Trips Alone

How the love the two of you once knew had, slowly, dimmed out, translated…

You’d Found a Café in the Snow that’s Growing, Sat Down. You Saw, Out of the Corner of Your Eyes, a Woman in a Red Jacket, She Sat, Leisurely, Sipping on Her Coffee, Looking Confident, But Not Too Proud, Seems to Tell the Rest, that She Knew that the Man She was, Waiting for, is Hers, Although He’d, Not Yet Professed His Love to Her………

I’d gone to Berlin for a lecture in the spring, there’s, still that coldness in the air there. The first evening in Berlin, you were, working on the PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow, then, suddenly, shouts broke through the silence of the night, someone was, shouting out racial slurs, you’d tilted your head out the window, saw some stumbling figures. You’d wanted to turn back to R, tell him, “It’s no big deal, just some teenagers”. But you’d, forgotten, that you’re, on this trip, alone.

You’d turned on the radio, the DJ said something in German you couldn’t catch fast enough, then, the song started, quietly. But, in this night that’s, disturbed, music seemed to serve the purpose of repair, but, although the music had, grasp onto a nerve of yours, but, you’d, worked along, and, failed to pay enough attention to what he was singing, until the final few lines, the trumpet started, sounding off in the background, and the singer, “it’s all so quiet”, and, the trumpet’s tune rose with the notes climbing up higher, then, as the highest note that the trumpet played came to a halt, the singer, “in Berlin”, and ended the song. You’d, immediately, gone online to search for the song, and, listened to it more than twenty times. It’s all so quiet, It’s all so quiet, It’s all so quiet…in Berlin. This section of the lyric, sounded like, they were, made for you.

illustration from…圖/李孟翰

Although this was the second time you’re here, Berlin was still a strange place to you, last time, there weren’t that many Muslim vendors or Turkish restaurants, and, it was, impossible, for you, to NOT feel discriminated here. But, why did you, gain that sense of unprotected vulnerability for the silent nights in Berlin now?

In Ginsberg’s poem “Returning Back to Time Square, Dreams in Time Square”, nobody saw that invisible trumpeter, only that poet who’d, stumbled down the streets, after the world changed, chasing that lost dream, accidentally, found the trumpeter again. You’d heard that trumpeter’s sorrowful music playing—or perhaps, it was, your hallucination too?

Or maybe, because it was, spring back then?

The repeated once chorus had:

I’d get lost anywhere

As long as I’m found

I could be anyone

in any town

Yes, so long as we got found, who would be afraid, of getting lost? Naturally, we’d not needed to worry of the various roles we’d played, so long as we get to, return to that very first, original role, assigned to us.

You’d gone to Athens for a meeting, the sun had, shone down everywhere. After the meeting, I’d gone to Mykonos. The bright sunlight reflected into the alleyways that twisted and turned like the walls of a labyrinth, you’d wandered aimlessly, and was, drawn to a table with an empty chair in front of a café, and, you took that very first photo of an empty seat. It was, very rare, that in the afternoons, the seats were, still vacant, and, you looked upon those empty chairs, like they were, alive, and waiting, patiently, for a customer to come and sit. But, you’d had, another, delusion, that all the customers from before never, actually left, that there were, the ghosts of, customers past sitting in the seats.

like this???  not my photograph…

You’d recalled how you’d traveled to many islands with R from before, once, she’d complained that you’d only, taken her to the islands, and, you were, dumbfounded, every time you’d, planned out the trips thoroughly, you’d made sure, to include an island in the itinerary, and she didn’t like that, and that, was when it’d, dawned on you, that she’d, favored the city living lifestyle. And so, you’d, thought, had you not scheduled these trips to these, islands………then, you’d found, that your thoughts, never actually, got off the islands you’d, gone to—you’d, kept pondering how to make the amends, should you, try satisfying her more the next time? As you were, about to, leave those, empty chairs behind, you couldn’t help, but look at them again, felt, that you’d not, gotten everything that you need, to take with you.

Those windmills in the distant hills, from a certain angle on the island, you could, get a complete view of, but, you seemed, to have, never caught them turning. Until the last day when you’re about to leave, you’d, walked to the ferry, and, you seemed, to have seen, the windmill, turned. You’d instinctively turned, to tell R, but, that huge cruise ship docked, broke your illusions—at which time, there was, a large group of younger eastern girls getting off, you couldn’t help, but look at them, and, so long as the ladies were thin and tall, you’d, sought them out, as if, trying, to find something that’s, familiar and lost……until the tourists all got onboard the ship, and, you’d, carried that nostalgia of unwillingness, alighted too.

