#10. One of These Days

I didn’t know how the below conversation came into existence. Nha was just sitting there, idling away his life like how people treated the lottery tickets when they knew they didn’t win. And I guess as a passerby on the street – and a decent citizen at least – I should pick up the lottery tickets and put them into the trash can where they belong.

And that was how the below conversation happened. He was talking about his family. I was talking about my not-so-proud-but-not-so-tedious past. Amidst the exchange of words and curses, Nha said:

“One of these days, I’m going back to Da Nang. I will find Ma and Tinh. Fuck, one of these days.”

I kind of felt like I have to return the blow of big dreams and vain hopes, so I said half-jokingly:

“One of these days, I’m returning to the city. I will find a decent job.”

“Yeah, one of these days, you will be a writer. A poet. A person who always dreams far too high beyond the harsh reality.”

“And one of these days, you will be a husband. A father. A hero among all other heroes who protect little girls.”

“One of these days – “

“One of these days – “

We kept saying things. The things we wanted to become. The things we yearned to have. All of them, all of them. It’s not a competition. We were not trying to win anything. After all, what could we win with empty words and empty promises? That’s why we did not hesitate to speak out the darkest, dirtiest one-of-these-days we had in our mind. We just went on talking endlessly as if true happiness was there on the horizon, separated from this moment by an invisible border of reality and a sad, lonesome sunset.

After all, the only one-of-these-days we can achieve is to die.

“You know, Hai, I sometimes wonder how miraculous it is that we are all going to die. Monster and men, they are all going to die.”

I looked at Nha as he leaned back on his hands. His broad shoulders seemed broader and sturdier in his carefree frame. His dark skin glistened in the glaring sun. One of these days – but none of that mattered anymore.

“You are not the same man I saved on that rainy day, Nha.” I smiled, though I doubt that my smile can do anything to comfort me or him.

“And you don’t like the me right now?”

“Does it even matter?” I laughed.

Because, Nha, like all of those one-of-these-days we were talking about, I could never have you.

****************

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