Còn một nửa

Bà cụ ngồi ăn burger ngoài quán.

Già lắm rồi. Móm mém.

Nhưng chiếc bánh ăn vẫn thấy ngon.

Có lẽ là, ngon hơn mọi bữa trưa từng có.

Hoặc, hơn cả mọi bữa tối.

Có lẽ là, lần đầu tiên ăn burger.

Có khi cũng là lần duy nhất.

Qua lớp kính là một thế giới khác.

Không tiếng xe cộ.

Nhưng ồn ào tiếng người nói.

Nhìn thấy bà cụ ăn, đấy mới là tĩnh lặng.

Không cầm cả chiếc burger

Lật hai miếng bánh mỳ ra, cẩn thận xé từng miếng thịt gà

Chấm vào sốt

Tay loáng những mỡ

Lóng ngóng

Có lẽ là vui.

Người qua mua vé số

Đưa họ cả tập, tự chọn đi

Tay bà còn đang dở

Bữa ăn vẫn còn.

Rồi rất nắng, bà đội nón lên

Bữa trưa xong rồi

Chiếc burger còn nửa.

Bà gói lại vuông vắn

Nhét vào cái cốc nhựa đựng trà đá

Rồi nhét vào túi.

Cẩn thận.

Chỉ là chiếc burger thôi.

Một bữa trưa

Còn lại nửa.

Một cuộc đời còn lại bao nhiêu?

Dạ Ly



The Umbrella Effect

This fiction is a response to Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge:   The Butterfly Effect. 

Sally woke up in a terrible headache. She had been sweating all night, and now her throat felt like a fish bone stuck in it. The fever came at mid-night, followed by pains in all muscles and a mixture of hot and cold thrill all over her body. All symptoms are here – Sally apparently caught a cold.


Sally curled up herself in a ball in bed, cursing any bastard stranger that had taken her umbrella. Yesterday, she swung by The Coffee Cup to grab a cup of milkshake and fried chicken for dinner. On walking out, Sally found out the crystal blue umbrella she left at the doorstep of the coffee shop had gone. It was about to sprinkle all over the place, and the thick dark clouds floating above the head suggested that this sprinkling rain would no way be everything the sky wanted to offer that evening. Sally lived just four blocks from here, so she covered her head with her purse and headed home. Unfortunately, the rain got worse quickly, and before Sally could get into her shelter, she was already wet from head to toe.

And that’s how Sally caught a cold. Because of some stupid stranger stealing her umbrella.


Sally called in sick for work and retreated back into her comfortable blanket. It had been a very long time since the last time she was on leave – well, since like, never. Sally loved her job, so a minor common cold or slight fever could never stop her from going to work. But today she decided to stay home. Sally never knew what her apartment was like at this time of the day, as she seemed to always have a reason to go out. She laid back and enjoyed the silence. Then suddenly, there was a strange sound from her balcony. It sounded like some of her plant pots had just been broken. Sally rushed toward the balcony, where she found a white ball of fur lying amongst the crime scene – her rosemary pot had broken into pieces. This must be some cat from the neighborhood. Sally gave out her hands to pick up the cat “It’s OK honey. I’m not mad. Now I’ll take you home.” But the cat panicked. It ran around the balcony as Sally chased it, and finally jumped up to escape. The point is, the cat was obese. It was the kind of spoilt cat who did nothing all day but sleeping and eating and playing around the neighborhood, so obviously it had no expertise in jumping. To make matters worse, it was bottom-heavy. So as the cat jumped up the balcony to escape, its body flung over. And it was 7th floor.

Sally was terrified. Luckily the cat could just grab the balcony in a second and was still holding on. Sally quickly picked it up and held it in her arms. She could feel the cat’s heart beating like a drum. “It’s OK. It’s OK.”

