Lotus Flower and Cherry Blossom
(First published in Exposure, an anthology of microfiction, December 2010 (Cinnamon Press)
Windows rattle. A May morning in Mehetabel Road and the rain swirls the litter. A twittery laugh makes me jump.
At the other side of the road a pretty Vietnamese girl is standing under the large cherry tree. She stretches for a branch. Her boyfriend's thin arms embrace her waist. She jumps. Blossom falls on their heads, which they brush away in a dance of fingers.
'Come on Minh, come on.' She pulls on his arm and giggles.
'Wait, Nhu, wait,' he says in a breezy, singsong London voice.
A flash of sunlight illuminates the nearby English trees and bushes that seems to burst into Vietnamese life as grapefruit and banana, papaya and peach flower, orchid and water lily.
Nhu and Minh kiss. He holds her tight, she wriggles free, bends on her knees. Her arms are in half moon above her head and she rises in white jeans and top to unfold like a lotus flower.
He steps back.
A car backfires, their heads turn with a quickness of fear, strange to watch. Their people's history seems to shadow them: two million starved by the Japanese in 1945, the Vietnam war with its outrages and napalm, the communists retaking of the South, the journeys of the boat people, some of whom eventually landed up in Hackney....
They smile again and skip together down the path.