In the pink clouds, airplanes and trains go by. Florencia looks back at Hector, like my dad and I when we fly kites at the park during the Spring Festival in my hometown of Kunming, China. The two of us are running and running. I look back into my dad’s eyes. He is not as athletic as I remembered. The wind is too strong, and the kite cannot fly high. So we keep running and running, hoping that the kite will catch the wind. My dad was such a good kite flyer when he was young. The other day he called me saying his feet hurt, and that he had inflammation, which may be a precursor to gout. I looked at his feet wrapped in gauze on my phone screen. Ice melted.
Don’t we also just keep running and running? Always running away from moments of eye contact, (dis)belief, guilt, fear, empathy, piety, farewells, authority, masculinity, success, pride, tears, care, and anger… All the subtlety and violence of emotions take shape in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, sweets, and the food he loves and cooks. Between you and I, there is a layer of worries. We are forever separated by the phone screen. He knows what I mean, but he never says it.
I listened to Eason Chan’s classic song, “Bicycle.” He sings, “Don’t, don’t assume that I know, everything. Everything you have done is for me, why can’t I feel it?”
I got the courage and sent it to you, dad, saying that this song feels like it’s about you and me, and you said, “Good to hear! Thinking of your childhood, thank you.”
When will I ever go back home to you?
Suddenly, I saw a little spider scurry away and disappear into the grass.
The performance was over. Florencia hugged her dad and the crowd applauded. It was chilly, so I decided to go home and have a bowl of hot beef soup, a kind of Yunnan food that reminds me of home.
Missing dad, and mom, missing home.