Do you have memories from events that happened years ago that are so clear in your mind, you feel like they only happened yesterday?
I remember one day, when I was eight, I went to a traditional Chinese restaurant with my grandpa. It had a large pond, with some koi fish swimming in it, and there were some wooden statues dotted around the pond. My grandpa said that the statues were very expensive and precious because they were all handmade. My curiosity led me to have a closer look at the statues. I moved closer and closer to them, and reached out my hand, touched the body of one of the statues … and “plop!” It dropped into the pond.
My grandpa heard the splash and he came over to see what had happened. I was frightened and I panicked. He didn’t scold me or say anything, though. Instead, he told the waiter he accidentally knocked the statue over. After my mum found out what really happened, she complained, saying that my grandpa was too overprotective of me.
My grandpa smiled and said, “This is my granddaughter and it’s my responsibility to be overprotective.”
When I was 11, my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer. His time left on Earth grew shorter and shorter. My mum would bring my brother and I to visit him every week at the hospital. My grandpa would say he wanted to live the remainder of his life at home. During that time, he fell in love with Chinese calligraphy. Whenever he was free, he would sit on his chair, place a piece of paper on the desk in front of him, grab his writing brush, dip it in the black ink, and start writing.
Every time I went to see him, he would give me a sheet full of the words he wrote. I would always beg him to write more for me and I would tease him that his characters were not perfect.
To my surprise, he was delighted that I wanted more work from him, and he would practise day and night, to improve. I knew that his calligraphy would never be perfect. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure perfection was attainable in calligraphy, but I would tease him anyway.
I continued to visit him every week. Whenever it was time for me to leave, I would give my grandpa a big hug and sincerely say goodbye, because I knew it could be the last time I’d say it.
Too soon, my grandpa passed away. Maybe it was because I knew that it was coming, but I didn’t feel the sort of sadness that would make it feel like my insides were collapsing. I knew that my grandpa was lonely in his final days – not because he was by himself, but because he would have to leave the people he loved. Maybe that’s why I would tease him.
It requires a great deal of time and persistence to achieve a goal, or to get the things you want, though they can disappear in a blink of an eye. I love my grandpa’s calligraphy, I really do. I think I wanted him to write more for me, because then he would have had the motivation to live.
Edited by Nicole Moraleda
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