Sally gave the cat a little milk; then she put on her coat and took the cat around the building, planning on knocking everyone’s door. “The cat is most possibly from my floor. If it can jump into my balcony, there’s no way this amateur can jump so far from other floors. It has to be on 7th floor.” And she was right. When she knocked on the last house, the one in the corner of the right wing, a guy opened. He looked extremely sad with red sodden eyes, but as he noticed the cat in Sally’s arms, his face glowed with relief.

“Oh my God, you’re here! Everyone, Sally is here!”

“You know my name?” – her heart shrank hearing the guy calling her name.

“Oh excuse me?” – he picked the cat from Sally and looked surprised – “Can I take Sally? Oh it’s the cat’s name. Your name is Sally, too? Ah, that’s interesting!”

“What’s up, Don? Someone found Sally?” – an older woman showed up at the door.

“Yes, Mom. This is Sally. Sally found our Sally!”

“Really? God must have sent you here, dear! Thank you! Thank you so much!” – the woman said with honesty in her voice. She then took the cat back into their home. Sally could see her eyes were already wet. “I’m taking Sally to her now!”

“You live in this building right? I have seen you several times.” – the guy asked.

“Yes, just across the hall. I guess that’s it. I’m going home.”

“Well… this is… I don’t know how to say this… but we’re so thankful you found Sally… Could you… we would love to invite you over sometime as a thank-you…”

“No, no, it’s just nothing…”

“No, I mean it. I would love to invite you over… It’s just that, my Granny is…” – the guy looks like he was trying to hold back his tears – “My Granny’s clock is ticking…You know what I mean… She loves Sally so much, and it hurts that when she is about to go, Sally was nowhere to be found. So this means so much to us, really. You saved her soul. Now my Granny can see Sally and be relieved…”




Somehow in that strange morning, Sally found a cat in her balcony, saved its life and took it back to the owners. Her life changed dramatically after that. She gave the cat back to its owner, Mrs. Donovan, in time, so that she could see her beloved cat before she left the world at the age of 97. Don then invited Sally over for dinner with his family, then a dinner with him alone. They fell in love and got married shortly after that. Sally could never expect her life to be so different within just six months after the rare morning she stayed home because of a common cold she did not plan to catch.


But this is the most bizarre part of the story. On the day Sally was stolen the umbrella, a guy dropped in that coffee shop just five minutes before her. When he walked out, he was answering a phone call from his mother, regarding his grandmother’s condition. The guy was so worried that he totally forgot he left his crystal blue umbrella home. He saw an identical one at the doorstep of the coffee shop and thought it was his. Hence he took it and hurriedly rushed home to see his Granny.

The guy was Don.

Dạ Ly



This fiction is a response to Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: The Unreliable Narrator.

Trust is the most important thing in the world, I believe. That’s why we keep searching for the ones we can trust. We all believe that family is there  to rely on, right? Then it must be a tragedy when we can’t trust even our family.

I am living that tragedy.

I’ve moved back to my parents’ home for two months. Sean is still out in the sea. He said there would not be any mobile signal when they travelled far into the ocean, but somehow he manages to send me a text every night, telling me he’s alright. But he’s too worried to leave me and our infant son, Dean, home all alone, so my parents and brother knocked on my house’s door last month and helped us move, so that we are taken care of by family, just so they said. Well, they actually forced me out of my house. My parents came with two strangers dressed in white, and they rudely escorted me into the car without any clue that my baby could be hurting. My mom cried and gave me a sad look, which I really hate,  while dad and brother were messing up my room in an attempt to collect my personal stuffs. Everyone was acting crazy. They looked at the baby, then they looked at me, with something that comes between sympathy and disgust.

They are up to some scheme, I’m sure. I just don’t know why.

I get sleepy from time to time. In fact, since I moved here I sleep almost twenty two hours a day, which is very abnormal because I used to be a light sleeper. I believe this comes from tens of pills they force me to take every day, or even from the food they prepare for me. Maybe they’re poisoning me. I just don’t have any proof. I can’t refuse to eat what they give me. I’m too weak in this house.

