Ngo 38.3

I trail my patronus cart for half a block before the next intersection and peer up at the signpost.

Ngo 38

I double check the map, confused, and peer down the lane. There’s not much to it.

looks like an alley

this can’t be it

a road to nowhere

But this adventure has been a series of leaps, and purpose calls. I take a breath, ease the stalled bike down the gentle grade into the darkened lane, and make my way toward a slight bend.

What meets me around the corner is, like all things this day, unexpected.

The road widens only slightly, into a completely new street, a whole new world

I look behind me and blink

Where am I

Shoehorned between a series of corrugated stalls, adorned with fresh vegetables every shade of green, hardware, even a few toilets. Merchants buzzing, squatting between plastic rounded baskets, tending wares, all barter and banter. A cacophony of buying and selling, light, and life.

The local butcher, carcasses neatly arrayed and ready


His blade is busy as I pass, and there is joy in his work

He shoots me a sly grin as I slide by, agape

Everything is happening

School kids saunter by in uniform, delivery drivers in flight, grandmothers and children hand in hand. And, always and forever, beeps.

As I wander, an oasis of green – a gated temple, adorned with stone walls, sanctuary amidst chaos. It invites rest.

Nope, not tonight

I am swept up in this reverie, life’s movie passing me by

When I am suddenly interrupted

What’s wrong with your bike

The woman astride her own motorbike pulls alongside, points, and asks

I don’t know

I have a shop, it’s there!

She points


She motions for me to hop back on my bike, so I do.

And I am confused.

No go

I point to the engine and shrug

Ok! Let’s go!

She eases her bike closer, overlapping by a couple feet, and puts one foot on my rear fender

Like this!

Gives her bike gas and I finally clue in

I ease my hand off my brake, lift my feet off the ground, feel the gentle swell of the breeze

And, suddenly, against all odds

We are in motion, in flow, in flight

This is the local version of a tow truck

And I am, yet again


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?

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  1. This is beautiful writing D- you need to publish it! From your vivid descriptions to the use of the two voices- it is evocative and has rhythm and feeling. I have loved reading it and eagerly looked forward to the next segment!


  2. I love the image of wandering through the market, through the stalls, taking in all of the sights and smells. Your story is told in small moments and images, but between the magical place and strange events, there’s a fairy tale quality to it. I’m enjoying this!

    Liked by 1 person

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