PATTY GIDDIS Inbox – iCloud 3:23 am Fine let’s talk this way To: firstname.lastname@example.org Daddy, Maybe this way you won’t hang up on me again or worry about my roommate knowing my sordid secret. She’s not even here to peek over my shoulder at what I’m typing – actually would never […]DADDY by Kristin Garth — Punk Noir Magazine
Category Archives: Memories Shared
The memories of your youth, tied to, McDonald’s…translated…
As I’d finished my morning sessions at school, on my way home, I’d called the kids, asked them what they wanted for lunch, that I could, swing by the stores and pick the foods up.
McDonald’s! They called out to me in synchrony.
The weather’s too heated, standing under the sun felt like my body was, weighty, if I’d, spat onto the tarp road, I suppose, there will be smokes from the, evaporations. As I arrived, parked my scooter, I’d, pushed open that glass door, covered in sweat, the air-conditioning greeted me, suddenly, I’d become, totally, relaxed, in only about a second, I’d felt, chilly somewhat.
It’d past the mealtimes then, there’s not that many customers in the store, only a pair of grandfather grandchild at the counter, and, there were, two student couples, discussing about what they’re ordering in front of the self-serve ordering stations.
On the day we graduated out of technical high school, I’d met up with my classmates at the McDonald’s opposite of the school, we’d agreed that we would have lunch there, then, discuss where we’re headed next.
Recalling it now, when we were young, we’d often, met up, in the McDonald’s.
As the graduation ceremonies are over, the school was left in a huge mess, the students were holding each other and crying then, some of the students rushed off to say goodbye to the instructors, or to leave a bad word with an instructor, some took shots with their families in school for photo ops, some were just, wandering the campus, like, they’d forgotten to wander these schoolyards for the past three years they’d been in here.
Forgotten what it was, I was the earliest to arrive, McDonalds before noon, not that many customers, and there were the wide selections of seats. I’d put down my backpack, my art supply bags, and a few books, to save my classmates a large table, and I’d felt, very, proud of myself then.
As I got the seats, I’d gone to order my own foods.
These gathering at McDonald’s, they’d given me something pleasant to remember, the workers always smiled at you, patient in taking your orders, in explaining the items to you, like they were, your, friends.
I clearly recalled, I’d, ordered a Big Mac Value meal, back then, the value meals were the most pricy, I’d forgotten the exact cost, at least, eighty, or ninety dollars, and back then, we could still purchase a boxed meal for just, forty dollars.
That was, the very first time I’d had, a Big Mac.
When I was younger, every time we’d dined at McDonald’s, I’d always had the happy meals, because of the toys; as I got older, either the cheeseburgers, or the McNuggets, I’d never, thought of, having a Big Mac, felt that it was, too steep for my tastes, a food that’s, inhumane in its cost, which means, that it wasn’t, meant for us to, eat.
But it was, graduation, and how many graduations will we have in life?
I’d sat at the edge of the large table, as I ate my value meal, finished the fries, slurped down the large coke, and yet, none of my classmates showed up.
Back then, I’d thought, this food is amazing, I will, love it, for life.
The grandfather-grandson pair hadn’t decided yet, the two pairs of student couples already ordered, and waited behind me for their orders to get called out.
The technologies weren’t that advanced, these few years, the Self-Serve Order Stations are set up, the large iPad screen, with the vibrant colors, no facial expressions, how you treat it, is how it, treats you. Maybe I’m just, too old, I’d only tried ordering from the self-serve kiosk once, couldn’t get used to it, and still returned to the counters, where I’d be greeted by the smiling cashier.
I’d listened to the grandfather-grandson pair before me, talking about what they are to order, not known, if one day in the futures, I wouldn’t DARE, open up the front doors to a McDonald’s.
