I did not apperceive how my smile appeared. Ashamed I looked at myself in the mirror, I begin myself to be aloof like the added kids, that’s all. One authoritativeness was that I had been brought up with abundant adulation and care, all to my heart’s content. Ashamed I grew up and came of age, I could calmly beat any girl, provided that my attentions went to her. Therefore, my mates said that I was a bit of a Don Juan. At school, abundant appealing girls became targets and I consistently came abroad with aerial colours.
For Khanh, things did not assume so simple. She had never been my plaything. As a chief in our accessory school, she paid beneath absorption to her looks than her peers. What’s more, she frequently wore ailing tailored dresses that did not bout her able-bodied shaped body. However, best of us schoolboys watched her foolishly whenever she anesthetized by, for she had shoulder-length hair, anemic cheeks, a absorbing face and the eyes of Mother Maria. Every morning, ashamed she anesthetized the academy gate, attache in hands, and afresh forth the corridor, we usually absolved the adverse way in adjustment to adore her beauty. Meanwhile, she went beeline ahead. Whenever she casting a quick glance at us, we acquainted as if we had been aerial to heaven.
There was an aesthetic anniversary at academy with a ball that evening. Half of my chic agilely aing the gala. I danced as able-bodied as I could – which was absolutely graceful. Best of the changeable acceptance capital to be my partner. Usually, males arrive females to dance, but actuality things acquired contrarily for me: I was consistently arrive to ball by the war girls.
“Cuong, let’s ball the bebop,” or ” Hey Cuong! Flit with me,” or “Would you apperception dancing the cha-cha-cha with me, Cuong?” or “Might I ball with you?” and so abounding added appetizing invitations were showered on me. Admitting Khanh aloof sat silently and paid no absorption to the dances. That atramentous she wore a white maxi-dress with continued sleeves and a aerial collar. Her actualization was lily-white. Although I was active dancing with my changeable classmates, I snuck some glances at her. In her eyes, I detected the afire blaze of youth.
“Hey Cuong, I baffle you to accept a ball with Khanh,” shouted one of my chums.
“Which Khanh?” I asked mischievously.
“Don’t be silly! Khanh the Nun, of course. She’s continuing abandoned over there.”
“I’m fed up with her negligence.”
“Don’t feign, mate! You don’t cartel to allure her, do you? Where’s your courage?”
I abject appear Khanh out of arrogance. To put it frankly, I was a bit abashed while I was aing her, although I had detected the blaze of adulation in her eyes.
“Thank you! I can’t dance,” said Khanh, dispatch ashamed a little.
How could I abandonment that easily? I bedeviled her calmly dly. The bandage was arena the tune of the Unchained Melody by Alex North.
“This is a apathetic dance. I’ll advise you how to do it,” I said.
“I don’t appetite to dance,” she refused.
I pulled her again. Unexpectedly, she pushed me berserk and attempt away.
I stood agape amidst the amusement of the boys. Silently, I larboard the activity out of abashment while the words of the song resounded abaft me, I charge your love. God speeds your adulation to me.
“What a audacious guy!” my accompany said.
“Looking at your face, I feel a bit frightened,” Ha said to me one day.
“Your face’s attractive, but a bit cold. It seems to adumbrate article abstruse I can’t amount out. It’s that of the Count of Monte Cristo.”
I was taken aback. I never anticipation that she could be so sharp-tongued.
Those canicule three of us – Ha, Khanh and me – boarded in Hue to booty some academy courses. Ha and Khanh resided in a nice and cosy allowance of a abandoned alcazar beneath the aegis of the Da Nang-based bureau of Ha’s father, who was afresh its head. Meanwhile, I lived in the billet of the campus calm with a few simple, altruistic above classmates advancing from beggared families. On Saturday evenings, Ha usually fabricated cakes for us, her above co-villagers, to eat. She knew that we generally went hungry, for the frugal commons at the canteen aloof didn’t do the trick.
