White lily days

by Hiền Nga

“…I’m on the rooftop terrace of the Hanoi Social Club, at the same big wooden table where we grabbed a cold drink or four with my friend John one light evening last summer after the music performance (wasn’t it jazz?), playing a new song on my old ukulele. The birds made a small nest on the wall of the building across the alley. It’s sunset time and they’re returning home. All the maroon French windows of the house below are shut except for one half-open, half-closed. In the narrow alley, people are washing bikes and collecting garbage in red, blue, and yellow plastic bags. Not the most environmentally friendly things, those bags, but the colors can be fun to look at. I can hear children playing football at the end of the alley, but can’t see them from here. I can hear the sound of the plastic ball bouncing off of small feet, I can hear laughters.

A lady selling white lilies of April is passing by on her weathered bicycle. When white lilies are on the street, Hanoians know April has come.”