(Day 6 Writing Assignment: Write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014, or someone you’ve known but has changed over time, or someone you haven’t met but would like to meet someday.)
If I had to describe him in one word it would be “scary.” He was tall for Asian standards. At almost 6 feet in height, he towered over almost everyone around him. He had a commanding presence and a deep voice that caught people’s attention every time he spoke.
Growing up with an old-fashioned, traditional, Chinese father was like being raised in a military camp. He was a disciplinarian, who took his position of authority rather
too seriously. We were not encouraged to express our thoughts and feelings, especially if they were in contrast with his own. We were simply expected to listen, comply and speak only when spoken to. His word was the law. This is how I remember him.
Despite his intimidating ways, it seemed that he was frequently in the company of his friends. It appeared he had many. Often over for dinner and drinks, the groups were varied. Some parties were small and intimate, others were large and rowdy. Whatever the occasion, he always called for his children at one point so he can introduce us to his guests. Every time, he did so beaming with pride and honour. It was during these times when he would reward us with what looked like a smile.
I was only 12 when he passed and people travelled from all over to pay their last respects at his wake. Many had expressed how they knew Dad. They spoke much about his wisdom and generosity, as well as his penchant for making people laugh. Every single person had their own heart-warming story to tell. It seemed that he had touched so many lives. Having been trained never to contradict an elder, I kept my mouth shut. I smiled and nodded as if to agree, when I simply listened in utter disbelief. Were they even describing the same man? I thought that perhaps they were mistaken and came to the wrong wake. Did they mean that Daddy had a softer side after all?
Today, my siblings and I have all settled down with children of our own. I find myself often wondering how Dad would be around his grandchildren. Seeing things from a parent’s perspective now, I believe that Daddy would have been an excellent grandfather. I can almost see his eyes gleam in delight at the sight of the little ones. I imagine that he performs silly antics just to hear the children giggle. He is likely to be a grand story-teller of his life adventures. He would probably shower them with so much hugs and kisses too.
Or maybe he wouldn’t do all that. Perhaps I am just playing out this fantasy in my head. But wherever he is, I can be sure that he is rewarding me with his version of a smile.