Written by: Zi Xinyu
Translated by: timebun
I once asked myself whether I had ever experienced anything… so unforgettable that it was carved deeply into my bones.
Then I thought carefully about it.
Actually, my life was pretty average and rather peaceful.
It was probably because I was still young.
But upon thinking even more seriously, it seems like I’ve ever really hated one person.
I was four years old back then.
Blame it on my age and my fuzzy memory; I didn’t even manage to remember what my dad looked like even after he passed away.
I could only remember some bits and pieces.
The dad in my memories was a very, very fierce man.
He would use something like a bamboo stick and beat me until I was rolling on the floor in agony.
When I was being disobedient, he would tie me to a stool and wouldn’t let anyone let me go.
He would always buy those cheap books that cost 20 cents for me, and order me to write on it from cover to cover.
All he did was make me cry and act out; I really didn’t know what to think of him.
I just thought that other dads would beat their children as well.
However, their mums would surely help to deflect some of it.
While my mum was always watching from afar.
Thus, I started to hate her.
The year I turned seven.
Three years after my dad passed away, she still remained a widow.
All alone, she raised me and my brother, who was two years younger.
She always said that I failed to live up to expectations.
I would fall sick often and would take very long to recover, so she had to run all over the place looking for a doctor.
She probably ran out of money then.
Thus, she almost kneeled in front of my grandfather, my dad’s father.
My grandfather gave her a hundred dollars and told her to repay it later on.
Friends and relatives hid from us, not caring if we lived or not.
I was young and ignorant back then.
I always felt that other people’s mums had a lot of money.
But my mum was so poor that she had to borrow money from everywhere.
Thus, I hated her.
Perhaps it was when I was ten.
The new teacher at school was recording something.
The teacher just had to ask about our dads’ names.
Back then, I didn’t know that I could fill in my mum’s name instead, so I didn’t know what to do.
Thus the teacher asked, “How do you not even know what your own dad is called?”
I flushed red; then I heard a girl from the same village shout, “She doesn’t have a dad!”
In an instant, all the kids in the class were bursting out in laughter.
I saw the teacher’s guilty expression.
However, I was the one who lowered my head and cried for an entire year.
It was all my mum’s fault for never mentioning what my dad was called.
Mum, I really hate you.
There was a year when I seemed to be waiting for something in school.
It was probably after classes; the rain was pouring heavily and many of my classmates had forgotten to bring umbrellas.
I was about twelve years old then, and I kept watching the other kids get picked up by someone bringing an umbrella.
I kept waiting and waiting, but no one came.
Other kids had young, pretty and rich mums, and they looked so clean.
Jealousy filled me as I watched from the side.
However, it wasn’t until almost everyone had left that my mum finally came over eagerly with an umbrella. She was so old, so ugly, and she was so dirty all over.
Everyone thought my grandmother had come to fetch me.
The young me was worried about losing face, so I lowered my head and walked as far away from her as I could.
But she hurriedly rushed up, held the umbrella up over me and apologised.
“What’s wrong? Are you angry? I didn’t intend to arrive this late. I was rushing and accidentally fell…”
I saw that her arm was bleeding.
What a clumsy mum.
I hate you so much, just die.
When my maternal grandfather died, I was about fourteen.
I hid under the table and cried myself silly.
My younger brother cried for days, while my older cousin knelt in front of the corpse and my aunts rushed back and forth.
Thus, I hid under the table for an entire day.
When I was found, my aunt said, “Child, why are you hiding over here? Go and comfort your mum, she’s been crying for really long and no one’s managed to console her.”
I crawled out shakily and went downstairs.
Only to see that while there were both happy and sad faces around, she had cried until she had collapsed to the floor. She rolled back and forth, like a child throwing a tantrum.
When my grandfather was moved to the hearse, her agitated emotions turned into full blown hysteria.
Everyone was crying, but we were still standing.
How could she just lie on the floor just like that?
What a loss of face; she seemed so childish.
My stupid mum was so annoying.
In the blink of an eye, a few years passed and I turned sixteen.
I was young, rebellious and full of ignorance.
Mum was getting older, but I was in the peak of my youth.
Thus I quarrelled with her everyday, day and night.
I loathed her blind worry and nagging, so I started to return home late and mix with all sorts of scoundrels.
She tried to keep me on a tight leash.
Calls would come day and night, persuading me to go home.
I left in a fit of pique.
3am in the early morning.
When I opened the door.
I saw her sitting by the entrance holding a wooden stool.
She controlled me so strictly, tying me to her everyday.
I really hate you.
I was prone to causing trouble when I was young; the next incident I remember was when I was eighteen.
I had bought two romantic fiction books and had been reading happily.
When she saw it, she immediately took the books and tore them into pieces.
Thus I cried and made a fuss like I had never grown up.
She then said that she had raised me up in the hopes that I would study properly, that I shouldn’t read these kinds of romantic stories, that I would become silly from them.
I scolded her for being unfair, that she wouldn’t let me do anything at all.
Why was it that my younger brother was allowed to do anything he wanted?