As the classmates arrived, I’d waved at them happily. As everybody was there, nobody ordered the value meals, only a few servings of large fries, and several cokes. All of us, put our hands in, dumped the fries onto the trays, then, we’d, shared the foods, I’d not had anything to say, and, nobody could, talk to me then. Not long thereafter, before the fries are halfway gone, we’d already, decided where we’re headed in the afternoon, and readied to leave, then, the group of us, still, a handful each, grabbed the trash and the leftovers, and, tossed the leftover, the trash into the garbage, back then, there were the strict recycling means of separating the recycled materials yet.
I watched those fries, thought to myself: what a shame!
The grandfather-grandson pair finally made up their, minds now, it came my turn, I’d, walked up, it’d been, thirty years since my technical high school days, the employee at the McDonald’s still just as kind, like a memory, this world, will, never, age a day!
As I’d ordered the foods my children specified, I’d thought, yeah, I shall have a Big Mac and fries, supersized.
So, this brings back the memories, going to the McDonald’s to order the meals for your children now, because back then, you were, children too, and you’d, shared a lot of wonderful things, and it was, memorable, because it was the last time that you all gathered up together, to share some foods, that one last, final time, before you all go, separate on your own lives.
How this, grandmother, helped preserved the dreams of her young granddaughter’s childhood memories, by allowing her to stash the items she’d sent through the crack in the door to her room, translated…
After I was done with the chores, I’d shut my bedroom door, so I can, lean against the chair, to read the articles of the writer, Xi, then, the rustling noises had come in, distracted me, turned out, it was, a page of the calendar that’s, made its way in, from the crack in my door, it was, dancing in the wind. I can’t help but smiled, picked it up, and, set it down where it originally was.
My young granddaughter who’s about to enter into the first grade, is a chatty little thing, chimed all day long, begged the adults to answer her inquiries of “Why”, and she could, always, BREAK the bottom line of our, patience, and, my door shut meant my declarations of, “Do NOT Disturb”, and yet, kids will be, kids, the adults’ rules, they would, always, try to, break them, and, glad that they’d done it.
The young child didn’t have her own space, and the toy bins had been, stuffed too full, and, she’d, set her mind, on using some of my, closet space for storage. Everything her parents wouldn’t allow her to keep, she’d, shoved them into my space, especially those before-school exam papers, the torn off calendar pages, the ads from McDonald’s……basically anything with the blank page on the back, she’d loved, because, she’d enjoyed doodling, and, as she’d finished drawing on the page, she’d, made them into a volume too. All these things considered as garbage by us, she’d, cherished them like they were, some, priceless, possessions, and I can only, be more, tolerant of that.
The young child had, tried stashing her cherished items here and there, and, the three-centimeter crack on my door, became, a secret transport portal: the childish doodles and drawings, her favorite snacks, the Barbie with the broken leg, the sticker she received for her doctors’ visits, anything, you can name. seeing that page of torn off calendar that’s entering into the crack of my door, I can’t help but sighed, that there’s only, a very short period of time when the childhood dreams stayed, intact, because, there’s signs of maturation of her in her eyes, every day now.
This is the realizations of an adult, noting just how, precious childhood is, that once it’s gone, it’ll be, gone for good, and, this young girl has a perfect “secret hiding place” for all the things she cherished and held dear to her heart and her mind, in her, grandmother’s, room, through that, “secret portal”: the tiny crack on the door!
The kindness of exchange, that became, a cycle of kindness…translated…
Upon thumbing across the article, “More than Just a Caramel that Stuck” on the eighth, it’d reminded of how as I took my mother back to the hospitals to get treated, there’s a “pretty grandma”, an elderly woman, who’d become connected to us.
It was during the summer, my mother had been having symptoms of dementia and suffered from depression, suddenly lost her ability to swallow, and had to get the feeding tubes in, and it was also during the time that my mother became a frequent “customer” of the neurology department as well. On the day, we met “Pretty Grandma” in the waiting area, she looked very fashionable, sitting in her wheelchair, wheeled in by a caretaker, she’d greeted us on her own, and introduced herself to us, told us that she is a resident of the nursing home unit of the hospital. She’d patted at my mother’s arms, told her, “You need to eat more food, so you will fatten up, as we age, we need to gain some weight, to look prettier, to have the defenses.” As she’d stated, she’d handed my mother, a caramel, my mother smiled bitterly, told the elderly woman, “I can’t swallow!”