To be frank, it was actual difficult for me to become Khanh’s aing friend. She was consistently aloof and kept me at a distance. None of us dared to blow alike her fingers! Ha was poles apart. She generally talked audibly like us macho students, sometimes with accoutrements akimbo.
“I’m not abiding if any guy is adventurous abundant to ally you,” I said to Ha.
“Of course, you can’t brainstorm because my ambitious bedmate charge be bigger than you in all respects,” she answered, avaricious at my hair.
Being abroad from home, I eked out my active by teaching ball at night, adverse to best of my classmates, who became either governors or governesses. Those canicule the ball movement was in abounding swing. I asked Ha to appear my dancing class. She agreed enthusiastically. Nevertheless, afterwards abounding a assignment she remained rather clumsy. I laughed whenever we danced the flit or the tango because she askance my calmly mercilessly.
“Why hasn’t Khanh appear to chic to practise with you ?” I asked her.
“Because she was threatened by her parents from her adolescence that men are abandoned devils. If she kisses males or holds their calmly she will be apprenticed to Hell. Dancing with adolescent men and all-embracing them ability accomplish her faint, I thought.”
“Sheer nonsense!” I said.
At aftermost Khanh came to my dancing class. At first, she stood alfresco watching us dance. I told her to angle in line. Hardly had I captivated her calmly ashamed she turned, cutting away.
“You appear actuality to dance, not to play. You charge either apprentice or get out of the class,” I warned her the aing class. Surprisingly, she aing the bandage like an acquiescent little girl. I aback apparent that central the algid and assuming actualization was a beaten mind, consistently accommodating to obey the article or chase the admonition of her elders. Anyhow, actuality in chic I was her instructor.
A mid-May battery abruptly came down. Today, my accomplished chic went to the dancing bar. Khanh, the above babe whose calmly I did not cartel touch, was now in my arms. The bandage played Unchained Melody. I captivated my animation while I danced the flit with her. Beneath the dim light, now blue, now pink, I said cautiously to her, “Khanh, I adulation you.” Owing to the loud music, she did not t my words, perhaps. Her looks seemed dreamier than ever. Afresh I again my allure buzz and drank from her eyes the basic beatific beams, the beatitude lying amid the absolute and the anarchic worlds.
Since afresh Khanh and I had consistently danced with anniversary other. I approved to actualize for her a affection of dancing addiction that she had never accepted before. Afresh afterwards a continued time, I did not ball with Khanh any longer. Addition babe with blubbery but agreeable aperture and continued and able-bodied shaped legs in a atramentous mini angry up at my dancing class. The newcomer looked added absorbing than Khanh. I danced with her all the time, now the bebop and now the paso doble. From any bend of the floor, I could recognise Khanh’s sad looks. Ashamed the ball came to an end, I told Lan, my new partner, to stop for a rest.
“You looked actual tired. Let’s accept a rest,” I said to Lan.
“No! Go ahead. I’m not annoyed at all,” she implored.
“But this ball is actual simple, beneath your skills,” I said, caressing her cheeks.
Getting her a canteen of Coke, I approached Khanh. She angry away, casual in addition direction. Finally, she continued out her calmly for me to grasp. I waltzed with her in and out and annular and round. Ablaze patches spun on her beard and dress, too. Afresh she started sobbing.
“Khanh, let me kiss you on the forehead,” I said softly.
“D’you apperceive what kissing a girl’s forehead means?”
“No, I don’t care.”
“It agency forever,” I said.
Her icy attending broiled away.
She stared at me, eyes in tears. I kissed her on the forehead and relished the aroma of the fair . She placed her on on my shoulder. At last, she had been conquered.
“You’re not abashed of Hell any longer, are you?” I asked her in a abashed voice.
“D’you apperceive that ashamed you ball with me, your animated face looks like that of an angel?” she said to me, eyes accepting brighter. “Where there exists an angel, that abode can’t be Hell,” she added.
That was the aftermost time I did the quickstep with Khanh. Afterwards, I abandoned danced with Lan.
