Do you ever have those moments you wish could just defy time, even for a split second?
It was in the Subaru Galaxy, my dad’s MP3 player tuned into some Mandarin song wailed out by an up and coming Hong-Kongese singer…AC on full blast, warm leather seats…and for a second, I wondered if time could stay still to bask in the sheer…joy.
A perfect day to drive, with Pixar-esque clouds dipped in aquamarine and grasshopper green grass dappled in golden sunlight…a Picasso and Monet dream of texture and color.
I remember, the lyrics exactly…roughly translating into, “…I want to grow old with you, on a porch swing…swinging slowly, slowly…” Haunting and delicate, the singer’s voice reminds me of everything I’ve ever lost in my unlucky, unforeseen romances. Boys lie – they steal your heart and refuse to return even a single piece. If you do get it back eventually, it will be shattered. Heart hung on a sleeve, the wind, rain and snow ravaged every piece…I was dying, in that moment, tears soaking through my pastel surgical mask. Tired, lonely, sick…alone, alone, alone.
That’s…not the moment I want to freeze, but the frame right afterwards. Dad, 爸爸, peering at me in his wire spectacles, and sighing. He chuckles and chats away in Mandarin, “I remember when you were just a little thing, coming here fresh from China. 爷爷 sewed a badge on your toddler onesie, with Mom and Dad’s name, address, the works.”
I chuckle. Man…Dad always knows how to distract me from the present with the past and future…stories…the man who made me believe in stories.
“Time passes so quickly, love. You got off the plane in Chicago, and you kept crying for Lao Lao. At long last, you fell asleep for maybe an hour in my arms.”
Tears dry into salty rivulets down my face. He always knows just what to say, my Dad. Through heartache, pain, depression…he’s always known just what to say. “Stop it, start it, you can do it.”
Simple, to the point, and always loving.
My dad – I wish I could just keep these moments with you, so precious and full of light. You are fireflies and summer sun…you are a nice breeze beneath ocean floors…your heart reminds me of the heart of David.
You are a picture of the true Father.
I am so, so thankful for you, Dad.