March 23, 2017

I cried

I was watching a reality show from China last week ...  the show helps famous actors and actresses arrange for surprises to thank certain people who made a big difference in their lives. I watched every episode ... I cried every episode.

Oh yes I cried ... I cried a lot, I must have cried thousands of times in my 55 years of life.

I can remember when I was 10 years old, I wanted to join a school trip during the holidays. The trip cost 25 dollars and I begged my mother to let me go. She did not have the heart to say no ... so she agreed.

I was really happy but that night just before I went to sleep, I heard my mother telling my father that she needs to go my Aunty house the next day. Why? Because she have to borrow money from my Aunty to pay for my school trip. I couldn’t sleep ... my mind was troubled. I so wanted to go on the school trip but then I felt so bad that my mother have to borrow money to pay for it. I don’t know what to do ... I cried.

At last I went ... it was a trip down south to Malacca. That morning, my mother gave me 5 dollars and packed some food and water for me. We all excitedly boarded the bus and very fast the noisy bus was on its way. After about an hour into the journey, the teacher told us that we will stop for a break at a restaurant and when we reached the restaurant, everyone was eager to get down from the bus to buy some drinks and snacks ... everyone except me. I was determined not to spend what my mother gave me ... I wanted to give the money back to her.

From the bus, I watched my schoolmates having their soft drinks and snacks. I remained in the bus ... ate the biscuits and drank water that my mother packed for me. As I was eating and watching my friends silently ... I cried.

I was not the studious type but my parents were hoping that I could make it far ... they were hoping that I could make it to university. Being a religious person, my mother prayed to all the gods she thinks that will help me in my exams ... even asked our Indian neighbor to seek blessing for me during Thaipusam.

But I failed ... I did not do well in my MCE. The day when I saw my results, I told myself ... it’s alright, I did my best. I even went to a movie with friends and then I went home. When I told my parents that I did not pass my MCE, my father said ... it’s alright, you did your best. But I know, they were disappointed ... very disappointed. The whole evening my father was unusually quiet and I could see my mother was not her usual self. I went to bed but I couldn’t sleep and I look at my results again ... I cried.

During my early 20s, I was a young energetic guy making a living in the booming 80s ... like many men in their 20s, I fell in love. Like many first loves, I thought it was going to be forever. But as time went by and as we both grew and experienced many different things in life, it was clear that our choices in life were different. So we parted. That evening I went out to drown my sorrows in a neighborhood pub ... somehow there is a line in every song the band played that seems to be talking about me ... I drank a lot and I cried.

Then I got married ... life was good for a while but then one of my lungs collapsed. I was smoking like a chimney and one of my lungs decided to pop. In the emergency ward, the doctors punctured a hole in my right side and put in tubes to drain blood from my lungs ... I was drowning in my own blood. Decisions were quickly made to prepare me for a thoracic surgery and as I was wheeled into the operating room, I was trembling, I was scared, I was confused ... just before they put me to sleep ... I cried.

My brush with death changed me ... mellowed down and started living a simple life. I was already in my late 30s when son was born and two years later, my daughter came along. I remember when they were 4 and 2 years old, we were at a shopping mall when my son was quite annoyed with his sister. He was making a fuss and refused to be with her. I told him that if he don't want his sister, we will leave her at the mall and go home without her ... he nodded almost immediately. Then I grabbed his hand and walked away leaving my two years old daughter behind and see what happens. We walked for just about 20 steps and then my son stopped, immediately turned around and ran quickly back and hugged his sister who by then was crying uncontrollably ... he cried, she cried, I cried.

As the years went by I finally retired and took on a more easy and simple life. My son got into university, got his car license and learning to take care of himself while my daughter is also learning to be more independent. Most of the mornings I will sit in my garden with my coffee and my wife will be watering the plants. Funny, I did not notice this before ... maybe it was because we were too busy taking care of others but now I see, she has been through a lot ... she aged. As I watched her silently ... I cried.

And lately I went on a trip with a few of my best friends ... we have known each other for more than 40 years. I was looking at the many photos of the trip and then I took out some old photos of us in our younger days. Looking at the old and new photos side by side, the memories started to fill my mind. The schooldays, the good days, the bad days, the heydays ...  the friendship that bonded us together for so many years and many more to come. And the memories brought emotions ... I cried.

Yes, I cried a lot ... tears of guilt, tears of shame, tears of joy, tears of love, tears of appreciation, tears of fear, tears of pain, tears of all sorts and I will keep crying ... for I am what I am today because I cried.


venkatesh raj said...

I didn't cry but there was a lump in my I know where your heart of gold comes from chief

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Thanks Raj ... it is because I have good friends like you and I must say from where I stand, I can see you have a beautiful heart too :)