Trips Alone

Being an avid observer, of the surrounding environments, the life of a people-watcher, translated…

Because of work, I’d needed to have roundtrip travels from Hualien to Taipei and Taipei, to Hualien, in order to save up the fares, I’d often taken the “transferring commutes”, taking the double decker busses for some way, then the trains. This waiting and transferring, transferring and waiting, sometimes, I’d felt tension, and I’d, gazed out the windows, and suddenly, felt very relaxed, like it is, a sort of a miniature “trips alone” out of my ordinary life.

like this???  Photo from online…

In the process of my commute, I’d often initiate my “small theatre” mode, guessing at which seat I would be, given, would it be window seat, or aisle seat, would I get to see the sea? Or that I’d, start to observe the passengers all around me, from their ages, to what they’re wearing, to what games they’re, playing on their cell phone, the images from their FB homepage (am I being, too observant?), their LINE conversation (am I, breach someone else’s privacy?), listening in on the conversations (can someone call the police on me for that?)………all of these, are the points of origin of my imagination, I wanted to know, who the person who was, sitting closest to me was?

For a while, I’d even gotten so nutty, that I’d had to get the seat on the first row on the busses, that way, I got to, observe the driver at a close distance, and, his name would be, right up overhead, in front of me! In the age of Google, you will leave behind, an electronic footprint if you log online, and other than just imagining people’s lives, I get to, cross-check the facts, and, I’d often, lost control, in the one-hour ride, to the point that as I got off, and thanked the driver, I’d, actually became, genuine.

查看來源圖片like this???  Not my photo…

And so, this, is being a people watcher, and this person enjoys it, because, there are, NOT many other alternative “forms of entertainment”, so, he’d found fun, in observing the world around him, and, this trip alone became, more interesting, instead of just, watching that clock in the stations, wondering, when the busses or the trains will finally come and take you away!


Willing, to Walk Down the Aisle, for You

Finding her one true love, someone who’d, stayed by her side, through sickness, injury, who’d still, cherished her very much, translated…

My Tears Felt Heated, as They’d, Rolled Down My Cheeks, and I Couldn’t Find Any Words of Extravagance to Say…

Not Made a Scene, But, Very Memorable

One evening, my boyfriend and I stayed in the hospital wards. Because of the day that followed he’s scheduled his day off, he’d asked my parents to head home to sleep. Then, he’d, slowly, taken out a set of household casual wear from his black sports backpack, with his toothbrush, towel, then, laid them out, neatly and flattened, on the limited surfaces available to him.

That sense of security I received from my boyfriend, was like a serene, but strong kind of an atmosphere. In the six years, we’d, talked about any and everything. I’d once told him, that “in our relationship, I hoped there would be, no secrets”. So, even as we had a fight, we’d, made up on the day of the fight, I can’t feel right, sleeping with the secrets and my own tears.

But, perhaps, it’s due to his family background and his personality traits, that he’d often needed to, have some quiet time for himself first, then, sorted through what he’d needed to say to me. But, I wouldn’t allow it, and, perhaps, I’m, a bit, stubborn. But, slowly, he’d, grown, accustomed to my rules, and learned, how to express his anger towards me.

“Play a song for me!”, I’d, leaned on the bed, and made a suggestion.

“Okay!”, he’d, squinted his eyes, and, was in full smile.

A familiar tune started slow, it was, the “Wedding March”. After a few measures, pop music started playing, then, Andy Lau’s voice, “I will, for you, put on that white gown; I will, for you, walk down that red aisle; I will, build a roof from love for you, to block out the wind and the rain, to carry on in conversations, to make some teas, to play that game of chess, so long, as, you’ll, have me in your life.”

My boyfriend loved Andy Lau, and, as he’d gone to the karaoke, he’d always played and sung the songs by Andy Lau. I got to the point, of having had enough of Andy Lau, and joked, that he was, so full of, cliché, “You should be, the youngest fan of Andy in the whole universe, but, same years as my dad!” But, he always replied with full confidence, “He’s handsome, inside AND out, an idol to me, forever!”

