Saigon, June 02, 2013
6:30AM and sunshine is wide awake. So am I….
That’s kinda unusual for a Sunday morning. I reach for my phone. And the message is there. “Vinh is no longer with us”. The message comes in around 6:25AM from an old colleague.
I haven’t seen him for almost a year. If nothing happens today, he probably would not cross my mind on a Sunday morning. 23 years old when life is still waiting around the corner, he leaves us all for a bike accident. Memory is vivid and his naive smile haunts my morning. He’s been a good kid, never speaking much, hiding behind his camera, but he’s always there when you need some extra help. In a way, kiddo reminds me of myself in my childhood years, shy, silent though eager to help people around.
As I drive along the way to bid my last farewell to kiddo, I wonder if life in Saigon will be the same without him. Will he be missed by the hustle bustle street rivers of Saigon during rainy seasons? Will he be missed by the tired muddy river he crosses every day? Will he be missed by the slow-dripping filter at his usual coffee corner? Will he be missed by the old silent temple on the way home from work? Has he ever been noticed?
All too often people pass people by in this country of 80 million. Slowing down to breathe is a luxury. Stopping to see is an absolute fear of losing another opportunity lying ahead. Random kindness is on the verge of extinction.
And so he is gone, coming into life bare-footed and leaving it bare-handed. Such is life, impermanence!
Darkness waits for no one as the evening falls on Saigon. Farewell to sunshine! Have a safe journey, my dear!