I can’t say this is my submission for Tales of Terror: Times Past, but I definitely was motivated by it.
(Thanks to rxfrazier… now I know this is a Patrick Amiot piece! Cool!)
Irene asks, “Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds?”
My mom was one of those people who worried a lot. I don’t remember any tales of fear she had told us, but I remember the suffering she had endured when she suspected something had gone wrong. We, her kids, learned from a very young age to play safely; we didn’t want Mom to worry. But kids are kids. We also learned “don’t tell”.
Now, I would like to share a firecracker story with you.
Baby Boomer – Tainan, Taiwan
Firecrackers were fascinating to me. Every Chinese New Year, I would patiently wait for my brother lighting up firecrackers, so we could start celebrating the New Year (Dad thought it was a scaring thing for girls to do). The sound, the smell… I loved it all.
One year, while my parents were busy, my neighbor’s boy and I were in the backyard throwing firecrackers at each other. He was in their backyard and I was in ours. A brick wall stood between us, so we couldn’t see where the other person really was. It was fun; we shouted, laughed, and had a great time.
At one specific moment, while I was busy getting ready to light up next firecracker in my hand, I felt something was on my chin. It turned out to be ash. “Weird, when did it get on my face?” I thought. A few seconds later, a firecracker exploded near my feet and that was when I realized a firecracker had just flown by my face.
To be honest, even after that realization, the only thing in my mind was: “Oh no, he got me!” It was not until many years later that I realized how lucky I was on that day. If the fuse was a little shorter, the firecracker would explode right by my face. Other than having a bloody face, I, most likely, would become blind (I had my eyes opened looking at the firecracker in my own hand). If that happened, my parents would be heartbroken and his parents would feel terrible; the relationship between two families would have changed forever; my friend would carry guilt for the rest of his life and I would have a totally different life…
In recent years, many cities (countries) had banned firecrackers. I guess it is a good thing, even though I, somewhat, miss the smell, the sound, and the excitement…
Feb. 5th is Chinese New Year. Happy Chinese New Year, my friends. It’s year of the pig, if you wonder.
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