As I drove a vehicle along a highway, snow abruptly began to fall and accumulate, causing the road to quickly become icy. As I headed up a hill, halfway up my vehicle stalled. I could only get over the hill by backing up and starting over. I backed to the bottom, but instead of trying to go up the hill again, I parked in front of what appeared to be a small farm house.
I stepped from the vehicle, walked to the front door of the house and knocked. A thin little old lady with black hair came to the door and invited me in. After I had walked out of the cold into the warm room, we sat down and I began explaining my problem to her.
I decided I was once again going to try to cross the hill. We both walked out onto the front porch just as a truck carrying sand passed by. Seeing a snowplow following it, I said, "That's just what I need."
When I was ready to re-board my vehicle, the woman walked back inside, yet left the door slightly cracked so I could still see in. Before I left I had the feeling I should tell her that she shouldn't let strangers into her house like she had done with me; it was dangerous. I didn't want to alarm her and I didn't want her to think I might be intending to do her harm, but I wanted her to know that too many dangerous people were in the world to safely be able to let strangers into the house.
I opened the door, stepped back inside and called for the woman. She was in another room and came back to where I was. I sat down on one side of a bed in the room. As she sat on the other side, I scrutinized her. I hadn't really looked at her features before; she was actually a younger woman (about 30 years old); she had black hair and was obviously an oriental. She was attractive; how had I mistaken her to be an old woman?
When she spoke to me, I realized she was Mai Huong (a Vietnamese woman whom I had met in early 1975 when we had been studying at Ohio University Athens). I had forgotten her. I remembered that she had been rather homely and that I hadn't been attracted to her at the time. The woman she had now grown into still had some of the same features, but she was now beautiful. The homely girl had blossomed into a beautiful lady.
I didn't know whether I should tell her I hadn't recognized her before. Finally I blurted out, "Aren't you the girl that I used to know at Ohio University?"
She looked at me piercingly. I wondered if she had been trying to fool me before when I had thought she was an old woman. Perhaps she had disguised herself into looking like an old woman at first. That way if she did invite anyone into her house, they would be dissuaded from attacking her. The disguise had certainly been clever.
I began looking more about the room. The house was small and rather dark inside, although it seemed quite clean. She was living a materially poor life; but in the midst of poverty she had an immense amount of spiritual richness.
Now that I saw who she was, I was almost instantly in love with her. I reached out and pulled her into my arms. We began kissing; obviously both of us were in love with each other. Even though I had only been with her a few minutes I was almost ready to propose marriage to her. We wrapped our arms around each other and rolled onto our sides on the bed. She wrapped one leg around me and we kissed. The embrace was extremely salutary.
When we stopped hugging for a moment, she began making a humming noise; was she humming a Vietnamese song? The humming seemed vaguely eerie at first; but then I saw that there was something beautifully significant about what she was doing.
She began telling me about the area and what it was like. As she talked I picked up a magazine which resembled Time or Newsweek; on the cover was a picture of rolling green hills which were supposed to be the Alps. I opened it up to an article which I had written for the magazine and began reading, "With the lush green Alps in the background ...."
The article went on to describe the experience I had had with Mai.
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