by Nguyen Hien Luong At 6 o’clock in the morning Lan began getting up. Picking up a small bamboo stick, she moved aside the thick ash layer that had been covered over the burning pieces of charcoal left from the previous night. After that she blew the tiny grey dusts off to brighten them up again. In consequence, the flame appeared after a few seconds and made the 10sq-m. room dazzle and warm up. This small place was used as a studio, a bedroom and a kitchen for three people: Lan, Hanh and her first-grade son Chung. Hanh woke up under her thick cotton blanket. Yet she remained sitting huddled up for hours on the bed against the biting mid-November cold. Outside, the northern wind howled wildly and dewdrops kept patting gently on the corrugated metal roof. When the flame rose higher and higher, Lan placed a big saucepan full of icy water, which had nearly been frozen due to the previous night’s terrible weather, for their consumption throughout the day. In the meantime, Chung slept soundly because it was too cold and foggy for children to go to school before 9 o’clock. While it was still rather dark, Hanh… Read full this story
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