The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I started interviewing my dad about his journey from Vietnam to America. Not dissimilar to my mom, his life was plain and simple with a few distinct memories.

The chickens and pigeons were slowly stalking through the yard. I sat underneath the papaya tree, its shade stopping at my ankles. As I waited for Oai, I weaved my fingers into the clumps of grass underneath the tree that were brittle from lack of sunlight. I nearly dozed off before he arrived, late again.

Skinny, short black hair and medium height he looked a lot like me. He jumped the fence to the yard and came over to me. My house, 61 in District 6 was the corner townhouse. I didn’t understand why Oai was so late, especially considering he was house 55. In the yard we talked about the Bruce Lee movie we saw last week, and tried to imitate his moves.

Oai was adamant he could jump kick the lowest branch on our papaya tree and snap it in half. It was thin but still strong. I laughed as he kept missing. With the amount of effort he had I thought he was going to fling his leg off his body.

After a few hours we had dinner and came back out to our yard. My soccer ball was amidst the chickens, some sitting and some still foraging for insects. Now that the sun was down, we wanted to go to the market a few blocks over. At the time, I didn’t realize we were just looking for trouble.

Back then we were childish, and each street hated the next.  The kids formed a gang and you didn’t want to be caught on someone else’s street at night. We gathered the other street kids and went our way. One particular guy brought his nun chucks with him, another Bruce Lee novelty.

Every street we passed was empty. The other kids seemed to have plans of their own. We all looked behind our shoulders every so often, expecting a sneak attack. But there was none and we ended up at the market, forgetting what we wanted to buy. 

An Average Day in the City

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Saigon, Vietnam

I started interviewing my dad about his journey from Vietnam to America. Not dissimilar to my mom, his life was plain and simple with a few distinct memories.

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Recorded by Jon Diep on December 2, 2014
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