I do not remember when I started loving the song "I Still Can't Go Home On Tet". However, everytime Tet (which is Viet New-Year) comes, I always play the tape, whose content is just this song, in a small cassette on the table next to my bed. And, I play it every chance I have and everytime I've come home.
I grew up when the Civil War in my Mother Country, VietNam, increased to the most intense level with such big battles as the Tet Offensive 68, the Red Summer 72 and the Black April 75. Those older guys in the school where I attended got drafted for the war which once seemed dragging forever. And, they had to stay in the Front, away from home, Tet-by-Tet.
Although I did not have any brother in the Front, I still understood the worriness of those mothers whose sons were there. I also knew the wishes of children whose brothers were away because my Dad was a soldier. In fact, he was an officer in the South Army Special-Forces.
Back then, my Mom used to come in my bedroom whenever I played
this song at night and asked me the same question everytime she
-"Do you miss Dad?". And, she prayed before she told me this again and again
-"Keep praying and peace will come to us all one day! Then your Dad comes home".
She always turned and walked away before she even finished saying that. Therefore, I did not know if she had ever cried like I did in those nights missing Dad.
Tet again comes and we no longer wait for Dad to come home; however, I get myself separated and may not be able to celebrate Tet again with Mom. Therefore, the song "I Still Can't Go Home On Tet" still sounds very good and pretty sad each time I play. Although people in the U.S. don't celebrate Tet and it comes like a normal day here, I still get home sick and feel really bad in Tet. I have the same pain which I used to have then and the only difference now is I am the one my Mom wishes to return home.
I usually cried a lot then when I missed my Dad in Tet. However, I forgot all the crying the moment I put a new cloth on in the next morning. Now, a new suit will not get rid of the sadness which sometimes lasts for Three Days of Tet.
I really don't know if my Brother feels the same as I did to Dad then. And, I'm not even sure if my Mom still goes to my Brother's room and asks him to pray for peace because there's no longer a war there. Does anyone know what Mom tells my Brother when they both wish me to come home???
The song is about to end but it'll restart over and over again. It sounds like my Mom sang to help putting me into a sleep when I was a little kid. I wish my family a happy Tet and I hope that they remember me as much as I do to them tonight!
Do you know that I might just repeat the same wish, which those soldiers had said to their families in a Tet Eve, away from home???
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