The only thing I could do is to hold my son so tight in a hope to gain a little more strength, and that they would not take him from me.

10 p.m. After putting Dean to bed, I grab my phone and wait for a message. Sean always sends me a text around this time of the day. He’s there, out in the sea, but he’s still talking to me.


A text. Sean.

“I’ll be fine, honey. Don’t worry.

I love you and Dean so much.

When I go back, there’ll be three of us. I’m thrilled.


I text back, but he never answers. Then the next day, at 10 p.m he will send me the same message, day after day. I guess it’s not very easy to connect to the world when you are out of nowhere and surrounded by the ocean, so I go to bed, and wait for his text the next night. Then Derbie, my sister-in-law, knocks on the door. Damn it. She always has to show up at this hour to offer a glass of milk, though I’ve said a million times I don’t want it.

“It’s good for your sleep, sweetie. And the doctor recommends it.”

“But why doctor? I don’t need a fucking doctor.”

“Just better for your health.”

She looks at me, then at my baby. It is cold and totally blank. It’s completely devoid of emotion. I know this woman doesn’t love me, or the baby boy. I even sense she puts something in the milk, but I drink it anyway. After all, it does help me with my sleep. I will sleep like a log and wake up at noon the next day.

Somehow I don’t instantly fall into a sleep tonight. I’m very sleepy, but still awake. Maybe whatever they put into my milk I drink so much that my body is building up a tolerance. Derbie has just walked out of my room, leaving the door slightly open. She’s talking to my mom and brother right at the doorstep.

“I think she’s asleep. She’s not gonna wake up ‘til noon.” – said Derbie.

“These pills seem to work, right?” – my brother says with unhidden satisfaction. “But this cannot last long.”

“What do you want to do? We just can’t…” – my mom’s sobbing.

“We’ve got to get her there, mom. It’s getting out of control.”

“No. We can’t take her there! It’s like hell. We can’t treat her like that.”

I gasp. Maybe I’ve just made some noise, so they alertly close the door. I cannot hear anything anymore.

Where are they planning to take me to? “It’s like hell.” Why? What happened? What happened to the family that I loved so much? And Sean, when are you coming back? I don’t think I can protect myself or our son anymore. They’re all working on a hidden agenda to take me away.

I’ve got to get out of this house. I’ve got to… The milk and some shitty thing that comes with it now is going straight to my brain. I start to fall asleep.


“Helen! Helen! Wake up, honey! We’ve got to go!”

Who’s calling my name? Oh my God, that’s Sean’s voice. It’s Sean! I try to open my eyes and sit up. Right there, Sean is standing outside the window, smiling. He is wet from head to toe, but he doesn’t show any sign of being cold at all.

“Come here, honey. I’ve got to get you out of here!”

“Yes… Oh God! They’re weird! All my family! Everyone is so crazy, Sean!” – I rush to the window – “I don’t know what happened to mom and dad, and even my brother, but they are acting real crazy! I’m afraid they’re gonna hurt me or our baby.”

“Our baby? God, I haven’t seen our son!”

“Oh, of course.”

I come back to the bed to take Dean, so that Sean can meet the baby for the first time.

“Why don’t you come in?”

“No, you come here baby.” – Sean waves at me. I follow him. “Just put your feet up and climb over the window. I got you here.”

“But it’s second floor.”

“I got you! It’s alright. We’ve got to get out of here, right now. They’re waking up very soon.”

“Yeah, right.” It’s early morning now; the sun has gone half way out of the skyline. There’s noone out in the street at this time, except for the guy next door who always run around this time. But it’s just one person. I need to get out of here. I start to climb out of the window as Sean takes my hand.

“No, Helen!”

Suddenly my brother opens the door, frightened. He runs towards me and grabs my wrist.

“What are you doing? Go inside!”

“No! I’m not staying here. Let me go. LET ME GO!”

“Why are you doing this?” – He is trying to hold me tight and pull me inside.

