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The Mini-Mart Epiphany

A moment in Vietnam

By Michael O'ConnorPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
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I begin to ponder how it got this way.

I ponder how it got so simple, as the most unassuming moments come to be a decorated, glorious carving in the woodworks.

Maybe the unrelenting techno playing for the past two nights is Karma enacting herself upon me for those careless adolescent years spent lacking consideration for the neighbours eardrums. Karma is a bitch they say, and she hits like a pure face with a gurning smile. A passing vision reveals the truth of these fleetings seconds as I take a short ride to pick up a few beers from the local mini-mart.

The source of the blaring techno is revealed - one of the neighbours a few doors down is sitting out front on one of the classic, little red plastic chairs you see here, with his little red plastic table. He’s eating a meal by himself with a can of Larue and a boom speaker blasting the latest rave tunes. I fucking love this country. I ride the motorbike around the corner of our street and I’m met with a group of twenty neighbourhood kids in their usual section of the road playing badminton. “Aaaaayyy” I yell whilst doing no hands on the bike up the strip, like an exhausted cyclist coming around the final turn of the Tour de France. The kids go nuts, screaming and chanting and yelling “Helloooo” as if I was an actor in disguise. Fame is in town.

The mini-mart - the only one around that sells bottles instead of cans - is open, the regular guy's wife is running it tonight. I pull up and her toddler is out front trying to climb into a cardboard box that’s larger than him. He ends up sideways and almost slips head first to the pavement, so I pick him up by the arms, and lower him into the little box of safety where he settles.

“Chí, hai, bao nhiêu?”

She makes an effort to check the price list.

“Forty.”

“Ahh okay, I go to the other store.”

After mounting the bike out the front I wonder if cans might be cheaper.

“Chí, lô?”

“Okay, thirty.” She hollers back while pulling two bottles out of the cold beer fridge.

The other girl checked the apparently refreshed pricelist to confirm they were in fact thirty. You gotta love the hustle. The woman finds her kid stuck in the box as I’m about to leave on the bike. He pointed at me to say I put him there, and I confirmed this with his Mum who then burst into laughter.

“Hẹn gặp lại!” I will see her later.

The ride home is a short cruise. I ride again past the source of the techno and yell out a ‘cheers’ “yô!” that he hollers right back. I thought about sitting with him for a while, but made it home with my eardrums intact and sat down the front step. I sit and I sip my drink and listen for any sounds of the night that aren’t techno. I hear him yell. “Hah??” … then “Oh..” and the music is turned off. The man packs away his little setup and postpones his solo block party until tomorrow night. Thankyou, that man’s wife, you’ve done the neighbourhood an incredible service.

I wonder how a kid like me got to live this good, realising that most days fly right by us with such relative insignificance, yet it’s those fleeting and unadulterated moments that in hindsight, are the most beautiful ones there are; the moments that make this whole circus of life worth living. I still ponder how it got to be this way..

travelhumorhumanity
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About the Creator

Michael O'Connor

If you like my content, you can purchase my published short story in ebook or paperback on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRF12G63

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  • Test3 months ago

    Michael O'Connor your story effectively captures the charm of everyday life, celebrating the small, genuine moments that make it worthwhile.

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