She consoled herself with the thought that the pictures were graphic enough to shake people up, stop them being complacent about what was happening, and if that meant the war would end sooner, those two deaths weren't in vain. As she hoped, with less and less confidence each day, that Michael's had not been in vain. Too much waste to bear.
This is what happened when one left one's home - pieces of oneself scattered all over the world, no one place ever completely satisfied, always a nostalgia for the place left behind. Pieces of her in Vietnam, some in this place of bone. She brought the letter to her nose. The smell of Vietnam: a mix of jungle and wetness and spices and rot. A smell she hadn't realized she missed.
Helen's Saigon had always been about selling - chickens, information, or lovely young women, it didn't matter. It had once been called the Pearl of the Orient, but by people who had not been there in a very long time. Saigon had never been Paris, but now it was a garrison town, unlovely, a stinking refugee shantyville filled with the angry, the betrayed, the dispossessed, but she had made it her home, and she couldn't bear that soon she would have to leave.