Her Story: A Woman From Vietnam
Over the past few years, I have learned so much about the stories we carry. Through my own experiences and through studying and observing others, I am learning a fundamental truth that all people crave. We just want to know that our stories matter. That we matter.
The first time we talk, she has come to collect money from me. One euro.
The money is for my share of the coffee and snacks she buys on behalf of our class. Her words are like staccato, and her lips can’t quite form the letters “r” or “t”. So because I am the new girl, I only guess that she’s talking about food. I hand her a euro.
And sure enough, when it’s time for a break, she pulls out a package of cheap cookies and two round jars of instant coffee and powdered creamer. She sets them at the table by the door, and my class swarms to her like she is our mother hen.
All the other Vietnamese girls put entire cookies in their mouths at once. They don’t stop talking to chew.
Not this woman. She nibbles her cookie slowly and does not chat. She keeps facing the chalkboard and never gets a crumb on her deep blue turtle neck.
I wonder what she’s thinking.