When the Performance Made My Daughter Cry

The companionship of a made-up dog that she’d seen in an act, that’s, stayed with her throughout her childhood years, translated…

These years, I’d been putting on the performances for children in the distant regions, and, seeing these shows, I would imagine, made them happy, especially with the scripts written, especially for children, but there would still be some children who’d cried as they watched us perform.  The very first show of my daughter’s life, she’d, cried in it.

In 2002, the If Children’s Performing Troupe put out a children’s musical, “The Songs of Strayed Dogs” my daughter was only a little older than two years, just about to begin in preschool, because of my good friend invited me, I’d, especially gone from Hualien to Taipei to watch this performance.

The stray dogs in the performances had their separate stories, and there were two separate attitudes toward humans, one, wanted to return back to their owners, the other lacked faith in humans.  Later, the two sides had an altercation and started in a brawl, and that was when my daughter began crying.  She’d asked me sorrowfully, why are they fighting?  She’d cried and told them, “Don’t fight anymore.”  In the end, the dogs decided to return back to their separate owners, only the strongest, and most stubborn one called “Luke” (portrayed by Jack Na), who’d, refused to go with everybody else, continued on his journey, straying.  As we got to here, my daughter wailed very loudly, made a huge scene, and no matter what we did, we couldn’t, calm her down, and, the echoes of a two-year-old crying aloud, resonated through the National Performance Halls (thankfully, we were, way in the back).  “Why didn’t it go home?” my daughter couldn’t understand it, why did Luke choose to stray on alone, on his own?

After the show was over, the story still, continued.

As we returned to Hualien, one day at supper, my daughter said, Luke is having supper.  We took it as child’s talk, thought that she believed that Luke was, eating, but she’d, continued, to tell us the goings on in Luke’s life, and we can hear it, that Luke didn’t just, exist in her imaginations, he was, in our home, right by her side.  She’d told us, she took Luke home, kept him as a pet.  A Luke, that none of us could see.

Her Luke didn’t go to the bathrooms, it wasn’t on her because the dogs in the performances never went to the bathrooms either.  But, as she got into the car, Luke would be, riding there by her side, she’d told us what Luke saw outside the windows, as we ate, Luke would, sit beside her, and we’d known about what Luke was, having for his meals; at a certain quiet moment, my daughter would chime to us on what Luke was, playing with; even as she got up in the morn, brushed her teeth, gone to the bathrooms, Luke was, right there beside her.

And so, Luke stayed with our family, and we also, got used to him there.  We’d started inquiring, how is Luke now?  What’s he doing?  And, we’d, started, owning Luke with our young daughter.

children watching a performace on stage, photo from online…查看來源圖片

Several years later, as my daughter graduated from kindergarten, she’s into elementary school and stopped mentioning Luke as much, but, every time we were, about to forget him, she’d, mentioned him again, without a warning.  And that was when we knew, that Luke was, still with us.

Until she was entered into middle school, and for a very long time, she’d, not mentioned Luke again, I’d not inquired her about it, if Luke was, still with us?  These past decades, was she, taking care of Luke, or was Luke, taking care of her, I really, can’t tell.

In October of 2015, there came the sequel of “The Song for Strays”.  It was the year my daughter entered into high school, she’d become, busier and busier, stopped being interested in the children’s program anymore, I’m thinking, that the large breed, Luke had left, or maybe already, died of old age.  Although, I’m, quite unsure, when he had, gone away.

My friends in the troupe saved two seats for me, and I’d, gone up north alone, not for the sake of the shows, but for that young girl of a little over two, she sat there, right next to me, in that empty seat.  I know, that this time, the young child is, no longer crying, because she already, found herself, a large dog to keep on her own.  After the show was over, I’d, carried that mixture of emotions, cherished the mixture of feelings I had, walked away, quickly, in the rain, left that noisy theatre speedily.

In 2015, that was the year I’d made promised, to perform for the children in the distant regions.  Several years had come and gone, I’d visited over a hundred elementary schools, performed for over thousands of children.  Every time there was a kid that cried as s/he watched the performances, I’m not at all, worried, because there was, always that little girl who was crying, when she watched the shows inside of my heart.

查看來源圖片look at how engaged they all are???  Photo from online…

And so, the stray dog from the story followed this man’s daughter all the way, into her teenage years, and, the experience of watching his own young daughter being impacted by the life of a make-believe stray dog had, touched this man’s life, and that, was what made him into a stage actor, who’d, performed the stories, hoping, to touch the lives, of more young children like how his own daughter’s life was touched by the play when she was a very young child.

