Write one leaf about a number that means something to you.

2005. It was the year my maternal grandfather passed away, and also the year I last saw my mother. I wasn’t very close to him, but I recall his joyful nature, always smiling with his well-taken-cared-of white teeth, telling me about God. I remember staying with her then after being apart from her for so many years. I forgot so much about her, preoccupied with my life here in Sunny Singapore. 

Even now, I’m ashamed to say that that ten days are a blurry mess, a collage of having my favorite dumplings for breakfast, witnessing my first funeral, sleeping beside you and riding on your motor-cycle while you sing about God’s love for me. I even spent Christmas with you. I didn’t want to leave. I cried buckets when I flew back here, wondering how you were, wondering when I could see you again.

And in 2008, I went back to my second home, Taiwan, but unable to meet up with you because we just couldn’t contact you. Those days that I dialed 20 numbers just to speak to you were past. I enjoyed myself there, as I always did when I went over, but it was an incomplete joy because I had missed you.

This year, like the last, I miss the chance to travel there again due to various reasons. But I do wonder, what’s the point in visiting my second home when it’s just a house? Of course, I can try to relive those moments by savoring those famous Taiwanese street snacks, or even have those 20 dumplings for breakfast again; but I can only do so imagining your presence.

We’re both so old now. Do you know I’m at least a head taller than you now? Sometimes I really wonder what it would be like if I stayed with you, or if you hadn’t leave. Would it have been better? But they are empty thoughts, fit for kids. I’m not a kid anymore, you can’t dress me up as a pirate for Halloween (my only Halloween) even if you were here.

But sure, I would be a pirate for you, a different one, one that could and would rescue you from your predicament, one that would share his ship with you, and even let you take the wheel. You would take me wherever you wanted. We would stay on board forever. But for now, I’ll continue sailing until my heart leads me to you.