At six, the way to school is filled with
construction noises, dust debris like
insolent children on the playgrounds nearby
to remind me that school is a tedious,
tardy, obnoxious place on the island of desolation.
One day, I asked my father for not going to school.
Now thinking of it, I could have asked for
a day of stakes, unlimited side dishes, and
that may have stood a higher chance
beside the impossible, and the harsh
pummelling that comes with my crudeness.
I don’t know what happened in him,
but he looked to the side; moments, I was worried,
thinking what happened to him, perhaps
what happened to me — for just staring
at his skinny, crinkled face. I thought
he’d sent me to my room after school,
to give me the gift of battering, or forbid me
to eat altogether, for what I said was a sin —
to the rustic upbringing of his disposition.
But, he took a breathe; I saw his rib
bursting from his overstretched shirt,
and no signs of anger in him. He spoke,
and asked me whether I want to speak
English and Chinese really well;
I said yes, for I had a talent — the child
naiveté. “Then go to school,” and he points
to the workers in yellow hats, reflecting the
magnificent sun rays that the day gives,
shining brightly from the iris of my eyes.
“Or you will end up like them.”
Childishly, I nodded; knowing nothing
different between me and the worker,
thinking we are all humans, and he can
speak. Perhaps read and write. So I
moved forward, not realising the differences.
To this day, I can still remember how vivid
the scene was; a pouring of water
over my mind, and how a knock twelve-years ago
is now a departure for me: on the tarmac
road then, through the air now.