You went to Yangzhou to lecture, the autumn light reflected onto the lakes. After supper, you’d gone with a group of younger scholars, to continue the meet in the city, they’d found a pub, “For Youth”, with a live band. And, as everybody went in, they’d, received a red bandana, turned out, it was, a day of nostalgia at the pub, other than the pop music from Hong Kong and Taiwan, the young musicians also performed the tunes from long ago. And everybody, in their Red Army bandana all, sang along too; in the help of alcohol, the revolution, seemed to have, begun all over again, and no matter how many products were, produced by the outside world. As you all left, everybody looked, and, there’s, that feeling of, vacancy. After exiting For Youth, the streets became, vacant too, and, Michael Buble’s “Home” came from the distance, there’s, that feeling of surrealness. You’d told everybody to stop walking, and the song was at:

Another aeroplane

Another sunny place

I’m lucky, I know

But I wanna go home

I’ve got to go home

You shook your head, “Come on, too overly expressive.” But, actually, you were, trying, to mask up the feelings that were, awakened in you; you’d become, another flighter; kept boarding the next plane, arriving at the next sunny place. But, you’d always, traveled, alone.

all alone, without the company of someone he loves…photo from online…

You’d arrived at Lithuania in the winter, but, the chills of the winter already got there ahead of you. Before the meeting was over, you’d, gone to the capital of Latvia, Riga. Your friend told you from before, that this country, is very tiny, but had, amazing architectures, especially, when nobody else was there. And so, you’d, gone out in the snow early in the morn, and trekked the streets. The winter morning, you’d, walked across, and in-between, those ancient buildings, like you’d, entered, into a dream of solitude: all the tourists, gone, only those, shy ghosts, still, lingered on. As you walked, there came, a beautiful woman from the turn of the corner, you couldn’t tell if she was, Latvian or Russian, but, there’s, that hint of sorrow, from either the northern weather, or some other reasons. The moment she’d, passed you by, you’d found, that a button was missing from her shirt. You’d wanted to turn back and share this with R, but if this time, she’d called you “boring”, you would’ve, had a valid reason; because this reminded you of Rilke’s book, mentioning how the young maiden the man bumped into, and he’d found that a button was unbuttoned from the back of her shirt, and, guessed at how she must’ve, felt angered by something before she went out…………and, you’d, mentioned it to R: the time she’d, rushed out the door, and, you’d, chased after her, to button up that missed button on her back………

In the storm that grew, you’d, found a café to sit. The snow fell harder outside, and, you’d, worried about the woman you’d, just encountered, that she might freeze from the cold, then, you saw, another woman, in a red jacket, sipping on her coffee in the corner, looking self-confident, but without the ego, like telling those around her, she knew that the man she was waiting for was hers already, although he’d, not professed his love to her yet……at this very moment, a memory of winter came clear to you. R too, once wore her read coat and waited for you in a café. That day, you were running, seriously late, and, as you’d arrived, you’d, apologized profusely, but she’d, spoken aloud, “I’m not, waiting, for you!”

It was, Christmas Eve, you’d recalled, in the U.S. everybody was, spending the evening with someone who’s closest and mattered most, same for the international students. But R arrived Maryland, and, passed through that final Christmas Eve you’d had in the States, but why? She’d, corrected herself: that she was there, for something else, but, there wasn’t anything planned on Christmas Eve, so, she’d, come find you. But, you’d not done anything special, just strolled around South Seaport, and, carried on, in disconnected conversations. It was, really cold that evening, and, the two of you, started, breathing out white air, but, neither one of you was, in a hurry, to find a warm place to sit. Did you feel, that it wasn’t, needed, to have other people around? Or, simply because, you can’t, find a place to sit down? You can no longer, recall. But, the only thing you’d recalled was, as the two of you, leaned in against the railing, and, gazed toward the distant lighthouse, blinking, she’d suddenly inquired, “Do you like, traveling alone?”, without a second of hesitation, you’d, replied, “I used to, from before.”

