Being told “You won’t be able to,” and “You can’t!”, and proving ALL the naysayers wrong, conquering the obstacle course in life, translated…
In the Process of My Working Career, Although I’d Beaten Down a Number of Times, But I’d Still, Gotten Back Up, Standing Tall. But, This, was the Very First Time I’d Given Someone a Bad Face, I’d, Connected to Everything Bad that’s Already Happened, and, Found that Tears Had, Found Their Ways, Down My Cheeks………
There was that “the Brightest Moon Appears Only in Your Hometown” carved into the rocks, and now, I can still recall, how I’d felt, with that carving knife in my hand, and what it took, for me, to carve those words down onto the stones, one, by one.
The Revelations from the Three Phone Calls
Because I didn’t graduate from the teaching universities, at age thirty, I could only teach at the private schools, while I’d, waited until I’m finished with my education college course credits, and test into a public university. During which time, my mother kept worrying about the matter of my marriage, and every single New Year’s as I’d gone back home to visit, she’d brought it up, like being unmarried, is equivalent, as not fulfilling my filial piety duties to the family. But, she couldn’t, possibly, have me, find some random woman and marry, can she? Once, my eldest brother called on behalf of my mother, gave me a phone number, wanted me to get to know the woman, to see, if we can go anywhere. Turns out, the daughter of the older brother of our neighbor, Mrs. Wu, who was, also a teacher, a graduate from TS University, by scholarship, my mother worried she’s out of my league, and even asked me if I graduated from the university of her same level and standing too? In order to make my mother feel better, I’d said, “yeah, we’re, about the same”, and it’d made her tell me affirmatively, “Then, call her up now!”
And so, I’d, dialed her number, it was her father who’d picked up, and he’d told me courteously, that she was, in the shower. Her father was so courteous, and, I’d, imagined his daughter to be too. So, twenty minutes later, I’d, dialed the number again, “Hello, Ms. C, this is………”, before I could make my full introductions, she’d stated plainly, “I’m blow-drying my hair, I haven’t got the time to talk.”, then she’d, hung up, and, it was hard for me right at the moment, to connect the varied attitudes of her and her father together. But, I was, still willing, to think good thoughts, maybe, she’s, really busy at something. It’s, just that the conversation ten minutes later, had shocked me.
“What, do you want?”, as I’d introduced myself to her, that, was the replies she’d given me. I’d become, dumbfounded for a couple of second, maintained my gentleman’s way, I’d told her, that I’d just finished taking my credits in the education major, and was planning on taking the public school’s teachers’ examinations.
“You want to pass the exams the first time you take it? My coworker took the exams five, six times then finally passed, who the HELL do you think you are? Where, did you graduate from?”, she’d lifted up that last word up, it’d, interrupted my statements, and I’d clearly, felt how belittling she was toward me, I’d made up my mind, to end the conversation as soon as I could.
After graduating from the university, in order to live out my dreams of becoming a school teacher, as my classmates entered into the high-tech fields, I’d, gone alone, in this circle without any company from my older schoolmates. In the process of my hard work, although I’d weathered through my shares of stores and waves, I was always, able to, stand back up. But, to be told in my face, that I wasn’t, good enough, that, was a first, and, all of a sudden, the moments in my past that were too trying, all came, flooding back, and, tears started, falling from my eyes uncontrollably.
Blowing Away the Dusts from the Engraved Slabs
Every soul has its own ways, of healing up, carving the stamps had always been mine. The imprints from the horizontal and vertical lines, crisscrossed, into the mirrored reflections of images, that, was a more than familiar, and a very comforting language to me. As the knife slid through the rocks I took my rolling thoughts, back, to my hometown, recalled how my mother longed to see me successful, recalled how my old hometown had, looked………I’d picked up that rock, and that knife, stroke, by stroke, disclosed my feelings, and through the lines I’d carved I was able to, reconstruct, the features of what had, already happened. Don’t know how much time had, passed, as I’d lifted up my final stroke, blew off the dusts from the rocks I was carving in, like, how I’d, dried up my tears too, severed myself, from ALL of these.
I’d decided, to cast aside my own emotions, and focused my mind, on the teachers’ exams that came a week later, faced with this huge challenge of my own life, working hard, to BREAK everybody’s preconceived notions of me is the only way. I’d not gotten a clue of how to begin from before, without the mental readiness to prepare, I’d found my motivations once more, although, there was, only little time remaining, I’d felt, that there was, some sort of a force behind me, urging me on, leading me from the front.
On the day the grades were posted out, I’d arrived two hours early, to wait for the grades, as the grades were posted, everybody rushed up to see their own scores, and, as I finally, made my way, into the crowd, I’d, lifted my head, saw my own name in print. I’d, made my exit away out of the crowd, found a public phone, called my mother up at home, maybe, because I was so moved, I couldn’t do anything else, but cry, and it took me a long while, to finally, mumble out, “That test, the exam………”, I’d, kept repeating these words and phrases, as my mother heard my cries, she’d thought I didn’t get on, she’d consoled with me, “It’s okay, just work harder next time!”, my mother’s it’s okay kept coming toward me, it’d, made me even MORE emotional, after a while, I finally delivered the news of passing the exams to her. But now, my mother became, somewhat confused, “Why are you crying, if, you’d made it? It’s not as if, you didn’t, make it, why are you, crying?”
That day, I’d, wiped dry my own tears on that noisy street, inhaled deeply, that southern wind, feeling assured, that the wind, must’ve, passed through my hometown too.
Many years passed, and, every time I saw my own carvings, and, the same old mixed feelings will always, rush back up to me again, it’s just, that there’s, NO anger or sorrows now, with the hint of cherish and gratitude added.
So, this, is a man’s own introspections of how he’d made it, of how hard he’d worked, of all those moments of being told, “You won’t make it”, “You’re NOT good enough”, to affirming himself, passing the teacher’s exam, making himself, AND his own family proud of him, he’d, become, a MAN!