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  • To think that my mother. My aunts. How they gathered in the salon of my grandfather’s villa. How they listened to the radio. The Communist tide of crimson seeping towards Saigon. The President of the Republic of Vietnam. The Generals. The Americans. They were already all gone. The rich. Fleeing in helicopters with suitcases of gold. Now the soldiers were abandoning their positions. Disrobing themselves. The streets were littered with uniforms. A safari of boots and camouflage jackets.

    You could hear thunder at night. On the rooftop. Flashes of fire. Champagne bright lights.

    The rumors. Each one more horrendous. How the red army would torture, murder the inhabitants of Saigon. Stories of rape. Revenge.

    And so they decided. My mother. My aunts. The three sisters. They locked themselves in that room. Silencing the radio. They began to recite a Buddhist mantra.

    They would drink. Together. Three cups of rat poison after reciting 108 times this mantra.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    Perhaps it was the mantra that saved them. For it was my uncle who stopped them. He arrived early that day and smashed through the door of the salon.

    Everything will be fine. He said.

    The Communist had just announced on the radio that there was nothing to fear. After all, we are all Vietnamese.
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