The subject was Morals. I could not vouch for how she answered the examiner’s questions, but I can tell you that she had delicate features, she wore a sky blue dress, and when she exited the classroom her gait was light.
My classmates recognized her from the description. Some knew her address, none thought I stood a chance. I came across a mantra in the horoscope page of a low-brow magazine: “My love is like a volcano, my will is like the Pyramids, I pledge to love only her, surely she will love me.” I sent her a letter and every day repeated the mantra.
Months went by before a reply came: “Guess who?” Suspicious that it was a prank, I nonetheless thanked her for her kindness and explained that because I was a boarder at the Lycée du Protectorat, I could go out only on the weekend. If I stood across the street from her house at a certain hour, would she come to the balcony? We repeated this ritual until a holiday break for which I was to take the train home from Hà Nội. I asked her to meet me at the station.
Much later she said that in the months leading to her “guess who,” friends of hers who boarded at the lycée were gathering information about me.
A Signposts story by The Plum Seed, from a letter by Ngỗng Trời An Nhiên