At the garment factory today, they were handing out men's shirts as parting gifts. I didn't queue up, as they seemed likely to be a tad voluminous, but at the end they had one left over: a size 45 shirt of rather bold multicolored stripes. One of the men we'd been interviewing rushed up and pressed it upon me. I tried to explain that even I did not wear a men's XXL--no, not even in Vietnamese sizes.

"No, no, for your husband!" he said.

Again, I tried to demur.

"For him," he said firmly. "Your husband is very tall. VERY tall. He can wear."

It seemed heartless to refuse someone who had tapped so directly into my mother's fantasy life.

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