He’d Tussled My Hair

Ahhhhhhhhhh, the tastes of love we’d encountered in our schooling days, so innocent, liyet, so surprising at the same time, translated…

I’d walked up the stairs, passed the group of boys, gathering around the entrance, smoking, then came whistling from behind me…………So, this is a cram school, this huge classroom the size of an auditorium, the rows of desks and chairs, cramped in, and numerous “bad” students who were, forced to attend the sessions by their parents.

Several days later, I’d recognized that guy who’d whistled at me, it was, a boy with his sleeves always rolled up, with the elongated brows and eyes, very slim and tall.  Privately, I’d called him “bad student”, felt, that our two worlds would be too dissimilar for us to cross path.

And yet, that day as I sat in the classroom, reading on my own, he’d came to me asked, “You’re practicing math?” I’d kept my head lowered, not knowing how to reply.  Suddenly, he’d, reached his hands out, and tucked the hair, fallen to the side of my face to behind my ear.  Suddenly, I’d, blushed and my heart raced, and my mind went blank, as I finally came back to me again, he’d returned to the group of boys he’d belonged to, and continued joking.

After that day, he’d still continued whistling at me, and I’d no longer dared, go to and from alone.  In my goody-two-shoe stage of cram school sessions, he was the first that’s made my heart skipped a beat in time.

So, this, is your first taste of love, or rather, what felt like love, and, you’d not expected this happening in your cram school sessions, but this boy, he apparently, struck a chord with you somehow…


The Interlude of Love in Our Fourth Year of Middle School

The young and in love, of course, these are, only passages in our lives, they’re not, meant to last, are they???  Nope!  Translated…

Perhaps, This Would be, the Very Last Ten-Minutes We Ever Get to Walk Together………

The Beginning of an Unknown World

This place, “the fourth year of middle school”, it’s definitely, a unique experience for the youths who were involved in it during that era of time.  Regularly, it was after we’d all graduated from middle school, but we’d continued, wearing those uniforms every single day, and pretended to go to school daily, it’s just, that the location where classes held was no longer on campus, but in this 50-centimeter space that’s tightly cramped.  But for me and Jack, it was, the start of our trip away from home, getting to know a foreign world, we’d both believed back then, that this was only, a year-long temporary thing in Taipei, which helped us to become, more adventurous in life as we got older.

young and in love, not my photograph…

That year, we both had our separate failed ventures in love.  We fell for two sisters from Shijr, I think they were, cousins.  Although we’d felt attracted to them, but, based off of the conditions back then, we couldn’t do anything about the attractive feelings, and so, after our cram school sessions, we’d accompanied them on the ten-minute walk from the classes to the train stations in Songshan, during those short ten-minutes we’d come to share, it’d become, the happiest time we’d ever had in our fourth year of middle school.

Jack loved the older girl, but, their differences in height was too enormous, the girl was 5’8, while Jack was only 5’5, every time I’d walked behind them, it was, like watching the temple deities making their parades, but, because they’d bickered a lot, it’d, added to those harder days of our youth, and for the year, we’d both followed behind them, watched how things played out with them, sometimes, we’d laughed until our stomachs hurt, and sometimes, we’d caught each other’s gazes, and, seemed, to have a lot to say to one another, but, we’d, suppressed the urges to talk, and just, walked on quietly.

Don’t Forget How You Feel at This Precise Moment in Time

The final day of our fourth year in middle school, the four of us maintained our usual formation, walked toward the Songshan Train Station.  But we all knew, that perhaps, this would be, the very last time, we walked together for the ten-minutes, and, the tall and short who’d fooled around and horse-played both, settled down.  The very first time, Jack and I bought the tickets, and followed the sisters into the station to wait.  As the train came in, I knew, that if I don’t say something, then, it would be, too late, but I’d not spoken a single word.  Before she got on, the younger cousin turned her head around, said to me, “Goodbye”, god DAMN it, I still didn’t have enough courage to say anything, I’d just, nodded my head toward her.

teenagers in love 的圖片結果like this???  Not my photo…

Before the train started, I’d quickly taken out the sketch I’d made secretly in class of the younger cousin’s side profile, and handed it to her who found a window seat, that was the very first time, that she’d stared me in the eyes, and, flashed that enchanting smile at me.  The train moved, and the older girl tilted her head out the window, and called out “Jack!”, Jack attempted to run to keep up, but the train already, sped out of the station, I saw Jack’s panting backside, and there seemed, to be tears, mixed in his sweats, this was, probably, the very first time I ever saw Jack cry.

Before we left Taipei, we did something together, celebrated our birthdays together.  We were both, Taureans, born in the month of May, eight days apart, we’d bought ourselves a small cake, with one candle on it, we sat at the bus depot at the back of the train station and made a wish together.