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The Biggest Fears of an Elderly: Being Scatterbrained

You were, scatterbrained, and now, you’d, forgotten more and more, slowly, that, would be a sign, of dementia, I suppose, or maybe, you’re just, plain forgetful, who knows???  Translated…

The luncheon after the reading club, everybody pays $230 N.T., I took out a $500, and took the bill to the counter; the change I made, I’d, counted, and recounted them, how come, there’s, extra?  And so, I’d, given the change to my friends, and, as the extra cash was split up among them, Wen-Ching who sat next to me, asked, “Hua, did you not count your own change?”, as I’d opened up my small wallet, yup!  I took out a $500, and now, there’s, nothing in my wallet!  It’s a wonder, that ever since, I’d been voted, as the one, who goes to the counter to pay all the bills………

To the market places, a t-shirt that costs $370, “can you give me two for $800?”, then I saw the store clerk grinning ear to ear, and nodded, like he feared I might change my mind.  Had it not be my neighbor who’d reminded me, “Do you have HOLES in your brains???”, I must have believed that I’d bills, then, took out totally, also make the store clerk happy as well.

I’d gone to the super convenience shop at the entrance of my alley to pay a bill, the handsome clerk stated, “Your total comes up to $4,802”, I took out five $1,000 and rummaged through my coin purse for the $80 in change, and tried to stop the clerk from making change to me, “Wait, here’s eighty dollars!”, the handsome lad was, stumped for a bit, then laughed aloud, “Miss, it’s $4,802, not $4082!”, I’d started staring at him, with that blank expression, as he pointed to the cash register monitor, I was, drawing a blank…………

I’m not just an idiot in math, I’m also, a lost soul on the road, I’d once, hit the walls, so many time, in the C.K.S. Memorial Hall, from one side entrance, to the other side entrance, then, into the main entrance, still couldn’t find that exit for Ai-Guo West Road.  And, I’m way, way, WAY off on the MRTs, from the Taipei Main Station to Danshui, after I’d arrived in Beitou, I’d taken the train back to Yuanshan, and found it was the wrong way, gotten off, rushed into train on the other side, and I got to Beitou, but, somehow, transferred to New Beitou.

圖/蔡侑玲

it’s like that all right, illustraion from the papers…

As I’d gone abroad, I’d lost, a ton of my things; my hat, at the home in the small grass hut village, my handbag, left, on the shuttle towards the northeast of China, lost my passport, at the chair of the airport at northern Thailand; as I’d left the hotel in Northern Thailand with the tour group, walked to the elevator, I’d realized, that I didn’t bring along my luggage; as I’d, hiked, and wanted a drink, it’d dawned on me, hey, how come, I feel, so light, I’d, left my pack at the resting gazebo!

The movie ticket set I bought last year, I’d turned the house upside down, and still couldn’t find it, until a few days ago, I couldn’t, find my MRT card, I can only, take out my spare, and, there they were, the EIGHT movie passes, thankfully, they hadn’t expired yet.

My good friend made fun, “thankfully, your head was connected to your neck at birth, otherwise, you would’ve, lost that too!”, being scatterbrained when you’re younger, that’s called forgetful, but, in the elderly years, it’s called, Alzheimer’s, being forgetful, can be troubling, but, being demented, that should be, too awful.  Could it be, that I’d, drunk too much water from the River of Forgetfulness in the past life, that I can’t remember these smaller matters in this?  Thankfully, I still remembered, to follow the right people out, to buy the blue chip stocks, to marry a man, who’s, more intelligent than I am!

And so, despite her forgetfulness, this woman still, managed all right, it’s just, that these smaller things, can become troubling to others around you, and, forgetfulness, may be, an early sign of dementia, so, that’s, something this person needs to, watch out for…

 

Growing Old Together

The couples growing older, holding hands together, ‘til the end of their lives, translated…

I’d gone to the community center to exercise, as we were halfway through the routines, it’d started, raining out.  At the end of the exercises, the rain got huge, and, the group of us, elderly women were now, trapped in.

At this time, there were, three elderly gentlemen, with hairs all white, stumbling in, to deliver their wives the umbrellas, they must’ve been married for over sixty years, and their children must’ve, left home too, and having their husbands to share their lives with, it must be, so amazing!