And so, that, was your experience of love, and, the two of you had, shared so many memories, but, for some reasons, you two didn’t, work out, and, you’re left, with these, memories of the love you’d owned and lost, feeling, nostalgic…


Our In-Laws from Germany

the union like this one, maybe???  Photo from online…查看來源圖片

Seeing the newlyweds, and the parents of the groom, expressing their love to one another, translated…

With her head of blonde hair, smiling so radiantly, with that sky-blue, red collar dress, she’d looked, very much like a cartoon character out of a Northern Europe animation—and that was, the first impression, our in-law, Emma gave to us. As she saw us, rushing up from Taipei to pick her up, she’d, immediately, gave us hugs, and kisses on our cheeks, and, it’d, lowered that unsettlement of not knowing how to interact with an elder, it’d, made us connected. Hugging is truly, the way, to break the ice between the various cultures that’s for certain! As for the father-in-law, Emma’s dad, he’d, acted, more reserved, I suppose, it’s something to do with his profession, being an attorney and all, he’d worn a light smile, and nodded, to acknowledge us, in a white suit, he’d, resembled Gandalf in Lord of the Rings!

That was the very first time my wife and I’d, gone to a wedding in Europe, and it was, a German-style wedding too, my youngest sister-in-law, Ping, and Abbey Bear is about to walk down the aisle. The loved ones flew in, from all over, my wife’s second eldest sister and we were, “representatives from Taiwan”, we’d taken over ten hours’ flight, from the Netherlands, to Hamburg, then, drove to gather at Copenhagen, six hours away; Abby’s mom and dad took Abby Bear’s classmate’s ride, came from the Sylt on the west of Germany.

with the bride and the groom togehter, pouring itno the same glass!  Photo from online…

The very next morn, the huge group of relatives gathered, to head to the location of the wedding, city hall, and, it truly was, like in the movies, all the way there, we’d, received blessings from strangers. And of course, the happiest was, no other than Abby Bear, for he’d, waited, more than three autumns, to make this forever promise.

Since we’d arrived from Denmark, we saw Abby’s mom leaning close to Abby’s dad. Abby Bear told us, because his mother wanted to cherish every single moment she has with him—Abby’s father was diagnosed with an illness similar to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, couldn’t sit a long time, and, his neck became, weakened too, and so, as they’d heard that Abby Bear was getting married, they were, too excited. As the wedding ceremony draws to an end, hearing the father announcing that Abby and Ping were then, husband-and-wife, Abby’s parents were, grinning ear to ear, like they don’t have, any regrets anymore.

The joyous atmosphere of the wedding extended all the way to the outside of the plaza outside city hall, Abby Bear’s classmate poured the champagne, and, at this time, Abby’s dad, who’s actually, very uptight suddenly, led his friends and families, to sing that folk song in German, to bless the union, they were very moved, and, it’d, moved all the tourists who’d trekked across the plaza. This wedding was like that strong shot of morphine for the two elders, Abby’s dad who’d been sick a long time looked very alive, and, Abby’s mom, looked deep, into his eyes, like they’d, just, fallen in love together.

The westerners’ show of their love for each other, was totally, different from the Asians’. Seeing how Abby’s dad danced around with Abby’s mom, looking deeply, and lovingly into one another’s eyes, it was, such a sight of joy. But, as I’d, looked back toward my wife, she too, was, gazing at me, using that same way too; the way her curled eyebrows looked when she smiled, it was, comparable, to Abby’s mom, and, thinking of how I still have this, teenage girl who’d, loved me, and looked upon me with that sort of admiration, what else, can I ask for in life?

And so, from this experience of a wedding abroad, you’d realized, how the westerners’ show of love is quite different from the easterners’ show of love, but, love is felt, no matter which way you chose to express it.

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?

Not Yet a Traveler

Comparing oneself, and one’s own friend on the trip they took together, and at the end, she’d, understood about herself a little bit more, translated…

I kept believing that I’m an expert traveler, and started in my college years, I’d gone all over the places, and, as I’d started working, I’d gone on trips alone, to the recently opened up nations, I was among, the earliest tourists to Angkor Wat, Burma, along with Java, Indonesia, and places as such. I’d paired up with my former classmate, Helen to travel together, and realized then, that I was, a tourist that took the “comforts from home” with me out of the country.

this, is how you’d, traveled…photo from online…查看來源圖片

We’d met up at the international airport early in the morning, and, the flight to New Delhi, India was, on time. I saw Helen, with a huge backpack, and a small bag in her hand, without anything else she’d packed. I’d thought, that she’d, forgotten her luggage back in the cab, but, what befell me, was the items she’d, packed, for our twelve days of journey abroad. Now, look at me, the same twelve days, I’d had an oversized luggage, with a backpack, and my laptop too.

