water as if she was going to drown herself.
She looked at me in a daze, and I was totally absorbed in her beautiful eyes. To my astonishment, she ran towards me as if she had already forgotten the intention of drowning herself. Embracing me tight, she burst out sobbing. Getting over the moment of embarrassment, I, too, held her tight with excitement. We then were stuck together in orgasm. I knew I had won her virginity. That night I took her home and introduced her to my stepmother.
Then I left home, left my love affair behind with the dust of life.


That early spring, during my study in Hanoi capital city, I got the admission to a university abroad. I hurriedly returned home to inform this to my stepmother and say goodbye to my relatives.
No sooner than I had stopped the motorbike in the yard than Diep, my mad girl, (Diep was the name that my mother gave her. It means butterfly) rushed out from the house. Smiling and half closing the eyes, she embraced me tight just like what she had done for the first time when we met on the Dam of Suoi Hai and acclaimed;
-         “Mummy! Here comes back my husband, mummy!”
Bending down and locking her in my hands, I felt my heart melting. My mother hastily stopped working in the garden. To her surprise, we were hugging each other in daylight. (To Vietnamese, especially the old, kissing and holding each other in public and daylight is not good)
-         “Don’t just be standing there and holding!” she said.
-       “What is wrong with us? We love each other and nothing can stop us from embracing in daylight” Diep answered my mother back.
I led her to my mother but she thrashed about and escaped from my hands.
-       “Mummy, I have great news for you” wiping the tears rolling on her cheeks, I said.
-       “What news? Nothing is more important than your marriage now!” She said.
-       Mummy, I have just gained the admission to a university abroad”
-       “For the doctor degree?”
-       “Yes, Mummy”
-       “For how long?”
-       “As usual, it takes 5 years, mummy”
-       “In which country?”
-       “France, Mummy”
-       “Yes, the country that once invaded our land. It was the French that arrested and imprisoned your dad. After three years under torture, he died young in prison, you know? So try to study. It is also a way to show your gratefulness to your ancestors”. She made a long saying as if she had been afraid that I was about to leave her at that moment.
-       “Yes, mummy” was just what I could say in reply to her.
-       “But let’s come in first” she said.
No sooner than we had taken the seat on the wooden sofa, she asked me;
-         “Have you been determined yet?”
-         “I need your advice, mummy” I answered.
-         “When are you going?”
-         “In seven days, mummy”
She immediately reached the knife from the betel and areca tray on the table and cut the thread used to tie the golden earrings from her ears. Putting the earrings on my arms, she said;
-         “For you to buy warm clothes. It is very cold in France.”
I refused to get her gift in tears. How could I take her dowry which her late parents had given her when she stepped into my family! She held my arms tight and said;
-       “If you had not been intelligent since a child, you now would be just a poor famer toiling and moiling. Now you can further your study abroad, which is the family’s happiness. Your parents must be very pleased in the netherworld”.
After a pause, she continued;
-       “But after you leave, there are only two of us – an old woman and a mad girl in this house! If it were not for the ancestors’ altar, I would go and live with my son –your younger brother in Ha Dong”.
-       “Mummy, can … I…”
-       “No need to say more. You and Diep cannot be husband and wife! It is a shame!” Not letting me complete my words, she said.
-       “Mummy, I will work hard to supply you and Diep”
-       “You don’t have to worry about me, but Diep! You are like no one in this world. How can a bright young man with promising future be intimate with a mad girl on the road?” She said with anxiety written on her face; “But it cannot be denied that Diep is so beautiful” she added.
-       “Mummy, I am very sorry to have taken Diep home without asking for your permission in advance. But so poor she was at that time. In addition, she must love us so much that she has not gone away from home since that day. Maybe it is our fate, mummy. Please consider her your daughter and support us” I said.
My mother sighed as if she had tried to give away the anxiety together with rolling tears on her cheeks. Baby-face Diep was sitting there pricking up her ears to listen to us. Suddenly she stood up and leaped for joy. Skipping to us, she sang;
-          “Ha ha, you have started, you must go on”.
She locked her arms about my mother’s neck then mine and repeated; “You have started, you must go on”. She then flung herself onto my lap and courted fondling from me;
-         “Where’s my pomelo? Where’s my pomelo?” She said.
Holding her tight, I had my heart wrung with pain.
-         “Diep! Get up and let us talk!” My mother shouted at her.
Diep hurriedly sat up and came to sit on the other sofa with the chin cupped in her hands and listened to us.
-       “You know, Diep is so innocent. She is now of sound mind, now of mad. You cannot get married to her because she is just like a girl of fifteen. But if you have made up your mind, ask your uncle for help. He is the chairman of the commune” My mother said in a low voice.