The Most Important Part of My Life

“Walking Down the Aisle, with a white wedding gown, you’re the most beautiful promise of my entire life, I’d, made a pact with you, to count up the stars, and, all your tomorrows too. Walking in the bliss, that bell started, ringing, you are, the most beautiful decision in my whole life, I’d promised to give you all the happiness in the world, in the days in the future, I shall, love you, even more.”

This song, I’d heard, more than hundreds of times, but, being put under anesthesia, and, entered into the bottommost layer of my own dreams, and, drifted along, in the depth of that ocean repeatedly, after I was awakened, being called back out atop, at this moment, I’d, looked at that man, who’s, dark-skinned, with that light in his eyes, smiling like a fool, I’d, had that impulse of, “I do”.

It’s him, he’s, it! I’d wanted, I am willing! And that never-before sense of belonging, that, was what that felt like.

A lot of people say, “marriage is impulsive”, I’d, felt that amazing feeling, of having love rushed, into my head, it’s, so amazing, truly.

illustration from the papers online…圖/江長芳

My tears came down hot, my heart pitter-pattered, I couldn’t say a single word of extravagance. The two of us, stared at one another, and, neither one of us can see each other clearly now.

The past six years, played like that picture show, how we’d met, dated, fallen in love, had our fights, communicated, traveling all over Taiwan, introducing one another to our families, graduating, start to work, enlisting, getting involved in long-distance relationship, fight, traveling abroad, giving one another encouragements, getting injured recently, so many times, we’d, said the most awful of all things to each other, and, several times, we could’ve, broken up. But, six years, we are still, the most important part of one another’s life. This long road we’d, traveled to where we currently are, it wasn’t, the least bit, easy that’s for certain!

“Distance is not a problem. Love wouldn’t become fragile, because of the distance, people would.” the line of one of my favorite movie, “Café on Sixth Alley” stated.

Because our hearts had been true, and, we’d both, cherished what’s happened to one another these past few years, and, even IF we’re displeased with each other, we’d, just put the distances between us, cooled down a bit, then, talk it all out, then, we were, able to, get closer again. Through these fights we’d had, we’d, understood one another even more.

Turns out, the moment that I let love go to my head, wasn’t at the very moment our eyes first met, but, what we’d, weathered through, after all this time. People often, needed to, get to a certain point in their lives, to figure out the meaning of it all.

“Babe……I love you so.”, after the silence of a little over a minute, as the music was, about to stop, I’d, opened up. I’d, opened my arms, wanted him to hug me, he also, got up, walked, toward me. In the end, we’d found our ways, into each other’s arms, and, we’d, cried together.

“If I’m covered with scars all over my body, and no longer pretty, will you still, love me?” I’d sounded, flat, like pretending to be cute, then, I wouldn’t, receive the answer I was, fearing the most.

“Just let us get use to it together.”, he’d replied, in a calm and collected manner, so natural, like, he’d, contemplated on it before.

I’d started, smiling from the inside now.

Although I don’t believe in forever, but, I have the courage, to believe, that every moment of bliss we’d come to share, is true.

And so, you’d, found this man who loved you, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better, or for worse, and it’s really hard, and, through the trials of your life, he’d, stuck by your side, and, you’d, found a gem, someone who will, love you, unconditionally, regardless, of anything, because he loves you!




Parallel Conversations People are Having on My Comments Page…

Uh, did I MISS that memo or somethin’???

There are people having, parallel conversation on my comments page on here, and, it’s, odd! Why, are you having those, one-way parallel conversations on my comments page? Is it, that you simply, need to, pour your god DAMN hearts out to anybody who’ll lend you a helping ear? (go lie on that COUCH, and PAY your SHRINKS, people!!!).

查看來源圖片like the Chinese idiom???  Illustration from online…

Parallel conversations that people are having on my comments page, this always, amaze and amuse me. I mean, how O-D-D is that? And, are any of y’all having these sorts of encounters too?

Parallel conversations that people are having on my comments page, it’s, like you’re, fishing, just, casting that line into the river, without even LOOKING at where you’re, THROWIN’ it in, and, you really could care LESS, if that hook HITS that rock that’s, inside that river or not, like, there’s, this need, for you, to get whatever the HECK it is you wanna say out, like if you hold it in too long, it’ll, show up on your bodies as bruises or something!!!

查看來源圖片or this, maybe???  Image from online still…

Is that what that is, when people have parallel conversations on my comments page? Or, is it something else entirely, totally, different than what I’d, just described here?


The Bond of Siblings, on Filial Relations

How close they’d become, after they’re, older, and they’d still, fought hard as children, translated…

My younger brother called me, to get me to visit my mother’s home, to pick up the month-old celebratory pastries for his granddaughter’s birth, I’d gladly agreed. Thinking of how from before, after he’d gladly, married his daughter off, the very next week, he was diagnosed with cancer, and after the chemotherapy and operations, he’s now, a happy grandfather, his life was like taking a bath in the sauna, hot and cold, all, mixed in together.

Come to think of it, I wasn’t, a fitting eldest sister to him. I’d taken him to act up when we were young children. As I’m already, going to elderly, every time around Mid-Autumn Festival, my mother still repeatedly, mentioned my most embarrassing moments t—every year, my house would make a keg of grape wine, to share it with everybody in the neighborhood around Mid-Autumn Festival the following year. It was the year I was in the fifth grade, my younger brother, the third, on the day when my mother went shopping at the marketplaces, seeing how there are, no adults around, I’d told him to open up the closet, to get the wine kegs out, with the name of “wine-tasting”, but it was, because I was, gluttonous and didn’t care of the consequences. The two of us only thought, that this drink was so aromatic, and so sweet, we’d, drunk it all up, as my mother finished making lunch, she’d found, that we weren’t, quite right, that there was, half a keg of her brewed wine missing. And, the two of us had a serious hangover the entire afternoon, after my father got off work and learned about this, he’d gotten, so furious with us, and, we’d, gotten punished, and, sent to the doorways, to kneel, so the whole neighborhood could see what we’d done. And on the Mid-Autumn Festival, my parents’ dreams of drinking the good wines, all went bust, because of us.

illustration from the papers…圖/蔡侑玲

There was one more time, after the return to the school after the summers, the two of us rode on our bicycles, not wanted to head home yet, we’d ridden past the Tainan Park, and decided to go fishing in the pond. But, what do we have to use as a net? My brother was witty enough, he’d taken out the assignment books and the texts from his back, used his backpack as a net, we’d, had a good day of “fishing together”, and, at the end, we’d still, wanted to take a few fish home with us. As the two of us, fools returned home, the water already, dripped out of the backpack, the fish, almost dead, what was worse, was we’d, forgotten all our assignment books in the park, as my mother went back to the park to search, it was, already gone. Such an awful thing, we’d not had any lunch that day, and, gotten ourselves, a real hard beat down again.

Don’t think that my brother and I are best friends because we never spent time apart, as we got into an argument, we’d, thrown the punches and kicked one another real hard, neither one of us wanted to lose. I’m not as strong as he, couldn’t win in our fights, so, I’d, come up with, alternative ways, to screw him over. Once, it was January, I’d lost the fight, and I got, so angry, I’d gotten a bucket of ice, and while he wasn’t watching, I’d, pour it all into his shirt, he’d hollered out in pain because of the coldness, that taught him, to TRY and mess with me again!

After he married, he’d started in business, but was, never good at it. After he’d, declared bankruptcy in business, he’d started working odds and ends, and, spent all the money he’d earned on the betel nuts and the cigarettes and the wines, making my parents worry over him. In recent years, his children are all grown and started their families and work, his household economics got better, and, time flew by, he’d gotten to the age of being a grandfather now.

Seeing how he’d, shaved his head because of chemo, and how round his body became, with that smile on his face, looking more and more like a cute version of the smiling Buddha, I’d felt glad, that the cancer he had, was gone, and I’d, started, cherishing the times we shared, and, the past when we’d, made trouble for each other and our mother will be saved in my memory forever.

Those were, your, wilder days, and, the two of you, although fought like siblings had, still loved one another deeply, and it didn’t matter how hard you two had fought as young children, the important thing is that you two are, supportive of one another, and very close as aging adults.


If You Don’t Love Me…

If you don’t love me, then, don’t hold me, set me free, it wouldn’t be fair, to me, or you, to keep me, hangin’ ‘round! If you don’t love me, just say it already!!!

If you don’t love me, why you still, lettin’ me hang ‘round you, huh? And, shouldn’t we, just break it off, for once, and for all, instead, of, getting comfortable with each other’s bodies? If you don’t love me, just say the word, and I’ll see, where I go from here. But you can’t, you’re, too addicted, to this feeling of ecstasy that you feel when you get into my body, aren’t you???

If you don’t love me, and love’s been, dead, AND gone, buried, TEN-FEET under (‘cuz six feet ain’t deep enough???) many, many, many years ago. If you don’t love me, then, why you still come back ‘round, whenever life beats you down? Because I’m that safe place for you, that you feel, warm and taken care of in? And what makes you believe, that I am, always, going to be, the door that stays open, 24/7, just in case you needed to come and score some, huh???

If you don’t love me, just cut the ties already, oh wait, because you can’t, cut the ties, therefore, I MUST, because that, is how much respect I have, for me, and loving you, would not, be respecting ME enough, and I got, too much SELF-RESPECT, to love anybody like Y-O-U!!!







From an “Outsider” to Being a Member of His Family

The brickworks, laid by the husband, to make his wife look good in front of his own parents, and the wife is learning the ways of her husband’s home too, and, because the foundation by the husband was lain well, that is why, she’s, getting perfectly along, with her in-laws now, translated…

Back then, as my husband took along his parents to my home to ask my father for my hand, my father who’d, spoiled me like a princess, kept bloating and bragging about how good I was, like I was, out of my husband’s league. During which time, I saw my in-laws who’s not the least bit articulate held their straight faces, but still, smiled courteously.

After I married, my father-in-law treated me, “the Princess” and “daddy’s girl” with great courtesy, never asked me to perform any actions. And, as my husband and I moved out of their house, my father-in-law came by to see our place, and, turned back to my mother-in-law, “Come by to clean up this place for them at another time!”, once I’d gone to my in-laws’ for supper, and, I was slicing up some radish, and accidentally, cut off my nail, and I’d let out a yelp, my father-in-law came, and, I’d gotten my mother-in-law nagged by him, “Just do it yourself, how could she know how to handle these sorts of household chores?”

My mother-in-law treated my father-in-law’s words like they’re, from God, and ever since, she’d treated me with a ton of kindness, never let me into the kitchens to help out with the chores, and had, come to our home from time to time, to clean up after us. And, although I’d felt, blessed by this “gift”, I felt, a bit upset too—I’d felt, that I was, treated like, an outsider, and not a member of my husband’s family.

My husband is the quiet type, rarely talked to his parents, he’d refused, to give them the money he saved up to serve them in person, and I was, the middleman of the deliveries. And, every month as my mother-in-law received the envelope, she’d kept pushing it back into my hands, and thanked us repeatedly, and, through time, this “pushing the envelope” became, a time we’d shared together, and, through our conversations, my mother-in-law learned, that I, who was cherished by my father like a princess, wasn’t locked up in an ivory tower at all, that I was someone with whom she could have great conversations with.

And slowly, anything that’s occurred in my in-laws, I was the very first one my parents-in-law called up, whether it be businesses at the banks, or, needing a replacement of the old appliances, they’d discussed it with me, their daughter-in-law, instead of their own son. And, naturally, I’d loved, being, a “window” for helping my in-laws with the nitty-gritties of their lives, and so, they’d not, seen me, as an outsider anymore!

Once, my husband’s aunt who lived alone, and was under economic duress came to my place to pour her heart out to my mother-in-law, I was using the internet inside the study, and suddenly, I’d heard my mother-in-law stated, “Take these……it’s okay! We have more than enough, my daughter-in-law had given me money to keep……yeah, she’s, truly, wonderful! We have more to talk about than the conversations I’d had with my son!” I’m more than certain, that my mother-in-law who’s a straight shooter, wasn’t saying it because I was in the next room and can hear her.

Perhaps, I have my husband to thank, he’d told my mother-in-law, that I was the one, putting in the money to give to them per month, that he wasn’t the one putting up the money, and, although I’d still not gotten a handle on how to do the household chores well, but I’m noted as a good daughter-in-law in the neighbors’ and the relatives’ minds. Perhaps, I should be grateful, that my husband is very strong and silent, because of his quiet, his cherishing every word that came out of him, I’d become, the family with whom my in-law felt comfortable, telling things to.

So you see, the reason why this mother and daughter-in-law got along quite well is because of the son’s doing. The man had, paved the way for his own wife, to work as a “public relations” between his own wife and his own parents, and, that is a good husband does, being kind to his parents, and at the same time, acting as a bridge between his parents, AND his own wife, after all, the household harmony is the most important thing, when you live in a sort of an extended family like this, isn’t it???



Feeling kinda, nostalgic here, translated…

The heart of the afternoon sun refracting outside my windows, carefully, looking into my house, the light that’s refracted with the corners of my windowsills brought me back to the old days. Lifting my gaze, the familiar sight, pulled my busy steps to a halt—a wheelchair, the final thing that my mother ever used, it’d, accompanied her, until the very end of her life.

Seeing that wheelchair reminded me of my mother again, and, my tears started, flooding me over, it’d, blurred out the skylines, and, the teardrops, collected into a huge drop of water, with the nostalgias, the memories of her, filled in. I’d, stared at the wheelchair, and saw how the years had, turned, with the wheels that kept, cycling. These years, we’d gone all over the places, up the mountains, into the oceans, kilometer after kilometer after kilometer, we’d, journeyed together, gone back to her former home in Marabang Mountain to recall her childhood days, the Sun-Moon Lagoon for that boathouse stay and the cable cart rides, the Dragon-Phoenix Harbor to see the larger ships and the sunset………my mother’s smiles, bloomed in midair.

photo from online…

The wheelchair also, accompanied my mother to the hospitals, in the rain, the wind, or even, as the humidity rose, trip by trip, without any word of complaint, it surely, was, a good helper. Before she had this “assistant”, when she’s injured or ill, and needed to go to the hospital, we’d, lifted her, and, the stresses of caretaking had, slowly, reduced the patient’s dignity. The unfortunate paralysis, and can only lie in bed until she died, such, an awful end! The wheelchairs had, blessed many of whom who were, kept bound by their immobility, the handicapped individuals, with the help from the wheels, slowly moved along, met up with the springtime, sitting on the wheelchairs, allowing the sights to, enrich their brand new lives.

Looking over, the streets, the parks, the hospitals, what sort of a state of mind do the wheelchairs carry? Those who were, still thinking about their younger days, and looking at the photos of their younger selves; or those who had become, dumbfounded, forgotten what year this is. Comparing what’s happening next to the wheelchairs, the colorful people, with their, newly learned Chinese, coloring the faces of those who were, wheelchair bound, trekking down toward the sunsets. And, we’re, no longer, keen on those who were caring for us being our blood, the foreign nurse’s aides and the wheelchairs, became the new scene that’s, hung up, at the turn, over every corner now.

I’d, pushed the handles along slowly, why is it, so heavy? Turns out, it’s, my mother’s, care and concerns for us, and her memories too. The steps she took were, no longer intact, but, the thoughts of missing her so, glistened, in my eyes, the wheelchair carried my mother and the life she had with her family, the laughter, the sorrows too. The setting sun painted that picture of blessing, I’d, cut off that colorful sunset, and, wrapped my love, my wishes in, written down these, words of gratitude, hung them on the back of my mother’s wheelchair, a sort of, a scent of, eternal, nostalgia.

And so, this, is what this woman remembers, as she saw her mother’s wheelchair again, it’d taken her back, to when her mother was still alive, and the memories they shared with one another, will forever, stay fresh in her mind, as the wheelchair will continue, to be a reminder of the interactions they had once shared together.