My House, Not Quite on a Street

Light Bulb

Living on a cul de sac was pretty special to me because while others wrote their addresses ending in St., Ave., or Blvd., I ended mine with Cir. Being a dead end street shaped like a lightbulb, the only times unfamiliar cars came by was when someone had to make a U-turn after getting lost on the way to a birthday party. As a resident of the house directly at the end, it felt like the light bulb shaped road was like my front yard. People don’t bother to drive or walk in cul de sacs, as it is just an unnecessary loop apart from the flow of traffic. Like an oxbow lake, it is isolated from the rest of the neighborhood. People have places to go, so there is no practical reason to drive in cul de sacs, and it is just how I like it. My light bulb shaped cul de sac has a closed circuit where no strangers can bother me. Most of the time. Inside the lightbulb everything is perfect: the grass is greener, the neighbors say good morning, and the sunsets last forever. Anything can happen inside, and everything that does, stays inside. My cul de sac is filled with so much life and light, but no one else can see it. Nothing could change it. It is almost a magical place that exists beyond the first glances and impressions. It takes time to see how beautiful my home is. My cul de sac. The lightbulb that hides a never ending sunset.

Just Red

My favorite color is red. Not quite the sunset red and definitely not the maroon blood red. Not the pale type of red that is pastel to please the eyes of others, and not the crimson of a rose that arouses mystery too scared of showing its true colors. I love red, the bright but not too bright consistent cherry red, the one on fire trucks. The type of red that is on too many sports teams and too many flags. Everything in this shade of red looks great. Red balloons, Target, my favorite folder, Kai from Lego Ninjago, or a really good looking chili pepper. Not only is this red energetic with the bubbly character of a perfect red ball, but it can be just as cozy and homely as the red door of a cabin during Christmas. It’s not the type of red that screams the attempt to acquire power and love. It’s not the red of a marker that promises unwavering loyalty but fades after its first use and leaves a weak streak of an unsteady pink. It’s not the red that has been forced to carry the symbol of nationalism or war. It’s not the red that forced my family out of their home in Vietnam, that imposed itself as the best shade of red. Too many times, has this red been labeled, stereotyped, or misinterpreted to stand for something else. This red is red simply for the sake of being red. This red loves without roses, ribbons, or ruby rings, and never claims to be the perfect color. This red defends its love and asks nothing in return. This red is proud to be red and will always be red no matter how beautiful roses can become. This red is my favorite color without asking to be. 


My grandpa’s car was an old silver Toyota, much older than me. But I have never seen it fail to start. Never has it given up on us, as if it knew everything depended on it performing. It knew how important its role was and that it was almost as if it ran on sheer willpower and the stubbornness to not become obsolete. That it was motivated to perform, because without it, we would have never made it far. I used to spend hours a day with my grandparents, and the car never took a sick day off. Not once did I see it stop to fill up on gas or rest and get its oil changed. The car had the most powerful engine of all others, and its engine was never loud. It never sputtered, coughed, or hurt my ears. Even though the car was small, had no air conditioning, and had windows you had to roll down manually, it was the most comfortable place to take a nap. The seats were covered in a soft, sun faded fuzz that was always warm, and I always felt safe sitting on it surrounded by a soft blanket of warmth. But those days have long passed and now the car is a bit slower, but still strong and consistent. I love my ông ngoại and his silver Toyota. The same Toyota that picked me up from elementary school and took me to Phước Lộc Thọ. The same car that my mom first learned how to drive, the car that held my mom’s family together. Now I can see the check engine light on. How long has that been there?

Never Enough Time

After hours of work, there is nothing I like to do more than waste time. Instead of doing homework due Monday, I love killing time. While I could be curing cancer, or creating an AI that will rule the world, I would much rather take long naps and watch T.V., melted into the couch. The nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me to go back to work weighs me down, letting me know that I was running out of time. No matter how much I reassured myself that I was just taking a strategic break, I could feel the sun getting lower and with it, my energy was being depleted. I tried to myself that I didn’t have to be hard at work to be productive, but the deadline does not care. The deadline does not walk into cul de sacs, listen to excuses, or take mental health into consideration. The clock was ticking and the ominous 11:59 was approaching. I have never had coffee, but I don’t think I will ever need it. Fear of missing the deadline shocked my body out of its paralysis, and I instantly went back to work. Desperation eliminated all of my second thoughts, and after the hour that felt like ten minutes, my work was done. It was refreshing, since I did not procrastinate often, to push myself like this. I convinced myself that doing work like this was the most enjoyable way. Afterall, I always got my work done on time. Until I didn’t. Until the time of death was declared at 11:59. Until the job took me longer than expected, and now I spend every day wishing I could time travel back. This time there was not a make up test, late credit, or any extension. If only I could have spent more time with them. I hate hindsight. People tell me to learn from the past to make the right decisions for the future. But it’s not the same.

The End, I Think

I could feel it coming. The familiar feeling of the drop in my stomach that was being dragged on. The tell tale signs of the end. People saying their goodbyes and looking back at how far they have come. A calm and insightful monologue over a series of cuts of the characters. It was the season finale and even though it ended with a cliffhanger, there was no guarantee of it returning. Whether it was abruptly discontinued due to budgeting, or the slowly declining viewership marked its old age, the ending is all the same. A finale, twice the length of regular episodes, attempting to end its life with a bang. Every piece of character development and rising action could either come full circle in the final plot or be completely wasted. Nothing hurts more than a promising future, filled with growth and development, cut short, not given the opportunity to a finale. Something for people to remember their life by. An accomplishment or a legacy that would redeem the regret of not doing more. They don’t see that life is not measured by a single episode, but every second. It’s not the plot that leaves me feeling empty thinking now what? It’s the relatable characters who attached to me emotionally. The witty interactions and the self revealing dialogue that builds bonds with time. These are overlooked when living a meaningful life. The impact people have on one another is the measure to a successful life. It is a crucial part in what makes life meaningful; the normal boring days are what builds character and relationship the best. No one, including myself, embraces these times until they are gone. Because days are slow and years go by fast, wisdom is too late to tell people they are living in the good old days. People are constantly chasing the climax which defines character, while skipping the dialogue in between that actually builds it. And before they know it, it is the season finale. Only until the credits start rolling, then they realize that plot was cut short, their grandparents are gone, and the sunset did not last forever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s