I want to write something about my dad, but this whole day there are so many things went through my mind and I had a hard time to decide what to write. I thought I would share with you an excerpt from my novel, Jin-Ling’s Two Left Feet. After all, Jin-Ling’s dad was created based on my dad.
. . .
I take the green onions from the refrigerator and begin to wash and chop them while Dad gets the dough ready. Other than chopping the green onions, making green onion pancakes is a one-man show. I watch Dad skillfully sink his fingers into the dough. His hair is as white as the flour on the table. He sees me watching him. “Next time, you’ll make the pancakes,” he says.
“Sure.” I nod. He’s said that many times in the past, but the only thing he’ll let me do is chop the onions. Flattening the dough is hard work. As soon as Dad lifts the rolling pin up, the dough more or less returns to its previous thickness. “Dad, don’t worry about it,” I say. “Make a thick one.”
“It won’t taste good,” he says, looking somewhat concerned. “You need to learn to be more patient.”
Yeah, right. Guess where I got my genes? Still, this is the deepest conversation Dad and I have ever had and I don’t want it to end. I clear my throat, making sure I get his attention. “Are you happy, Dad?”
What a stupid question! No one asks her dad if he is happy! I guess having a deep conversation with Dad won’t be as easy as I thought.
He lifts his head, staring at the wall, and then buries his hands in another piece of dough. For a while he doesn’t say a word. The silence makes me nervous. Just as I’m ready to redirect the conversation, he says, “Your mom and I work very hard to provide you and Shaw-Ming a good home. If you aren’t happy, I don’t know what else I can do.”
“I’m not talking about me, Dad.” I hold my hands out toward him, palms up. “I’m asking about you.”
He looks puzzled. “Me? Happy? I’ve never thought about it.” He pauses, then says, “I guess I’m happy. I go to work every day to put food on the table. I guess I’m happy, because I’ve done my job.”
Now I’m puzzled. Come to think of it, Mom and Dad never do anything just for fun. They don’t travel, they don’t go to nice restaurants, and they never party.
My parents had sacrificed a lot for their kids. I love them very much. How I wish I could have them back…
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