That morning, she had breakfast at quán phở Dì Năm (Auntie Năm’s noodle stall) in the neighborhood. Actually, this food stall was anonymous and there was no sign found so she gave herself a right to name it after the owner. When she came, the three tables were occupied. One with an old man waiting to be served. One with a busy father with two kids. And one with a young guy in blue uniform who almost finished his breakfast. She guessed he was an electricity worker or such.In such a crowded food stall like this morning, you learn to share or ask for being shared tables with strangers. It does not matter though as the breakfast is often very quick. And she just didn’t care anyone opposite or beside her but the steamed noodle bowl.
Of course, she chose the table with the young guy whom she expected to leave in a few minutes. She said hi, beamed at him and asked if she could sit at his table. He politely replied yes.
She sat down opposite him, the half-meter-wide table between them. After a little awkward silence, he looked at her half traditional and half modern, half local and half foreign attire, asking: “Your uniform is lovely. Which company are you working for?”
In her culture, this is a common question but now she felt uncomfortable. She did not expect a conversation with him over the breakfast. She left her eyes from the noodle bowl, and replied briefly: “Thanks but this is not a uniform.”
She heard him saying “Oh, I thought you worked in handicraft field as I often see the female artisans dress something like this.” But she only nodded the head without saying a word. The noodles was really good, the thin slices of rare beef were juicy and tender. The broth was great. She had to confess that she had very good appetite recently.
He did not surrender there. He poked another question: “Are you living on Lý Nam Đế Str.?”
She felt uneasier now but still she replied quickly: “No, on Phạm Thị Liên Str.” She thought it was wiser to tell the exact name of the street to prevent his next question which should be “If not, on which street?”
Finally, he was done with his breakfast. She was glad. But to her amazement, he told the waitress: “I’d like to pay for this lady’s breakfast as well.” His look indicated her.
She stopped him quickly: “NO.”
He gave the waitress a note of 20,000 VND which was enough for both of our breakfasts, and then turned to her, he added “Please accept it as a good wish.”
She said thanks weakly, which was very unusual. She rarely let anyone treat her like this.
Before he disappeared from the noodle stall, he left her with his last sentence: “If we meet, we meet.”
“Who tells you I want to see you again?”, she would yell at him but she did not. She was speechless. She did not expect these things to happen in such a lovely morning when she was in a very good mood. He shocked her by doing something that she did not expected. She astounded herself by such a weird and unusual reaction.
Well, if she liked him, this would turn out a lovely romance. Unfortunately, for her, it was like a joke. She simply thought it was funny. Any way, it made her laugh whenever thinking about it.
“And isn’t that morning interesting when you have a free breakfast?”