I called my mom the other day to wish her happy birthday.
She said it wasn’t her birthday yet.
I talked to my dad. It was the first time I’ve talked to him since arriving in London.
He asks me if it’s cold.
He asks me what I’ve been eating.
He asks me if I’ve lost weight.
I said I have.
He sounded heart-broken and told me to eat more.
I started tearing up.
He says he’s finally retiring (again). And that that day was his last day at work.
He asks me how my job situation’s going.
I told him I’m still struggling but very happy that I’ve had a very successful first real interview on Monday and that I’ve been invited to go back for a second interview.
He says that if things are too hard, I can just go back to school. Just talk to mom and they’ll help me (financially).
I said I do want to study. I’ve always been intending to pursue a further degree. I just don’t know what in.
He says, if you’re interested in writing, why don’t you go do English or English Literature or whatever?
I said it’s gonna be very costly, and what am I going to do with an MA in English? I don’t want to graduate and go back to square one again. With no clear direction and not knowing what I want to do.
What I didn’t say was, he’s retiring, and there’s no income in the entire household. I can’t be selfish and take a big chunk out of what he’s worked so hard to save over the years.
He then said something he’s never said before.
He said, it doesn’t matter whether you’ll graduate with a professional degree or career path or not. It matters what you like and that you’re interested in what you study.
I felt a tear drop from my eyes.
For so many years, I’ve been told to put profession, security and income over everything else.
Graduating from high school, I was told to go into medicine, law or business. I didn’t.
For years after uni., he told me of his friends’ kids who earn such and such doing accounting, who can find jobs easily doing programming, who earn big bucks in finance.
He didn’t mean it, but I always felt he mean to say I studied the “wrong” thing.
Now, he tells me everything doesn’t matter anymore, as long as I love and enjoy what I do.
When I was in school in Thailand, and I saw my parents a year or two later, and realize how they’ve aged in such a short span of time. I silently cried.
I cried for the day I might lose them.
Now, I could hear the age in his voice and I know I won’t be seeing him anytime soon.
I dread the day my heart breaks when I see him again.
A few days later, through MSN, my brother asks me how much Centrum A to Z vitamins cost here.
I said I don’t know.
He says they cost HK$183 for 100 tablets in HK.
I said, ok, I’ll check if I come across them. I asked him how much they want me to buy and send if they’re cheap enough.
He says, no. They don’t want any.
Mom told him to tell me to buy some for myself.