某人昨晚已经到家了。匆匆忙忙地回一趟家，匆匆忙忙地去购物，走之前又是买新衣服，又是染头发的，就是怕母亲见了唠叨，心疼。 周四下班收拾行装，周五又是一大早坐车去机场。人的一生不就是像这旅途吗，一路忙碌一路辛苦。想起以前每次回国回来，人变得心浮气躁。最近几年才发现，这些曾经的冲击亦随着年龄的变化变化着，尤其在我们走过了千山万水，走过了岁月后，渐渐也学会看淡一些事，珍惜一些事，所谓鱼和熊掌不可兼得， 有得必有失，人生不可能完美，不可能没有遗憾。
Two suitcases, one big and one small, are downstairs on the floor, zipped, upright and in place. Inside are the gifts for the parents and relatives that I have been buying hurriedly in the past weeks for his trip to China. Choosing right gifts is always a headache, and even so now when everyone back home is rich. I wish one day I could go home without such a hassle. But that day may never come.
I straightened myself from the floor, stretched, relieved and ready to relax. LD came downstairs reminding me that he needed a hair dye. It was almost ten o’clock at night. I followed him upstairs, tired and a bit grudgingly. He is not the person who is particular about his attire or outlook, and he rarely needs a dye. Isn’t this last-minute request a bit skeptical (Just kidding. :)? As if reading my mind, he seated himself on a stool in the bath room, explaining to me assuringly that a touch-up is just to show his mom that he still looks young and healthy, and life here is just as good. I gingerly brushed up here and there over his grizzled hair, my mind flashing back to the last weekend when we shopped at an outlet.
The autumn sun in the southern CA was still relentlessly beaming. The dry air had a faint smell of burnt fire coming off the northwest. We strode off along the big mall, in and out of stores one after another, looking for gifts as well as a new jacket for him. Hours stealthily passed. Soon it was high noon. The direct sun scorched over the unshaded veranda mercilessly. As our shopping bags getting heavier, so were our feet. LD tried on a few more jackets before he put them back to the shelves. Either it is the style, the size, or the long sleeves that turned him down. Out of exasperation he said jokingly to himself as he stepped into a new store. “If I still cannot find a right one, let’s stop looking. I am going to put on my suit. Then Mom won’t say anything this time.” He made a grimace.
Living in the states for so long, we care less about our outlooks now. Except for the required work attire, we dress casually after work. Comfort is what we are after, not the luxury. But people in China, or mom at home may still judge us by the appearance. If a good-looking jacket could save mom from any nagging or worrying, it is worth it.
In the end, we found one right-sized sweater with zipper in the middle, just good enough to call it a day.
The night deepened when we were finally done with the hair dye, shower, dry blowing. We rested on bed, hoping that we could fall asleep fast, knowing that the reserved shuttle to pick him up will come very early in the morning.
Alone at home all day long. When the night fell, it was dead silent and soundless in and around the house. Without his presence, the house is empty, but I relish every minute of this solitude, reading and writing quietly.
A door bell rang and broke the peace. Who is it? Without turning on light, I tiptoed in the darkness downstairs and peered into the door hole. It was the next door neighbor—an old Indian guy. I opened the door, and he handed me four bananas from his tree, saying that they are very sweet and he would like me to taste them. I took two, and thanked him. The neighbor has moved in for a year or two, but we rarely talk to each other. Except for one time about half a year ago, I knocked at his door, bringing to his attention that his towering banana palms blocked my second-floor window from opening. He trimmed them a little later. Though they still block the view, they are no longer in the way. Now the banana trees are bearing fruits, heavily hanging over his own roof. We chatted for a while at the door. He told me that he moved from New York, and his daughter and son-in-law are all doctors, living in the same neighborhood. The old man was in the mood to talk, but his strong Indian accent put a damper on the conversation. A few minutes later, I returned to my desk, and continued my immersion in being solitary.