The professor

“Do you hear about the professor recently expelled to France?” I asked my wife. We all now got to the kitchen. Kim was already there, particularly calm on her heightened chair, sucking her milk bottle. I hugged her and grabbed the grind coffee box. She was always very slim as a needle; it’s why we called her Kim.

“No. What’s the problem?”

“He is a French – Vietnamese, a mathematician, professor Pham Minh Hoang. Came back to the country a few years ago and organised some classes to teach students about history and some living skills.”

“Again with all that movement. Remember to call your colleague to ask it for uncle. He has just phoned me again.”

“The professor was jailed once.”

“Is that not enough? He should have stopped it.”

“What do you mean enough? What enough is enough?”

“Thanh, I just care for him. He should know the danger living in this country and…”

“Care for him. You just don’t want to talk about these things.”

“You are right. Today I don’t want to talk about all this. We have to hurry up, please.”

“Not only today. You do never want to talk about these things.”

“No, I don’t want. No use knowing these things.”

“No use. You just want to stay silent. You should know the silence is not that good for us all. This country is silenced for so many years. No one cares about anything, anything. It is the reason that it is that bad. No more fish. Do you dare eating fish? Or fish sauce? Or salt?”

Ken had finished his breakfast and went to his room to change clothes. Unfortunately his sister could go nowhere, she was moaning. The milk bottle halfly finished fell from her mouth and spilled out on the table. She began to cry.

“That bad, that bad, it is your words. All our friends just don’t care about all that. They are doing quite well, very very well. Or if you would like to be jailed like him? Speak up!”

“You defy me?”

“No, I just want to live in peace, do my things and care for the family.”

“Care. You care for nothing!”

“It is you who care for nothing. You get all these stuffs on social network? Everything is fake.”

Kim was crying more and more loudly. And screaming now, and not only her.

“You use it well those social networks. You use it, shop with it all the times.”

“I shop for you all.”

“You defied me recently. You think that I dare not speak up? You think I am a coward? It is enough!! How dare you say so to your husband? And you want me to be jailed. You should be happy if so. You!”

“I have to go now. Kim, stop crying and go with me to the nursery. You take care of Ken, it is late, very late now. I have more than enough with your professor and the expel story. How on earth that I can support all that! Let me with peace, please.”

“You are fed up of everything, of life, of everything. You keep yourselves silent and you will see we all go to hell in this country. All to hell. What a…”

“Take your son to school soon. It is very late. Ken, get down here, now!”

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