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Dancing the Collapse of Saigon

(This is from my instagram post dated April 30th, 2020.)

45 years ago from this week (April 30th to be exact), my father escapes on a merchant ship as he watches his country in flames, the collapse of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. He flees to Guam, then to Oregon of the United States. When he takes his first steps on this land, he finds a nickel, his first of US currency and the start of his new American life, but he can only think of his dead comrades back home. He falls in love with the smartest girl in his computer science class at Oregon State University. She becomes his wife and mother of his children. But as he begins his own family, he still has yet to be reunited with his brother left behind during the war.

April 30th, 2020 - I sit with him at his kitchen's marble countertop, sipping wine from Joseph Phelps, his favorite vineyard, and gazing at a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay, and I ask him, are you sad today? No. He doesn't turn to me to clarify. I am just remembering.

I am a child of war, but I am also a vessel of love. Despite the ephemeral quality of dance, the fleeting movements, the impermanence of my body in space, the possibility of what is next and what is never, I want to dance like I am a memory.

Every promise of life is also a promise of death. Moments begin at an end. Decisions end possibilities. The future at the mercy of sacrifice. The mind may or may not forget, but the body will always remember.


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