4 a.m. Out at Beijing

Another weekend, time fleeting, snailed in and Way and I arranged another rendezvous for dinner. We just felt compelled to keep talking, not knowing that the talk would last even well after midnight.

Intimate relationship, be it intra-family bonds or romance, turns out to be hard, though we “singletons for ten thousand years” felt inadequate to even delve into the subject. But through our talk I just felt we and many like us are not “lovable” enough to step into a relationship. It is about trust, proactivity, courage and pure focused feelings. However, it also occurrs to me that we have surely passed the age for youngsters’ campus love. Romance is intimidating and makes us fragile or, at least, feel fragile, another friend told me, who was undergoing some heart-rending feelings.

Not that I need no intimacy. For so long, however, I have been searching for personal freedom that might, as I came to foresee, mean little. The parent-child interaction has been little in my family and father-son conflicts are no more a farce that I feel absurd, meaningless and so bored to mention again. In previous discarded blogs, I always used “all of the craps” for those suffocating family odds and ends. But when I talked with Way for hours in a still-chilling April night in Beijing, I realized that I had been brought up, wittingly or unwittingly, to conspire with a tender yet principle-bending mother and a violent father to shape a family of strangers. And a child of no any fxxking use, as I would lament at nights.

“Each and every family has a hard book to read.” This Chinese saying could be universal. The most uncanny in my family, however, is my family after all is an unconventional one. My mother’s tame and reticent clumsiness as the second daugher was well recognized in her original family and villiage. Such personality continued in her marriage that started off when she was about 25. Reserved as she had been, she became quite stubborn in her own family that collided usually with my father. My monther has always been gentle, but after almost some twenty years I began to realize that she was obstinate and risk-averse and conversative, though still in a gentle manner in my eyes.

For lifetime, my father hankers deep down for acceptance and understanding. He grew up from a temptuous farmer’s family. But by contrast of my private boiling sentiments, he almost never complainted of it. Perhaps he had had a lot complaints and pains, but just like I am typing here to no one’s knowlegde, his thoughts would never be known. He harbhoured fear for my grandfather, though he tried to check it knowingly or unknowingly. My mother told me it and I deduced myself from my fear(that morphed into a mixture of sickness and resentment) for him through my childhood. My father had been a voracious reader and a traditional Chinese calligraphy amateur that had won much praise from his neighbors and classmates and teachers. I knew these most convincingly from a night I spent on reading his diaries and credentials that dated back decades ago. But the most accurate word, if I could use, for my father was LOST. He was a lost youth. Lost for personal fortunes as a farmer’s son that was far more spiritual rich than his forefathers while still painfully confined to reality, an old-rut story. Lost for dealing with the new family life interwined with all tribal relationships. Lost for misspent youth and immediately upcoming midlife crisis. Lost for an estrangement between him and the only son.

Life sucks.

Sometimes, I thought to myself, if I would ever be more forgiving of the father-son relationship this life, nine out of ten it should be predicated on the realization that he was a just an ordinary man and had been a youngster like me now caught in individual ups and downs and joys and pains.

That’s hard.

Right. If I no longer know a mother who has been always naggingly caring but a gentle woman in marriage and work; if I no longer know a father who has been always unapproachable and unpredictablely violent, but a man who might feel his lost youth flash across his mind in frantic trivial work life: a huge broom propped against the shoulder patroling the mountains in case of accidental or unaccidnetal fire; working sweating buckets as a go-between for a villiager fight; playing along willingly or unwillingly for drinks after drinks in grass-roots bureaucratic socializing…

I have known my legacy from the family. Feebleness, cold feet, vulnerable body. When I make of list of these, “all of those craps” surfaces again in my head.

To know all this doesn’t mean I got my way out of this puzzling twenties’ life.

I am not merely seeking an answer.

But asking more questions.

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