“Although we’re dirt poor right now, but, we’d, shared some great times together, we will, NEVER forget how we both feel at this  precise moment.”

“I hope we will sit in different countries, and celebrate our birthdays together.”

so young, these kids, and yet, the love they’d found, are the purest…not my picture still…

“Are we going to be sitting, in the different bus stations of the different countries?”

“Ha, that sounds very cool too!”

“We must work hard, to make names of ourselves, work hard, and we will, succeed!”

So, these are the days of our youths, we’d found that first taste of love, but, because at the end, we’d needed to grow up and part ways, but, the memories of our shared moments will always stay alive in each of us, like it was, yesterday!

The Era of My Son’s First Taste of Love

On parent-child interactions, translated…

The year my son entered into high school, they’d used the examination grades to see which school he enters.

With my son’s test scores, he could easily get into his first-choice, but, he’d taken a lot of time, to “brain wash” us. He believed, that his first choice had a ton of studious students, that there’s enormous academic pressure if he attended there, but, if he’d chosen his second choice, he would have no troubles at all, managing his course load and he’d be happier too. There were, FOUR other elders who’d tried to persuade him otherwise, using reasoning, and threats even, but, we just, couldn’t, deter him at all.

Later on, we’d finally known the reasons, turns out, he’d fallen for a fellow female classmate, and, her grades can only get her into her second choice, a co-ed high school. On the eve before the deadline of turning in his school choices, my son handed the card for his mother to sign, his mother took a glance at it, told him she didn’t want to sign it, wanted him to give it to me to sign. I took it, and, there was, NO way I can, change his mind, but I’d still asked him, “You never know what tomorrow might bring, this girl may well become a stranger to you in the future…………”, without me finishing my sentence, my son told me, that he knew all of this, meaning he didn’t want me to lecture on him all over again.

And so, I can only tell my son, that he needs to take responsibilities for his own life, and had him sleep on it for a night, and on the next day, I will, sign it. Then, the very next day, it wasn’t even five yet, and I was, waken up by him, “Sign it!”, he’d told me. After my son left for school, my wife asked me, with a greenish face, if I’d signed it? That was when, I’d become, completely AWAKE, and realized how serious this had gotten, I’d immediately texted his homeroom instructor, and told her what had happened. At around noon, his homeroom instructor told me, that my son had, gone to change his selections already.

But, how is this, possible?

Turns out, his teacher called him out, and asked him, “Do you think So-and-So had shown an interest in you?”, my son replied, “I suppose, yes!”, then, the teacher found the girl and asked her, but the girl replied, “No, we’re just, friends.” “And, if you’re just friends, he’d gambled his future away from you, I think, you should just, clarify it with him face-to-face.”, for the summer that follows, my son waited by the phones every single day (back then, we hadn’t gotten him a cell phone yet), and naturally, that girl who’d become, Unknown Stranger A, never even called.

Every time my wife thought about this, “The over ten years of teaching him, still can’t beat out the hormones of puberty.”, I’d replied back, “It’s expected, his stubbornness of love, like his dad, his stubbornness, like his mom!”, my son made a sound with his tongue as he heard us discuss this.

So, this, would be his first taste of love, and, this young lad was actually, about give away his better chance at a future away, for a girl, who just saw him as a “friend”, but gladly, the son knew this before he’d made his final decisions of where he’s attending high school, and this is still, parents, meddling in the lives of their own young, the parents thought they knew what’s best for their teenage son, but, what if they don’t, then, they may well have, SCREWED up the lives of their young, but gladly, this, is not the case here.

Parting Ways, the Beginning of Our Goodbyes

Looking back through the year, and realizing, that first love, but now that you’re older, that first love, became a good memory that enriched your life, translated…

The Verse that Struck a Chord in My Heart, a Seemingly Absent and Seemingly There Love

I’d opened my e-mail, and received a photo you’d sent, that was, on our twentieth high school reunion, the former classmates who’d, pushed us together, for a photo op. I looked very nervous in the picture, and, you’d appeared, more than open, with that hint of gloating, with the photo, came the words, “how have you been? When are you due back? Do remember, to call me when you’d come back.”