Pretty Grandma stated confidently, that for a time, she couldn’t swallow either, that through the physical therapies, she’d regained her ability to swallow again. Seeing my mother in disbelief, she’d patted my mother’s shoulders, told her, “you must have faith!”, then, the once every month return to the clinic became the gathering of the two elderly ladies, sometimes, they remembered each other, at other times, they would need the reminders to recall who each other is. The sisters two would chat together, until both of them were done, getting treated, then, they’d bit one another, farewell. During the time, with the physical therapy, the upping of her food intake, the swallowing practices, and Pretty Grandma’s encouragements, she’d finally gotten off the feeding tubes, and, the caramels became a must-have of their afternoon tea parties.
what the two elderly women, shared…
That’s how life is sometimes, the best times, usually, gone, in a, jiffy, the final time we saw Pretty Grandma, she’d become nothing but skins and bones, her eyes weren’t focused, with the feeding tubes installed. Her caretaker told us, that Pretty Grandma’s physical health was deteriorating fast, said that she didn’t want to impact anybody else, that she was going to, starve herself to death. My mother handed her a caramel, and told her, with a serious means, “You’d told me once that I needed to eat to get well, that as we age, we needed more fat, that way, we would look better, and have enough strengths.”
Pretty Grandma just, looked at my mother, without a word.
And, we hadn’t seen the elderly woman since. After my mother passed, I’d started volunteering at the hospital, and as I worked my shifts, I’d always have the caramels in my pockets, offered them to those patients with low glucose, or young children getting fussy, I’d, offered them a piece. What nobody knew, was that these caramels, once told of the stories of the connection of two elderly women who’d met up late in their, lives.
And so, it was because that caramel, that your mother and the elderly woman connected, and, it was a kind gesture from the elderly woman, which helped your mother found her spirits to live back again, and, after the elderly woman passed, and your mother was gone too, you’d gone back to the hospital, carrying those caramel pieces in your pockets, to hand them out to those who are in need of one.
How generous, and kind the friends are, in sharing what they have with this individual, warming his heart up…translated…
“The downpour came in a hurry, will you get home all right?”, these lines popped up on LINE, warming my heart up. As I headed out in the morn, it was sunny out, after two rounds of tennis, the rain came, pouring down hard, I’d hidden underneath the podium for an hour already, and the rain’s still not, letting up yet!
My good friend, Chen the manager, knew I was rushed in going bac to the clinic, opened up, “I have a raincoat in my scooter, you can have it!”, his eyes of concern, it’d, relieved my stress more or less, “nah, you will need it too later on!” “No big deal, really, I’m already retired, I have nothing to do, I can wait until the rain slowed down a bit then go home.” He’d insisted, “I love riding my bicycle through the rains, romantic, and out of my, comfort zone, letting the rain wash me clean, having the winds wake up my sleepy moods…………” seeing how he actually was, getting the raincoat, I’d hopped on my bicycle, and ridden straight home, and, needless to say, I’d, shivered and quivered, all the way, I hopped into the shower immediately as I got home, eaten my breakfast, then, changed into my medical coat, and, as I’d turned on my cell phone, it was Chen, my manager’s concerns, and it’d, warmed me up, although it was still cold and raining nonstop outside.
“I’m usually not at home, and, my place is just, vacant, I’ll give you a set of my keys, you are more than welcome to bring some friends over at anytime, my house is your house too.” my good friend, Tsai works as a factory manager in Kaohsiung’s Industrial area, early to rise, getting in late with his wife, when he was growing up, he lived in poverty, lived near the seaside village of Yunlin, as he got up in the morn, he had to help his parents with the planting, and was often late to class and got scolded a lot at school. In his high school years, he had to help out with the household economics, so he’d come up north to Keelung, worked at the shipbuilding factories during the day, and went to night classes, part-timed, worked hard to learn, and worked hard at the ship factory, and he got the notice of the CEO, and, he’d sent him south to manage a factory plant.
