At the entryway of Taishun Street, there’s a chocolatier. I’d found myself, standing in the shop, eyeing all the delicacies, and, I’d had my eyes, set on that sighing brownie.
Could it be the colors, or the name of the product that kept me intrigued. The soft and fluffy chocolate seemed to be barely held together, and the flour became more like the decorations. What intrigued me the most was the “Sighing” in the name of the product, so, I’d pressed the beautiful female shop clerk, why the sigh? Could it be, that when the guests eat it, they couldn’t help, but sigh? Or, are we not supposed to, cover our lips, as we enjoyed the desserts, smiling on lightly?
The clerk told me, that she didn’t know where the name came from either, that the name of the product was given by the female owner of the shop. I thought, could it be, that this mysterious person had, sighed, as she’d baked the goods, or, is she like, a lot of the writers, when they’d eaten the cakes, the memories, started, surfacing once more?
I’d looked around the shop, wanted to find more clues to the name myself, the card in front wrote: seventy-percent pure chocolate, this, is more than enough, after all, there’s NO one-hundred percent chocolate cakes in this, consumer-run world, so that, is what gave it the sighs.
There was a family living next door to the chocolatier, or rather, it was, only an entryway to a garage, a very long time ago, an assortment of wind chimes hung there. Back then, I’d loved passing by there, during the summers, the wind chimes would ring simultaneously, there was one, with the tails, swaying back and forth in the wind, like it was, telling me, a story.
If I’d only wanted to hear the stories, I’d be better off, ringing the doorbells, and tell the owner of the place, the reasons for my visits. Oh, how I’d hoped, to hear the stories, so I can be, turned, into a wind chime too. Although, I’d imagined so many stories, none of them was real.
There was a famous writer who once said, there are so many people in the world, going through the same things, so, even IF it’s just a story you’d imagined, it may have already, happened, that someone actually had, sighed, as they’d taken a bite of that brownie.
That cake, was for the ailing mother-in-law, she’d been bedridden a long time, and could no longer swallow the solid food items anymore. Her daughters said, that she’d missed the brownies she’d had when she was younger, and, they’d cut the brownie I’d bought, into smaller pieces, sent them into her mouth. The bitterness matched well with the sweetness of the brownie, it’d become fermented inside her stomach, and, drew her back to her past, younger days. And back then, the sigh was from those who were around the mother-in-law, and, nobody KNEW what the story that flew back into the mother-in-law’s mind was, when she could still talk, she’d told her daughters, one by one: “You are my dearest child”.
It’s just, that, in order to hear the mother-in-law state so, is like proving that the wind exists by hanging up the wind chimes.
The very next weekend, we’d found ourselves, outside of this chocolatier once more, and bought the same kind of “Sighing Brownie” again, and, I’d asked again, for the stories behind the item, what kind of stories, are hidden, inside the dessert? The female store clerk only looked at me, and replied, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”, couldn’t understand my question. I think, she may not know which story I’m asking for.
At the end of the year, the daughters held a birthday party for the mother-in-law, and, everybody was there, in a café, where you can put puzzles together, the mother-in-law was in her wheelchair, with the feeding tubes attached to her body, making HER entry, that day, she’d left her sickbed, but, couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t liquid, and that time, her children not only just got her a piece of the brownies, but, an ENTIRE cake! Everybody sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and started eating the food, I’d heard sighs, coming out of the lips of everyone who was there, like how mercury would roll around, nonstop, on the floors.
He’s still bought the brownies, carefully, carried them, to his mother-in-law’s place, but, the daughters only gave the white box one look, “Oh, mom can no longer eat, especially sweets!” she’d waken up at specific times, and, tilted her head, to the Korean soap that was playing on the television, to show, that she’d still had, connections to the world. I’d still walked out of the dessert shop, wanted to see the wind chimes, that put on the symphonies, and, I’d realized, that after the windy season had come and gone, the family had, put up the wind chimes already, and this confused me, as to whether or not it was, a windy day that day, or maybe, if I will, get a chance, to hear the sighs. “But, this, IS a great big world, wind is bound to blow somewhere.” I’d started getting curious, at that moment, the ratio of people who are sighing, hopefully, is not just seventy, to the people who are smiling.
The last moment had come, in the hospital ward of NTU Hospital, the brownie was placed on the stand, with everybody sighing. The mother-in-law didn’t move a muscle, her life is reduced, to the electrocardiogram, and the oxygen concentration in blood, and the pulse charts, the families and friends took turns, coming in and out, saying goodbye to her, someone kissed her on the cheeks, her blood pressures rose all of a sudden, and, maybe, she was reminded, of a past event, the first time she’d heard the wind chimes, perhaps? But, her blood pressure kept dropping down, in the afternoon, the doctors came, decided to give her a shot of morphine, and, not long thereafter, the mother-in-law had passed on.
They’d moved her body, into the morgue of the hospital, and, arranged her final affairs. Nobody recalled that piece of cake I’d bought, I’d recalled how I’d once gotten into contact with Dr. Wu of the psychiatric department of N.T.U. Hospital, as I’d typed, I’d sighed on, “The mother-in-law fought hard, with her terminal illness in N.T.U., and maybe, she’s nearing the dusk of her life.” Then, just like the distant wind chimes sounding off, Dr. Wu replied, “The N.T.U. has over a hundred years of history already, there were, a lot of people, who’d lived out their dusks there.”
The cake is saved and given to the warriors, and, the war is already over, although, it’s still, a long ways away, from the dusks. I took the brownie away, and, left the sighs.
And so, this, is from the firsthand interaction, with the families of someone who’d fallen ill, and, the narrator was not only an observer, reporting what he bore witness to, but, he’d also, participated, in the stories. It showed, the life of a woman, how she lived, and, how she was grieved for, after she had passed on…