As we were waiting for the flight, I’d, gone to change into a less heavy, but warming “airplane outfit”, and, as I’d found my seat on the flight, I’d set up my pillow, and put my slippers on; and, as the flight took off, there was no air currents or turbulences, I’d immediately, put that moisturizing mask on, swallowed my multi-vitamins, then, readied for bed. Eight hours later, the pilot announced that we are about to descend to our destination I’d immediately started my sunblock routines, pulled out an assortments of moisturizers, sunblock……as we’d gotten our luggage, I’d, immediately, pulled out an outfit for travel, readied, to put it on. Based off of the schedules of the tours we had, there were, varied accessories, and shoes that goes with each and every occasion; each night as the itinerary ended, and we’d returned back to the hotel, I’d, worked hard, to repair my own skin. And, for Helen who was on this trip beside me, she had on her leisure jumpsuit, and sneakers, and as she’d arrived back into the hotel, she’d only pulled out her toothbrush, her toothpaste, and her pajamas to change into. She had stuffed a jacket, two sets of clothes to change in and out of, without any of the items for beauty and reparation of skin that I’d had.

Compared to how I’d hurried to find the internet connections as we’d returned back to the hotel, to share my journey with my loved ones, to have NO time zone difference with Taipei, Helen practiced her de-tox from the internet, not checked her Facebook and LINE, she’d not even cared, if she was, completely, tanned, shut off her style of comfort living in Taipei, to get out of her own, time zone.

and this, was how your friend had, done it…photo from online…

Compared to my packed up suitcases with things I’d needed for my life back in Taipei, Helen only had a backpack with her, but, she was, more of a sojourner than I am, simplified everything she had, and, able to, take in more of what she’d, encountered on this trip. So, I was only someone, who’d, traveled, with my comfort zones intact, not yet considered, a traveler.

So, this, is what you’d found out about yourself, on that trip with someone, comparing how you and her differed in your styles of travel, it’d made you understood, that your friend was able to, travel more freely, without the baggage from back home, unlike you…

My Eldest Sister

Growing up in an era of hardship, and this, was the result from the sacrifices that their eldest sister had, made, translated…

“Your eldest aunt came to Pingdong, and yesterday, mommy took her to Tainan to offer the incenses to grandpa and grandma, I saw her, patting their urn, said she’d wanted your grandma and grandpa to feel the temperature from her hands, she’s, really, a wonderful daughter.” I’d left this brief message on my family’s group page, and it’d, moved all the kids.

Awhile ago, my eldest sister who was eight years my senior came south, I’d become, the host, drove her around, to Wanluan to have the pork’s feet, and bought the layered pastries that was so famous from there, along with, other delicacies of the locale, seeing her with her satisfied smile, I’d felt, very well. “The eldest sister was like a mother”, that fitted my eldest sister’s life completely.

illustration from the papers…圖/黃鼻子

After mom married dad, who was the eldest son of his family, she’d had seven daughters consecutively, and, in the era of sexism in the 1950s, my mother felt the pressures from the relatives. Since I could recall, my mother always had bad temper, and, all of us, sisters, just, stayed far out of her way. As my eldest sister started her middle school, commuting to Hsinying from Yenshui, my mother always asked her to make a trip to the shops, to not press the family to pay up what we’d owed the separate shops, and so, my eldest sister made the wish, to help out with the household finances when she was very young.

Right after middle school, she’d not continued her education, left home, and started working, had her share of hardships, only hoping, to help the family pay up the debts that we owed. And, for a long time, all of us, family who are only able to rent the residences, in her hard work, we’d not only paid up all the debts, we’d, accumulated some savings, and bought an apartment up north.

查看來源圖片five sisters, photo from online…

What impressed me the most, was how I’d gotten into the teacher’s college and Tainan All-Girls’ High School, and, probably because I’d read too many romance novels, I’d dreamed about attending the regular high schools, to head off to college, to live a colorful life, and, bugged my parents, to give me my dreams. But, back then, we’d just, made the down payment for our home, with the installments that awaits all of us, although my eldest sister had, promised, she’ll, take care of my tuition, in the end, considering the economics, I’d still, gone to the teacher’s college, that had the scholarship programs. And back then, there were two students from my classes who’d done really well, who’d gotten into the Tainan All-Girl’s High School as secondaries, but didn’t go, because of their family backgrounds, and started working at the factories up north. Thinking about it, how many girls were, slaughtered, during that era in time.

And, of us sisters, my eldest sister was the most petit, when my mother was still alive, she’d told, that because since my eldest sister was in the elementary years, she’d helped carried us all, younger sisters, that’s what, kept her, from growing taller; plus as she was developing, we were, poor, and my parents couldn’t give her the food that helped her grow taller, and it’d, hurt, thinking about that. I’m more than grateful, that we were, lucky enough, to have our eldest sister, who was like, a second mother to us, as siblings.