“Help me Sean. HELP ME.” – I cry. But Sean has disappeared. Now I panick. I try to push my brother away, while at the same time hold my baby closer. Damn it! He is just so heartless – the baby is in my hand but he won’t let me go. I try harder to get out of his arms and rush to the window. Then, in a very short moment, I am shaking because of his arms’ strength. My arm gets weak. And the baby falls out of it.


That can’t be it. No. I can’t have dropped Dean out of the window! I cry and try to get out of my brother’s arms, but this time he gets me too tight. Now all the other people in the family has come to my room.

“What just happened, Harry?”

“Jeff called me while running, that he saw Helen trying to climb out of the window. She’s totally lost it!”

“What? Why? Why didn’t you close the window?”

“I can’t lock it mom. After all, we can’t lock her.”

What? Are they still human? A baby just dropped out of the window, and they’re standing here talking about locking me up? I can’t utter a word. I keep sobbing and crying. Then I scream at Harry’s face:

“You lost your mind? My baby! Let me see my baby. Oh my God, you killed him!”

Now Harry seems to lose his temper. He grabs my face, looking straight into the eyes:

“What baby? There’s no baby, Helen. It’s a fucking blanket!”

“Stop it Harry! Stop it!”

“No I have to tell her. She gotta wake up.” – then he turns at me furiously – “We’ve got to help you Helen, and this is the only way. There’s no baby! It’s a blanket that you thought to be a baby. Your baby, Dean…” – he hesitates, with a little tear falling down from his eye – “he died from birth.”


“That’s enough, Harry. Stop it.” – my mom is trying to touch me, but I avoid her.


“Sweetie” – now my dad is speaking, after a very long time of silence – “The ship is still missing. It’s been a month now. We’ve decided to lose hope…”

“What are you talking about?”

“OK, that’s enough. I’ll got her.” – Derbie has appeared at the door, with a syringe in her hand. Quickly, she pumps it into my wrist. My family, the room and everything in front of me start to blur into pieces. It’s getting darker and darker.

This reminds me of the night when Sean left us and promised to come back after a week, to welcome the birth of our first baby.

So dark. At 10 p.m, he texted me. “I love you and Dean so much.”

So dark. He never texted again.

Then they were talking about some storm on TV… then the night I gave birth to Dean…

Dean… my little angel…

Dean… and Sean…

Now I’m trapped among darkness.

Da Ly

The woman in yellow

This is a response to Daily Post’s Daily PromptYou’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?

Sunday mornings are always my favorite time. There’s this strange thing about the city I’m living in that I love so much: no matter what season it is, or how the weather has been in the whole week, it’s always sunny on Sundays. Hence every Sunday I would indulge myself to stay in bed until ten, sometimes later, then spruce up for no particular reason, and I would walk down to the café just across the corner of the street. I would spend my whole lunch and most of the afternoon there. Every single Sunday. I just clear out everything else for that special date with me and myself.


I’ve just finished my spaghetti, and now am looking out the window. For the first time, the Sun is hiding behind clouds; then suddenly it’s sprinkling with rain all over the place. “There goes my beautiful sunny Sunday” – I thought. It just feels so surreal at the moment. Through thin layers of rain outside the window, I see a woman standing on the other side of street. She is wearing a long yellow dress, which makes her really stand out in the frame. She seems to care nothing about getting wet or pedestrians rushing over. My heart just shrinks when I figure she’s looking right at me, with a weird look that all I can read from are anger and sadness. Now she’s strolling toward the café. “She must be heading here to talk to me. But why?”


I was right. She’s just entered the room, and now is walking to my table. She looks down at me with a frown of doubt on her face, asking me in a soft voice:

“What is your name may I ask?”

I tell her my name.

“Then you’re the one I’ve been looking for.”

“Excuse me?” – I can’t hide surprise in my voice.

“Yes, I’m looking for you.” She is slowly sitting down opposite me, giving me a blank look. Somehow I feel anger flame is growing stronger in those brown eyes.

