I was promised to him before I was born. Back in Vietnam when I was seven, dressed in a long, loose, blue-grey robe, I was guided to make pledges to obey his family’s rules and live a good, model life. At the end of the ceremony to accept me into his family, I was given the Buddhist name ‘Diệu Hiền’ , which meant gentle and meek.
I fell in love with him for I was attracted to him by his pensive and moral characteristics. On full moons, he would invite me over and cook delicious vegetarian meals for me. The smell of sandalwood incense, the smile of the Buddha statue looking down at us, the chanting of Buddhist prayers, the echo of the Buddhist bell, these things filled the air with solemn yet romantic feelings.
At the threshold between the old and new year, when the clock stroked at midnight and the firecrackers exploded noisily in trains, I stood with him among the mass of people. Looking up into the sky of the thick dark night, we prayed to Buddha for a new prosperous, healthy and happy new year. But wait there’s more!