I asked if she was being biased.
I had always been stubborn as an ox since I was young; after this one fight, I went on a hunger strike for a few days.
She had a soft personality and she was a crybaby.
Seeing that I wasn’t eating or drinking, she got anxious.
I’ll remember what happened for the rest of my life.
In other people’s families, daughters would kneel before their mothers.
My mum knelt before me; see what an unfilial daughter I am.
Mum, you’re always acting like this.
I really hate you.
When I was around twenty one years old, I realised that half of the hair on her head was white.
I went out into society and started working, heh.
It was only then that I realised how hard it was to earn money. Thinking back on the years where I disdained her for being poor, I went to the marketplace and bought pyjamas for her, sending them straight to her.
Her happiness from receiving the first ever present from me lasted a few years.
She would always boast outside that her daughter was so filial.
She would talk about how her daughter loved her so.
She was great at deceiving herself.
I really hated her.
When I was twenty five, I started to date someone.
She looked him up and down and asked around about his family and background before she could rest easy.
Before she dared to hand me over to him.
When I visited his home, that was when I finally realised what home truly was.
Thus, I dipped into my memories once again, and remembered how I thought her ugly back then.
I bought some makeup products.
Placed them into her hands.
Only to see that her hair had all turned white.
Actually, I don’t really hate her that much.
At thirty years old, I no longer dared to look back on my memories. I didn’t dare to look at her, nor did I dare to think about them.
I have a daughter now, and as I was watching her sleep soundly, it was then that I finally understood what my mum felt for me.
So this was how it felt.
Maternal love, what exactly are you?
She’s already sixty this year. Her hair is white and her teeth are gone.
However, when she looks at me, she still beams.
People started ignoring her when she walked on the streets, and our family started to get irritated by her when she was at home.
But I found that…
Actually, she’s not that annoying after all.
At thirty five, I started accompanying her more often.
Only to see her hearing get worse and worse; I have to repeat myself a few times for every sentence I speak.
The bad habits she used to have haven’t changed a bit. When I look a little haggard, she starts crying without warning.
I kept telling her to treat herself better, to treat her body better.
But she said, “Ah? I’ve already eaten. Have you eaten yet?”
I said, “Take care of yourself, don’t tire yourself out.”
She said, “What? You want me to cook noodles? Alright, alright…”
I watched her slowly move her body.
She started to get busy in the kitchen.
Suddenly, a tear dripped from my eyes.
Actually, I don’t hate her anymore.
I only hope that she can make it to her hundredth birthday.
My prediction was pretty accurate; she made it to a hundred and one.
I was already white-haired by then.
My daughter was disobedient, and my son made a ruckus.
It was only then that I realised how tough she had it back in those years.
But my husband is still around and my family is happy.
My mum back then…
She was bringing up two kids alone!
As I watched that coffin descending slowly down into the earth, tears streamed down my cheeks in the midst of my hysteria.
That bout of crying.
It was as if my heart was being ripped apart; I was so agitated that I started rolling around on the ground.
I was unwilling, I refused to accept reality; I couldn’t bear it at all.
I acted the same way I did when my dad beat me as a child.
The same way she had rolled about when my grandfather had been buried.
I cried, I made a ruckus.
In that instant, I realised.
Mum, I like you so much.
I really, really like you.
I really, really love you.
She drifted through life for my sake, and tasted all sorts of suffering in this world for me.
When she ate meals outside, she would always bring a bag so she could bring back tasty treats in secret.
I would always be looking at the biscuit in the hands of the kid next door.
She would go out to buy one in secret and watch me eat it with a broad smile.
I was too frivolous when I was young.
I never realised how tough she had it without her husband.
I only knew how hard it was for me without my dad.
But I forgot that she was raising two children without her husband by her side!
Mum, I used to hate you.
But now, you’ve disappeared in the blink of an eye.
I really want to see you.
I want to tell you everything I’ve kept in my heart.
Did you know, that I really like you?
I’m not good with words at all.
Were you hurt by me?
Now, when my daughter writes compositions, she fills the book from cover to cover.
Now, the 30 cents biscuits I used to eat cost a dollar.
But it still tastes the same.
Like the one you bought back then.
Why do I…
Suddenly want to see you so bad?
My life was average.
I never experienced any great pain or suffering, and never went through anything earth-shattering.
I’ve only hated one person in my life.
I’ve only liked that one person in my life.
There’s so much suffering in this world.
Wait a few more years, and I’ll come chasing after you.
When the time comes.
I want to call out to you again, Mum.
I finally became a grandmother; my daughter gave birth to a child.
I watched her grow more thoughtful, and she started to do the laundry and cook for me.
In the blink of an eye, three years passed and I carried my grandson with me happily.
My hearing was starting to worsen, and my daughter’s voice was starting to become unclear.
I would shut my eyes occasionally.
And see my mum.
She’s waiting for me in my dreams.
In the end.
After thinking about it carefully.
I seem to have owed you something.
Actually, I love you so much.
And, I’m sorry.
TL Note: Give your mum and family a great big hug, guys ;v;