A Dream that Never Comes True: A Story by Patsy Chung Pui-sze

My mother came to my bedroom one cold, dark early morning and woke me up. She said, “Wake up and prepare yourself quickly, your granny has already arranged everything.”

When I saw my granny’s cordial smile, my heart was deeply warmed. Looking at her rosy face and brown curly hair, I could see why many people said that she looked like a westerner. When everything was ready, we began our journey to the Mainland. Since my granny’s brother and sister lived there, she often liked to go back to visit them and help them out. On the way to the train station, I could smell the fresh air and taste the strong, freezing wind. As walked through the station, I took several pieces of luggage in one hand, and I used the other hand to hold my granny’s arm as firmly as possible as I was afraid that I might lose her.

We took an old-fashioned train. Inside, there were wooden tables and the chairs were covered with thick, brown leather. Outside it was still dark. I could only see a sea of scattered lights and the dim-yellow light of the setting moon that illuminated the compartment. I really wanted to stay awake and see the scenery, but I could not keep my eyes open, and finally I fell asleep in my granny’s arms.

When we arrived in Chungshan, I thought I was being put in a refrigerator when I got outside. My toes were frozen even though they were buried beneath a pair of thick socks; and I could feel my teeth were shaking too! We rode in the back of a three-wheel vehicle for nearly an hour before arriving in front of a big house. My granny’s brother was already waiting for us at the door. That evening, we were served many special dishes. The taste of the fried fish balls and wonton impressed me very much. I had never tasted such delicious flavours before.

Later that night, we had to shut the windows and door of the bedroom so we could bathe using water from a small pot. It was not as convenient as taking a shower at home, but I found it was quite fun. Although there were a number of bedrooms in the house, I still decided to sleep with my granny in one bedroom. Sleeping next to her made me feel very warm and safe.

I slept well, and the next day, my granny took me to have morning tea with her brother. I was not accustomed to the food of the Chinese restaurant there, but I thought it was still a good experience for me. I could see the elderly men coming to have morning tea with their caged birds. The voices of the people and songs of the birds enlivened the atmosphere. When we had finished the tea, I got a chance to admire the landscape on our way home, the scenery was really attractive……

The alarm clock woke me up suddenly, but I was left with the clear picture of my dream.

It was an unforgettable trip, wasn’t it? My granny, however, had passed away nearly three years before. And though she had been back to China many times, I hadn’t gone with her once. I always dream of her, and whenever she visits my dreams, we do many things that we never did when she was still alive. Although she has left me for a long time, the rough sketch of her face still floats on my mind like a beautiful picture. And I am glad I can still share my feelings with her even now.

I can still remember seeing her pale but beautiful face when she was in the hospital. When her hands slipped away from my hands, I knew I would only be able to touch her again in my dreams.all villagers attended and they mourned him, but none of his children were there to see their father for the last time.

~Patsy Chung Pui-Sze (Hong Kong)


Return to Bloodlines: Poems and Stories about Family by Young Asian Writers (Asian Voices)


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