The shelter may have been used once or twice, its steps too narrow to be practical. Planters and flowering shrubs now edged the gray slab jutting out of the ground.

We rode my bike he and I along the main road into the compound, his legs more bowed than usual to accommodate the pedals, my forearm resting this side of proper on his midriff. I had bought the bike with saved up lì xì, to my mother’s grave concern. She often said that a girl could lose her virginity falling off a bike.

The evening before he left, we went up to the rooftop terrace. I watched his fingers move up and down the fretboard. “Do you know this song?” His voice when he held a high note had a laid-back tremolo.

There’s a photograph of us at Tân Sơn Nhất airport, standing face to face, holding hands and looking away.

A Signposts story by The Plum Seed