Leaving behind the love, and now, the reunion, translated…
That Yellowed Photograph of Their Wedding Day, My Mother Who’d Looked a Bit Fresh, and My Dad Who was, Steady and Stable, the Difference in Their Places of Origins, Nineteen Year’s of “Generation Gap”, is Completely, Undetected, in That Black-and-White Photograph………
I’d started reading “The Journey of Love”, and it didn’t matter if the night is deep, or that my eyes are sore, I’d still, wanted to, finish reading. “Aunty Chou and Uncle Ni’s Love Story”, was more than ordinary, but it’d caused, this ripple effect inside of my heart, their love in times of war, their love, in the ordinary living from day to day. But, although the same turbulent times, same affinities of love, but, it’d, worked out, quite differently in my household.
this is very hard, being, separated from the one you love, not my picture…
The $30,000N.T.’s Worth of Dowry Was the Decisions Made of Her Life
My father who’d come to Taiwan with the troops at the age of twenty, believed the calls of “Defeating Communist Rule” and thought that he shall be back home in China in a couple of years, and, from a handsome lad in the armed forces, he’d become, a middle aged man knocking on forty, seeing how his fellow service mates are getting married one by one, with children being born, that there’s NO hopes of returning home, he’d felt lonely too long, and started, thinking about getting married too.
In the 1960s, it was, very hard, for a Chinese-descent army man to marry, and, the families that are well-to-do wouldn’t agree to marry their daughters to a man from China, but back then, my uncle didn’t have enough dowry for marriage, and so, my grandfather used my mother’s dowry instead, and, the $30,000N.T.s’ worth of dowry payments had set my mother up for life. On that yellowed photograph, my mother, who seemed a bit, young, with my mature and stable father, with the gap in the places of origin, and nineteen years’ worth of age differences, none of that, was apparent in that photo of their wedding day.
Since I could remember, my parents had, slept in separate rooms, mom would bunk with my younger brother, and I and my younger sister, bunked with dad; living under the same roof, the two of them, rarely, exchanged a word. Once as we were moving, I’d fumbled around and found two aged photographs inside that brown paper bag inside my father’s closet, I was about two in the picture, in front of the large Buddha in Bagua Mountain, pulling on my mom who was pregnant with my younger sister back then, the three of us, smiled very radiantly; another was in the Sun-Moon Lake, dad carried me with his right arms, with his left arm, around my mom’s shoulders, and my mom’s arms around his waist, they looked, very happy together—so, where, did that pair of parents who loved one another so go?
Three children in five years, my mother who was not yet thirty still had her figure, and dad was knocking on fifty then. As the factories are off, my mom followed those unwed female workers to visit, forgotten about that she had a husband, and children at home, and, went on living her life as she wished to.
She was unlike all the moms in the army retirement village, with her pantyhose, nail polish, lipstick, smelling very good, with a handheld makeup case. Every time she’d taken it out, I’d known, that she was, headed out again, like a butterfly, putting on the beautiful clothes, in searching, of springtime, she’d, stuffed twenty dollars into my hands, and told me to take my younger siblings out to the noodle stands to get the foods.
Waited for a Man Her Whole Life
My parents didn’t get along, it’d, made me mature quickly in my childhood days, being socialized into the adult world too young, I’d started, wearing these masks, too early in life. Fearing that my classmates might find out about what’s happening in my home, I’d, never invited anybody home to play, and in school, I’d, bucked down and studied hard, hoped, that I can use my excellent grades to make my dad proud, and, to STOP the nosy neighbors’ rumors about my family and I; and, as I saw the elders, I’d had that lips of sugar, “Hi, Uncle”, “Good morning, Auntie”, “Bye Uncle”, “Hi, Grandma”, and, there are, too many talkers in the army retirement village, and I’d feared, that people would, gossip about us.
not my picture still…
A household without the love of a mother, dad poured ALL his love over us, he’s an all-knowing, all-capable dad to us, everything we’d wanted, he was able to get for us, but, he’d had, difficulties, handling his own wife, and just, kept putting up with her ways, just to, give us, a complete home to grow up in.
At the age of seventy, my father, finally, made his way back home, and that, was when I realized that he had, another wife there, whom he loved so, but, before they were able to have children, the war had, gotten out of control, and the two of them were forced to separate. And, my father’s first wife waited for him for a decade, looking after my grandmother, and was, forced to remarry again by her own father. And naturally, she was, too unhappy about that, and yet, my grandmother didn’t want to see her daughter-in-law waste away her youth, and tried to persuade her to marry again, and finally, my father’s first wife had agreed, out of despair, but, in just two years after she’d married, she’d become, widowed, and didn’t have any children yet, and since, she’d, lived on her own.
As she’d heard that dad was back, she’d walked for two days in the mountain passes, to arrive at my grandmother’s, dad’s, “I’m so sorry, Shui-Yun!”, forced the tears out of the two elderly folks, and, the tears became, so long it’d overflowed like the river, through the separations, the trials of all their lives, passed through half a century’s worth of nostalgia, dying those originally black strands white.
I’d never known of the love between my own parents, but, I’d, bore witness to my dad’s first wife’s waiting for him years on end, she’d, used her entire life, to wait, for him.
This, is a heartbreaking story, because these two lovers, were forced to separate, due to the circumstances in life, and, even AFTER so many years having passed, their love for one another was just as strong, if not stronger, than before, and this would be, a hard to come by kind of love, that’s, been torn apart by the eras.