“And don’t ever think of coming back!” Those were the last words I have heard form my papa a decade ago.
Coming from a typical Chinese family, I and my sister are obliged to follow their words. But it came to a point where I have to express and fight for what I really wanted.
A decade ago, I was in my senior year in high school and my parents both wanted me to take up medicine but it really wasn’t the course I liked. I was never good at biology neither did I have the courage to look at bloody internal organs. What I wanted to be was a stylist.
Typical Chinese people may see it quite improper for a straight guy like me to be a stylist but time had changed. And besides, it’s what I wanted to do; it’s what I love to do! There’s an urge within me saying that I should be a stylist.
It was on that day that I decided to tell them—no, I decided to fight for just one thing in my life. Just for this one time, I made up my mind to disobey my parents—“just for one time,” I said to myself.
It was dinner time when mama brought up the topic about my future course. She was holding her chopsticks towards me as she spoke in her normal calm voice, “Son, we have already arranged your application form for Bei Jing Medical School. It’s on your desk already and we’ve—” “Ma—” I interrupted. I gained up some courage to continue my sentence. “Pa, I have to tell you something.”
My dad put down his cup of rice and I felt that trouble’s on its way, yet I still continued with what I was saying. “I want to pursue a career in styling.” I never expected that this sentence could change my whole life.
“Don’t bring up that topic again if you still want stay in this house!” he said sternly but I was really decided to fight for what I wanted whatever the consequence might be. I know that if I don’t, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. “Papa, I have decided already. I don’t want to take up medicine.”
Things during that night went so fast that all I remembered were shouting and my mom saying that I was a useless son, that I’m so stubborn, a good-for-nothing. Eventually, I was told to leave the house.
It was hard for me to live throughout my college years. I have to earn my own keep from the time I left. I have to wash my own clothes, pay for my tuition, cook on my own and the list goes on. All of those, I have never experienced since birth! But my goal always kept me alive. I was really determined to pursue my dream for if I let somebody else to control me, I know in my heart that I’ll regret it for my lifetime.
During that period, I worked as an apprentice for the famous stylist in my country, Wang Zhen Ying. He helped me a lot to be what I am now, a famous stylist—yet not as great as my mentor.
That was ten years ago, and from that span of time, I never heard a single word from my parents or even from my sister. Not until six days ago, when a letter arrived at my house in Florida. It was my sister who wrote me and said:
You need to go back to Bei Jing. Papa’s in a critical condition right now. We need you here.
After reading it, I didn’t know what to feel. There’s a mixed emotion of sadness and anger—sadness, for my papa’s condition and anger, for not giving me a single word in the past ten years. Still, I made up my mind to go home. I immediately booked for a ticket to Bei Jing.
Now six days after reading the letter, I am on my way home, in the plane that is to arrive at Bei Jing. As soon as I left the airport, I quickly called for a taxi to rush me to the hospital. On my way there, I was so nervous and hoped that my father’s condition wouldn’t worsen. That was the only thing I want now. I am somewhat regretting the fact that I left home. All of a sudden, memories came rushing to my mind.
“Are you ok?” the taxi driver asked. That was the only time I noticed that tears were already streaming on my cheeks. I quickly wiped it and said in a teary voice, “I am fine, don’t worry. Just drive me to the hospital as soon as possible.”
It was already half past eleven in the morning when the taxi reached our destination. I came running towards the room number given by my sister. When I arrived at the place, I saw 2 of my uncles and aunties with my mama and sister. I stopped for a while. I know that what I did ten years ago was a shame for my family. So, I slowly walked towards them, preparing myself for what they would say or do.
I was half way towards them when my mom ran to me and hugged me tightly. I felt her tears streaming on my shoulder. I managed myself to utter some words. “Ma—mama, how’s papa?” She wiped her tears and led me to the room without a word. There, I saw papa lying on bed and it seems like he became a lot weaker from the last time I saw him. I—I didn’t know what to do. I felt that it was my entire fault that he weakened. My hands were shaking as I kneeled beside him and said, “Papa, I’m sorry.” Those were the only words that I can say and again, I felt tears flowing on my face. “I’m sorry for disobeying you.”
He simply touched my head and with all his strength, he managed to say, “I’m sorry too. I can’t blame you for choosing your own path in life. I want to say that I’m proud that you’ve became successful. I love you son.”
Then, I can’t help but break down and cry. I never knew that the person, who shouted at me to leave a decade ago, would still want me back as their son. I continued crying and I felt my sister and mama touched my shoulders to somehow ease the pain I’m feeling.
That’s when I realized I still have a family, a home, a people who would still take me as their son after leaving home for a long time. Yes, I became successful; I had all the material things I wanted; I even reached the climax of my goal. I didn’t regret those facts. What I truly regretted at this moment was to miss becoming their son for ten long and weary years. This is the only time I realized that there’s more than becoming a great stylist.
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