2000年的夏日正中晝，母仔囝散步佇温哥華Burrard Bridge，攬抱著English Bay的海風，遠遠看整个Downtown Vancouver以及Granville Island之間的懸樓参帆船點點。一向驚曝日頭，若遇到赤炎炎的日頭攏會閃bih，這款動作時常予汝恥笑。但是現此時我誠歡喜面對，因為日頭下汝活力十足。步行當中紅貢貢的面容專心咧解釋旦即(taⁿ-chiah)讀了的《牧羊少年的奇幻旅行 The Alchemist》的故事，相互討論一个西班牙牧羊人的奇遇。聽講遠方一个神秘金字塔的所在藏有奇妙的寶物，佇尋尋覓覓的路程中，雖罔講，老早就揣着無料算的金銀財寶，但是為著眞實佮任務，伊嘛是繼續進前。
甜蜜四序坐佇The Landis Hotel & Suite的玻璃桌仔，提出汝位香港買予我的炭筆開始來畫素描，一爿等著我專屬的服務生推出佳餚來。原來汝是我這生上閃熠完美的作品，我按呢心滿意足發出我的心聲。
Let’s go and play music by English Bay
I want to sing a melody, to relieve stored up domestic working pressure, but my tongue is suddenly knotted. The sun is obstructed by the dark cloud that catches it. The maple leaves happily whirl and dance with great energy in the breeze. The sky fills with fresh hazy air beautifully, gently. After yoga, I want to arrange a garland to greet the marvelous adventure of a foreign morning, but the fantastic flowers are difficult to decorate. The singing sound of a violin makes the sun vanish, now unwilling to beam with joy on the horizon. You, my son, say that without sunlight, you do not have any desire to play the violin at English Bay. My dear, it was our agreement - why do you break it so easily?
I have enjoyed music very much since my childhood and expected you and your sister to study piano and violin. The age of five years old is the best time to start music education, and I wanted you to connect with melody as young as possible.
“Why should I learn to play the violin?” I held your tiny hand as we walked to your violin teacher’s place for the first time. You looked up at me to ask.
“Ever since girlhood, my heart has been opening its petals and preparing for you. One day, you were in my youthful arms, like a glow in the sky before the sunrise. The river of your life anchors in my harbor. Your breath is my dedicated focus day after day. The wide range of your emotions carries me up and down. Certainly, my notes are your melody.” Of course you didn’t understand what I said, but I hoped you would some day.
Therefore Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky are the bridges linking us. In a television interview, when you won a Mr. World competition, you also admit that your musical talent started from my pregnancy. Joyfully you walk through life, escorted by the Sun and the Moon, toward a broader future. When you have the ability to control your own life, you switch to hotel management which is a totally different direction from music. This adverse current crashes into the shore and the beautiful scenery fades away. Angry tears stream down my face. I call your sister at the Boston Conservatory to tell her about her mother’s unfinished dream.
In that unclear deep dark night, I see many illusory and puzzling images. I wait for the sunrise, wait for my focal point. When I wake up, he is already dressed with the rainbow in the dawn light and waves to his mother.
Yes, the window opens, the sunlight arrives, you return from study in Switzerland. It feels like a sudden cool spring breath from a hot unknown island. Music and hotel management apparently do not conflict, but complement each other. From now on I’ll find more pleasure in all your abilities.
My spirit is like a wild horse, but my age is not. Now, I am able to recognize your hotel expertise. Last year, we traveled to Los Angeles. You say that when you were little, we educated you well. Now that you have grown up, you want to do the same for us. At that moment, not only do I enjoy staying at the Regent Beverly Hills, but I also hear a song like a hill stream among its pebbles.
Your sister just became a mother. She is tied up in the gorgeous fetters of a marriage. Twenty years from now, she will also sing of life as a circling brook. Although my hair is gray, I will have love unceasing, blossoming and bearing fruit. I am in a glorious mood to accept your efforts to help and support me.
In the year 2000 on a summer afternoon, we are walking on Burrard Bridge. We embrace the sea breeze of the English Bay and look out toward the downtown Vancouver skyline and sailing boats. You always tease me that I worry too much about exposure to sunlight. At that moment I accept the fact joyfully because under the sunlight you are so energetic.
While we are walking together on the bridge, you describe the book you have just read as your handsome reddish face gets tanned from the sunshine.
The Alchemist is a Spanish shepherd’s story of his travel. It is a fable concerning a treasure located in a remote mystical pyramid. In spite of quickly obtaining wealth, the shepherd continues his journey. Finally, he achieves his goal after he has completed many puzzling and arduous tasks. Actually, he also discovers many things which he had not known before. Following the painful path often results in finding treasure. Without actually attempting it, how can we know if we can achieve our goal or not? This fable seems to give you some enlightenment. What completes life? It is actually nothing more than four steps: love, joyfulness, health and wealth.
Walking in the sunlight in the foreign land with you, I often open this cheerful box and enjoy it. In our country, because we have our own careers, we do not meet often. I believe that blood relationships form the strongest bonds. You tease me that if you donate your blood to a friend that is also a blood relationship. Although romantic love is valuable, the blood relationship is totally the strongest. Therefore, I always hold onto blood relationships tightly. Your father and I are modestly trying to catch up with the new generation’s thinking, so that our communication will not be too different. I also keep myself in good shape and eat healthily in order to reduce your burden when I get older.