Khanh no best danced with anyone. She ensconced herself in an armchair beneath the dim multi-coloured ablaze abounding from the ceiling, watching my footsteps activity annular and annular the legs of my new changeable accomplice for a while. Afterwards that she went to the corridor.
“What’s the matter?” I asked Ha.
Ha did not acknowledgment but went away, admitting Khanh kept on sobbing. I took benevolence on her.
“I wouldn’t accept been this black if you hadn’t accept kissed me on the forehead that day,” she said, tears trickling bottomward on her cheeks.
“You anticipation that I’d adore you all my lifetime, didn’t you?” I asked, attractive upwards and laughing. “How innocent you are! Aggregate that happened on the ball attic that day was abandoned for fun,” I said.
She chock-full crying. “It’s either me or Lan,” she said. “You charge choose.”
One day I abiding to appointment Khanh in her room. The two of us had the abode to ourselves, but afore I could kiss her, the agent access in.
When Ha alternate to the dwelling-place, aggregate went well. Khanh alternate home while the assay division was in progress. Ha reproached me. “It’s none of your business,” I retorted. Afresh Ha looked for the receptionist. “They abandoned capital to adore a ablaze night afterwards lamps, that’s all,” Ha explained to the old woman. “Why did you accomplish such a fuss about it? How can Khanh be adventurous abundant to appear to chic now?” she went on, criticising her.
“I’d accept apprenticed them out of this abode that night,” she said to Ha. “That day was the aftermost date of the lunar month. How could they acquisition the moon then? What abroad were they accomplishing ashamed they backward abandoned in a aphotic room?” she added. “I’ve accepted your blazon for a continued time,” Ha said, pointing at me.
“Really? I’m abashed that that won’t do,” I replied stubbornly.
Four canicule afore her assay date, Ha went to Da Nang to accompany Khanh ashamed to the campus. Khanh came to chic abandoned one morning advanced of schedule. Bad rumours and affliction animadversion showered bottomward on her at accidental and eventually she could not angle them all. Abandoned Ha took benevolence on her. I acquainted abashed for Khanh too, but I could not accord up my fight. Ha led me to their room: Khanh was there, beard bedraggled and eyes closed.
“Khanh, I’ll break outside, at the corridor, so that you both can allocution to anniversary added freely,” Ha said to her roommate. I proceeded to Khanh. Her eyes were awash with tears ashamed she saw me. I looked in addition direction. She nervously captivated my calmly and placed them on her attenuate .
“Oh my God, I’ve been abundantly abashed for you! I was abashed that you couldn’t angle it,” Ha confessed.
“What am I abashed of?” I asked her.
“I’m now at the basal of the abyss, Cuong. What I’ve got actuality is you, you alone.” Adage so, she hugged me tightly. “I’ll accord you what I possess, because I haven’t got annihilation abroad to keep. Accord me your duke and save my life, dear.” Her eyes looked vacant, her aperture were bloated and wet. I had been cat-and-mouse for this moment for a continued time. Precisely speaking, it was the moment she was absolutely defeated. Nevertheless, I did not charge her offer. What I was abominably in charge of from her was her cachet of , not her body.
“Well… you appetite us to adore the ablaze night again!” I said smiling.
Hearing that acerb comment, she shrank herself up.
“Now, amuse accept to me. There was no adulation absent amid you and the guy that you argument at that day,” I said to her coldly.
“Oh dear! Ha told me you were abandoned a rascal, but I didn’t accept it!”
“Yes, Ha’s right. I’m abandoned a abandoned man. Now my appetite has been fulfilled. Goodbye!” Adage so, I angry and absolved away.
“May God absolve you. You’ve caked adulatory words into my aerial and now you advance me into this abyss,” Khanh cried out with a asthmatic voice.
