When Somebody Loves You: His Story
By Phan Ming Yen
Today is my first day at home after my discharge from the hospital and we are spending the evening together in the kitchen. I am sitting across from my wife Sara, listening to the sound of rainwater dripping down from the ledge of the flat above ours, and looking at the sky which the raindrops trace on the window.
I watch her as she looks down at the cup of tea in front of her. There is music coming from the hall. It's 'All the Way', a song we chose for our wedding four years ago.
When somebody loves you…
We first heard it in Dying Young, a film about a young man dying from cancer and the woman looking after him. We had wondered if it would be an ominous choice for a wedding. But it was a song Sinatra made his own long before the film. So we used it.
It's not good unless he loves you…
I call out but Sara does not reply. She just looks up and I see her lips, pursed tight as she always does whenever she tries to stop herself from crying.
All the way…
"Ma-ma," our three-year-old daughter, Si-wen, cries out as she enters the kitchen. There is a card in her right hand and a crayon stick in her left. I reach out but she sits next to her mother instead.
Si -wen begins to write and Sara's attention is now fully on her. Are they trying to surprise me?
Happy to be near you…
Sara once teased me that Si-wen was made on the night by the lake during our honeymoon. I vowed then that the place where I loved my wife most would be the home our family would spend a lifetime at. I said we'd move there when Si-wen turned four.
During those nights in the hospital, I had imagined the life I promised Si-wen: I heard her laughter skip across the clear blue of the lake. I made up stories for her: a goddess who sacrificed her powers; a queen who loved her king's favourite knight; the last winged elephant.
And I saw her husband, waiting for us in the church, standing by the altar that looked out across the lake. Nothing had changed. Above, light grey clouds gathered. He turned to look at us. Beside me, Si-wen smiled. She slipped her hand into the crook of my arm and we stepped in.
When you need someone to cheer you all the way…
Si-wen's right hand moves slowly and I hear Sara spell out: "M – I – S – S…"
"What are you both hiding?" I ask as I walk behind them.
Si-wen ignores me and continues to write: "I will always…"
Then, she stops suddenly: "When will da-di be back?"
And my tears fall, not leaving a trace as they fall on the words she has written: "Daddy, I miss you. I will always love you."
QLRS Vol. 17 No. 1 Jan 2018