The Spaces Between Your Fingers

Click the image to flip

Flip
After that day’s dinner, I sat across a middle-aged man, with visible snowy streaks of hair— “Pa” was how I usually referred him. While listening to my questions, his calloused, strong hands clasped together, speaking gently in reminiscence of his stories. With glistening eyes, his first memory of his friends seemed to have released a bittersweet expression. Already knowing the reason, I empathized with his emotion, but it was still beyond my capabilities to truly understand the depths of his sadness. <br /><br />
Our family had been informed of Sihong’s death from a shooting. My dad was there during his last breaths, as they were there for each other since high school until his departure that day. <br /><br />

Within a twenty feet radius resonated the roars and stomps of a madman, or rather, the voice and rushed steps of a familiar. Ready to be greeted by an upcoming presence, he and Guan grinned widely at the common practice of their typically late friend—gasping for possibly all the oxygen around the green mass. They punched Sihong playfully as he was tardy yet again to school, a lesson he never learned from. Holding two bags in both hands, lingered the smell of Chinese takeout from the restaurant a few feet away from the school gates. 

Considering the past orchestra of muscular activity within their stomachs, the clock was an unnecessary reminder to head for lunch. With the lack of presence of the other, the two had already proceeded to the cafeteria the past hour to silence their musical performances. Knowing this, he was hesitant to reveal this: seeing the occupied hands of the newly arrived.

“Time to eat guys,” declared the eager teen, eyes set to dive into the feast-loaded clear bags. Unaware of the betrayal of his friends, Sihong continued to scurry towards a feasible spot to have their little picnic, only to be halted by his friends. 

We’re all good,” he continued slowly, “you can go ahead and eat without us.” 

“What do you mean,” asked Sihong, “it’s lunch time now, unless you guys ate without me.” He and Guan gave Sihong a guilty look, and as they diverted their focus to the ground, they rubbed their necks at the sudden silence. 

Both of them apologized and insisted once more for Sihong to eat, knowing the type of appetite that he has. Noticing that his pal’s once upturned mouth proceeded to inch lower, he too slowly followed in the act. With the bags still in his hands, Sihong clenched onto them tightly—veins surfacing around his arm—while his eyes rapidly moved back and forth from their announcement.

“I won’t be eating then!” Sihong exclaimed, throwing away all serving sizes for a party of three. With brute force, the nearby trashcan shook in fear, taking seconds before it stabilized in place. Two heads faced their friend in horror. 

It almost hadn’t occurred to him that it was a rarity to not accompany each other as a trio. To any, this could be deemed to be a silly fit of temper, but this was far from that. Like brothers, future adventures should have been marked with the attendance of all—a promise he embedded into his mind. Regardless of it being one missed meal, it was still a meal, a moment missed to enjoy together.

Despite his starved friend’s obvious anger, Sihong remained playful and wholeheartedly clasped each of their shoulders with both his arms around them. It was as if nothing had happened at all. 

“Let’s go play some ball, I wasn’t that hungry anyways.”

One More Meal

Flag as Inappropriate
1984
Shahu Town, Enping City, Guangdong Province, China

After that day’s dinner, I sat across a middle-aged man, with visible snowy streaks of hair— “Pa” was how I usually referred him. While listening to my questions, his calloused, strong hands clasped together, speaking gently in reminiscence of his stories. With glistening eyes, his first memory of his friends seemed to have released a bittersweet expression. Already knowing the reason, I empathized with his emotion, but it was still beyond my capabilities to truly understand the depths of his sadness.

Our family had been informed of Sihong’s death from a shooting. My dad was there during his last breaths, as they were there for each other since high school until his departure that day.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Ashley Wu on June 6, 2019
×
×
Mailman bruce next to a mailbox
×

Alert IconAre you sure you want to permanently delete this postcard? You cannot undo this action.

Delete
×