“Cheers! “With everyone raising their pints up, Jun congratulated his childhood friend who was getting married that day. There was nothing more precious than to be a witness for this happy moment of life except something was preventing him from being able to laugh out loud. His friend noticed his hidden emotion behind his masked face. Thus, he asked how his friend’s dad health condition was after being admitted to hospital a few days ago and told him everything would be alright as his dad was a strong willed person. He also told his friend if that day would come, we had no choice but to accept it as this was how life should be.
Being settled down a little after listening to his friend and released from the tension until a phone call from his sister telling him that dad was again sent to the hospital a while ago. He straight rushed to the hospital in the middle of the wedding ceremony.
Like every teenager, after graduating from the high school, he continued his study in the capital city far away from his hometown, only going back in between during his school break. After graduating from the university and working for a company in the city he barely had any chance to visit his family, and it’s done by talking through phone occasionally. Slowly forgotten time passed and at the mercy of ages, his dad’s health started to deteriorate. Like most parents, which wouldn’t want any bad news to be worried by their children; would hide their condition until the worst happened.
Jun’s sister knew that even it was against his dad’s will but his brother needed to know the situation before anything was too late. Jun hurried put down all his work and went back to his hometown. His dad had been admitted to hospital but his condition was still under controlled and had happened for few times with each time his condition had worsened.
Jun arrived in the hospital and it had to come to this moment. After diagnosed by the doctor and given them suggestion as their father condition was crucial and nothing could be done. It was just a matter of time the patient would reach the end of his life. They had been told that drugs could help to sustain his life but it won’t last long and the process would make the patient suffer from the effect of drugs. Another option was to stop using the drugs and let the patient pass away naturally.
Two ways led to the same ending, his mind went blank alone at the corner of the corridor. Other family members and some relatives arrived and after knowing the news, they split into 2 groups. With one agreeing with one option and another other option told by the doctor and an argument broke out. Some of them did not show any concern other than themselves; some were just paying a quick visit and rushing back as their children were nagging to get out of there.
Jun went inside his father room with his mom sitting beside, he looked upon his father’s face and realized he never did so and became aware of the sign of age had taken place with the white hair and wrinkles. He regretted that he did not have a proper conversation and hang out together for so long when he had the chance. A short while, someone knocked on the door and a man about his age but not known to him claimed himself was a friend of his dad and he just reached this town after knowing the news. After a proper introduction, he called himself Yun, he came to the bedside and greeted Jun’s dad. Jun’s dad saw him and reached out his hand towards him signing something that he wished to tell Yun. For a brief moment of ear whispering his dad fell asleep with a smile on his face in a deep slumber eternally.
Doctor certified the patient’s death; Jun then went out of the room and sat on a bench like a lost soul until a voice calling his nickname telling him to stand up and be strong. It was from Yun. A few days later, the funeral took place. He settled down and regained his rational thus curious what were his dad last words. He asked Yun and he replied him with a smile and suggested that since it would be his last day in this town he would like to take a walk around the town before heading to the train station. With Jun following behind, Yun first took him to the riverside. When they reached, Yun realized that he should have brought along a fishing rod to try his luck as the weather was good that morning. There, they saw a young man gazing at the river, day dreaming like facing a thousand troubles. Yun without any hesitation tapped on his shoulder and asked what troubled him. He replied a sudden sadness stroked on him a few days ago but did not know the reason for this impeccable feeling. Yun cheered him up and he felt comforted by chatting with each other like old friends.
They continued their walk on the street and they saw a huge commotion happening that was caused by a man proposing to his love and succeeded in the process. Yun walked toward the man and congratulated him by offering a handshake. The man replied his kindness but instead of saying thank you; he asked had they met before? But their conversation was soon interrupted by the crowd. Then they both stopped by at a coffee shop nearby and ordered some drinks. Jun got impatient and asked him whether now he could tell him his dad’s last words and who he really was.
Yun told him that his dad was a kind hearted person; the incident had happened on a stormy day. The rain was so heavy, every droplet was like a bullet striking on his body that punched a severe hole through him and Jun’s father happened to walk by took him home and saved him. About the last words, he told Jun that his dad had left a letter to him in his study room. But hopefully, before he rushed back to read the letter, he could accompany him to the train station. Jun agreed and along the way, they passed by a school and all the children rushed out to go home. Yun was hit by a running kid and fell down on the ground; he helped the kid up in return the kid was staring at him speechlessly.
Finally, they reached the destination, they said farewell and appreciated each other. Just before heading back, Yun told him to take care on his way as a storm was coming and was almost the same as that day he was saved. Jun rushed home and the rain started pouring down along with the howling wind which blew everything to the sky. Jun halted by the rain and got himself to shelter at the nearest bus stop. He was amazed to see the three persons he met with Yun just now were at the bus stop. He was the young man at the riverside; the man who proposed on the street and the little kid which bumped into Yun. Three of them looked at Jun. The little kid asked Jun ‘’ Big bro are you in a hurry?” at the same time he handed his cap to Jun. The other man covered his shoulder with a rain coat and the last man gave his umbrella to Jun which triggered a nostalgic feeling that he ever had a long time ago.
Jun continued his way back but the condition did not subside; the wind even pulled his umbrella and cap away. Hardly able to move forward; his feet felt heavy as the wind was opposing him. With his blurry vision, he saw two rays of light from a car heading fast towards him and it seemed like losing control but he was unable to react quickly. Just before he was hit by the car, a tree from the roadside fell down and shielded him.
Someone voice whispering in his ear telling him to let’s go together. Feeling determined Jun moved ahead and soon thousands of leaves tailing him becoming his umbrella blocked away all the rain droplets, roots coming up underground turning into a living walking stick. With every step taken the stick would grab the road and holding Jun’s hand tightly and birds were leading his way cutting the wind in front of him.
Jun reached home and straight dashed into his dad’s study room and there’s a letter for him as been told but only a sentence left for him “ Jun’s nickname, do you still remember how you got this name and it’s a secret between us only. ‘’ Jun remembered back that day he was rushing out from the school and fell down, his father came to him and told him to stand up and be strong and his nickname was to keep him remembered that day he learned this lesson.
He then looked around the room and noticed the picture hanging on the wall and it showed his dad capturing a big fish and the place was the exact location Yun took him. It was the usual place his dad spent his weekends fishing then he saw an old picture of a man proposing and it was his father and mother when they were still young as well the exact street. There was another picture taken by his mom of his dad drinking coffee in the coffee shop he went this morning. The man took him for a walk, Yun was actually his dad? Knowing it would be too late he planned to rush to the train station.
When he stepped out from his house, the storm had faded and calming breeze blew his face with some petals falling down from a huge tree planted beside his house. It was blooming with flowers and his mom walked out and said ‘’ Did you see that, the little tree you saved had stood up conquering the storm.’’ Jun thought back every word Yun told him again a voice whispering in his ear telling him “ Welcome back’’
Yun sitting on the tree unseen by others talking to himself, ‘’ That day you shared part of your life to save me without you knowing it, even though you were gone, people that inherited your life and memory would live on and protect your precious gifts.
Copyright ©- Davis Cheng