The red suitcases

By , Arlington Heights, IL
6 years old
The pure, clear and radiant eyes
of a little girl, Anna
reflected onto a shopping mall’s window.
Her mother helped her daughter
choosing the backpack
to prepare for grade one.
A little girl retired her baby frog backpack
She put the pink one on instead
It made her look mature and strange.
Watching herself in the mirror,
Anna caught her mother’s eyes
looking dreamily toward somewhere
Her mother’s lips smiled
softly and gently.
The young child swung around,
The young child embraced her mother’s feet
and
The young child laughed mischievously:
“ What are you looking at, mommy?”
Anna’s mother pointed at the red suitcases
standing meditating
“ My dear daughter!
You
will be a beautiful and big girl.
You
will be smart
and you
will drag these red suitcases
running around
Moscow,
New York
and around the world…”
The horizon with the colorful dawn flared brightly in Anna’s eyes
and
another dreamy horizon opened in the mother’s heart.
“New York, London, Paris…
Everything will be yours;
this world will be yours.
And you,
whoever you are
wherever you are,
will be mine
… forever.”
Then, the benevolent mother lifted her daughter up
and swung around.
Anna gave her mom a mischievous smile
again:
“I will take you around the world, mommy.
Let’s see!”
The laughter was fading away,
the silhouettes was far and far away.
There was only the tender eyes of the mother
and her dream that were attached to the red suitcases
standing
meditating…

18 years old
Raining outside,
raining inside.
Wet. Absolutely wet.
Is it because of the rain
or
is it because of the ‘water from Anna’s eyes’?
The dream of Anna and her mom from that day
… took Anna to the land of America
Tears blurred her eyes
Tears made them reddish.
She was sad
She was homesick
She was missing her homeland…
All the images
of her little house,
her little family
and her little Hanoi city
existed S-L-O-W-L-Y in Anna’s mind.
Hundred of sounds of dripping raindrops
touched
and penetrated into her soul
and froze it.
The winter was cruel as a cold bar of iron touched the thin skin.
Cold and isolated.
Sitting on her own in her room
holding a smoky cup of tea
whose taste and smell
was bitter
and immature,
Anna was a lazybones in a loose pajama.
A deep longing tormented Anna.
That feeling
was like the interminable moments of knitting a messy scarf.
She looked very far
toward those dying red roses,
Those dying red roses still had sent out their wonderful smell the day before.
Each weak
and fragile petal fell on the table
They could bare the searing sepals.
Anna looked at the window.
The road was wet
The road reflected the sky
The road also reflected her emotion…
Raining outside,
raining inside.

Can I come in?” A gentle voice
pulled Anna out of her feeling stream.
“ Yes…”
She replied quietly.
Mrs. Foss – her host mother came up
and sat beside Anna
She gave Anna a tight hug
and… said nothing.
At that time, Anna realized
something
immediately.
It was like the sunshine in the grey winter.
Staying away from home, Anna realized that
Love was not limited in her own family.
Love was more than that.
She could have the second home,
the second family in the other half of the globe.
Staying away from home, Anna realized that
Friendship was not only
between two people. Widely,
Friendship could also be between two nations
– The United States and Vietnam.
Staying away from home, she realized that
her nostalgia was so small.
Belief and hope were greater…
Anna remembered the moment of 13 years ago…
The horizon with the colorful dawn flared brightly in Anna’s eyes
And
another dreamy horizon opened in the mother’s heart.
“New York, London, Paris…
Everything will be yours
this world will be yours.
And you,
whoever you are
wherever you are,
will be mine
forever.”
The benevolent mother lifted her daughter up
and swung around.
Anna gave her mom
a mischievous smile
again:
“I will take you around the world, mommy.
Let’s see!”





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