Conversation was non-existent between us. Only the sound of our cutleries hitting the base of our plates occasionally broke the silence. Once done, I quickly cleared the table and washed the dishes. It started very quickly and ended even quicker, just like always. That was about 8 months ago, the first time I had dinner with my dad… alone.
I have never had a good relationship with my dad, neither did I had a good one with my Mom. I guess I am just different from them in many ways. Of course, it also bogs down to the fact that I never tried to build a relationship with them. But then again, neither did they; except for my Mom who tried and tried without me knowing.
I was actually quite furious with my dad in the few weeks after my Mom’s passing. Why? It’s because he was quite reluctant to go vegetarian for 49 days in mourning for my Mom. In fact, he didn’t complete it. If I remember correctly, he only went vegetarian for 3 weeks. Even that, it was obvious that he was reluctant and I can't understand why food is so important to him.
Months have passed since Mom’s passing and I have had countless dinners with my dad alone since. Between those dinners, there were also quite a number of conversations between him and me, mainly about planning of finances, my future plans and also my imminent wedding. I must admit, my dad is now quite a changed man.
He is no longer the selfish person he used to be and somehow, I have found an element of understanding in his way of life, though not yet entirely. Just like how I now understand the way of life of Mom, I could see why food was so important to my dad. He grew up without knowing whether the next meal is forthcoming or otherwise.
I said my hotel dinner will be for my friends and it will be conducted in English. With it being a black tie event, I told him it will not be very possible to invite his business associates and some neighbourhood folks. I am very thankful that he understood and didn’t make a fuss about having to organise another dinner.
Speaking of which, I am also very proud of him in organising this separate dinner. He looked for the place himself and got the booking all done and cards all printed before I can finish my planning. For a man whom I thought only knows how to work, eat, sleep and shit; he has impressed me, and I am proud it.
Dinners alone with dad now can be quite noisy. He can just talk and talk about the food and how it tasted and what he wants to eat tomorrow or the day after. It can be quite annoying but I am certainly not complaining. I try to participate where possible. We also talked about my wedding and where I will be staying thereafter, there were actually conversations.
The other day, when I had another dinner with him alone, I was observing how much he was enjoying his food and I thought to myself, life to him was just so simple. While he never really provided anything for the family beside food and shelter; he also never asked of anything from me as a son. It is a blessing I now see.
I once told myself that I will never shed a tear when this man leaves the earth due to something he said to me in the past. But now I know, that when my dad’s time comes to an end, I will cry just like how I cried when I lost Mom.
P/S: Zewt would like to thank so many of you for helping me reach my century hits. It wouldn’t be possible without you all. This is corny but… I LOVE YOU ALL!