And so, during that era, everything was hard, and, the eldest children in each families were often, forced to give up their dreams, to help out the families, and this, was exactly what the eldest sister of this family had done, and, her siblings appreciated her for it, now that they’re, older, and understood more about life in general.

What Flower Taught Me

Lesson learned, from an animal, translated…

About a month ago, the poodle that was owned by Aunty Chang downstairs, had “unknowingly” given birth to a puppy who’s coat color was darker, “Flower”. Reason why it was weird, was that Aunty Chang stated that Flower had been spayed, so how can she have an offspring? Could it be that she was, mistaken, that Flower never, got spayed?

And, because flower junior was born, they’d needed to look after her well, but, her mother-in-law was hospitalized, and her husband, ill, she couldn’t have the energy to care for Flower Jr., so she’d asked me to help, that she will come and pick up Flower Jr. after her mother-in-law was discharged from the hospital. I’d never owned a dog before, and, my impressions of dogs stayed at the cute puppies printed on the calendars. But, think on it, I’d only needed to feed it, take it outside, it shouldn’t, take up too much of my time, and, I can help my neighbor, and have the company of Flower Jr., so, why not?

from this…not my photo…查看來源圖片

As Aunty Chang wrapped up Flower Jr. in a towel to hand her over to me, I was stunned, by that small puppy, the size of a banana, with her eyes still closed. She wasn’t anything like those puppies I’d imagined, the ones that run and played, seeing the young Flower, I’d started regretting agreeing to care for the puppy, without getting the handle on the situation first.

Flower was very light, and yet, as I’d held my hands open to take her in, she’d felt, so heavy to me. And, Aunty Chang started telling me what I’d needed to watch out for feeding her, cleaning up her poop, and to keep her warm, along with the likes, I’d nodded my head, and told myself, that I will NOT, let Mrs. Chang down, entrusting me with Flower Jr.

The first few days, she’d stayed put inside that small quilt that covered her, and other than feeding, it’s, sleeping, there wasn’t, that much trouble. About two weeks later, her eyes became, twice their original sizes, and, every time I’d called out her name lightly, she’d, extended her neck, to see where my voice was coming from, and started, showing signs of wanting to move, moving her front legs, attempted, to, lift up her body. By the third week, she could already, stand up on her own, but still, wobbled as she walked around and about.

And, although the way she looked was very foolish and cute, every time I took her diapers off, she’d, peed and pooped all over, again, and again, and again, I’d just wiped my hands, and needed to, go wash up again, I’d felt, very annoyed by this. There were, a couple of times, that I was, impulsive, in wanting, to bring her back to Aunty Chang, but I’d, put that thought out of my mind.

to this…not my photo…letting the owner know that s/he needs to go outside to potty!

In order to train her to pee and poop in the bathrooms, I’d layered the newspapers in, then, closed the doors, thought, that it would go my way. But, I’d waited for her, and waited, and waited, nothing happened. But, as I’d, let her out, she’d, immediately, peed in the living room floors.

Once, she’d pooped at the entry of the kitchen, I’d let out a loud yelp. She’d, immediately, run and duck for cover underneath the couch. Seeing how fearful Flower became, I’d, blamed myself for being too hard on her, and thought, that I’d, hurried her too much, a dog that’s not yet a month old, how can she know what was expected of her? I’d needed to, hold my horses, and teach the ways slowly.

With this new mindset, I’d, trained her more times during the day, and, in the process of waiting for her to go use the toilet, I’d read or listen to music. And, maybe it was that I’d felt, more relaxed, or maybe, Flower had, grown, one day, she’d, peed on the newspapers. And, seeing how she’d, rubbed up against my heel with her muzzle after she’d peed, I was so happy, and so moved too.

With my careful taking care, Flower grew by the day, her curly brown coat was, soft and shiny, her eyes, bright and shiny, very cute. In a couple of days, Flower will go home with Mrs. Chang, I’m truly grateful, that during this period of time, she’d shown me the joys of watching something mature, along with, training me to be more patient as well.

So, this is what keeping a pet does for us, it trains our patience, makes us, more understanding, of the needs of others, because a puppy that young, needs a ton of care, and love, and attentive, and, if you don’t watch it closely, it will do things that will make you mad, and, when you do get mad over the things that happen when the animal was in your care, you’re actually, ANGRY at yourselves, because it’s YOUR fault, for NOT noticing what the animal needs.

Adding from One to a Hundred, a Treasure Map of Memories

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.

圖/倩illustration from the papers online…

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.