My neighbor, Uncle Chang had always stayed away from the kitchens, as he turned eighty, because Mrs. Chang’s healthy deteriorated, he’d started learning to cook from the beginning, the washing of the rice, of the vegetables, and making the sunny side ups, and now, the thing he’d done on schedule in the morn, was heading over to the marketplaces, to pick up some pork.  Mr. Chang would always gloat to us, “After my wife had my soup, she’d looked, better, more energetic.”  Mrs. Chang, of course, said good things about her husband to everybody she met too, that her life after age eighty, was given back to her by Mr. Chang.

I’d always seen this elderly man, pushing his wife out on a wheelchair, as they got to the alleyways without much traffic, he’d always encouraged her to get up to walk around, he’d first, whispered to her about the benefits of walking around, and as his wife was willing, he’d become a steady support for her, encouraging her as she walked, and this scene always, gets me.

The life partners are like a good wine, gets better with time; they’re also like the good teas, although no longer hot, but still aromatic and smooth to drink down.

This, is something we all want, to have someone we love, accompanying us as we age, and, these are the good examples of what married couples, as they marched into their elderly years should look like, they’d, become one another’s steady support, stuck to each other’s side, in sickness and in health, ‘til death!

The Two of Us, Aging, Visiting Places Together

Going to places locally, to make more memories of us, something we can do, after we’re, retired, and living off easy!  Translated…

“Honey, let’s travel for the summer!”, he’d made fun of me.  “I just got my retirement pension slashed, how will we find the money to go?”, I’d smiled and told him, we can’t just, squat at home, we can walk over to the Bagua Mountain trails, or go visit the scenic areas close by.  He’d nodded, told me it was, a great idea.  And so, we’d started, these travels together.

like this???  Except they’d, gone into the city together…photo from online…查看來源圖片

“It’d been a long time since I was last here, there’s actually a trail for us to hike on, it’s, so amazing!”, my husband became like a wide-eyed child with wonder, strolled on the trails, it’d made me laugh, and, the other hikers started looking at us.  As we walked, we’d thought, hey, why not head into the city of Taichung too, and, we’d, alighted the bus, and, twenty minutes, we’re, in the metropolis of Taichung.  Hey, the train station that resembled the freeway systems was so new to us, we were, like first-time visitors, looked around here, and there; we’d, alighted the bus again, to the malls to stroll, the assortments of new products on display, caught our attentions, he’d found a red and white checkerboard shirt, and bought it, I’d made fun, “You are, fashionable, aren’t you?  You’d not talked until you were five, everybody called you the fool, but, being a fool as a young child doesn’t make you a fool as an adult, does it?” he’d laughed so hard he couldn’t, stand up straight.

We’d found a fast food shop and took care of supper, and passed through this, wonderful day.  In two more days, we’d, planned to go to Chiayi to have their famous turkey drizzled over rice, and buy a box of eggroll that Chiayi was known for too!

And so, this, is a great idea for retirement, after the two of you retired, you two can drive out to places you’d already gone to, to see if having a brand new outlook, that’s different from before when you’d visited can give you something new, it will, add the flavors, to your ordinary lives that’s for certain.

The Lessons that Regrets Have to Offer Us…

If you don’t have a single regret in your lives, then, congrats, on being one in a zillion (just like ME!!!  Wow, I feel, so special right now…).

There are, however, lessons that we can learn from our regrets, remember how regret felt (doesn’t feel too good, does it???  Of course not!!!), and, wouldn’t you WANT to NEVER feel like that again?  Exactly!  And that, IS the precise lesson that regrets have to offer us.

Now, how to go about living your lives, without ANY regrets, that, would be a form of art, I suppose.  And, because of everything that’s happened in my life, that’s been beyond MY control (hello, hello, hello, how the FUCK do I know I was going to be the one, getting POPPED out???), and because it’s all fate, and who the hell, am I, to argue with fate, right?  So, I’d, SCRAPPED regret, OUT of my life completely.

And, there’s, no right or wrong way to approach dealing with your separate regrets, but, generally, regrets can be, divided into TWO “sections”, one, the ones you have no control over, the other, the ones you HAVE control over, and, the only one you can work on, to MAKE a difference in would be the “section” that you HAVE control over.

There’s, nothing else you can do, after you’d, worked through the regrets you have control over, besides, fate’s in charge, hello, hello, hello???  Haven’t we gone over ALL of that previously???  Exactly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I’m Home Alone

Finally, she has time to herself, because her husband and her son are both, working late, this is, a hard-to-come-by mini “vacation” all right, and she really needed the recharge too! Translated…

My husband’s on shift tonight, my son working overtime, there’s only me at home at night, it’s, such a rare opportunity, that I get to be, alone on my own.

