Sunday, 19 May 2013

Young lovers holding hands so as to prevent each other from running away.

My 87 year-old mother walked with a steady pace without the help of a walking stick. But it was true that she was not the ardent, strong lady she used to be as aging had taken a toll on her. She also showed sign of getting a hunch-back and she sat down slowly so as to avoid pain at her hip whenever she wanted to be seated. However her mind was clear and sharp as she did not display any loss of memory when she related small anecdotes or incidents of our childhood days, like going to markets with her and attending schools till we became teenagers etc. She remembered our years of birth clearly and knew what Chinese Zodiac each of us we belonged to, snakes, rabbit, and dragon or swine years. Though her voice had been reduced to a soft simmering whisper as compared to that during her prime, we heard and understood every word she spoke. She suffered no waning set-back in her hearing like most octogenarians did, and her eyesight was almost perfect after her cataract removal surgery about 10-year ago.

It had been a pleasure for my sisters and me to walk with her leisurely in the malls when we went shopping during the weekends. She had flatly refused the service of wheelchair as provided by the malls. If she were to be tired, we would be too pleased to find a place to sit down for a chat, and to munch some small eats.

Lat Sunday I was free to accompany Mom to buy some little household items in the neighborhood. I held her hand so as to avoid some pot holes and slippery road surface as it had been raining the night before. After that I felt Mom still clutched my fingers tightly without releasing them. We walked home with a comfortable, slow stroll; she was obviously radiant with happiness. At the dinner table, she suddenly asked me: Don’t you think old people like me are a burden to you?

I was in awe and quickly answered: Mom, what made you say that? When we’re small, you looked after us with meticulous care; didn't you feel that we were a liability to you then?

Mom’s reply was affirmative: Not at all!

I then told her vehemently: It’s mutual that I do matter to you and you do matter to me. Just like the theory of physics, the action and reaction, effect and effort and the response in return. It’s irrevocable.
Mom retired as a secondary school teacher; she knew what I was talking about.

She began to relate an incident happened when I was about 6 year-old whereby she held my little hand to go buying vegetable at the local market. I asked naively: Mom, why are you holding my hand?

Mom answered my question gingerly:The market is slippery with wet road surface; you’re so tenderly young, I’m afraid that you may fall.

Just then a young couple walked by with their fingers tightly locked with each other’s hand. I continued my inquisitiveness: Hey Mom, they are adults, why are they holding hands? Are they worried about one falling down too?

Oh no, they hold their hands tight so as to prevent each other from running away! Mom answered me with a light heartened chuckle.

Footnote: The story was written by a lady writer and
published in a Malaysian Chinese daily. The short
article was translated by Alan Kok
Alan CY Kok            

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