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She Would Never Respond

Viewed 1933 times 2018-7-19 12:13 |Personal category:life|System category:Life| losses, dear

   When the news came that she was gone, I was still in school, failing to go back to hometown immediately.

   Several days before the news, father gave a mild suggestion:

 “How about coming back and keeping her company for days? ”:

   I was then too slow to penetrate beneath the words but replied hesitantly:

    “You know, I’m busy with my academic work, it’s not a proper time—”

   He interrupted me quickly with an unnoticeable sign and changed the topic:

    “That’s all right. Get down to your own business.”

   Three days later, I was informed that she passed away quietly when no one stayed with her in the midnight, leaving no trace of tears or struggles.

   It’s hard to retell how I felt at that moment. It seemed that I was not overwhelmed by the expected complicated feelings which should be comprised of sadness and painfulness. Feeling in blank after hanging up the telephone, I stand alone in the dormitory. The information of that call seemed utterly beyond my comprehension and like a kid who first heard of the word “death”, I found it hard to understand and I was just

   I was somehow not influenced by the news and lived a routine life during that period. However, when I was lying on the bed at night, I couldn’t help questioning myself and felt fearful of my calmness and reason. The repeated idea darting though my mind was that I was such a cold-blood person. If not, how can I not feel heartbroken at the bad news? I tried to find excuse that my abnormal reaction was resulted from the fact that the remote distance reduced the strong impacts on me or that I was too much trapped in my own troubles to worry about other things. But it did not work to eliminate the condemnation and criticism in every night’s trial.

   I was exhausted.

   Sometimes, I moved my lips and formed my question voicelessly, seeking for answers towards the darkness around me.

Of course, it never gave reply. 

   After all, all the questions in life remain the nature of self-questioning and self-replying, otherwise are revealed naturally when everything passes.

   I thought over my personality which might account for my behavior and had to admit that there was coldbloodness and cruelty under the daily tender, kind and talkative appearance. I laughed at my hypocrisy thinking that I would surely be able to live alone even when the doom day came.

   The doubt and condemnation of self hovered in my spiritual world like a huge question mark, and a mixture of guilty and self- criticism devolved into self- abandonment.

   In addition to self-reflection at night, I couldn’t help but recall everything about her, and tried to outline her appearance with the freshest memories collected in the last summer vacation and the Spring Festival. My grandmother, she was a short and wizened woman over seventies. Judging from the delicate features in her face, it’s not difficult to imagine her beauty when she was young. Nevertheless, the once comely face has lost all the brilliance endowed by youth and has been wrinkled all over after decades of heavy work like a shriveled apple. She has lost nearly all her teeth, to conceal this drawback, she has taken to pouting as if always having a bad temper.

   She shared the hobby of the most elderly as a chatterbox and liked to repeat the old stories over and over again with anyone who might be willing to hear. I am one of the audiences who know some pieces of her stories. No, I mean real experiences that have become of her.

   A countryside girl who had have lost her father at an early age, she and her brothers had been brought up by their single mother. It’s not necessary to mention the poor life that would possibly be faced by a girl in such a background. However, as the only girl in the family, she had been, to some degree, pampered. The change took place when she had turned 18 and she had been forced to get marriage with a man who was said to be the arranged husband decided by her father who had died early. Despite her unwillingness and protest, her request to cancel the so-called marriage had been ignored. She had attempted to escape secretly with the help of the brothers, but failed without walking out of the village. She had tried to been on hunger strike and cried days and night to change her mother’s mind. Things had not turned out to be better. Her mother who was a terribly conservative woman threatened to suicide if she ran away from the wedding ceremony. This was the last straw, she could have been more courageous and rebellious but it’s hard for an 18-year-old girl to bear the guilty once her mother died. She decided to make a compromise and get married with the man who now became my granpa, thus setting a tragic tone for her whole life.


   I can imagine the situation right after the moment when her last breath fades away. I can imagine that my heartbroken mother cried fiercely on her still warm body, and the other aunts surrounded the old wooden bed where she lay down with tears in their eyes. The grandfather seemed impassive without a word but smoked his own hand-made cigarette in another room. No one can actually read the sadness on his face but the bloodshot eyes reveal the fatigue and sorrow that can’t be hidden. The men are calling to my mother’s younger brother to hurry back, the only son in this family, who was doing business in other province. Therefore, when a new morning came, her funeral begin

   I can roughly imagine the situation when people face her cooling body, but it’s hard for me to imagine how she felt at the last moment of life.

   Throughout her life, she suffered from the pain of being a woman, and left the world sick and old, with so much regrets.

   Perhaps, she had regretted having made compromise at the threat of her mother’s suicide.

   She had regretted not having taken care of her son in person, thus letting the little boy of ten months die in the river.