“What can I help you, my friend?” – I ask.

“I’m not your friend.” – she grunts – “I saw you, driving to Lostleneck Mountains. You were on the highway.”

“What? No, you must have mistaken me with someone else.” – I say with relief – “I’ve never been there before. I’m not a very good driver, I admit, so I never drive so far.”

“You should never drive far. You’re a terrible driver!”

At this point it’s kinda frustrating. Who is she to talk like that? But I try to calm myself and be gentle:

“OK, so I’m not who you’re looking for. I guess that’s enough for our talk, isn’t it?”

“I’m not done yet!” – she is now talking in a high-pitch voice that really scares me. “You were there, just driving to Lostleneck Mountains. Everyone told you not to, but oh no, you have to prove them that you can, don’t you? So you just packed a car and drove off to the Mountains. But you were stupid enough to barely check the safe route, and even the weather! You couldn’t expect Sundays to be pouring with rain, could you? Am I right, huh?”

I just can’t stand the insane woman anymore. I stand up and look right into her eyes:

“I don’t understand a word you’re saying, young lady. I told you, I’m not the one you’re looking for. I’ve never been to that Lostleneck Mountains, and have no interest in that thing whatsoever. Please leave now, or I’ll have to call the waiter.”

“No, I have to tell you this. I know you’re that person. I know right now you’re driving off that road, and you drank last night. I know that! You have no idea how dangerous it would be to drive at that suicide speed! Oh no, that’s not suicide! That’s murder speed! Am I right, huh? Am I right? Now look right into my eyes, and wake the f*ck up!” – She is pinning her face onto mine, and then suddenly she grabs my coffee cup and throws it right into my face.

“What the hell are you doing?” – I shout out loud. But no one, not a single person in the café shows any sign of hearing that. They’re just staying still on their seats, talking like nothing has happened. I call the waiter. He turns around, and gives me that look: the look that this insane lady has been giving me this whole crazy time.

What the hell is happening here?

I look back at the woman to catch a creepy and sour grin on her face. Then she slaps me hard. Really hard. Not just one time, but multiple times. She’s losing her mind, screaming while slapping me:

“Wake up, you idiot. Give me back my life!”


Then all of a sudden, I fall into a spiral. Everything in front of my eyes, the coffee, the woman, the waiters and other customers, is just falling into that spiral like a giant grinding machine. Everything goes so blurry. It’s raining, and raining hard. It’s not the café anymore. It’s the road. Now I can hear the sound of rain beating hard onto my car windows. It’s really dark because of the thick clouds on the sky, and things are blurry because I’m driving so fast. The road is slippery, which just makes things a hundred times worse, especially for a bad and inexperienced driver like me. “Didn’t I just fall asleep behind the wheels?” – I panick. Then I look up. A small yellow point is floating far in front of me, on the street. What is that? I’m approaching ahead really fast, and I’m out of control.

Oh no, it’s a woman.

She’s wearing a long yellow dress.


I can hear her scream in high-pitch voice, blending with my own scream. Then everything is falling into a spiral again.

Da Ly





How I fought my loneliness addiction in one week

This fiction is a response to Daily Post’s weekly writing challenge.

Loneliness is an interesting feeling. It’s like drug. Well, I know it would be quite inappropriate to compare loneliness to drug, but just think about it, drug and loneliness are surprisingly alike in the way they affect us: we have heard bad things about it (movies and music helps a lot in raising awareness!), we try to stay away from it by blending ourselves into crowds and trying to fit in, then boom, in the very moment of weakness, it attacks us. It hurts at first, but then gradually we are consuming it as much as it is consuming us, and we find ourselves addicted to the sting of loneliness. When it is gone, we thank God that we have survived the hard time, yet we secretly wish to “taste” it again. Welcome to the world of loneliness recovering addicts!


