My Escape Plan
One summer afternoon, my dad visited. Mẹ Ðức, my godmother, sent me out to play in the front yard. I reluctantly closed the door behind me. Something was up. I felt it in my bones. Mẹ Ðức and my dad’s voices were muffled behind closed doors. I didn’t question their request so off I went to play. Later that evening, Mẹ Ðức informed me that I will be going to America with my parents. I would have to go without her. She did not know when or how. I was to tell no one. It was a secret. I didn’t know what to think. America was supposed to be an exciting place where anything was possible. However, I didn’t care. Mẹ Ðức was not going to come. I didn’t want to go without her.
How can I get Mẹ Ðức to go too? Or perhaps, I can run away when they take me. I would call for a taxi or a cyclo to take me home. Mẹ Ðức would pay them when I am safely returned. That would be my plan. I shared my plan with Mẹ Ðức. She just smiled. Mẹ Ðức soothed me with her wisdom. She said “It was time for you to go, Ha. Your future is not here in Vietnam but with your paternal parents.”
Her eyes twinkled and tears rolled down her cheeks. She smiled and continued “If you go, I can live longer. If you stay, I will not be able to live long enough to take care of you. It was written the cards. We are destined to be separated. You will have better opportunities and better life in America with your family.” She didn’t say it but I knew that she loved me very much and she wanted what was best for me. I saw it in her eyes.
Tears streamed down my face uncontrollably. “I don’t want to go! Why do I have to go?” I cried out. I held onto her tightly and did not want to be let go. “Who is going to pick your grey hair while I am gone? Who will keep you company?” I sniffled.
“Don’t worry about me. You must go. You need to be with your family.” She replied softly.
There was no way of getting out of leaving. Part of me was excited about the trip to America. It was a place where every Vietnamese dreamed to be. I had no idea what America was other than it was another country far away in the west. I was told that it was a place where you can eat all you want, play all you want, and live life freely. Sounds great; however, I was sad to be away from Mẹ Ðức. Can I still come home to visit whenever I want to? My mind wandered. I gathered my treasured belongings and gifts from Bố and Mẹ Ðức in a small bag. In my heart, I still wanted to follow through with my escape plan.