It was 10pm, and again, I was out and about on my motorcycle, riding across the Saigon Bridge and longing to be home. It was crowded, even at 10pm. It was even scary, not because something bad might happen in the dark, but the blinding lights of huge trucks and containers made me afraid for my life. I tried to be as cautious as possible. The speedometer said I was slower than normal, and I thought that was fine.
There’s one thing Saigon doesn’t have that Bellingham does. I know people always compare between this city and that, but this is the rare occasion when I consciously do so. Saigon doesn’t have peaceful nights with nature. Wherever you go, there’ll always be lights and people. Wherever you go. Whenever. It’s a city that never sleeps, and this fact is prove by the many times I got stuck in traffic at 6am and at 10pm.
Bellingham has the quiet nights that I am right now yearning for. I remember the two of us sitting at the beach by the water at 9pm. I could barely see his face. We didn’t talk much. I don’t know what he was thinking. I knew I thought of nothing but the sound of water, the silent dark sky, and the faraway streetlights.
Also at that park, Sophia and I were in the car and ate Menchie’s frozen yogurt. It was go-to at the highs and lows over the past three years. I enjoyed my variety of toppings and Sophia her yogurt. We opened the window for the chill breeze. I don’t remember what we talked about, again, but there were laughters and there were moments of silence. The parking lot was for us only. It’s the scene you usually see in Western movies that was filled with loneliness. Cold. Quiet. Dark. Yet, that night I wasn’t lonely. That ride with Sophia and the many others with friends, I really wish they didn’t end.
And also the Milky Way! You have to be in a pitch dark place with the right weather condition for the ribbon of stars to appear above you. That one night, the Jenkins and I was out and about at almost midnight, laying down on the grass field and talked about the vastness and gloriousness of the universe. We had this lazer that points to as far as the furthest star, and there I learned a couple of new names that I would hardly ever see again. In the many months of quarantine, I was glad it’s the Jenkins I got to live with and Bellingham that I was trapped in.
In Saigon, the only place to escape is home. Yet at home there would still be many voices that disturb one’s train of thought. America is so big that it offers so much space and quietness. I often don’t ask for it. I often love the vibrant of Saigon more than the slowness of Bellingham. But lately I have been craving it. Snippets of the past have crawling in my daydreams, and by replaying them I find myself an escape gate.