Reminiscing the only night spent in Hue, I wonder if the old lady is still selling grilled corns by the busy street of Hue tonight. Arriving late in Hue and realizing it was the only night we spent in Hue, we decided to stroll down the Perfume River where the fluroscent billboards of the nearby shops were reflected. The breezy wind cooled us down as we brushed shoulders with young love birds scattered by the Perfume River. As if it was the only love nest in the city. As I oogled, the love birds sat fixated to one another giggling, holding hands and romanticing; almost a perfect blend to the romantic sensation of Perfume River.
I too, was head over heels for a twitter crush. Well, I was moonstruck. I had never pursued someone that hard ever since my Laila and Majnun love story plunged off 2 years ago. The whole set of environment with cupids in every air I breathe there at Perfume River, I had that intense desire to love and to be loved. I would save the boring part and move on the crux of the matter.
After getting tired of being the green-eyed-monster to those cherishing their love along the Perfume River, my friends and I hunted for grilled corns. A row of corn sellers sat on a plastic stool with a traditional vietnamese clay grill, a pack of dried squid and pork slice, sweet potatoes and corns. Few other stools were arranged to circle the seller. The love birds settled down and ordered their food. Once done, they paid for it and then came another love birds. It worked like a circle.
We had nothing else better to do than just sit by the street with the corn seller, an old lady who did hand sign indicating she was 80 years of age. Despite not speaking each other’s language, we took every effort to communicate. As the city wound down slowly relative with time, the people on the street became lesser and lesser. There were only us with the old lady laughing and cheering at every joke the old lady pulled. She silently brought out a plastic bag filled with betel leaves and areca nut. And so she chewed the betel quid in her funny no-teeth woman way. We giggled.
Then when it was clear she was not getting any more customer that night, she packed her things and unpacked whenever a customer came. We sat with her until she finished packing and once in a while, she motioned with hand gestures for us to get back to our hotel and have a good sleep. For once, I can’t imagine letting my own mother to work her bone until the age of 80 years. What more, as a jagung seller by a busy street like that. But this old lady, enjoyed her work so much you could see her passion in her eyes. You don’t have to earn a lot to love what you are doing, right?
Such was treasured memory you can’t buy elsewhere. Hue is a city of pagodas along the Perfume River. Should I have to choose only one memory to remember in Hue, I will make do with the memory of sitting there on a plastic stool, enjoying the grilled corn and company of the old lady. That’s happiness at its core, I tell you.