“It will all make sense someday.”

| February 24, 2016 | 2 Comments

That’s what they promised me when I turned six and eight and thirteen; that I would understand everything in due time. And you would think that when you do grow up, the realization will hit you like an oncoming train. But it doesn’t. You open your eyes and everything is the same, except it’s been fifteen or twenty years and you’re still searching, still looking for answers to questions you asked as a child.

Sometimes it does get solved. Like that moment when you realize why eating your vegetables is so important. Or why adults could cry or laugh or smile like they’ve never grown up. Or why your teacher could be angry at you for getting an A- on the test and overjoyed at someone else who got a C+. You learn that the results don’t matter as much as the effort you put in, and you embarce the importance behind the message.

Most of the time, solving these mysteries just leaves you with more questions to be asked–almost like finding the exit to a maze only to reveal itself as a section of a larger one. Like that time when I visited my grandmother in Hong Kong; how we celebrated my being here with a lavish meal, and the moment all hell broke loose when she cursed and ranted at my dead grandfather in front of the entire family. How she left my aunts and uncles to deal with the collateral. “It’s her grouchy old age,” they said reassuringly amidst the death glares. “Don’t listen to her.” But the words lingered, and I finished the meal in silence, stewing the accusation over and over again.

On the way back to the hotel mom finally told me what I already knew. “Your grandparents never really loved each other. They married while they were young–only eighteen years old. Your eldest aunt soon came afterward. And in those times we were really poor. They couldn’t leave each other. “

“How bad were things?”

“I don’t know. She never talks about it.”

In my mind I always thought revelations like these would’ve provided some sort of freakout or unaudited emotion, but there was nothing drastic here. Perhaps there was a little bit of reassurance, in the notion that some odd observations were finally made sense- like how Grandma always seemed to live by herself as I was growing up and why my family never had many pictures of Grandpa in the house. There was some peace in that – in being able to acknowledge these curiosities in some form pf catharsis.

But my romantic self sees this as more of a tragedy. And it wasn’t so much about what my grandma had said as much as it is about my own inner demons and values. This was a man that I have this parental connection with who passed away before I turned seven, who’s only memories I have are those of him in a hospital bed getting treated lung cancer; this was a man that I desperately wanted to love because his love for me was something that I didn’t–or perhaps couldn’t–understand. And now, I’ve been told that he’s not worthy of anything at all.

I still don’t know what to think about my Grandpa. Does he deserve forgiveness? How did he became this way? Were my Grandma’s claims valid, or was he misunderstood? Someday, I suppose, maybe when I’m back in Hong Kong by myself I can put the pieces back together. Perhaps when I’m a few years older and a few years wiser even more will come to light. But until then, I can only wait and hope that it will all make sense someday.

The proverbial next step. photo credit: Mending a Broken Heart via photopin (license)

The proverbial next step. photo credit: Mending a Broken Heart via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Reflections

Mike Chan

About the Author ()

Mike graduated from BU in 2016 with a Elementary Education major and Mathematical Statistics minor. He is from Washington (the State) and a avid football fan, so don't be surprised to see him bunkered down by the television on Sundays. He's likes music, long naps, movies, Doctor Who, video games, and making people feel great (and sometimes altogether at once). If he is not writing here, he's probably busy rambling on Reddit or cooking something exotic. Follow his Twitter @karatemanchan37. You have been warned.

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  1. Confessions of an Asian-American - Culture Shock : Culture Shock | March 30, 2016
  1. Kobe Yank-Jacobs Kobe Yank-Jacobs says:

    This is a fantastic post. It’s engaging and thought-provoking.

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