Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thoughts at Tokyo Airport

Not looking forward to the long flight ahead but the thought of seeing him brings a smile to my face.

The trip has been long and exhausting. I spent much of the time traveling around places I don’t really care to see and hanging around people I don’t really care to talk to. I couldn’t wait to go home, yet I always wish there was more time: more time with my grandparents who love me more than I know, more time with the father I haven’t seen in over 14 years, more time with the grandfather who took care of me during the best years of my youth. I know there will never be enough time.

It’s been a long time since I last saw him before he left again for Berlin shortly after my 9th birthday. Now everything seemed like a dream. It's difficult to digest even now that I actually talked to my father and hugged him once more after all those years. He carried me around the hallway on his back like the way he used to when I was little, and it felt the same as it did back then. I wish I had gotten everything on tape. I was flooded with emotions I didn't know I had and tears poured out no matter how hard I tried to hold the back. Although we exchanged contact information, the meeting felt more like a closure.

My aunt’s husband drove us to the neighborhood where my grandfather and I used to live. Everything in China changed, yet everything in that neighborhood some how stayed the same. The same streets, same entrance, same office by the gate, the markets around the corner selling delicious looking fruits, the guihua tree on the side of the open area. I could almost be 12 again. Grandfather’s house had no lights on. After talking to the attendants in the office we found out that he had just fallen down the stairs and went to the hospital earlier. Before we got back into the car I took a short walk around the old house and stopped by a neighbor’s house, the girl I used to play with when I lived there, Liutin. She doesn’t live there anymore; her house still looked the same. I had almost forgotten the blue tinted glass in her living room, the way I looked into my reflection as I walked by with her one afternoon while her cousin was in the other room. I used to like him, maybe I still do. Even now I use his name as the password for all my accounts. I wanted to see what he looks like now. It’s best not to visit old things, then you can cherish them exactly the way you like, a perfect shade of sepia.