My mum and dad make an odd couple. While dad is strong and muscular, mum is small and frail. Dad is always calm while mum is the anxious one. I remember mum had a temper when she was younger but now she's mostly quiet. Even then, dad is still the quieter one. I always look at them in bewilderment when it comes to communication between the two.
At home, dad is always seated at his desk, head burried in the newspapers. You will find mum across the table, talking about things, mostly centering around the farm and her health problems. More often than not, she would be holding a monologue because dad appears oblivious to the chatter. I used to frown at his lack of response.
I suddenly found myself doing the same thing yesterday. There I was, seated at my father's desk, head buried in the papers. Mum, who was seated across, suddenly launched into her "I haven't been feeling well at all and my head has been spinning all week..." spiel.
I was shocked that I let the words fly above my head without attempting to reply or offer any words of consolation. I find myself behaving just like my dad. Well, it's not that I'm not concerned about her ailments but I just didn't know what to say.
Since I can't offer any advice or solution, the most sensible thing to do would be to give her a hug. That also I didn't do. The trouble with us is we're not brought up on hugs and kisses. It would seem really awkward for me to envelop her in my arms.
I was observing passengers walking out through the arrival gate at the airport that day. While most of the caucasians greeted their loved ones enthusiastically with tight hugs and kisses, the Asians mostly smiled or shook hands. The cultural difference was apparent. Asians tend to be more reserved but that doesn't mean they're not loving or caring. In fact, filial piety is considered a prime virtue amongst us.
Back to the story. I looked up at mum, with concern and sympathy showing on my face, folded up the newspapers and said, "I have to leave for work now."
Now I feel a little guilty and sorry. I should have been kinder. Maybe that's how my dad feels too.