This is the story of how I discovered the above truth about loneliness. Before then, I’d had a weird liking towards being alone all the time. OK, not all the time, but even when I’m with friends, I would love to drop some topic onto the table, and sit there watching them talk, enjoying the pleasure of being the queen of manipulation. Then, one day I woke up; the first thing I did was reaching for my phone to check Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it. Suddenly I did not see the point of doing all these stuffs. How in the world could I tell I feel connected, when at the moment I was alone in the room, hearing no human voice, yet I felt so nervous about something that might have come up if I did not check my social networks? That was ridiculous. Nothing would really happen even if I stopped using Facebook. That was just the over-communication sickness we are suffering from in this digital era.  So that morning, I decided to take a test: I would seek for loneliness, stay there, and see if the world would fall apart without me on Facebook. Or better, (well, the world clearly doesn’t need me that much) if I would fall apart without the string that connected me to the other side of my room’s wall.


I turned off my phone and unplugged my Internet modem. I cleaned up my room, then arranged everything possible until my room looked exactly the same as before I rearranged it, all just for the purpose of clearing my mind from the thought “What is happening to people?”. Then I took out my camera, walked to the park and started taking photos of old couples holding hands. They leered at me with the words “Go away” written on their face, as I was smiling (sincerely and creepily maybe) at them. What a peaceful day!



I came home overwhelmed with joy. Interacting with real people and staying away from all the noises, like, friends’ updates about their new job, new clothes, or even new meals, was awesome. Now it was time to get back in the saddle. I turned my phone on again. There was no missed call. No message. No Facebook notification or new tweet. See, the world is totally OK. Without me. That’s good news.


But I felt like a heel.


Same things happened in three days. No phone call. Nothing. No one really cared that I had been disappearing for more than three days (online). No one thought of me during the day to pick up the phone, or send a message. First, it was just a game, and I decided for myself to be alone. Now I’m really alone. And worse, I’m lonely.

Only then did I feel the loneliness penetrating through my skin and swallowing my mood. I felt deserted. I felt like I could cry. And I did, for no reason. I just let tears streaming down my face, imagining I was in a movie, which led my thinking spreading from books I read to music I listen to, from my childhood days to pains of growing up. I was playing Radiohead in the room, and as Last Flowers was on, I sang along Thom Yorke:

“I can’t face the evening straight

You can’t offer me escape”

Then I started writing. I wrote down the silly random thoughts I was having on my mind. I grabbed my guitar covered in dust and played a random rhythm. Then I wrote the lyrics to it. There, a silly song was born in the moment of loneliness. Oh so heartbreaking.

I kept that routine on until the end of that week. For four days straight, my phone was off and my social pages were left unvisited, but I did not even care anymore. Somehow I learned to take advantage of loneliness: music saved me, and thinking saved me. After all, “time you enjoy wasting is not wasted”. I was just dating myself for a whole week.


On the eighth day, I woke up, turning on my phone. I curled my hair and chose my favorite dress for the day, and decided to end my one bizarre week-of-solitude with a nice lunch at Pizza Hut. One missed call from 2am. My best friend must have realized I’d kidnapped myself, finally. She was calling again.

“Hello. You called me?”

“Yeah. What’s up with you? I think you’re busy or something, but you’re not on Facebook for like a week. Something’s wrong?”

“No. I’m fine. How’s there?”

“All fine. Tell me the truth. International call is expensive, so make it count!”

“Nothing. Just spending some time thinking.”

“You quit that job? Still want that career change?”


“You’re crazy. But I love you.”

“OK. So that’s it. You got what you want to know.”

“Take care, dear.”


Loneliness is an interesting feeling. It’s terrible, yet it’s addictive. And it’s necessary, at least for me. While I constantly reach out for sense of belonging, I still keep a warm shell to retreat back into when I just feel like it. On the other hand, even when I shut the door between my inner and outer world, and drown myself deep into solitude, what I really wish is always someone to come find me and throw me out to the world. I just need that; and I think we all need that. We need space to think and be creative, but still we long for a hand to touch and hold. That’s just so true, and so human.