Since our second year in high school, although we’d sat in the same classrooms, we’d not had any exchanges. During those days with the focus placed on climbing up the scale, to tell you the truth, you, with your lowered grades, wouldn’t get my attention at all, I only knew, that you’d not studied as much as you should have, hung around a group of other students who hated studying just like you, skipped school, gotten into fights, and, our English instructor had once gotten angered by you that she’d started crying too. And, I can’t remember what that guy that made the highest grades had, offended you and your group, that you’d, gone to his dorm rooms, and, squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste onto his covers, causing him to not have the covers to sleep under, which had caused him to run a high fever. Back then, toward you and your friends, with the attitude of “I could care-less”, I’d felt, a bit, disdain.

from the newspapers…

But, I’d changed my beliefs about you on that gym meet we had that year, you’d entered yourself into numerous competitions, sprint, high jumps, long leaps, basketball………I saw you, in almost every single sports competitive event there is. And, during the events which you’d sat out, you’d become, a cheerleader, handing the water, the foods, to the students competing, and, had gotten several other classmates to join in your cheering too; and that head of the class who was excellent in grades, didn’t do a thing, just hid out in the classrooms, reading away. I was in awe at your sense of responsibility, and honor toward the class. Later on, I’d learned, that the student who was too poor who couldn’t pay for the study guides in class, you’d put up your own allowances to help him get the study guides, and, I’d started, looking at you, through a brand new light.

After we’d gotten into our last year of high school, with the pressing of the college entrance exams getting closer and closer, your father who is a school teacher had, forced you to come to the school to study in the evenings, we’d started relating to one another then. You knew that you needed to, tighten up your acts, you’d asked the classmates to help you with the problems you couldn’t get, and had often bought the snacks and shared them generously with the classmates. You’d often, borrowed books, notes from me, and, as I got those returned, I’d always, found a bookmark, with the imaginative poetry. At first, I’d not, paid it too much attention, thought that you were, merely, marking the pages that you’d already read, and, as I’d returned the bookmarks back to you, you’d blushed, and said, that it was for me for keepsake, I’d told you that I’d read a ton of materials unrelated to class, that I’d loved Shu-Wan Dai’s poetry. And the moving lines from those bookmarks, had once, tugged at my dried up and lonely heart once, it’s just, that with the coming of the major exams, I can only, tuck all of those, seemingly there sentiments up.

A Little Over a Decade Flew by, Our Hometown Became Somewhat Estranged to Me

Later on, just as expected, you’d not gotten into university, and I, went abroad for my studies. Those couple of years, we’d lost touch, I’d just heard, that your father’s relations had helped you get into a government agency, where you’d worked in the entry level positions. On the year I graduated out of the teacher’s academy, because I’d not have any relations, I’d originally gotten assigned to a distant school to teach, but, you’d used your father’s connection, and helped me to get a teaching post at a middle school in town. At, it was also, at that time, that our broken connection got, reconnected again. Maybe it was loneliness, or, maybe it was, how grateful I felt toward you, or maybe, it was, love even, we’d started, going out, for a short while, and, your father seemed to have noted me as, your future wife.

parting, such sweet sorrows…

Although I’d felt that I owed you, but I just, never paid you back with marriage. When I’d decided, to marry afar, you’d asked me, in shock, “For real?”, I’d said, “yes, for living.”, you’d carried that look of deep loss and deep sorrow. And I’d heard your friends told, that during that period of your life, you’d loved “The Bride in Xiamen” the most, over and over, you’d, replayed the theme song, “Are you okay? Are you, living the life you wanted to live? Are you okay? Did you ever, receive the love like I’d felt toward you?”, and, my originally settled heart started, trembling.

Several decades flew by, and, we’d moved on, with our separate lives. I’d heard, that being very adapted, you’d gotten into a mildly high up position, and ran your own business, that your life is going well. And, the times I’d come back home, I’d felt, that things have changed completely, that the connections of the classmates weren’t as they used to be anymore, but, you’d always, hollered on the others, to make my return seemed celebratory. And, I’d asked about you in your marriage on an occasion, you’d smiled and said, “She is not as pretty as you but she is very gentle and able like you.” Your wife is an elementary school teacher, she’d treated you like you’re her everything, worshipped you, you said, that you two shared the same interests, and, I’d said those words of blessings for you and your wife, carefully, hid my own small scent of disappointment that I was feeling.

As I’d come back to Taiwan again, you’d gotten the group of classmates together, to send me off again asked me when I will return again, then, said that parting ways, is the beginning of the goodbyes, like it was to, give yourself the consoles, as well as putting my mind at ease.

With my parents passing away, I’d returned home less and less, and, the last time I’d come back was, three years ago, it’d felt like a lifetime ago, I’d felt estranged, in this place I grew up in. And so, I’d, not let you know that I’d returned, and, just stopped here for a few short days, then, left again.

not my photo still…

I’d, stared at that picture of us again, I couldn’t tell you when I will be back, but, that song slowly, sounded off inside of my mind again…

And, this, is on a love that didn’t quite make it, you two knew that you had feelings for one another, but, because you were both students, and, you were at the top, and he, at the bottom of the class, so, the two of you naturally, are on separate poles, but, you two had, felt that strong connection, and, because fate took the two of you to different places, that, was why the two of you never made it as a couple, but, you’d not have any regrets, because you are still a good friend to him, and he, to you too.