In honor of Father’s Day, a conversation with Ba.
Sept. 13, 2006
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Deep, navy sky surrounded us. Only the reflection of the moon and a peep of light gleamed from inside the house.
“Ba, do you want the light on?” I asked. To keep the house smelling new (and less likewhat we’re eating), we always grilled and fried all our food outdoors.
“It’s okay,” he replied. Blue flames danced underneath the wok. He poured in the oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
How can you see what you’re cooking? I wondered. But I didn’t say anything, just watched my dad as he worked his magic. His wrist moved the spatula around like a magician’s wand, evenly browning each piece of garlic.
“During the Khmer Rouge… it was just like this. Every night, you do what you can, by the light of the moon. No other light. That’s it,” Ba began.
I envisioned my dad fleeing through the black night of Cambodia, escaping death. No compass. No map. No directions. Only the sun, the moon, and a heart destined for freedom. How did he survive? How on earth did he make it here, alive? Continue reading