A wrought-iron plate beneath the statue of Buddha always held neat mounds of tantalizing fresh fruit. Buddha never partook of those offerings. Bich Minh Nguyen's grandmother, Noi, gave the perfect pears and peaches to Bich (pronounced "Bit") and her older sister, Ahn. It was a daily ritual for Noi to peel the fruit and slice it into symmetrical pieces for them; Bich found comfort in this little routine.
The author and her family fled Saigon by ship on April 29, 1975, the very day Saigon fell to the Communists. Bich's mother was not at home when the family made their hurried motorbike trip down to the dock