View of Hanoi from West Lake, by Charlie Grosso


I had to take Sylvia to the shop today, a monthly maintenance check and a bath. We navigated all the way there by sight —- we haven’t been to this part of town since the day I brought her home. I left her there while Andrew and his crew looked her over; I wondered down the block and got a coconut at the coffee shop.

Another couple of weeks in the land of coconuts in coconut form before I return to the land coconut essence in plastic, once removed.

I’m preemptively sad of the imminent departure, saying goodbye to Sylvia. It’s not time yet, but I am already tallying up the days, saying goodbye to this fruit vendor, that pho ma and the old man on the corner in my head. They’ve only begun to warm up, free chile with my vegetables, chocolate syrup on my cappuccino (its not how I like but I love the gesture), a warm smile. It takes time to get under Hanoi’s skin, any city for that matter, it just started to unfold and its time to leave. I walk back into the shop, almost asked Andrew, How’s Sylvia? I wonder how many of his customers name their bikes and form attachments?

Afterwards, we drove. I took her north, further up West Lake then we’ve ridden before. We didn’t check the map. Just instinct. It didn’t matter where we ended up —- or how far we are from home —- we just wanted to ride, feel the pavement, soak up this perfect overcast day.

Be here now, as Lamontagne sings. There will be time for goodbyes.

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