That night my mother gave up her bedroom to me. She and Diep shared the bed outside. At about middle night, Diep came in and got onto the bed with me. We held each other tight. I could not control the lust of a strong and healthy young man before her flesh. The room was pervaded by the fragrance of lemon flower from her hair. We again got stuck in each other…
After the moment of satisfaction, Diep fell asleep soundly as a child with nothing on. Then the cock-crow woke us up. We turned face to face and listening to the carnal desire moving inside. She then crawled up on me and lay face down. My face got wet with her tears. I knew at that time she was not at all a mad girl. We then were driven into the world of lovers on bed…
The next morning, being woken up by my mother’s call, I gently got out of the bed so that I would not disturb my baby-face Diep’s sleep.
-       “Yes, then marry Diep to stop people’s whispers and comments” My mother said.
I knew she just spent a sleepless night thinking this over.
-       “But mummy, we don’t have enough time for this. I have to return to Hanoi tomorrow to complete everything with the university” I said.
That afternoon my mother invited some relatives to discuss my problem. She also got steamed sticky rice and a plain boiled chicken as an offering to worship our ancestors for my good health and luck.
-       “I am happy to inform you that Trung gained the admission to a university in France, and tomorrow he has to return to Hanoi to get everything completed for the leaving for France” my mother said to relatives in a serious voice.
-       “Your stud y is the most important. Please leave all to us and do not worry, nephew” one of my uncles said.
To our surprise, bursting out crying, Diep threw herself on the floor;
-       “Don’t leave me, my husband. Who will raise our son? I don’t let you go. I don’t…” she shouted out.
My aunt, in tears, tried to pamper Diep but she struggled and shouted out continually.
-       “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! Only my husband can do it, only my husband…hu …hu…”
I rushed to her. Diep sat up. Holding my neck;
-       “Don’t leave me, honey!” she whimpered. My white shirt got speckled with her tears.
My aunt spitted out the quid of betel and said;
-       “But the problem is the mad Diep. What can we do after he leaves? She is not daughter nor daughter-in-law!”
Holding our hands, she led us to the altar in everyone’s surprise.
-         “Stay still here” she ordered.
Some minutes later, she came back with a crown hurriedly made of white magnolia flowers on her arms. She put the crown on Diep’s head then came towards my mother and uncles;
-       “Sister-in-law and brothers-in-law, our nephew took Diep home and they have already slept together. I think it is their fate. So let’s support them for them to become husband and wife” said she.
Diep released my arm then hopped around me then suddenly stopped. Hanging herself on my neck, she gave me loud kisses on the cheek. But it was not all that she made everyone surprised. She turned about to the respectable guests and said;
-       “You yourselves are mad, not me! I am married. Last night we made love to have a baby. There’s no need to contrive such unnecessary things!”
Feeling so sorry and ashamed, I held her tight and forced her to bend down the head. We bowed low before ancestral altar. Finishing worship, we stood up. Diep rushed into the bedroom. Holding the crown, throwing herself on bed, she cried loud…


Seven years had passed. Today I said goodbye to my master after nearly four years of drifting and self-improving in this mighty and mystery Himalaya range to become a Tibetan great lama and to establish the theory of the Down of Universe.
I became wildized during the interminable time of living among the virgin forests with primitive men. And one day I was saved by great lamas who then accepted me to be their disciple. Together with time, I was taught and trained how to separate my soul apart from the body so that my soul could drift on the air. All these were the content of my PhD thesis assigned by the University of Sorbonne.
The great happenings to a cave-dweller seeing and checking things that had been considered mystery by human with my own eyes and being able to view my past helped me accomplish my PhD thesis “Tibetan Civilization after Sakyamuni” excellently.
In the still of the night at Himalaya, as soon as I got into the royal room, I heard Diep’s cry surrounding; “No, no, don’t leave me honey”, which broke my heart. Turning back, I saw my venerable Ajo sitting opposite.
-       “On returning to daily life, if encountering difficulties or upheavals, you should not blame them on God because God gave us life. Lamenting difficulties for God means lamenting your parents. You should not revenge others with your magic kungfu, which merely brings karma, either” said he in a gentle voice. “Being a great lama, you should be generous towards everybody because an immensely kind and generous heart is capable of converting people” after a brief pause, he continued. “And you must live to write about our universe and human so that people can be aware of the fact that Buddhist monks in jungles and deserted places are not good-for-nothing. And above all, you must return here in more than four years to show us that you have lived as a true man”
I appreciated and have still engraved his words on my heart and mind. I then did not return to Paris but to Hanoi.
-       “Hanoi, Hanoi, here come back I after ages” said I to myself.
I then got home in everyone’s happiness. After the first moment of astonishment and bashfulness, my six-year-old son Trung Thanh burst out crying.
-         “Daddy, mummy was gone” holding me tight, he said.
Carrying him in my arms, I felt broken-hearted.


