SECRETS UNREVEALED ABOUT HOME AS A CHILD
Home is watching your Daddy play the violin in silhouette against a window, when you hear the melody of Humoresque sing across the strings, when he sighs putting his violin away in its case, and the scent of rosin rises.
Home is where Daddy doesn’t tell you that he before you were born, he plans day after day, hides money in secret places so he can walk in 1941 from Hong Kong into free China, that he hops on the backs of trucks, plods, trips, runs to catch a bus, searches for his beloved, marries your mother, then puts her on a plane escaping Shanghai in 1949, returns to Hong Kong with your older sister, and at last minute gives his ticket to his disabled brother, then watches your mother’s face on departure, promises he will be on the next plane, discovers the next day a closed airport because the Japanese military has arrived, so he must begin again, discovers an escape route, squeezes coins into the bottom of a toothpaste tube for emergencies, puts aside thoughts to run alone but takes your cousin with him, fleeing through collapsing buildings, fires and explosions, searching for that safe place with quiet nights—you aren’t told yet that these thoughts still hide in his mind—but you have some child sense that at night when you can’t sleep and his hands wrap you in that security blanket and your Mommy has finished singing, that when his slim fingers lull you into a dream, your dream mixes with his, and when you fall asleep, you have fulfilled that peaceful part of his dream.
Annie Bien has published flash fiction, poetry, and translations of Buddhist scriptures and commentaries to gain perspective on the world. A flash fiction winner and finalist of the London Independent Story Prize, a Pushcart Nominee, and an English translator of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon at 84000. Her most recent publication, Messages from Under a Pillow, is published by A3 Press. http://anniebien.com
Photo: Annie and Trevor