Today is Chinese New Year’s Eve. We don’t need to work today, but for Chinese New Year, there are still lots of work. In Taiwan, people may take a day or two day off earlier for going home. For those who don’t have the luck to apply for day off, they drive overnight or take mid-night train/bus. Those who stay home to receive coming-home children clean up their house, make reunion dinner, and paste spring couplets on the both sides of the door. Everyone is busy on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow will still be a busy day. Some will be visiting relatives, and some will be seeking good luck from traditional supernatural powers. But there is always another option–some choose to leave the island and enjoy the holiday in a place far away. For them, home is where you and your beloved ones are.
My father went to visit my uncle in the hospital in the morning so I got the chance to paste new spring couplets this year. It’s not a big work compared to cleaning up the house. But when I actually did it, I felt the concept of new year became more concrete and it is more real that something new and better is coming, right at the corner, along with Chinese New Year.
I turned on my mp3 player when I started my work, and Suede’s “The Asphalt World” was the first song I heard. It is weird to listen to a song about love triangle and jealousy at such a joyful moment, but soon “Still Life” came up and I enjoyed it while I was pasting the new spring couplet. I can barely grasp the meaning of the lyrics, but I like the arrangement and the atmosphere it created. Through the ending part of the song, you seem to get out of a dark tunnel and arrive at a place that is totally different from the world you are used to. Sounds like Narnia or Heaven huh? Anyway, it’s nice to listen to a song you like while you are working and enjoy the thought of entering a new stage of life with the song as a soundtrack.
My work was done when my father came back. He said my uncle was very ill and he might leave us in a few days. He said this in a calm voice as if he was talking about the plants on our balcony. My uncle is just a few years older than my father so I don’t know if the news will make him worry about himself. I imagine my uncle lying or sitting on the bed talking to my father in a low and serene voice. Does he know he is leaving soon? Does he know where to go next? He is about to enter that still life in its literal sense, and we all are–sooner or later.