To live out his childhood dream—to own a chunk of land, to garden, to plant the vegetables, to keep the fowls, he’d especially bought an acre of farmland with the C.E.O., and, fixed it up to look like a park. When we had the time, I’d sat with him under his roof to enjoy some teas, the osmanthus planted all around his place, as the breezes came, the place became, scented, and, looking out, there’s nothing but greens, yellows, and reds, so leisurely. The heaven on earth he’d created step by step, not kept it all to himself, willing to share with me, and, how can I not be moved, when he’d told me he was giving me a set of spare keys?
“The kind words will be heartwarming”, speaking is a form of art, the philosophers told, “dipping some compassion on your tongues, the words will feel breezy when they come out,” my friends’ words of kindness, of sharing to me, it’d, warmed my heart, for many years on end.
So, this is how kind these individuals are to others, with the willingness to share what they owned with other people, bringing some warmth to another’s life.
So close, yet, so far, far away, you and I, on an attraction that is there, but, stayed, unspoken, unexpressed…translated…
You and I, the distance between us, from where you are on the driver’s side, me, on the, passenger’s side. Not that far away, but, there’s still, that border between us, that we can’t, and we shouldn’t, cross.
or maybe, because it’s that patch of loneliness that belonged solely to you, or maybe, because I’d been, mobile, but always, walking alone, then suddenly, we were able to, start off that conversation easily. Even though it was only a few serendipitous meetings, the exchanges of a few short bus stops, but, we’d, left traces of ourselves in one another’s, lies. But, that was, all I know, if I don’t alight the bus you drive, then, we will, never, bump into, one another, again. I’d loved this sort, of an, accidental encounters with you.
the seasons changed, so do our attires, the only thing that stayed, were the masks we put on our, faces. That way, I’m, camouflaged enough, to keep myself unknown to you, even if, I alight the bus you were driving again.
But unfortunately, my cover got blown, you’d made me at one sight, without any extra facial expressions, but I saw your excitement for seeing me, shining through your eyes. Then you’d told me, recounted, how started from the day of the month, of last year, to this very day, how long you’d not, seen me.
This sort of a concentration, of focus, it was, out of my expectations. I felt a bit, touched by your gesture, but at the same time, that scent of light sorrows that came too. I’d loved, that ambiguous flirtatious means, knowing, that someone is, silently, expecting my appearances; but I’d also felt a bit sad too, that this was, a sort of a mirage of beautiful feeling that existed, only because, of the, mysteriousness.
Without the nitty-gritty of daily living getting between us, no age difference, no differences in our habits of life, we were like those pen pals who’d written one another for years on end, sharing our multitude of feelings with one another in words, and, as we’d put our pens down, we’d, returned back to our, separate corners, to, work hard for, our own, lives.
Well, we shall, keep on, maintaining that distance then. No means of contact, there wouldn’t be any differences, interferences, or the possibilities of, cruelty. But know, that as you stopped at the lights, you would wonder, if you’ll get to see me, crossing the streets, like how when I’m lonely and feeling down, seeing that gentle gaze out of your eyes, it’s, a comfort that I’d, longed for.
This was the settling distance that’s quite comforting between us, until we meet again, by chance.
And so, there’s, that I like you, but I’m not saying it here, because you two had interacted enough number of times, the two of you connected, but, it doesn’t go beyond the professional sense, and sometimes, it’s best it’s kept at that, because, you do NOT want to burst those bubbles of attraction and feeling of liking that the two of you have for one another.
