Monkey King

My father was born in the year of the Monkey.

I didn’t know him very well.
He didn’t speak much to me.
I just inferred who he was from his actions.

Words are worthless sometimes aren’t they?

He used bring us to the park after picking us up from Friday evening Chinese school.
On our way home,
we would stop by the convenience store on the corner of our street.
We got to pick what we wanted.
I loved those 5 cent candies.

One time he brought home this giant box of baseball glove-shaped ice cream bars.
I’ve never seen them sold anywhere.

Another time,
a Japanese game console with an NHK baseball game we couldn’t understand but played frequently regardless.

He used to style my hair exactly like his.
I hated it.
And took countless photographs of me,
in front of Christmas wrapping paper taped to the wall.
I would complain about being sleepy.

Apparently one day when I was still a toddler,
he had left the house to go buy a pack of smokes.
And I followed suit behind him.
It wasn’t until a neighbour carried me home,
that my mother realized I was missing.

He did the best he could given the hand he was dealt.

I believe constant oppression killed his spirit.
I watched him slowly dwindle over the years.
He chose to leave with dignity.
I respect that.

I too,
will choose to leave with my dignity intact.

He is still the most courageous man I know.
Always going after what he wanted.

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