gone quiet

The faded pink horse and yellow butterfly are deserted

Suspended just above the ground on the rusty swing set, they creak with promise in the breeze

But not a kid in sight

We take a chance that the narrow pathway is a short cut, not a dead end. And, this time, we are lucky. We emerge into Bia Hoi, an outdoor beer garden both destined and designed to be packed with revelers on a typical lazy Sunday

But today is not typical

there is no soul in sight

Apart from the dark-haired, willowy gentleman, bravely sitting watch.

We glide by on our bicycles, pretending this is normal, as he stares at his phone.

Xin chao

We greet him, to no response.

Xin chao

We try again.

Ah! Xin chao! Xin chao!

He snaps out of his reverie.

Closed today?

Closed! Closed!

He responds with a shrug and a smile.

In a neighborhood typically jammed with people decked in Sunday best and casual worst, bouncing between market stalls, the market stalls.

And he is the only one we see.

Often when a combat submarine is attempting to evade enemy radar, it goes quiet. To avoid detection, it shuts down non-essential systems and operates with as little sound as possible. To allies, tracking the sub via radar, this sudden silence presents as two options:

One. The sub has gone quiet

Trust the captain

Two. The sub, has gone

Davy Jones’ locker calling

As we pedal gently, I consider which of these options this sleepy corner presents to us today. Has the neighborhood simply gone quiet

Or has it simply gone

And our casual jaunt by bicycle has taken a sudden turn

to dystopia

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation


  1. This piece is haunting like dystopian literature, except it’s reality. It is interesting to hear different stories about these strange times. All the best as we peddle through this together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phew! Your slice captures the anxiety so many of us are feeling. This time is so unnerving. I can’t help but wonder about the far reaching effects on small-businesses in our community if it goes on for too long…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am limiting my intake of news, social media, etc. because information is overwhelming and causes me angst. But, these personal slices, your slice, showing me of the interruption in Sunday traditions and family gatherings is easy on the eyes. While they make me sad, there’s a strange calming within me thinking of how peaceful your bike ride is in a quiet neighborhood. God Speed!

    Liked by 1 person

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