Customarily Bad Luck


It’s known urban legend here in Vietnam that you do not take a photo with three people. Someone will need to stand in to defy the odds (of bad luck).

It is also bad luck that a person in the photo but was cut out.

I once saw a family picture which had a missing member. Apparently two sisters were either in love or married to the same man. So out of madness and jealousy, one cut out the other’s image from that photo.

Some ancient cultures refused to have their photos taken, for fear that their souls would be captured.

Imprints of expressions.

Frozen moment in time.

Together then separated.

I still remember one elementary classmate whom I later met in Santa Ana.

He must be the oldest friend of my early memory.

Very special indeed.

His face, his smile and his wagging ears.

Another friend who is now dying, also has an unmistakable square jaw.

Later he went on to play “pro” Rock and Roll (wearing a wig).

Another friend/neighbor with pony tail, still playing 8 shows a week.

I just got back from hearing him. His closing number was requested .

“When mama died, Pappa broke out and cried”

A person is nothing but the sum of his memories.

Conversely, a person with complete dementia is just a walking zombie.

Images and music carry us back in time.

Christopher Reeves used to star in “Somewhere in time“, a very soulful and un-American type of movie, which was quite unlike “Back to the Future“, although both centered on time traveling theme.

Last week, I ran into a childhood friend once again.

After the brief chat, I walked away, still couldn’t shake off  the way I had remembered him: the 7th or 8th grade friend I strummed the guitar with (Something in the way, she moves….).

Soon, we will be able to upload our entire history with Facebook‘s Timeline.

The “me” will be among the “we” as we progress through time.

Sharing intimate moments, leaving them in the “cloud”  till infinity.

An insurance against flood and fire, dementia and destruction.

This Christmas will be one of the most memorable ones for me: I get to share it with a cousin whose husband has been missing in action for more than 36 years.  It took her a long time to place his picture on the family altar (reserved for the dead).  When or if we are having our souvenir photo taken, I probably will ask someone to stand in the photo. You see, we could not discount her husband, whose photo is now sitting on the altar, to belong there or not.

Puzzling indeed, and heartbroken in fact.

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