Years ago Thanh Huong and Ngoc Tuan, from Thu Duc District, were young lovers who had to wait six years for a wedding because of the prejudices between their families.
Remembering the difficult days, Huong believes that she made the right decision.
The conflict between the two families began when Huong’s brother, the son of a retired senior official in Vinh Long Province, married Tuan’s sister, the daughter of an official of the South Vietnamese Army, without their parents’ permission.
Tuan’s father was very angry when his daughter became the daughter-in-law of a communist family. Meanwhile, Huong’s father believed that his son could not become a deputy judge because of this marriage. This spurred the conflict.
When Tuan’s sister set up a soya-cake shop, he came to adjust the store’s equipment and met Huong. They soon fell in love with each other. At that time Tuan was a student at Cao Thang College and Huong had already finished high school.
The dark days
The young lovers knew for sure that their love would be forbidden by their families. When they worked up the courage to ask for permission, Huong’s father was absolutely furious.
Tuan’s parents also became angry when they learned of the reaction of Huong’s family to the news. Tuan was not allowed to go to Tra Vinh. The two families tried to prevent their children from seeing each other.
“It seems that our love was arranged by destiny. The more difficulties we experience, the more we love each other”, Huong said with a smile.
The long distance between Sai Gon and Tra Vinh was not an obstacle for the couple. At first, Tuan went to Tran Vinh once a month to meet Huong, and then eventually several times a week.
Huong had to pretend that she was going to her friend’s house whenever she went to see Tuan. But Huong’s father knew of the plan. He asked Huong’s brothers to follow her every time Huong was out. The two brothers tried to catch Huong visiting her lover and beat them so that Tuan and Huong would give up on their love.
“It was frightening. Many times we had to hide in the bushes when we saw my father and brothers from a distance,” Huong recalled.
Huong and Tuan felt miserable about their secret love. One day, after three years of unsuccessfully trying to make his daughter end her relationship, Huong’s father asked her for a serious talk.
“This is the last time I will tell you about this. I know you are still seeing Tuan. If you insist on loving him, I will allow you. I just fear that you will have to suffer a lot when you become his wife. He is the only child, so his family will expect much from a daughter in law, not to mention that his family does not like us. Have you ever considered those things and are you sure you will have a happy marriage?” Huong’s father said. Tears kept streaming down her face while she listened.
Since that day, Huong’s father gave up on forbidding Huong from seeing Tuan. Days later, he became ill and was sent to the hospital. Huong blamed herself for making her father’s illness worse.
She sent Tuan a letter saying that they shouldn’t see each other for a while. She was going crazy trying to choose between her father and Tuan. When Huong’ father’s illness became progressively serious, she sent Tuan another letter saying they should break up. “If it is destiny, we will see each other again someday”, Huong wrote.
Then Huong went to Saigon and began working for a garment factory. “At that time, I thought that I had made a good choice. I believed I could give up on my love as long as my father felt happy, but it’s not that easy. It hurt a lot each time I thought of Tuan and I had to force myself to forget about him.” Huong said
It must be their destiny
One afternoon, Huong saw a man riding a bike in the opposite direction when she was driving into an alley. Her heart skipped a beat. It was Tuan. “I was so amazed. We said nothing, just stared at each other and smiled. It was such a small world. We met again after 365 days of me trying to hide and forget him. I felt a surge of relief and was extremely happy”, Huong said with a radiant smile.
Then Huong’s father passed away. One year later, the two families learned that Huong and Tuan had got back together. “The war” started again.
Many times Huong tested Tuan by suggesting that they have a baby to present their families with a fait accompli, but Tuan strongly disagreed. “It is unfair to you. You will be the person who suffers most. I will fight for our love until the day my family brings the betrothal gifts to your house and we can get married,” Tuan said.
Time went by and the conflict between the two families became less intense. When Tuan took Huong home to introduce her to his parents, his father asked a few questions and went to his room. His mother’s gentleness comforted Huong. In sympathy with Huong and Tuan, months later Tuan’s mother went to Tra Vinh to meet Huong’s family and asked for an engagement ceremony. Their wedding was celebrated soon after.
Two weeks after their wedding, Tuan’s family prepared to go to America under the HO Program. “My father-in-law asked if I would let Tuan go, and I repressed my tears and agreed. However, when my father found out I was pregnant, he decided not to go”, Huong said.
Now Tuan and Huong have a happy family with three children. “When I became a mother, I understood my parents more. Parents just want the best things for their children, but I will not impose my viewpoints on my children. After experiencing all the difficulties, I am happy with my decision”, Huong said.