   Then, she might have also regretted having adopted a boy from a relative at the request of her mother-in-law

   Living in poverty and oppression, letting go of the youth in quarrels and helplessness, she must have had too many regrets and sadness deep in the heart. Temporary secular happiness had flashed from her life and left life-long pity that can never be compensated.

   She tried to change the situation for several times, but she was always occupied with trivial things about children and housework. When she was able to examine the problems in life, she was nearly consumed by elapsing times. It’s time that has turned her into a skinny old woman from an adorable and energetic countryside girl. I heard that when she was tortured in the hospital bed, she wished to eat up the pork reared by herself. Unfortunately, the small wish was destined to be in vain. She had to brake her life and call an end to it in a hurry.

   Months after her death, I was suffering from insomnia as usual. Insomnia, for me, is generally caused by stomachache or discomposure. I regard it an important sign dividing the world between an adult and a child. Now, I am truly an adult who will be easily deprived of quick sleep. After tossing and turning restlessly for what might be several hours, I fell asleep due to sudden fatigue and began to dream.

   It’s strange to say I was watching “I” walk around and talk with other people in the dream. But it’s true, I looked around the situation and commented on everything “I ” did in the dream. This was not a fantastic world like most of previous dreams and I was familiar with it —it’s the house of my grandparents in which I had spent much of summer time.

    In the morning, my grandparents would be busy preparing the whole-day fodders for the pregnant pigs and then do farming which usually cost half of the day. I would not be allowed to participate in these farm work when I was young but would manage to give a help when I grew older. When the sun rose to its utmost height, we had lunch and drank tea made of wild mint collected by granpa. The leisure in a hot noon was restricted to a long break or looking idly at the yard blanketed in sunlight. When heat of daytime disappeared a little, grandmother was obliged to take the timid ewe out for fresh grasses. Then it’s night when the last ray of light fade into the shadow of the hills right across the house, the night wind blew and the diamond-like stars were scattered on the sky.

   This is where my grandmother lives.

   Although the indoor situation was a little different, I recognized the hills which were still covered by ever-green cypresses. I was obsessed, staring at the undulant outline of hills. Suddenly, a white spot on the hill attracted my attention and it moved fast towards my direction. In seconds, the white spot which turned out to be a huge white bird appeared in the room, bringing me the strange air from valley and wind of forests. It stopped in front of me and when I looked up, it was also staring at me with his round and serious eyes.

   In my dream, I was as usual timid as a hare. When I found the potential hostility of the bird, I was alarmed to shout for help in a loud voice and dodged in the room to avoid the bird. In such a chaotic and urgent moment, the fist idea that struck me was that why nobody came to save me, where was my grandmother. When I came to myself, the white bird still looked at me with its intimidating eyes and raised the claws towards me. I was scared enough to wake up.

   I was a person who kind of regards dreams as prophetic clues for future or ventilations for hidden desires. Thus, I just could not wipe it out of mind easily but kept thinking about the dream. A strange idea that was becoming increasingly clear flashed in my mind— why grandmother did not appear to save me.

   I felt embarrassed at this childish thought that everyone will be at my rescue whenever in emergency. Then the sudden sorrow and grieve took hold of me because I came to realize that she was gone forever. She would never give a response to my call for help no matter in the dream or reality.

   The little old woman who likes to spout due to losing her teeth and who often puts on an unhappy and childish look has gone forever, which was once confirmed by a dream. I recalled the tearful eyes of mother. Some certain innocent idea breaks up that what was once lost shall never be retrieved even in dream. You can replace or make up for reality with imagination.

    It seems that one will not be aware of the meaning of losses until he/she begins to feel the pain afterwards. We have noticed same case in which a person who got stabbed by a knife will not feel painful immediately until the wound begins its long process of healing. It’s true that what hurts most might not always be the visible wound in the body but the time taken to heal both physically and spiritually.

   The passing away of grandmother reminds of me the foreseeable death of aging parents. I couldn’t help weeping at the merely thought of the idea. When I am close to 25, the ever unfamiliar and distressing events progress to invade my life in sequence. I have read lots of novels and watched so many TV series that dramatize what one might be confronted in the life and used to confident that I was capable of facing these all. Theoretically, I could. When it came to real life, all the confidence vanishes and the so-called philosophy derived from others’ life fail to give any comfort. I was taught to understand the all the good in the world, meanwhile all the bad such as departure and death. The seemingly balanced world is now subject to uncertainties and instabilities with and I find no way to resist the marching of life. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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  • On Love 2017-1-26 04:28

    Understand is mainthing also believe

  • New Life in Shisu 2017-1-1 14:26

    Wow,so great! My dream is to get into Shanghai International Studies University.

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