Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sunset in Inglewood, California

Home Sweet Home

“Home is the nicest word there is.” 
 Laura Ingalls Wilder

            A shower suddenly poured hard on a boiling afternoon. Dan looked out at the empty backyard, exhaled, and said, “It is all set. We do not need to hurry up to cover our objects so they won’t get wet. We can relax now. Our hard work is paid off. Our house is organized and beautiful now.”
            Dan continued his thought, “My Sweetheart makes our sweet home. Honey, thank you for everything you did.”
            I invited Dan, “Do you want to sit on the patio to escape the heated air?”
            Dan nodded, “Sure, Honey!”

            Dan sat in a white wood rocking chair that his mother often rocked him in while holding him in her arms and singing lullabies to lure him into a deep sleep. I sat in a small, red, round chair that my mother gave to me when I first moved out.

            The rain just sprayed over the droughty surface of the death-brown grass. Our Waste Land greedily sponged each raindrop. The shower was lighter. A yellow butterfly spread its drenched wings wide and landed on a yellow chrysanthemum. I sang aloud a children’s song to the tune of the song “Are you Sleeping”…

Kìa con bướm vàng          Oh the yellow butterfly
Kìa con bướm vàng          Oh the yellow butterfly
Xòe đôi cánh                     Spreads its wings
Xòe đôi cánh                     Spreads its wings
 Tung cánh bay xa xa trời   Flies up to the sky
 Tung cánh bay xa xa trời   Flies up to the sky
  Em ngồi xem                    I contemplate it
  Em ngồi xem                    I contemplate it
              Dan laughed, “So cute, Honey!”
I told him, “In Vietnam, our garden had many yellow chrysanthemums. Butterflies, bees, and dragonflies often played in our garden like their playground. I like this house because it has a big back yard, a big gate, and doors separating each room. Our father had so many books that he put them in two giant army containers in the back house like our back room. Also, the house is close to the ocean like my childhood house.”
Dan held me in his arms and said, “Honey, this house is your house--the house of happiness. You can design and create our nest as you dream.”
A couple of hummingbirds dashed out. Stunningly, I punched Dan’s arm and mumbled, “Look! Look!”
Dan’s eyes followed the hummingbirds. He uttered, “Wow!”
Another green hummingbird dove to the nectar feeder. Dan cried, “Honey, one more!”
The green hummingbird flew away and landed on an electric wire under the rain.
The previous red-green and gray hummingbird couple came back. They jetted around the red feeder to observe it. Dan joyfully yelled, “Amazing! They came back, Honey!”
 I put my finger to my mouth and shook my head to signal him to be quiet.  I held my breath as if my heartbeat would stir up the hummingbirds’ ritual snack. The red-headed hummingbird spread its transparent wings and tremblingly flapped its wings. It lanced its tiny, sharp pointed nose into the yellow plastic petal to sip the nectar, and quickly withdrew it. The hummingbird flew backward and launched its beak forward, into the flower again. It hovered like a little toy helicopter. Its wings swayed around like a spinning rotor. It moved backward, forward, backward, and forward.
 The green-gray hummingbird swayed around the birdfeeder while the red-headed one enjoyed its snack. Suddenly, the red hummingbird tasted the nectar. The two tiny creatures sipped the nectar in one birdfeeder.
 All at once, the lonely, green hummingbird on the wire chased the couple away. The lonely bird impatiently sucked the nectar many times. It swirled around the oval feeder, stuck its nose into the petal, moved backward, and danced forward to another flower. It glued its head to the red liquid. It repeatedly drifted backward and forward from flower to flower as if it starved deadly.
            I grasped Dan’s arm forcefully. Dan appreciated, “Amazing! The hummingbirds are under our noses in our back yard. We do not need to go anywhere to chase them. How peaceful it is!”
            I read the quote from Homer’s Odyssey, “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” 
            Dan agreed with me, “That’s right, Honey! You bring life to the house. You invite our friends: birds, butterflies, bees and peace, to visit our house and chase away the enemies: darkness, loneliness, emptiness, and anxiety.

            I leaned my head on Dan’s shoulder and listened to the sound of the fountain.