Had dinner with dad tonight. Thought it was about time to see him again, after more than a month of not meeting, and brief conversations on the phone. Besides, I maybe away from Taipei for another month, so it's about time.
Saying goodbye at the bus stop again felt the end of 'just another date'. But it was with dad. I sat down in the bus, with one huge suitcase and another smaller bag of his things at the side to carry home, and immediately felt so empty. What had happened from the moment we met to the moment we parted? Two hours it was...
We walked around a bit, in search of a restaurant. He looked well, from first impression, and I do hope he's well as well. Delved into my time in Chiayi the previous week, a little bit about the mountain trail I took last Friday, and some moments we discussed the sorry state our previous tenants left our house in Holland in. Surprisingly dad didn't react too negatively towards the fact that I 'retreated' into the mountains for so long, and nor was he against the fact that I decided to stay on in Taiwan until January. We ended up eating at a shabu-shabu restaurant....plenty of food, but very busy and crowded. Sitting next to a bunch of strangers cooled the conversation down to bird flu and other little things.
After finishing dinner, we walked more, and he touched upon his retirement at the end of the year. Then it came. The issue that was left open and in doubt. What next for dad? He said he has nothing planned, and that he might go with me to Holland when I return. Deep inside, I wondered what he would do there....back to his old habits again? I thought back the times and many years he spent there in Holland, many moments and actions which caused us and this family grief....
Back at his apartment, he loaded the suitcase and bag for me to take back 'home'. All the while I was wondering whether he'd really come home, and how exactly he'd come home after suddenly leaving home. In the corridor and on the street, as I dragged the bulky load, we met a few of his dorm-mates. They were suprised to see me, and nobody had any idea who I was...probably they were surprised that dad even had a son this big. Awkward smiles, silence and questions accompanied dad and I to the bus stop.
I felt like writing this, because as I lay in bed, again at 2am, I cannot but think back, and think forward. What would it be like again with mum and dad living together? Would they tolerate one another, or make one another's lives miserable? Would dad really come back? Is it that easy for him to just walk back in the house and not feel any remorse or shame? All those arguments, worries, tears and memories flashed before my closed eyes. From childhood to teenage, to today...all those moments came together and tried to piece together what it would be like should dad come back again...
No peace, if I am to think about that all. No rest, if I am to speculate the future. All causes of suffering, it seems.
And I've been reading much about not recalling, not speculating; about living in and for the present.
I'll try, and I'll try to sleep.
Tomorrow, a simpler life in Puli awaits me again.