The final passage, remembering the woman whom you’d come to know, as your, mother-in-law, from your father-in-law’s second marriage, translated…
Sitting silent, in the back of the church, on the wooden bench, stared at the white coffin, paved with flowers in the shrine, hearing the pastor slowly, told of your, eighty-two years of colorful life; as the pastor described you as being straightforward, generous, it’d, made me cry, and I’d, lifted up my head and smiled, started recalling the thirteen years of friendships we’d, come to share in life.
It was a snowy day in April in Norway, my husband who’d, planned to be single for the res of his life, drove me in his car, and, came to your door, my father-in-law, and his second wife, you, immediately led us in, and, in a panic, started, preparing the snacks, the coffees to serve to me, an unwelcomed guest. Back then I wasn’t, fluent in Norwegian, I’d spoken in fluent German with my father-in-law, and, it’d, made you, who lived in the U.S. for over a decade object, that you had difficulties understanding us, and, we’d, realized that we had, excluded you, and immediately, we’d, both started switching to talking in English then.
On Christmas Eve that first year of our marriage, you’d, burst the hopes of your three daughters, sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren’s dreams of family union, you’d come to our home, and, baked for us, the traditional Norwegian pork ribs, meat balls, and sausages, and prepared seven types of pastries. And, as lucky as I in the first time, I’d, scooped up, the only almond, hidden inside the rice pudding, and received, that special award for piggy almond candy. Underneath the Christmas tree with the Norwegian flag, were the gifts, stacked up, you, my father-in-law, my husband and I, the four of us, sat around the tree, and started, tearing open the presents, the excitement, the joys, it’d, filled up the house.
The summer that my mother, second aunt, and nephew visited Norway, you’d not just, invited them, you’d also, found your youngest who’s my age, along with your young granddaughter, who’s around the same age as my nephew as company, you’d, set up a wooden board in your yard, with the balloons, and started, shooting the darts. And even though, it’d rained that day, we’d, still, had a ton of fun; to this very day, my mother still talked of the cherries, the raspberries, and currants you grew in your own yard.
On your seventy-fifth, because your body was, ailing, you’d, delayed your birthday celebration in May, but you’d, not told us flat out, only asked, if we’re available to show up in June. And, as my husband and I arrived, I’d found, that it was, a family birthday celebration your daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had set up for you; we’d, not brought anything, and we were, embarrassed, but you’d laughed and told, that it was because you didn’t want any presents, that was why, you’d, not told us it was to celebrate your birthday.
2017 was, especially cruel to you. First, your best friend who lived in the U.S. died in the spring at the age of over ninety, several months later, it was, my father-in-law, the second love of your life, passed away, in the autumn. On the evening my father-in-law passed, you, me, and my husband, the three of us, stayed close by his side, until he’d, swallowed his, last breath. You’d, dragged your, deteriorated health, your, slow steps home; the following day, we took you to the funeral home, to set up my father-in-law’s final affairs, you’d spoken of how you’d, not slept through the night, that you’d, paced around in the living room; even as your kids and grandkids were there, to accompany you, it still, didn’t, take away from your losing your husband.
Within two years after my father-in-law’s funeral, I sat here, in this, same church, heard the same pastor, hosting your funeral. This pastor was the one who’d, conducted the wedding ceremony of you and my father-in-law thirty years back, he’d retired since, but, two years ago, he’d, made an exception for my father-in-law, spoken on his funeral, and this time, for you too. You marrying my father-in-law, had once cast a huge shadow for my husband’s not introducing me to his own mother, but, for the eighteen years, the three of you had, died, and all the displeases of the past are now, gone, with the wind. I’d heard of the news of your death as I’d returned from Egypt, I’d, come, to see you off, I’m so grateful for your kindness toward me, even more grateful, that you were, a “stand-in mother-in-law” to me, giving my families and I, such, wonderful, memories.
And so, this, is on how strong the connections of strangers who became, families are, and this still just showed, how if you’re kind to your daughters or sons-in-law, they will, reciprocate, and love you like you were, their own, parents too. This is quite rare, to see a stepmother-in-law and a daughter-in-law get along so very well together.