-       “Diep gave birth to your son after nearly ten months since your leaving home. It was such a difficult delivery that the hospital asked me to commit myself to save the mother. Finally, doctors had to pull him out with tool…” That night my mother told me all about Diep during my absence.
-       “On coming out, the baby did not cry nor smile but lay motionless in dark purple. Luckily, after days in incubator, he eventually got ruddy. The day when he got out of the incubator, Diep held him in her arms and shouted out; ‘My hubby, get home with us please! Our son is still alive’.
-       “Once, when Trung Thanh was about three years old, Diep was looking at the sleeping son and all of a sudden, she burst out sobbing; ‘My hubby, the son looks just like you, hu hu…’ I myself, at that time, thought that there was no need to get the AND test to verify he was your son at all” said my mother.
I said nothing but listened attentively to my mother’s words about my Diep. Her illness got more and more serious despite various kinds of medicine. Her mental fit came every phase of the Moon. She again tore clothes and ran around the village. Crying, my son ran after her.
When Trung Thanh was at the age of five, Diep left home in the helplessness of my mother and relatives. “Have you seen my husband? He went for the PhD study” were her only words to everyone she met on the way. She even asked streams, rivers and bridges, oxen and buffalos.
One night, Diep came back home and fell asleep on the stack of rice straw. Sleeping, Trung Thanh could feel his mother’s perfume. He rushed out. They held each other tight in tears. He then came to the kitchen and got some rice and foods for her. After feeding Diep with rice, he got some sweet potatoes broiled and peeled to pamper her to stay home with him.
At a moonlit night, Diep, having nothing on, again left home. Knowing that he could not be able to stop her from wandering, Trung Thanh took her clothes along with him and went behind her. My mother hurriedly got some rice and foods which were the rest of dinner and put them on her grandson’s hands. The next day, taking Diep home, Trung Thanh was spattered with mud. It turned out that Diep wanted to bath in a gully, which made him try to pull her onto the edge. He then took water with leaves of Indian taro to wash her. After dressing her, he took her home.
That night we stayed up so late. When on bed, my son held me tight and asked; “How can I get mum again, daddy?”
-       “Everything will be alright, honey. I also lost my mum since the age of five. We are male. We must be brave and you should study well for mummy to be happy in the other world” said I to him in tears.
-       “Daddy, I do not want to be in the first grade. Can you ask the school for me to attend the third grade? I now can do mathematics of the fourth grade” Trung Thanh changed the topic. And I knew my son told me the truth.
-       “We’ll think this over honey” I replied him when he nested his face against my chest.
-       “Then you weren’t at home when mummy took her last breath?” I asked him.
-       “I was at school then, daddy. And when I came home, mummy was lying in the coffin. Someone uncovered the cloth for me to see her for the last time. Daddy, I did not know why I could not cry at that moment” He whispered.
-       “Have you ever felt ashamed when you have a crazy mother?” I asked him.
-       “Once, one of my friends asked me this, daddy. And I told him that I loved my crazy mum and that I would try my best to study so that one day I could become a doctor to treat her illness” he said.
Trying to hold back tears, I held him – my life’s most precious fortune, which resulted from my love with crazy Diep – in my lap.

Why my Diep died was a heart- rending story. Seeing her beauty, many guys had intention to trick her for their lust.
One day, on the way to seek for me, Diep came to the dam where we had first met. While she was wandering and calling me, some guys were approaching her. They pampered and told her that they would help her find me, which made her follow them. They then led her to a forest of pandanus and raped her. She struggled violently and finally could escape. But she did not ran back home, but ran to the bridge and jumped down on to the pouring water. Since then she had never had to wander around to search for me more.

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