March 8, 2017

Lost Times

I got a manicure the other day … an acting thing. My manicurist was an Asian lady of uncertain age, maybe late 30s. We chatted haltingly across the language barrier. I asked her where she was from. Vietnam, she said. I spent some time there, I replied, feeling a bit awkward. She asked me where I was, but the places I named didn’t ring any bells. I got the sense that it was hard for her to relate to the fact that I was there as a soldier. She asked when I was there. It was before she was even born. The war-torn Vietnam I knew was not the Vietnam she knew growing up. This is a good thing, I thought. The scars from one generation should fade away with each passing generation. I’m sure others from her generation might feel differently, but I took some comfort in believing that for her, at least, the horror of those days had receded and seemed not to cloud her memories. It’s the best you can hope for, really.

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