Everything is Salvageable
I had this dream that my father and I would one day sit in the back porch drinking a beer, and he’d finally feel comfortable enough to tell me the story of his life. There was this version of him that existed in Vietnam. What was it like to patch up planes and rearm them with bombs? Who found you when you crashed the motorbike? Why didn’t you write home after the war? They thought you were dead! You had a fiancé before Mom back in Vietnam? It’s not that I had an interest in the war, but I was dying to know the man he was before he was my father.
The Love Contract
“Sit up straight,” my mother said, fixing my collar. “This is important.” Though I’m 23, she had always spoken to me as though I was 12. I went to city college, worked at the bar on the weekends, and at the time, still lived at home with her. When I told her my idea to be a teacher, she scoffed, saying I ought to dream bigger—pharmacist, engineer, computer whatever, like the rest of the Viets who went away for college. She even recommended that I learn how to do nails—it’s good money.