毋過這工愈想愈礙虐，我已經是兩個高中生的老母，半暝的雨點，點滴佇我的心肝頭，親像利刀一刀一刀割我的肉。天呀! 地呀!，無論按怎你即馬袂使落雨! 汝無看著彼個流浪佇街仔路，揣袂著路轉去厝的老大人嗎？你若落雨，毋是愈加重伊的困擾？伊枵閣悿的身軀，敢會堪得汝的摧殘佮刻薄？
我彼個八十二歲的老父，位透早七、八點仔就紡見矣，到即馬已經足足十七點鐘。遐呢久的時間，阿(阮對阿爸的暱稱)！汝到底是去佗位？三兄奔向南爿、四兄走向東爿，汝的囝婿向北爿去揣…. 逐家親像無頭神的胡蠅四界走揣汝的形影。阿! 汝到底走去佗一角勢？
毋知經過幾世紀的感覺，這時陣，電話聲響起，傳來阿爸已經予計程車司機載轉來矣的聲音。勞力上天啊! 老父的囝婿歡喜甲跳起來：「都著毋! 我頭仔就知影爸爸吉人天相，袂出代誌。好佳哉，爸爸平安轉來厝，無著，會予妳這個厚操煩的人想歪去。」這個人即馬竟然講起大聲話來，而且閣講袂煞。無要緊! 若阿爸平安轉來，啥物代誌攏好參詳。
Lost in the Rain--Finding Father by Lee Hsiu
I have two kinds of memories from my childhood because I would sometimes feel relaxed but other times feel worried on rainy days. I couldn’t go out to play with my playmates, so I played by myself as I helped the raindrops fall down the window more quickly. However, I only felt happy and carefree when I knew my parents were near me at home. Otherwise, my little heart would be in turmoil with worry about them.
After I’d grown up a little, I could be of assistance in doing housework and gradually became more diverse in my activities during those rainy days.
Soft rain fell on the day of the Dragon-Boat Festival.On this day, Mother used to make “Zong Zi” in the outdoor hall by wrapping rice in broad leaves of reeds. I handed her the rice or passed the leaves over to Mama. I enjoyed doing this work. Even though it was wet everywhere, my face was red and excited from the kitchen fire. What a warm-hearted feeling there was in the room! Additionally, although my father was at the office, I knew he would come back and that he had an umbrella, so I didn’t need to worry about him. Thus I could feel relaxed at home as I waited for my dear father to return home.
The rain of my youth was vivid and bright.
However, the rain of my teenage years was like the thrusting blade of a knife. My heart was so broken on my mother’s burial day that I have never forgotten the muddiness of the steep climb up the mountain to the cemetery. Then I watched helplessly as my dearest Mama was laid in the damp and dull soil. There was melancholy in the wind and sorrow in the wet grass. Losing Mother, I began to rely more deeply on Father, especially on the rainy days.
A few months later, during a dark and miserable night, I watched the heavy rain pouring down and my fears seemed endless because my father had not taken an umbrella with him. I grabbed a raincoat, braved my way through the rainstorm riding my bike to his office. I had guessed that he would be pleased with his dutiful girl, but he was furious. He made me take a taxi home. I watched Father from the window of the taxi as he struggled in the heavy rain to not only ride his bicycle, but also carry my bike in the pelting wind. Looking at this awful situation, I suddenly burst into tears. I would never forget this evil rain. What a nightmare!
The rainy seasons passed year after year; I made a living day after day as well. By then I had a different vision and feelings about rain. I even enjoyed the poetic rhythm of light rain as it fell. It is true, teenage girls always feel that they suffer so much but they really don’t know what true sorrow is. So I look back and wonder what made me happy then. When I focus on my memories they are both bitter and sweet as I hurry through my busy modern life. On the other hand, now that I have a happy marriage, I no longer had special feelings about rainy days.
Years had passed and I was now the mother of two senior high school students. However, now my heart beat gravely, as though sharing the beat of the midnight rain. What a curse these rains are! How dare you rain down now? Is it possible you don’t see an old man, lost and terrified, helplessly wandering on the streets? If you pour water on this moment, he will be even more baffled and confused. How could you burden his weakness with your rage?
The lost, lonely man is my eighty-two year old father. Lost now for seventeen hours since morning, how far can he possibly walk? We’ve been looking everywhere. Father! Which direction have you taken? We worry that you haven’t slept or eaten. Why must you keep walking farther away and into more danger? My neighbours tried to comfort me by telling me no one would dare touch him. Yet nothing could console me.
The hours passed and with every moment, and we lost more hope. I couldn’t bear this difficult time. “Dad! Don’t choose to leave us this way,” I cried hysterically. “You need your family here beside you, and you need to keep warm and dry.” Teardrops interwoven with raindrops threaded together a scene of suffering. Rain! I will never forgive you if my dear father gets into trouble.
My ordeal felt centuries long. Then finally a phone call brought good news, Father was coming back by taxi. I was assured that Father was okay. “Good thing your father’s safe, or you would be a mental case,” my husband rambled on, complaining incessantly. His temper always annoyed me, but now, everything would pass as long as my father was safe and sound. At least my husband was busy burning joss sticks in worship and appreciation. I headed out to Father’s home immediately. In this world the person I value most is my father who left me on this rainy day. Thank God after being lost, he has been found again. I hurried to Father’s place immediately.
In my father’s home, I held him tightly and listened to a stranger’s chatter. He explained that on this rainy day as he was driving home, he noticed a solitary old man who was walking on a dark and lonely bridge. He considered the possibility that this aged man might not be able to afford a taxi, so he offered him a free ride. The driver also told us that my father had lapsed into dizziness. Father was lucky that the driver thought to look in Father’s pocket, where he found his address. I thanked the rain for coming at the right time and I thank the driver who was driving the right way!
After I saw that Father had settled down, I went back my place. On the way home, I saw my son who was holding an umbrella for me. I really understood his purpose, but I was angry, “What are you doing now? It is so late and you have a test tomorrow!”
“It is midnight and rainy now. I feared you would be in danger.” my son said with tears in his eyes.
I didn’t treat him the way my father treated me many years ago, but I was sure that I was feeling just as Father used to feel. I patted my son tearfully. Now that we were home, the rain had already stopped.
I trust the rain will always come as long as the earth exists. I am also certain family relationships will never end so long as human beings live and love.