Dad has good days and bad days. On a good day, he is utterly sweet, doting and forgiving. On a bad day, he would refuse his meds, hurl verbal abuses at Mum and I, trash the apartment, and threatens to kill himself by jumping off the building. Having lived this same drama for 3 decades, it takes all of my willpower to suppress the urge to utter, “You promise?”
Well, this wicked daughter had a strange dream last night. Most of the time any details of my dreams would’ve fled by the time I awoke. Other times the dream doesn't quite add up. For instance, in one dream I was in a mall with my friend and then poof! I was in a fire engine racing towards a school or college of some sort. My friend had disappeared only to be replaced by a very large sparrow. My dreams can be very Alice In Wonderland.
Last night’s dream actually played out like a movie.
In the dream my father and I sit, legs dangling from the back of a pale blue pick-up truck. My mother is nowhere to be seen. There is a row of two-storey buildings behind us. Facing us is a row of similar looking two-storey architecture. It is late afternoon and for some reason I know we are in Hong Kong (even though the setting is really Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park). I see a queue forming outside an ice cream shop directly in front of us. I look up and the sun turns into a runny egg yolk. Sunset! People are leaving the shop and scurrying away. I jumped off the truck and asks my father for 40 dollars. Was it 40 HKD? It must be so for we are in Hong Kong, no?
I walk into the shop and removed two large chocolate ice cream cones from a freezer compartment. Even as I make my way to the cashier the ice cream begins to soften. The biscuit cones are going limp before my very eyes. There isn’t a moment to lose! The cashier tells me, “You can choose to pay with HKD or TWD.” At this point I notice that I have a money pouch hanging upon my waist. It is filled with TWD. With an ice cream cone in each hand, I allow the cashier to help herself to cash from the pouch. Hurry, I wanted to say to her. Can’t you see I’m running out of time?
I step out of the shop and it was already night. Our little pale blue pick-up truck is still in the same place, illuminated by white florescent lights from the building behind it. I spot my mother but do not see my father. I placed one of the chocolate ice cream cones into my mother’s hand. She takes a bite and I actually hear the biscuit crunch. I ask her, “Where’s papa?” and she answers, “Didn’t you know? He has gone to the hospital.” I’m looking down at the melting chocolate ice cream in my hand. It’s too late, it’s too late!
I start to weep.
My face was wet with tears when I awoke. That was too vivid and too weird! I was crying so hard my nose was congested and I had to sit up in bed. The apartment was silent except for Dad’s snores that vibrated from the next room. Wave upon wave of sadness hit me. My eyes were like two unmanned taps. I was crying when I was inside the bathroom. I was crying as I drank a glass of water. I think it took another two hours or so before I fell asleep once more.
I guess despite the heart ache, frustration, and mental abuse I’m not ready to let my father go.
May you share happy times with your loved ones before time runs out.