Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reminiscing the Sound

When my dad was alive and healthy, we used to play badminton on the weekend.
There was the open land behind our property and that was where we played.

The set of rackets and ball were, probably some free promotional stuff I won; because I don’t remember purchasing it.

The badminton we played wasn’t the actual game.
It was just a sequence of shots between me and dad.
There was this feel of infinity in the way we rallied.
That seemingly interminable sound of the ball hitting the rackets was - sort of calming.

In retrospect, it was funny to imagine a grown-up daughter and her father playing badminton in the backyard.

It was just after my 37th birthday when my dad died.
I didn’t exactly mourn over his death.

There were things I wanted to do with him, and I hated the fact I couldn’t see him for over 2 years before he passed away.

He was the only one in my side of family who congratulated my marriage.

The news came the next day when I called my family in Japan.
Mom lost my telephone number and couldn’t get hold of me on the day.

“So how’s dad? He wants to see me yeah? – I can book the next week’s flight.” I said casually.
“I’m sorry – your dad isn’t here anymore.” It sounded so ominous that I was alarmed.

So he died the day before and I didn’t even know that.

What a birthday present. I hate you dad.

I flew back to Japan 2 days later.
It was weird that he was indeed, not there anymore.
The familiar sound of him walking down the stairs with his walking stick wasn’t there anymore.
Yet the sound echoed in my head.
Is this real?

All the memories flashed back to me.
We enjoyed walking together.
When I was a kid, dad took me to walking all the way to Kamakura, which took us over 5 hours.

Kumano Shrine, Kamakura

Even after he was partially paralyzed from cerebral infarction, he was still fit enough to walk with the stick.
We went to Odawara and Kamakura together, and walked almost the entire day.

I went on missing a lot when I was a little girl.
I often wandered about, whenever we went to a new, interesting place.
My little ‘journeys’ always got my parents worried.

Once, the local police found me walking around by myself.
At the police station, a kind-looking policeman played with me, gave me lollies and other sweets.

Then dad turned up. Oh, he really was scary, I tell ya. –

After that, though - I did that, again, again, and again without ever caught by the police - again.

Nowadays -

When I make coffee on weekend mornings, I remember our weekend ritual of drinking coffee together, and his voice.

And, when I play totem tennis with my husband in the backyard,
I remember the sound of the badminton ball emanating in the air.

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