Do you know the effects of having an intimate relationship? According to a study by Harvard University, 91% of people get serious health warnings when having trouble with parents. These include hypertension, duodenal ulcers, excessive drinking and so on. On the other hand, only 40% of people have the same problems when they have a good relationship with their parents. This shows that one’s relationship with parents in childhood is linked to future health conditions.
Even though there are many wrinkles around my face, my heart stays youthful allowing me to follow your steps and explorations of the new world. Is that my understanding of happiness? Or do you know how to retain family happiness? You do not need to be like an Italian singer whose mother died early, so that once he became famous, he always carried his mother’s picture when traveling. He said his success was affected by his mother. Each song contained his mother’s influence. He wanted to express his music so that it reflected his mother’s love.
I am so relieved that you are not like me who has always been too devoted to the memories of my parents. Is that morbid? No! The mind is so sharp that it sticks at every point and cannot move because the ongoing importance in my life of remembering the love of my parents. Now, in spite of becoming a grandparent, I often think about my own parents’ benevolent countenances in dreams. Even though they passed away decades ago, in my deepest heart, I can still feel the bitterness of their loss.
Life is like beautiful summer flowers and death is like autumn leaves. Yes, at the present time, the most important thing is that summer beckons with its magnificent floral display setting the mood. Now, after a long wait in line, we are dining at a popular Greek restaurant on Davie Street, selecting wines, ordering food and interacting with our waiter; these things relate to your profession. I taught you life and etiquette when you were a child, whereas now you teach me western manners. The earth is round and so is life. But sometimes I still prefer your naive manner as a child.
“You feel we were more lovable when we were kids, but that is because we were controllable!”
Really! You needn’t have said that. I don’t agree with you.
Sitting by the window, not only do I enjoy the Greek meal, but I also enjoy watching the melting pot of Canada walk by. What a big multi-cultural country!
Despite the strong sunlight, it is not as hot and strong as Taiwan’s.
“Mother is already used to the sun’s exposure,” you said.
“The sunlight is so gentle here that no wonder Westerners enjoy it so much,” I responded.
I am a yellow-skinned woman among whites. Not only is the language totally different, but also day and night are inverted. This really is an unfamiliar nation. Fortunately, having your company, my son, I feel I am in a comfortable environment here, although it is a strange land. I extemporaneously recite Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “The Hero”,
Mother, let us imagine we are traveling, and passing through a strange and dangerous country. You are riding in a palanquin and I am trotting by you on a red horse. It is evening and the sun goes down. The waste of Joradighi lies wan and grey before us. The land is desolate and barren; you are frightened and thinking you do not know where we are. I say to you, mother! Do not be afraid, you have me here…
I am moved to tears. I am touched by and beyond Tagore’s words all the time.
Living in this country, my son, you are like a fish that swims in water by yourself. You shorten your sleeping time in order to extend your vacation.
You are good at saving for yourself but you are generous with your family; you used to do perform in TV advertisements, you said that even though we couldn’t be together, we could still see you on television; you like to share your achievement with us even it is just a little one, but you don’t like us to know about how frustrated you get when we worry about you (you must revise this idea). Anyway, you treat us so considerately that our relatives and friends admire your behavior. Your father doesn’t like to travel - only I enjoy it. But your father is happy that you accompany me when I travel.
“I don’t feel comfortable letting my colleagues know that I am traveling with my mother.”
“Why?” I was surprised as I was enjoying the dinner.
“Look around, there is no such combination like us in the restaurant.”
I respond with no words. Yes, here there are only couples or group of friends gathered together.
“Don’t you think that it would be more “reasonable” for me to have this kind of romantic dinner with my lover?”
Sure! Sure! Young is your life, your path long and you drink the love we bring you and then you turn and run away from us. You have your play and your playmates. What harm is there if you have no time or thought for us? We, indeed, have leisure enough in old age to count the days that are past, to cherish them in our hearts. Now I can see you are running like the red horse in Tagore’s poem. I long to hug flowers tightly, but I am always stabbed by thorns.
“Mom, I am going to take a boat to Granville Island to buy your favorite foods. You stay in the hotel and do whatever you want. When I come back I will cook a 4-course dinner for you.”
I enjoy doing my painting in the Landis Hotel, waiting for my personal chef to cook for me.
“Oh, yes, you are the most gorgeous work I have even made!”
“Really? I don’t think so. My temperament and the talent are not from you. You gave me nothing.”
Come on, you seem like the grown green pine talking to its root; “I am tall and strong, but it is nothing related to you.”
I seem to remember God said to people, “I love you, therefore I punish you; I heal you, therefore I hurt you.”
Whether the sky is clear or cloudy, you are always thinking that a mother should be looking after others or cooking several delicious foods. As a matter of fact, I still understand the harbor’s melody; this song of mind will wind its music around you, my child, like the fond arms of love.
I always take pleasure within my limited time with you and your sister. I play piano, accompanying your sister’s cello and your violin. Enjoying music with you both is such a treat for me.
A few years ago, we were invited to share our experiences at a golf club in Taiwan. Your topic was music and mine was literature. In real life, I sit in the sedan chair and you ride the red horse around the palanquin. Whether it passes through brightness or darkness, I believe that only you and your sister, my dear, can shine eternally like the universe.
The dark cloud gradually disperses; the sun reveals itself with a smile. It is good weather, which you like. I bring the violin; you carry the music, like we did many years ago when you were a child.
Let’s go and play music by English Bay!