Journey into the realm of human connection, a place where strangers ignite creativity and touch hearts. Witness what unfolds as a mysterious figure extends a heartfelt note, leaving an everlasting imprint on those fortunate enough to receive it.
Late this night, eleven years ago, rain poured down, washing over awnings and onto the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. John, my husband, and I took shelter in a cafe with four friends; Giang, a local Vietnamese woman, her husband, and my brother and his wife, who had crossed over from China to visit us in Vietnam.
Warm inside with lights down dim. The smell of Vietnamese coffee and condensed milk filled the room. Blurry human figures sat on knee-high stools talking and sipping coffee. I couldn’t make out the details, but the walls were covered with various pieces of art and paintings.
“This is an artist's cafe,” Giang explained.
Thrilled to experience a local cafe (very different from the tourist hotspots), we sat chatting, laughing, and sharing our experiences of traveling Asia.
That's when I felt a tap on the shoulder. I couldn’t see his face clearly, but a man in a black jacket handed me a note. He turned away quickly and mysteriously walked out the door.
I asked my friend to translate the words of the note for me…
"The rain is fluttering in the street
The lights flicker bright then dim
Such a picturesque scene on this winter night
Spread our hands to embrace it
Without waiting for the winter
On the street late at night, friends are chatting cheerfully
The sweet cold brings such warmth
The rain falling from up above
Drenched the clothes but not the souls
Looking at the scene makes people emotional
The scene makes poetry pour out
Who says fairies are the happiest in the world?
This poet is even happier than fairies.”
I’ll never forget the mysterious poet who quietly observed our little group and felt inspired to pen these words. We inspired this poem. He inspired this story.
You never know who’s watching. You never know who you might inspire.