HOW I LOVED MY MOM DURING THE TIME I WAS AT NLS BAO LOC
“Mom! If you could read it- I wish you would, you would have found how much I loved you.”
We all love Moms, don’t we? But I had a different way to show my love to mine especially when I went to Agricultural High school in Bao Loc since Sep 1971.
The first thing I did was to stop smoking since the day I left home. I had smoked at the age of 9 due to some bad boys’ encouragements. I didn’t tell her and she didn’t care since I almost always went to school and tried to study and play basket ball. What else could a divorcee like her expect her son to do? The love for her helped me quit easily.
The second thing- as simple as the first one- was to stop asking her for any allowance which I promised myself while I was asking her for my going to Bao Loc school. Could anyone ever do the same? Since she did not seem to be pleased with my decision, I had thought of estimating the lowest amount of money which was 5,000 VND. Luckily enough, Bac Nhat recommended us to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Bang. My landlady offered to cook for us and the monthly rent including board was 5,000 VND. I felt a sharp sense of pleasure and I thought to myself : “How lucky am I to be given the exact amount?”.
Speaking of money, I as well as my roommates felt hungry most of the time so what we ate for supper and breakfast was sweet potatoes we stole since the second month we stayed there. Thankfully, I gained weight as much as a young guy living abroad. The third month did not pass by smoothly as the previous ones, my mom decided to stop sending me money. Instead I had to come to my dad to get what he was by law required to have the custody of me after their divorce. Since then every month I borrowed my land lady an amount of bus fare then off I went there to do what I had ever thought of what a lot of people especially Bac Nhat since he no longer saw the letter of transferring money to me asked “Why doesn’t he send it to you to save your time and the bus fare?”
The sad fact was that if I had not come, he would never have given me what he had to.
The third thing I did was to study so studiously and seriously that no one in the world could imagine. As you may guess, I silently loved a girl- a schoolmate- but I put the love for her somewhere that it never bothered me or took my time which I assigned for my studying for my mom’s.
In the last year of my stay, I chose to share a room with “Tai Bot”- exactly he persuaded me to. As he had some thing rather different, I decided to schedule on my own. I tried to go to bed as early as I could manage- well around 9 P.M then I got up at 3 A.M to study until morning. I swear to God I did that so well and from the bottom of my heart I feel so proud to reveal this. But everyone must doubt how I could keep it going on during the year of 1974. I took the advantage of being with Tai Bot whose family was much richer than mine. At around 3 A.M, I made for myself a glass of powdered milk to refresh. Sometimes in about 15 minutes, I brought my guitar out to the front yard to play some classical music with a blanket covering over me not only to prevent the sound from disturbing the neighbors but also keeping me warm that night. With the greatest love for my mom I could do whatever the schoolboys could imagine.
To tell the truth, Thanh Van - a girl writing me a letter of request to be one of my friends from Can Tho that year was becoming so crazy about me that she once wrote:” Tonight I am staying at my uncle’s in Sai Gon. I miss you like so crazy that I can not sleep and I wish I would be holding you now no matter what happens.” So besides keeping my schedule going on, keeping myself from missing that slim long hair pretty girl, I had to find a way to keep her love from occupying my precious time, to keep my promise, to satisfy my gratefulness to my Mom and to keep my soul firm. I found a perfect solution. Whenever I got her weekly letter, I hid it in one of my books and I tried to forget it until I could allow me to write back during my refreshment time - since about 10 A.M till 3 A.M the following day. Has any one ever kept his girlfriend’s letter sealed for 17 hours?. So writing her back was what I did to relax myself. Most of mine was written like
“Dear Thanh Van! If you care for the future, you have to study as much as I am doing and remember that nothing and no one in the world could stop me from doing it because I am so grateful to my Mom for her pride of having me go to school and to my Dad for not having any responsibilities as any other does, if you see what I mean. Please send me a stamp so I can reply your letter.” And people could break into tear to learn that she just every week enclosed exactly one single stamp as if I had had no one to write.
HCMC, Apr 29,09
Luong Ngoc Thanh
(Thanh Xi- T.L 74)