Hated himself, for being too ignorant, and, he respected his own mother even more than before, translated…
That evening, I was riding on the MRT on my way home, the mom sitting opposite was teaching her young math using the math textbooks, and, the memories slowly, came back to me.
Key in the Numbers One by One Slowly
I grew up in the army retirement villages, my father was a former serviceman, a retired veteran, my mother was native Amis, they’d married through matchmaking, without the basis of love, they were, twenty-one-years apart. Because of how they didn’t share anything in common, the differences of their backgrounds, their value systems, they’d, fought a lot.
In my elementary years, my mother worked the graveyard shift at the electronics factory, in order to get a raise, she’d, signed up for the head of her crew’s examinations. One morning, I saw a graded math test, one of the problem was 1+2+3+4+5+6…+97+98+99+100=?, without thinking, I’d known, that the answer was 5,050. This was a famous question, that’s been tested and tested repeatedly on the students. But, my mother got it wrong.
“How did you get this?”, I’d inquired her.
“I’d used a calculator, and keyed in the numbers one by one slowly.” Don’t know how long it took her, to get the answer, and perhaps, she’d, keyed in the wrong numbers on a few, she’d, gotten the answer wrong.
I’d looked at that exam more closely, she’d not answered the problems on close to half of her exam, and, it seemed, that adding one to one hundred took her too much time.
“Did you get the promotion?”
She shook her head.
“Why did it take you this long, and you’d still, gotten it wrong?”, I’d, blurted it out, can’t believe that the problem was so easy, and she’d, still gotten it wrong. Besides, this problem doesn’t need any calculating.
As my mother heard, she’d, fallen silent, only smiled bitterly toward me, then, marched back to the kitchen.
I Seemed, to Have, Understood Something
Later, my father learned about this, and he’d, called me, and, beaten the CRAP out of me. He was so angered he was, shaking all over, pointed to my nose, screamed aloud at me, “The reason why you’re going to school, is because your mother worked all night, to make the money, don’t you know that? What right have you, to MAKE fun of her? Everything you have right now, your mother gave to you!”
So, that day after I left for school, my mother cried silently.
And I’d become, dumbfounded, with all the bruises and bleeding over my skin, stared at my father, then, I’d gotten that wake up call, of how an ingrate I had been, I’d only viewed things, from my own perspectives.
I’d cried and hugged mom to show her how sorry I was, she’d cried, and smiled, patted my head, said it was okay. From then, it seemed, that I’d, understood some things.
And, it’d been, almost thirty years since, and, I’d recalled the incident from time to time, and, felt compelled, to go back in time, to KILL my own ignorant self.
And now, my dad’s gone to heaven two years ago, and my mom, hair all white, played with her granddaughters, and, waited until I’d visited her back home, she’d, cooked a TON of dishes I loved, and, nagged me on what I needed to be more careful over by the day.
“Mom, do you know how old I am already? Stop worrying, besides, I’m, too fat already, I need to be on a diet already!”, and, although as I’d turned her down kindly, I’d felt that surge of warmth inside of me.
I sat on the MRT, looked at the mom and her cute son sitting opposite to me, I’d called my mom.
“Mom, is it okay, that I come home for supper tonight?”
And so, it took this man until his midlife years, to finally understood why his father punished him so severely when he was a kid, and, he’d known how much his own mother had, given to his family and him, and appreciated how much love he had growing up.