查看來源圖片what we’re, in need of…photo from online…

Ordinarily, everybody’s there, I couldn’t have a breath to myself, I’d need to, get my apron on, and entered, into, yet another battlefield—the kitchen, to take over my husband’s not yet finished up supper, and I’d needed to, get myself so dirty, before I’m able to, sit down to eat, and, I’d turned into, a worm, after I’d done, busying, too spent.

Tonight, I’m the only one home, very leisure, I’d changed into my relaxation outfit, I’ll get some snack, to keep the feelings of hunger away, I suppose! Then, sort through the newspapers, see what’s happened today. After reading the papers, I’d, opened up the fridge, to see what there is for me to eat, heated the plates up, an easy supper.

It’s really easy, just me, no need to, go out of my way, I can also, slow my own paces down, at this time, I have the opportunities, to finish everything slow, this was, such, an extravagance, for a working woman! After I’m full, I’ll, watch a few episodes of Korean soap, and after the soaps, my husband, my son should be, home, and, I shall, turn back to Cinderella, from a princess then.

here’s a woman, relaxing…photo from online…查看來源圖片pampering herself, because she EARNED it!!!  Image from online…

Even though life is like so, I’d already, gotten, recharged, and my fatigue, taken away by half, and I have, more energies, to embrace all the challenges that come towards me then. I love being at home alone, only during this period of time, would I feel, that I’m my own person. Turns out, spending time alone, slowing my own paces down, is the best sort of a gift for a career woman.

And so, this showed, how hard we women (yeah, I’m still one!!!) work, in, and OUT of our homes, unlike how you LOSERS (as that is what you all are!!!) can just, kick off your dress shoes, start turning into a POTATO on the couch after you come home from work, we women are still running, running, running NONSTOP, and when our husbands (yeah right, as if I got one??? GET REAL here!!!) and our young are away, we get the spare time to OURSELVES…

The Nostalgia Runs Long, Like a Flowing River

His father’s old clothes, as a reminder of the love of his parents, now that his parents are, gone, translated…

It was, a few months after my father-in-law passed away, while we were back home, my mother-in-law sorted through my father-in-law’s clothes, had her sons pick a few, as memorabilia. The rest of his siblings turned it down, said it wasn’t necessary, told my mother-in-law immediately, took back all the clothes for recycling, or donated the items to the needy. My mother-in-law wasn’t willing to, with her sorrowful eyes, looked toward my husband for console, my husband took the clothes from her, like holding something treasured, told her that they’re all very new, and that he shall, keep them to wear. My mother-in-law didn’t say another word, walked back into her bedroom, but, she seemed, to feel comforted by my husband’s actions.

查看來源圖片something this ordinary, with so much sentimental values attached, photo from online…

Actually, my husband was one size larger than my father-in-law, and, those clothes became, too short at the sleeves, the pant legs for him, he’d asked me, to pack all of it up, to bring them home with us, I’d guessed, it was, to help make my mother-in-law feel better!

In a blink of an eye, my mother-in-law had passed on for many years. And, my husband missed his parents more and more by the day, and, as he’d talked of my mother-in-law, he’d felt emotional, recalled all the fun things that happened between him and his mother when he was just a young child, a second ago, he was just, laughing out loud, then, the following, he was, turning his head, quietly, wiping his tears away; as he’d accompanied me to my parents, he’d always looked lost, told me, “I’m so envious of you, still have a mom.” Seeing how I was, helping my mom with something, he’d sighed, on how now he’d wanted to, fulfill his filial piety duties to his parents, he was, no longer able to.

At the start of the year, I’d taken my son to clean out the closets, my son asked where those old clothes came from, I’d mentioned it to him, he’d fallen, silent, I don’t know how much he’d understood about the loss that his dad experienced over losing his parents. On the especially colder days, I’d see my husband, take out my father-in-law’s jacket, and put it over his shirt, and I’d known, he was, missing his dad, putting his old clothes on, it was like, he was, in his father’s arms again; I’m sure, that my mother-in-law was more than thoughtful back then, knew my husband’s mind like a child’s, how he would, long for their love for him.

And so, this, is the kindness that’s, passed from one generation to the next, the husband took his father’s clothes from his mother, to ease her mind, and now, whenever he’d missed his parents, he’d, put on the clothes that was passed down to him from his own father, to reminisce how much love they loved him and he loved them too, and that, is the only thing he could, hold on to, because his parents are, both gone…