My father was laid to rest on the eve of the first Tomb-sweeping Day after he passed away. The black tombstone was engraved with his name and dates of birth and death, as well as a hyphen between the numbers, and the names of his family.
I stare into the most simple hyphen, can’t help to wonder—how many days had my father lived in this world for? How many days can a person live in the world for? Can the most simple punctuation mark really condense the whole life? These are so simple but boring questions, but no one can answer them. Many people don’t care much about how many days they could live in the world. For people who are alive, as they are alive and going to be alive, they don’t have time to think about that. For those who have passed away, as they have left, no one concerns about it for them.
My father had lived in this world for 30,219 days. Yes, I got this boring answer in an awkward way. Because I’m so concerned! Everyday my father spent is not only important to my father, but also equally important to me. Although my father didn’t think so.
I don’t want my father ’s colorless life summed up in the simple engraved birth and death days that connected with a simple punctuation mark, just like other people. I also know in fact even the two meaningful days would disappear from people’s memory. I want to erase the punctuation mark from my father’s tombstone, to restore every single day of his life. Guided by such an idea, I began my long writing work.
Time and time again, I wrote down the dates which composed of just eight figures on the photograph of my father’s body and remains. The days and nights writing is slow, it satisfies my illusory imagination to spend my time on building the presentation of my father’s life, so that to complete my father’s whole life with my pencil.
Once and once again, such a writing process brought me back to every day of my father’s life, and completed my imagination and memory of the world my father lived. During this process, my memory of my father turned from vague to clear, even the last day of his life seemed like yesterday.
If you ask me, my father had a plain life. In society, he is just someone who could be totally ignored, his departure was just as ordinary as any ordinary people’s. It was so ordinary that we could easily forget it. But I’m always resisting such oblivion, resisting the increasingly vague memory and emotion with time elapsing.