Monday, October 30, 2006
My uncle is having a smoke outside, his third cigar of the evening, he goes through them swiftly, like flipped pages in a magazine. He’s watching the sky. We talk about Vietnam. He hasn’t gone back since he left. Never set foot in Hue, can’t imagine ever seeing Hanoi. But his daughters talk about going. Maybe one day he will go back because of them. His dog, Akai, is nervously running around the backyard. I take a photo of Akai with a flash and it doesn’t scare her.
I meet my cousins for the first time, and we kiss each others’ cheeks. I’ve been wondering when I’d meet them since I was 12. Now they’re that age, and I’m the one who’s grown-up. They think that I look like a bad guy. I think I should have shaved. We introduce ourselves by drawing portraits of each other. I carry one of them on my shoulders, the other in my hand. It’s like we’re pretending to be a tree, I think.
One of them steals my wallet. It takes me a whole morning to get it back. My uncle tells me to make sure they didn’t steal anything else. I think, “maybe they stole my heart.” But I keep it to myself. It’s sort of cheesy.
Moonlight in the midst of the Mission, Vinh and I lost at poker so we throw on a scarf of cigarette smoke and head up onto a rooftop. From up here, we’re as tall as the streetlamps. I miss San Francisco, I think, especially on nights like this, the streets are quiet, and when we toss our cigarette butts into the air they look a little like shooting stars. It’s been too long.
I ask Jimmy if he’d like to bike riding at 2 in the morning. After an episode of Ali G, he replies. Him and Ben took off one night on bicycles and have ended up all the way in Hanoi.
I think, maybe someone needs to invent a camera that can take photographs of what we dream about, but maybe it’s better to just make it happen. Ok, that’s pretty cheesy too.