Xom Chua

You’ve still got to be careful.

It’s not quite as torque-y as the other bike. However, once you get up to speed, it’s got quicker acceleration.

It’s also heavy, so take it easy.

You ready?

Yeah, Papa.

You’ve got to turn around, the trash is the other way.

He edges gently on the accelerator and u-turns. A larger bike, this one gas powered, has just enough room for the plastic black trash bin to nestle snug between the steering column and matte black seat.

And, for a slow u-turn, luckily, today is a quiet day on Xom Chua.

He manages the arc, and as he straightens out and pulls away seems a bit unsteady, but nevertheless picks up speed

And, as he peters away and approaches the corner, I hear him ask

Wait, where do I put my feet

It’s such an innocent question, but it’s one that stops me in my tracks

I immediately need to investigate why it resonates, snaps my reverie.

This is brand new for Rhino. First pass with a gas-powered bike. Fresh, unique

And I remember Amor Towles put it so well

When one turns seventeen and begins to experience that first period of real independence, one’s senses are so alert, one’s sentiments so finely attuned that every conversation, every look, every laugh may be writ indelibly upon one’s memory

I think this may be such a moment for him

Where do we put our feet

We wrestle with new, put ourselves out there, brave the road into vulnerable

And suddenly, there’s no ground

Where do I put my feet?

In spite of his question, and perhaps because of it, he makes his way around the corner and out of sight

Leaving me in his dust,

to wonder

Where will he travel

Who will he become

Will he find his ground

And sadly, perplexingly, agonizingly,

I have no answers

So, instead

I exhale a silent wish for him

And make a commitment to put my feet

one, in front of the other.

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. Watching as he (a little wobbly) managed the big bike and the power and speed and turned the corner out of sight- what a metaphor. I love how his words ‘snapped your reverie.’ ‘And suddenly there is no ground…’. Moments in growing up but also in parenting… My heart was with you in this post.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: