An Old Piano

How she remembers her father’s love for her, translated…

Opening up the door, the setting sun came in through the window, entered in from the foyer, that old piano leaned against the bookshelves, the shadows dragged across the ivory floors, as if, retelling the stories of my father and me, it’d, opened up that dusted file in my memories again…

It was the 1990s, as the summer became unbearable in southern Taiwan.  In my teenage years, I was, confused and stressed out about my future, seeing how all my peers had found their separate colleges to enter into, readied themselves for flight, and I was, trapped, inside the cage of the teacher’s college, with no place to go.  An assortment of miseries, got stuck inside my throat, they had, no place to go.

One afternoon, I’d, let loose, and every single feeling of upset rushed up and erupted out of me, I’d, grilled my father who was home from his hard day in the fields, “It’s unfair!  Why must I attend teacher’s college instead of a normal university?  I want to go to a university!” at that very moment, my father didn’t say a single word, but I saw his face drawn, filled with that strong sense of loss, and nostalgia.  My matter-of-fact ranting, disregarded how hard he’d, worked, I’d, become, more pompous, compared to his humbled ways.

As the seasons shifted into the colorful autumn, an elegant piano, sat, awkwardly, in the farming family’s living.  My father was smiling from ear to ear, as he’d told me, “Autumn, your college was paid for by the scholarships, you’d cost us the least amount of money, this piano, is my way of compensating you for helping the family out!“

Atthat very moment, I’d felt such a, strong sense of shame.  How ignorant I was, what an unfittingdaughter I’d been!  Back then, we were,having a hard enough time, to have enough food for everybody, my parents workedtheir fingers to the bones, and, the money for the piano, should’ve been usedas the registration fees of my sibling’s education.  But, because of my stubbornness, my fatherhad to let go of his own pride, and, borrowed the money from all of ourfriends, relatives, and family, to make the ends of the house meet up.

like this??? photo from online


And just like that, piano had, entered, into my life, and, accompanied me along.

The show was over, the music, stopped, my father had been gone many years.  He’d not left many things behind, people being born in that era of upheaval, came in the fire, and went out in the wind, they leave and take nothing, but the love that they carried for their loved ones.

An old piano, it’d, connected the land of my hometown, my nostalgia, my youth, along with a ton of love my father had, shown me, and, playing that piano became, my pain-relief from missing my father.  Every time I’d played his favorite tune, “Looking into the Spring Breeze”, it was, as if, I could, hear him, sing that song, his face, his smile, I can still see very clearly.  And so, I’d become, more than willing to, play the songs, repeatedly, again, and again, and again, to remember the love he’d given to me.

And so, the piano became, a sort of an inheritance, an inheritance of her father’s love for her, and now, after her father passed, she still played the piano which was given to her as a gift to her father, to remember the love her father had, given to her.


Experiencing Growth

How much this little boy had, “grown up”, because of this experience in a specialty camp, translated…

Awhile back I took along my five-year-old son to a junior firefighter camp.  As I was signing him up, I felt it was, interesting, and my son seemed to be, onboard too, we’d, gone there earlier, to see what’s going to be happening.  Before the activities started, the parents and children were arriving, we’d said our simple hellos, and, as the firefighting crew lead us, we’d, started, experiencing the workings of a firefighter’s life.

At first, my son was, very excited, he’d listened tentatively to the firefighter explained the activities, and took turns with other children, using the hose to put out the fires, and learned to use a fire extinguisher, and changed into a miniature uniform too, hopped around on site, everything looked fine; but toward the bottom half of the activities, when the kids were supposed to, climb up on the ladders, experiencing the earthquakes in the simulator, then, get their photos in the fire trucks, he’d, appeared to be, a bit, wiped out.

Before the activities ended, my son gestured to me he’d, needed some snacks.  I thought, that this, is what always happens, as parents took their young to an activity, they’re, just making their own lives difficult, and so I’d, not, minded it at all.  Two days later, while I was frying fish, and those of you with experiences in cooking would know, that we don’t need to watch the pans at all time, and so, as I’d, placed the fish in, I’d stepped to the side, and started chopping up vegetables, then suddenly, my son walked to me, pointed to the pan, said, “It’s dangerous that you’re NOT watching the stoves!”, he was quite loud, and, sounded and looked, very serious.

illustration from the papers圖/黃鼻子

“I am watching it, it’s not dangerous!”, my son was displeased as he’d heard me say, and told me, to really “WATCH the fire”, and said that on the day of the camp, the firefighter told them, that we should, never be too careless, using fires.  And, after a few sentences of back and forth, I couldn’t, win, and I’d not wanted him to start throwing a fit, so I can only, stand in front of the pan, and fry my fish.

Several days later, I’d taken my son to the supermarkets, on the way back, he’d asked me if the bags were heavy, and wanted to help me carry them.  I was, so very surprised, I’d handed him a huge bag of toilet paper, and I’d asked him if he could actually manage it?  He’d nodded hard to me, told me it was, lighter than the hose at the firefighter experience camps.

On the way home, I kept wondering, could it be, that the activities from then had, inspired my son?  These past couple of days, he’d acted out of my expectations, it was, a sort of a surprise sudden coming of age.  He’d started, reminding me, and would care about how the other members of the family are doing, and even become curious to what the adults are doing, no longer would he guard the T.V.  It’d, made me wonder, what I was like as a child, it’s just, that it was, too long ago, I can’t, recall that much, as if, in a blink of an eye, I’m, a mother suddenly.

like this???  Photo from online查看來源圖片

How does growth happen?  I watched as my son, hugged onto that huge bag of toilet paper, felt a mixture of emotions, a part of me wanted him to grow up, but, another part wanted him to stay little forever, like in a blink of an eye, he’ll, become someone else’s husband or something.  But no matter what, I’m still, very glad, that a small activity had, broadened his horizons, perhaps, he couldn’t yet know his own becoming more mature, but, I’m blessed, to bear witness to it!

And so, this, is how an unexpected activity can, change a child’s life forever, and this showed the importance, of giving your own children a ton of new and unusual experiences when they were younger, because, all of the memories of what you take them to do, will become fuels to their coming of age processes.

Patching Up These Memories…

Patching up these memories, as they’d, become, worn, and all torn up through the passing of the days now, and I need them, to remain, as new as they all were.
Patching up these memories, I had, but, I just, couldn’t, quite get them all, perfect for some reasons. I’d managed to put this part together, and, another part went missing, and, while I’d gone to take care of that part that went missing, the part I’d, put together from before, started fading out!

like this???
Patching up these memories, it’s, just too hard, and I know, that I’m, involved in this never-going-to-work-for-me task, so, why am I, doing it? I’d, questioned myself.
Could it be, that I don’t want to lose these memories, because they meant the world to me? Or, am I, just, a hoarder? Patching up these memories, I’d, stopped myself from doing, after all, those photos of us became yellowed through the years, in this, scrapbook I’d made, and, there’s, just, NO way of, keeping ANYTHING fresh, because everything eventually, gets, ruined by time!
Patching up these memories, I won’t, anymore, ‘cuz, it’s, pointless, and, I’d, spent too much of my time that’s, slowly, slipping from my hand and life, on pointless feat like this one…
Patching up these memories, it’s not like I can, get them all, BACK to the way they used to feel and look again, and yet, I can’t help, but want them to remain, as they once were for some unknown reasons…

The Seaside Town She Grew Up in

Missing her “home”, translated…

Everything about the oceans, I’d, learned from her.

I called her Aunty, she was the daughter-in-law of my next-door neighbor, her body changed from slender when she was younger to fuller figured in her midlife.  The only thing that’s unchanged was her IQ and her slurred speech, she’d often said to me, “I’m not an idiot, why do they all cuss me out?”

“They” meant the neighbors in our village, who’d, enjoyed, making fun of this woman who’d, married over from the oceanside—back then, the family lied, she didn’t say a word, that was why, the match was made, and she’d, married her husband, with polio.

She’d often, pulled up a chair, and sat outside from front door, and, shocked me with the stories, “when my parents were, putting the fishes out to dry, I’d always gone to the beaches, to chase down the small crabs, sometimes, they’d bite, and I’d, bled too!”, as she’d talked about the seas, her dark complexioned face shone of that light, it’d, resembled the fish scales underneath the sun.

a place, like this, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片

“My dad is coming to see me next month, he will bring me tons of fishes!”, her father was a fisherman, after he had her, and found she had Downs’s Syndrome, he’d, stopped having children, and, in the matchmaking, he’d told aunty to not talk, and, married her, into our, small village, this village, without, the slightest scent of, the oceans.

I’d asked her, do you want to go home to see the oceans?  She’d looked at me, said foolishly, “The ocean in my hometown is, the most beautiful.  The fishes would get washed to shore, and I’d, caught them, and put them onto my front porch.” Then, she’d started laughing, “my dad would inquire, why they didn’t, ring our doorbell?”

Looking at those, shiny eyes, I’d started to imagine, that maybe, she’d, never, actually, left that oceanside village she grew up in after all.

And so, this woman misses her hometown by the seas, and, all the memories she had, of her childhood years there too, and, she can’t go back now, as she’s, already, someone else’s wife, living, so far away, from the oceans, what she knew the best, what she was, most, familiar with in childhood…

The Rainbow & the Wind

The thoughts of a father, watching his young child graduate from the kindergarten years, translated…

Children’s smiles are rainbows.  As the rainbow appeared in the skies, it would always cause people to lift their heads up in awe, in the busyness of the day to day, bringing that small sort of a bliss.  And, children’s smiles have the same effects, as my children started playing coy in my arms, laughing brightly, suddenly, all my weariness would, subside, and I’d, started, enjoying this rainbow that’s, slowly, blooming open within my arms grasps.查看來源圖片an important milestone in their lives, a rite of passage, photo from online…

The children grow up so quickly.  As the gentle winds of their lives grazed my face, I couldn’t help, but want the breeze to last longer, and, I’d, reached out to grab a hold onto them, but, I’d, found my children’s younger years, slipped, through my fingers, suddenly, disappeared.

As my son was in his graduation gown, passed through the arch set up by the kindergarten, entered into the auditorium, we still couldn’t believe, that our little boy is grown.  What was more amazing was as the speaker for his class, he was, so full of confidence, with the forceful voice, and, made the hand gestures for the rainbows—thanked his teachers one by one, described what he’d learned in the years of his kindergarten education, and in the end, he’d, bid all his good friends farewell, and wished them the best, this was, totally opposite of how he was, jumping up and down, couldn’t stand still for one second, seeing how he’d worked so focused, to get this done so well, I’d felt, so proud.  And, it’d finally made sense, what we saw him do at home, he’d been, mumbling quietly to himself—so he was, preparing for the speech that’s made at the graduation ceremonies.

The kindergarten was thoughtful, in setting up the offering of the teas to the parents, with the graduates bringing cups of teas to serve to the parents down on one knee, later on, the parents and the children hugged and said I love you.  In the rituals of a matter of few short seconds, it’d taught the younger children to understand the kindness the parents took, to raise them, although it was, more symbolic, and the children may not really understand the purpose of why this was done, but, I’m sure, they will one day, finally understand the purpose of these behaviors.

illustration from…圖/Tai Pera

“How do We/Own a Rainbow/How do We Embrace/the Summer Breeze…………”, as the kids finally sang in chorus the song, “Fulfillment”, I’d felt that sourness crawling up into my nose, I’d, steadied my hand with the camcorder, hoping, to capture this, final wind of my son’s before he enters into elementary school.  The end of the graduation ceremony, the children released the balloons in their hands, and the balloons, took flight, symbolizing how each child is carrying the blessings of the parents, and the instructors, to start on the next stage of life.  I want to tell my children, other than wanting to travel with you guys for a long time, daddy is also very grateful for your company.  I hope, that all the children, in this world, can keep that heart of fulfillment forever, and be able to bring that scent of happiness that resembled the rainbow, or, treat each other as the rainbows in their lives too.

And so this, is this father’s wish for his children, seeing them graduate from kindergarten, ready, to embark on the next stage of their journeys in life, and this is an important milestone in the lives of young children too!

An Ancient Town

Very vivid imageries in this one, translated…

From the vinyl records, the cassette tapes, to the middle age wear and tear, getting worse.  These past few years, we’d started fixing them up, adjusting the colors, a series of digitalization was occurring every single day, and what’s already fixed, became, more realistic, but it’d, caused me to lose my coarse grains, my sense of wild and free that was within me when I was younger.

The scenes turned dark early, I’d, carved out an arrow on the cherry tree out front, pointed toward the direction of the straw mattresses inside, the kimono, blew in the breezes, the small fire and the small cups of tea, exchanged the lamplight of the sun setting.  The snow spoke gently, on the tip of that pine needle, sometimes, it didn’t say a word, just melted away.

something, that looks like, this, maybe???  Photo from online…

And so, this is very picturesque, you see in a Japanese style garden, with a small house, with the kettle of tea, broiling on the stove…

The Education from Back When, Thoughts from the Wilderness

An outing of this father and daughter before she goes off to college, what the man was reminded of, translated…

The first time I took the MRT to the Taoyuan Airport, I’d taken the purple route, the straight route, and on my return trip, I’d tried the blue route, that passed through all the stations.

I rode on the MRT with my last year high school daughter, imagined, that we are, on the way, to her getting a higher education, the rails in the air was a bit, unsteady, there wre those, who were awakened from their sleep because of it, and rode to the terminals, and stood up and flew off, like those birds, made of glass.

The stations and the trains are purplish blue, imitating the colors of the Nitalva, with the common name of Taiwanese whistling thrush, the calls were quite, distressing, like how the car slammed on the brakes in a sharp turn, like the policies of education right now.

A7 Kinesiology University, A8 Changgang Hospital………we’d, walked to the Chi-ching Lake, there was the god of the earth in a statue, smiling at me in the middle of the lake, with the smokes rising from the small temple’s chimney, the doves, the ducks, ran around, and flapped their wings, like how messy the situation is currently in Taiwan right now.

The sun spread out all across the lakeside pastures comfortably, there were, the picnickers there, some sitting, or, lying themselves down; this was the Memorial Day long weekend today, for the sake of remembering those, who’d, finally, lain themselves down.

walking along a passage like this one, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片with the flowers, already, fallen…

I rode along on the Airport MRT with my daughter, and packed my own handmade rice ball wrapped in salted seaweed, it wasn’t a springtime outing.  Anyway, the sun felt so well, like it was, only eighteen years of age.  We’d walked a long time, and, the roads, approached us, without any doubts on their minds.

This was in April, the Chinese fringe trees were in full-bloom, with the cherry blossoms, withering away, the new buds were coming out, there wasn’t, a fallen leaf that’s, complained.

The airport MRT route passed through the mountains, the Tung oil tree, the green filled up the air.

And so, this, is what this father observed from their surrounding area, as they test rode the airport MRT systems, and it is considered, a rite of passage for his daughter, because next year, she’ll be away from home, in college, and, on this day, the father felt a mixture of emotions, his daughter is growing up and leaving home, and, it was on the day, that those who’d, sacrificed their lives for others is to be commemorated each and every year.