Pen

As I wrote with it I wondered if my mother knew of my elation and glee when I discovered that this was the pen of my favorite bedtime story, of her tales of her father. And finally I was worthy of holding its ink black body.

Excalibur could not have given me better assurance.

As I continued to write I wondered, does my grandfather know? When he, working his multiple jobs and dancing around the wealthy spheres of rich people, would find this pen as he cleaned out the backseat of his taxi, and that this pen will be my sword, my joy and my love? I know that he thought about returning it, he told my mother that, but he wasn’t sure how he would contact the dozens of people whose lives had bounced off from his life faster than a ping-pong ball against table corners the second they paid and left.

So, he adjusted his cap, unnecessarily straightened the half-empty bottle of coca cola in his cup holder as his thoughts temporarily quenched his constant thirst for the sugary drink (that his family later named author of his diabetes, which is in term the author of his bedridden state). He thought of his daughter…her eyes bright but her mind brighter.

When was the last time he’s gotten her something?

So, he slipped the thing into his shirt pocket, into his daughter’s hands, and now

into mine.

Now, now, the pen bleeds into tales, now, weaving fantasy and dreams and objects of the metaphysical. One of them is about a girl with her grandfather’s pen, which he found it in the back of his taxi.

Chinese New Year

This is the time of the year when I am typically encouraged to do things in excess: eat a lot of traditional foods that are supposedly directly related to good luck, smile a lot at church friends or relatives like a seasoned politician meeting their voters as ballets of judgement in the form of gossips are casted, cringe a lot as the presence of my father guarantees unnecessarily awkward situations and grin a lot as the red, incensed envelopes under pillows are a lot more detectable than the princess’s pea.

Or perhaps it could be more like yesterday night — for just like Christmas, the actual feasts of Chinese New Year happens the night before — just the four of us at home, the winds whipping windows while we wait for one of us to ruin the moment of seeming perfection.

Volumes

The simple gesture spoke volumes so I

wrote down volumes for them. Years passed, dust set.

The books encaséd in their wooden, glass throne.

When I dared to visit them, I read them

cover to cover. One volume after

another until both the books and I

are exhausted. The dust of time brushed off

by the gentle breeze from the leaves, rustle

that broke the glass parting memories and

air.

Father

Genetically speaking, “father” is generally a male who is responsible for half of your genetic makeup.

To me, he is a symbol of distant fears, of late nights when my sister, my mom, and I were obliged to stay up, waiting for him to come home from work. Later on, he evolved into a symbol of inexplicable misogyny, saying things like “wives should stay home and tend to their husbands,” demanding to know everything my mother, sister and I want to or plan to do, randomly snapping or throwing things when my sister and I dared to defy his almighty authority.

He is the one who asks if I am mentally unstable when I attempt to explain to him how wrong it was for him to say that the only reason women should be educated was to “make them more reasonable.”

He is the epitome of hypocrisy who scoffs when he sees my mother cleaning the house, but complains when my grandma does not leave the household spotless once my mother goes back to the States with me. He later told my mother that seeing people doing house chores upsets him and he wants it to be done out of his way.

He is the definition of insensitivity as he purposely boast to his friends in front of my sister and I how much he suffered when he visits the U.S.: how inedible the meats are compared to Taiwan, how the foods were only fit to be fed to pigs, how tiresome it was to adjust to jet lag. All these complaints, even though he never bothered to adjust to jet lag on his one-week visits nor even go through the bother of packing since he expects my mother or grandmother to clean up after the luggage he leaves opened in the middle of the living room. Most of the time he would talk loudly on the phone in the middle of the night even during school days. During the day, he would sit there and scroll on his phone, demanding for my sister and I to chat with him while he continues to stare at his phone (with the exception of the instances when I mention a white person).

Once we complain or try to talk to him, he would just book a ticket to go back to Taiwan sooner, saying that we are isolating him, that we are unsympathetic to his sacrifices in providing for us.

He’s the first thing I hate, and the last thing I would want to learn to love, though I know that the lesson will have to pass one day.