Last night, my father came in my dream again, his countenance being exactly the same as it was when he left me twenty years ago. Simply leaving a kindly smile, he turned round and left, no matter how I shouted and cried. Then I woke up with a start and couldn’t fall asleep. Then suddenly I was overwhelmed by sadness. It seems Father visits me less and less often now. Am I forgetting him? A feeling of guilt rose up in me. He’s my Father, and he’s now gradually slipping out my mind! I couldn’t help shuddering at this thought. No, I will not let this happen, I need to do something! I must recollect as many past memories about him as possible…I should not let them go, and fade away like a piece of washed-out cloth.
I was born into the family when Father was almost 50,and a kid gotten at such an age was usually fondly called ” autumn melon” by the local elderlies. I was a shy boy then and those uncles and aunties liked me very much…but partly might be out of my Father, who was a veteran batallion commander in the army. Though Father was a taciturn man of only a few words, he was respected by many people there ( Remember our farm was once a military regiment if you’ve read some of my earlier entries here). Till now, when some elder people mentioned him, they called him ” Commander Qi”.
Father was not good at expressing his love for his kids, but we could clearly feel it. When I was 4 or 5 years old, he often carried me around in his strong arms,chatting with fellows, or working in the orchids. I’ll never forget those days I spent with Father in the orchids. While he was trimming the apple trees or hoeing the fields, I was just playing around. How happy I was there, chasing after the butterflies or grasshoppers, picking up some beautiful flowers among the grass. As soon as I was out of Father eyes, his magnetic voice would echo among the apple trees, and I just ran back to him as quickly as I could. How much I enjoyed the company of the whispering breeze, the friendly insects among the grass, the singing birds in the woods, and my loving Father.
Later,at 7 years old, I went to a primary school near my home. As I grew older and older, I was getting ridiculously rebellious and didn’t like to listen to him. As I sometimes stubbornly stuck to my own idea, no matter right or wrong, I just stupidly insisted on it. Father was annoyed and blamed me sometimes, but never beat me no matter how I behaved ( Luckily I was not too bad then). Even worse, I would quarrel with him sometimes when he hoped to tell me something. It continued to be so for two or three years when something that happened totally changed me.
I was then in Grade Four. As my home was moved to a new place, I had to change my school, which was better than the previous one. However, I could not figure out why my chief teacher disliked me so much. He kept blaming me for my slips and errors so much that I thought he’d made too much fuss about it. Nevertheless, I felt lucky that the man had never beat me in class, as I’d seen so many classmates beaten and kicked by him in class. I was even frightened thinking of him as a monster.
Then came the time I made another mistake. The monster teacher ordered me to tell my parents that he needed to talk with them. Instead of telling my mother, I asked Father to see the teacher. My father had just recovered from a serious stroke and had to walk with the help of a stick. Hearing this, he was angry with me but agreed to see the teacher himself. I could never forget how Father managed to walk to school. For a sound person as I was, it only took me about 15minutes to get there,but it would be quite a journey for a patient like him. I followed far behind him, saw him walking and taking a rest to recollect some strength. My eyes were suddenly filled with tears and felt so sorry about what I had done then. From that moment, I’d made up my mind, ” Be good, boy!” Then, a “bad” boy gradually turned into an example for all the other students in that small school, till I left there.
Father left me when I was in Junior Three and that night has been engraved in my mind forever. It was almost the end of the semester and I often stayed up quite late those days. Father was not feeling well several days ago, and Mom and I were really worried about it. As I slept in the same room with him, Mom told me to be more alert about him. One night, exhausted with a long time of hard study, I was ready to go to bed. As I lay down in bed, I noticed Father’s face looked wax yellow, and his eyes opened a while and had a glimpse of me…then they were closed. And I hadn’t expected it was the last look at me from my Father!
The next morning, while I was having classes at school, an uncle came to my class and asked me to go back home. Then I knew Father had left me,without saying anything to me. How regretful I was for my carelessness the night before!And from that night, I lost my father forever!
Now, twenty years are gone,and I have a son of my own. Time seems so powerful to fade anything away. Sometimes I feel scared to recall Father’s countenance…Sometimes it’s become so vague and is fading away!I’m so ashamed of it that I really feel painful. I should not forget my own Father!
Then,everything is rushing in my mind, with those old memories..and I found myself missing my father so much! As my fingers were typing on the keyboard, the letters on the screen became so misty and blurry…Then I realized my eyes were filled with tears and I couldn’t help them….