“I’ve never met another half before,” I said to him.
“You have, I am sure. But they just didn’t tell you.”
“Why?” I asked.
Like me, he can pass as full-blooded. But look carefully and you can see the face of his father. A sharper nose, eyes the same color as mine: soft brown, not like the charcoal irises of most Vietnamese.
When I first told him that I was an Amerasian, we were standing in front of the pagoda he was raised in as an orphan.
He lit up.
“Like me!” he said. “Same boat, different rivers.”
He never tells anyone about his father, he said to me. The war was a longtime ago but still some people, they don’t understand. In any case, it doesn’t make a difference. His parents have been dead since he was a baby.
Now, I am sitting on the back of his motorcycle. He grabs my arms and pulls them around him and onto the handle bars of his brand new, shiny Suzuki.
“You drive,” he yells.
“No!” I cry. But he doesn’t give me a choice. He flings his arms up in the air, catching the wind in his palms as it passes though.
We twist through the curves of the road sandwiched between green rice paddies, past other motorbikes and cars that honk their horns as we drive by.
I am laughing and laughing. My teeth are dried to my lips from smiling so hard.
When he grabs the handle bars again, he shouts back to me.
“Do you think I am crazy?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say.
I imagine that he smiles at my answer.
The buzz of the engine fills the pause before he yells again.
“Do you want to be my friend? Or do you want to be my sister?”
“What’s the difference?”
He shrugs, like the answer is obvious.
“If you are my friend, you will be my friend. If you are my sister, you will be my sister.”
I think for a moment.
“I will be your sister,” I say.
“Very good, em. Now, I finally have a sister and you finally have a brother.”
“Yes,” I say holding his shoulder, “very good indeed, anh.”
And I sit and wonder if I will ever see my big brother again after we reach the seaside or if we will become memories to each other like the rest of our lost family.
We keep driving to the shores. There is not much else to say or ask of each other.