I did not appetite to apprehend Khanh’s laments any longer. My adulation activity with her had appear to an end. Meanwhile, Lan was cat-and-mouse for me. The aing week, she blanket a ample sum of money from her parents and went as far as Hoi An with me by motorbike. Three canicule later, she complained that she was black with this arid old town, because actuality there was neither nightlife nor dancing bars. We travelled further to the burghal of Da Nang. Staying in a hotel, I begin activity dull. I had an consequence that I was active abroad rather than adequate a anniversary in love. As a appearance fan, Lan spent best of her time shopping. One morning, ashamed at the hotel, she showed me a miniskirt with frayed edges.
“Is there any mini that looks added ragged?” I asked her.
Suddenly, I heaved a sigh. “I appetite to acknowledgment to Hue,” I told her.
“I acquisition activity here’s boring. What’s more, I’m abashed that I will be accused of accepting absorbed you into abrogation home.”
“Sheer nonsense! It’s I who absorbed you, ” she declared.
That night, lying beside Lan I dreamt of Khanh. Ashamed I returned, she, in her white dress with a aerial collar and continued sleeves, abject appear me. I accepted her as if annihilation amiss had happened amid us. I danced the flit with her according to the tune of the Unchained Melody.
When I woke up, I realised that my acrimony had gone. Now what backward in my affection was my adulation for Khanh. Tomorrow morning, ashamed I alternate home to Hue, I would go at her home first. I knew that she no best believed me. Notwithstan-ding, a rain would appear bottomward as it had happened to us previously. It would clean abroad her sufferings and abhorrence and assure us.
When I agape at her aperture afresh opened it, I begin Khanh sitting apoplectic in an armchair, casual at me with a beaming and benevolent look, afterwards any trace of acrimony or hatred. To my surprise, her face seemed disinterested. I knelt bottomward afore her. That was the aboriginal time in my activity I had done so. I continued out my arms.
Later, Ha let me apperceive what had happened that day ashamed she backward alfresco their allowance to anticipate anyone from advancing us so that we ability babble freely.
“Sitting in the corridor,” she said, “I watched over the affair amid Khanh and you while I was attractive at the backyard in advanced of me. From the basal of my heart, I knew that you advised her mercilessly, although I hoped that at aftermost she would acquisition a bit accord in your arms.
“When you had gone out, I entered the room. I begin Khanh’s face deformed: she was no best herself afterwards abandoned one hour. Afterwards adage a word, nor crying, she was pacing the floor, from bend to corner. Her aspect looked calm as usual. Afterwards, she went out. About two hours later, she alternate to our accommodation with a baby bag in which there was canteen canteen absolute some ablaze chicken liquid,” Ha said.
“’What did you get in that bottle?’ I asked her. ‘Sulphuric acid,’ she answered in a calm and absonant voice. ‘What are you activity to do with it?’ I asked. ‘I’ve advised over the amount actual carefully. Now I’ve got a appropriate mission: to abort his adorable smile so that no added girls will be apprenticed to Hell by that charisma,’ Khanh answered coldly,” she said.
“In the end, she didn’t do it, but I watched her anxiously that night. The aing day she looked miserable. She told me that she couldn’t alive afterwards you. She alike proposed that I ally you, but I said no,” Ha said.
Ha emptied the canteen of acerbic on the attic in advanced of me. The tiles cracked. I stared at the burst tiles dreadfully. Beneath my eyes, those cracks were broadening, added and wider, like the paths arch to the underworld.
One year later, I affiliated Ha, to the abruptness of everybody. Such a handsome coxcomb as me, how could I abandon myself to ally a adamant and apparent babe like her? Abounding said that that was the absurdity of love. Some added abandoned bodies maintained that I was absolutely a astute guy, for I could adore both Khanh’s chastity and adorableness and Ha’s ability and enterprise.
Khanh’s bequest was absolutely abundant indeed. For abounding years after, Ha was a adherent wife. However, I knew that she was abandoned a temple fabricated of abecedarian artery absolute an adapt to Khanh.
Read added at http://vietnamnews.vn/sunday/short-stories/141713/the-living-temple.html#YG2LTzdPk5YTrBii.99
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