We need space to think and be creative, but still we long for a hand to touch and hold.

Dạ Ly


Ông cụ ga lăng – bà cụ kiêu kì

Ở công viên có bà cụ hay đi nhặt mấy lon nước ngọt, chai dầu ăn hay vỏ hộp bánh người ta vứt ở thùng rác gần đó. Trông cụ không có vẻ quá khắc khổ: áo quần chỉnh chu, tay chân đi lại thoăn thoắt; dáng người cụ nhỏ bé, lưng đã gù, nhưng ánh mắt lanh lợi và nét mặt như nói “Đừng có giỡn với bà!”

Ở công viên cũng có ông cụ nom rất ư là thảnh thơi, béo trắng, áo mayo quần ngố đúng chất cụ về hưu đi tập thể dục và thưởng gió trời.

Cụ bà hai tay chất ngất những lon, hộp và vỏ bánh, phăm phăm đi. Cụ ông chặn đường cụ, giọng có vẻ sốt sắng, năn nỉ:

–          Bà đưa đây tôi cầm cho.

Cụ bà quắc mắt, tay xua nguây nguẩy. Cụ ông tiếp tục:

–          Bà cứ đưa đây tôi cầm hộ cho đỡ nặng.

Cụ bà nói liến láu gì đó không nghe rõ, nhưng cụ xua tay phản ứng dữ quá, cụ ông đánh tránh đường cho bà đi và tha thần đi bộ tiếp.

Không rõ cụ ông thầm thích cụ bà, hay cụ ông vốn ga lăng?

Không rõ cụ bà vốn ghét cụ ông, hay sợ cụ ông lừa gạt gì mình, hay cụ chỉ là kiêu kì vậy thôi?

Tò mò quá, thế giới của mỗi người trong cái công viên bé tẹo này.

Dạ Ly

Đồ mới


Trời mưa dầm dề. Cái lạnh thấu xương của khí trời xứ Bắc đã bắt tay với mưa xuân thành thứ thời tiết sầu buồn u ám. Con đường vắng về đêm lại càng vắng, loang loáng bóng đèn phản chiếu xuống mặt đường ướt, như những đợt sóng dát vàng dát bạc.

Thế mà mẹ lại nhất định bắt nó đổ rác rồi mới đi ngủ. Rõ dở hơi. Rác đã bẩn đổ trời mưa càng bẩn. Nó trùm mũ áo lên rồi lầm lầm lũi lũi ra khỏi nhà. Bóng nó rõ dài. Bên cạnh bóng nó, bóng con gấu bông của em nó ngồi vắt vẻo trên xô rác. Nó có hai em, sinh đôi và nghịch như quỷ sứ. Chúng nó còn được chiều, đồ chơi nhiều đến chật nhà. “Con gấu cũ lắm rồi, vứt đi!”. Ừ, thì vứt đi. Nó nhếch môi cười. Khổ thân mày rồi gấu à, bị vứt đi đúng hôm mưa rét thế này…

Nó đặt con gấu lên nắp thủng rác vì không nỡ ném nó vào trong. Vừa ngoảnh mặt quay đi thì tiếng phanh xe đạp rít bên tai nó; một chị lụp xụp trong chiếc áo mưa ướt đầm tấp xe đạp vào đống rác, hai bên ghi đông lủng lẳng bao tải to những thứ chai lọ linh tinh…

– Em, con gấu vứt đi à? Cho chị được không?

– Chị cứ lấy đi ạ…

Những giọt nước mưa lạnh chảy ròng ròng làm môi chị tím lại, nhưng chị cười rạng rỡ:

– Hay quá, giặt lại và khâu vào tí thôi… Tết này con bé có đồ chơi mới rồi!

Ừ, đồ chơi mới… Sao có giọt nước mưa chảy xuống môi nó lại nóng và mặn chát thế này………?

Dạ Ly

Mùa đông 2012