• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

The son took the train to the hospital to see his father, but the result was unexpected

Until I left home at the age of sixteen, all seven of our family slept on the same bed, a wooden bunk with a straw mat and a quilt in winter. Such a family should be very close, right? Yes, but not including the father. The father may have been groping and trying ways to get close to his children, but he has always been unable to get in. Likewise, so do the children. When I was a child, I especially loved the days when my father worked the night shift, because he was not at home when he came back from get out of class. Because he was not here, the whole family felt less inexplicable fear and pressure. My mother accurately described it as \”when the cat is away, the mice are choking on their whiskers.\” When his father came back at midnight, he had to move and straighten the children who were sleeping in a mess one by one, so that there was room for him to lie down. I\’m usually awake then. Having been awakened by the sound of him opening and latching the door, I continued to pretend to be asleep, waiting for my father to go to bed after taking a shower. He would stand and observe for a while, and sometimes he would even murmur to himself: \”Really?? Sleeping like this!\” Then the bed board would shake slightly, and then he would smell the scent of lemon soap on his body and slowly come closer, feeling that he was His big hands went through my shoulder blades and thighs, and finally he picked me up and put me in his proper place, then pulled the quilt and covered me. I like my father working the night shift. In fact, what I like seems to be this special moment – the hug from my father that lasts less than half a minute. One day when I grew up, I confessed this experience of pretending to sleep to my younger siblings. Unexpectedly, they all said, \”Me too! Me too!\” Maybe we don\’t have many opportunities to get close to each other, so some memories are particularly profound. One year, my father\’s leg was crushed by a falling plate in the mine. The injury was so severe that he had to be transferred from the miners\’ hospital to a private surgical hospital in Taipei for treatment. Since he was hospitalized for a long time and his mother had to work to support the family, almost no one knew about his situation in the hospital. One Saturday after school at noon, I didn\’t know what kind of impulse I had, but I jumped on the train bound for Taipei. After getting off the bus, I kept asking for directions from the back train station to the surgical hospital. Then in the ward filled with six beds and accompanying family members, I saw a father who was without dignity and in a state of desolation. He was asleep. The sunlight at around four o\’clock fell slantingly on his thin face. His hair was uncombed, long and messy, and his beard looked like it hadn\’t been shaved for several days; his right leg, which was in a plaster cast, was exposed outside the quilt, and his toenails were long and dirty. I don’t know why, but the first thing I thought of was to cut his toenails. The nurse said that there were no nail clippers, but she could lend me a pair of small scissors. Then, under the gaze of everyone, I lowered my head to hold back the tears that kept coming out, and carefully cut my father\’s toenails. When I finished cutting all my toenails, I raised my head and found that my father had opened his eyes and looked at me. Did your mother ask you to come? no. Did you come here by yourself? Didn\’t you tell your mother? No! Ma Lu Yelang (Japan\’s national curse \”Bagaya Road\” written in Chinese characters means that the other person is stupid and uneducated). It wasn\’t until the sky slowly turned dark and the neon lights outside gradually brightened that my father said again, \”It\’s dark now. I\’ll take you to watch a movie. You can sleep here tonight!\” That night, my father held my shoulder with one hand and said: Holding a cane in one hand, he carefully threadedOver the weekend, the bustling crowd walked through the long streets and went to watch a movie. Along the way, when I couldn\’t help but think of the time when I was a child, my father and a group of uncles and uncles went to Jiufen to watch a movie under the moonlight. At the same time, my father happened to ask me, \”Do you remember when I took you to Jiufen to watch a movie when you were a child?\” It was the first time in my life that I went to Taipei alone, the first time I slept alone with my father, the first time I helped my father cut his toenails, but it was also the last time I watched a movie with my father. It was a cinema much larger than Jiufen Shengping Cinema, called Far East Cinema. What was staged that day was a Japanese documentary directed by Kun Ichikawa and titled \”Tokyo World Games\”. The film is very long, and even now, twenty years after my father passed away, it still plays in my head from time to time.

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