“Take care. Goodbye.”
The airline was cancelled. I was thinking as if the typhoon knew what I was hoping for: to delay his departure, as late as possible.
I hate seeing people off because I hate goodbye. But now I always insist on seeing people off, because I have missed it once, and I don’t want to miss it twice.
Goodbye to My Grandmother
It was 1997. The rain was killing the last breath of summer, while the operation was killing the last breath of my grandma. I rushed into the ward, only to find someone hardly recognizable. Instead of pale, her body was gray. I turned back, not daring to go forward to take the last glance. I thought I had already prepared myself to the worst scene, but at that moment, I came to realize that death was beyond preparation. It was like cutting a part of my body away. I could hardly breathe, and the pain made me numb. For the first time in my life, death scared me. In fact, I was scared to death.
It strikes me, though, that I never got a real chance to say goodbye to her. I know although I hate saying goodbye, I would have liked to do it, as I have to get used to it.
Goodbye childhood, goodbye youth, goodbye friends, goodbye grandma.
Now I say goodbye dad, and take care. He just simply walks away. For no reason, the tears gather thickly in my eyes.
“People who seldom cry have poisonous tears.”
When I was a little girl, I cried for almost everything. I cried when I had my hair cut; I cried when I went to the kindergarten. Everyday it took my mom half an hour to coax me into the classroom, and I swear all the neighbors and classmates knew me as a waterworks.
Mom said, “This child is annoying.” Grandma had a different opinion: “People who seldom cry have poisonous tears. It’s good that the child cries; her tears are harmless.” True or not, I appreciated it.
I had never seen my father’s tears, though. Every time my parents had a fight, it was my mother who cried. I always thought that my father was bullying her. Why did he not cry? Men are not supposed to have tears, I guessed. I wondered if his tears would be strong poison. I wished I could have a taste.
My Father’s Tears: The First Time
On that queer afternoon, I woke up from my nap when I overheard some strange noise from the “audio-video room”―dad just loved movies and he spent most of his money on our family cinema. As I peeped into the room, I saw dad’s face with tears all over and he was sobbing loudly, totally out of control. It was Mel Gibson’s “Brave Heart” and its music had broken his heart.
He was watching towards the end of the movie, when William Wallace was being tortured before being beheaded. I think it was that screaming for “freedom” that made him cry so hard; so hard that he himself hadn’t expected either. When he saw me, the air was freezing, but the sobbing was as impossible to hold back as a river.
My Father’s Tears: The Second Time
When I saw his tears the second time, he was silent. It was at the funeral of his mother. I saw those crystal drops of tears running down his cheeks quietly. I knew how he felt, though I could not see him very clearly through my foggy eyes.
Last December, when I was leaving Hong Kong, I got a surprise from my tutor, Florence. She insisted upon meeting me before I went, and she brought me a postcard of Mongkok’s lively roads. (Mongkok is very Hong Kong in my eyes.) I bid goodbye by saying, “Good luck with you thesis.” She replied, “Please don’t say any more. I will cry.” It was no long before two beautiful rivulets started running down her face. It’s hard to describe how I felt at that moment.
I wasn’t simply moved; I wasn’t simply surprised. I didn’t feel like crying myself, but I sensed something genuine.
I have to say: I love tears.
They help us get rid of poison.
They are gifts.
If you like what you’ve read here, help keep the site going and