The Second Original Writing Competition
Primary School Group
Zhang Chenchen, Mozi Primary School, Sichuan Province, China
Date: May, 2017
As a child,
Dad’s love was like a bicycle axle,
turning with the passage of time,
offering eternal, unchanging love.
As a child,
Dad’s love was like my writing hand,
holding hope firmly in its grasp,
and writing out responsibilities.
Dad’s love lives beautifully in my memories,
arising to clear my mind,
and mellowing brilliantly with age.
The rain persists and my memories continue; the wind still blows and my thoughts go on. I don’t know why, but I harbor a loneliness deeply hidden. After the rain ends, I look out at the afternoon sunshine and at time’s quivering shadows rushing things forward. Words of concern are always near, but when I turn around, when I look back I sense them not. I am left only to stare at ink and pens that have been already used.
The unarticulated choice that caused him to leave left in me a dull twinge of remorse. It is often said that love is the honey of life and the elixir of humanity. But I have only the memories of my father’s love and teachings to hold on to.
I recall once knowing a feeling called ‘warmth’. It was you that let me feel it. One day three years ago (while studying in the town where my parents worked) as I was leaving school I saw the darkened cloudy sky and steady crackle of lightning and knew we would soon be in for a downpour. I ran onto the school bus and found my seat. The neatly dressed girl next to me turned to me and said assuredly, “It’s raining cats and dogs. Your parents surely won’t be coming to pick you up at the station today!” Regardless of the weather, my father had always met me at the station to take me home. This girl was a witness. But even so, I couldn’t blame her for doubting.
We soon arrived at the stop. I looked out of the window and saw an indistinct profile of the back of a man through the rain. I joyfully got up, opened my umbrella and stepped off the bus. However, upon closer examination, the profile turned out to be someone other than my father.
A sense of disappointment washed over me. Five minutes … ten … thirty minutes … A half century seemed to have passed by and my father still hadn’t shown. I grew anxious. As rain streamed over my umbrella, tears began streaming over my cheeks. A passing lady asked with concern, “What’s wrong, little girl?” Although I remained silent, my guts were churning with worry. “How could my father let me down like this?” I asked.
He’d told me that before I was ten he would always be there to pick me up, no matter what, and that once I’d turned ten, he would let me make my own choices; set me free to grow up and find my own path. But this stupid downpour threatened to tear the agreement between my father and me asunder. As I grew increasingly incensed, I noticed in the distance another blurry profile of the back of a man. “Hey? It was Dad!”
I jumped up excitedly and burst once again into tears as profuse as the still-pouring rain. After Dad had parked his bicycle, I rushed toward him, collapsing into his waiting arms. Looking up at him through the raindrops, I saw his rainwater-drenched face. My light jacket had been little use against this torrential downpour. However, once laying eyes on my father, I now thought – let the rain do its worst! Me and my Dad are strong enough to face anything it might send! “Sorry,” my father said in earnest, “I am late!” Seeing I was drenched, he put his hand into his chest pocket and, like magic, pulled out a rain jacket and draped it over me while lifting me onto his bicycle. “Hold on to me,” he said. “We’ll be riding the waves back home today! Mom’s waiting for us!” I held him close, feeling a rush of welcome warmth.
Back at home, Mom told me that the downpour had flooded Dad’s factory and that he had volunteered to stay behind to help move equipment and stock to safety. He had spent three hours doing this before remembering his date at the station. How could I have thought that this strong, silent, honest father of mine could have gone back on his word? He hadn’t for nine full years, and would faithfully hold to our contract through the next! I suddenly felt ashamed.
I remember once knowing a feeling called ‘fortunate’. I felt it each time that you so carefully checked my homework and taught me how to write my characters. I’ve made such significant progress because of you. I remember one time when I wrote out my homework hastily so that I could run outside and play. When you inspected my work, you saw how sloppy it was. You told me, “Words reflect their creator. You should always walk tall and stand straight. When you write, your words should reflect strength of character and vitality.” You, taking my hand and supporting my head, wrote out the new characters in my lesson ten times each. Although I’m a girl, Dad, you never once gave up on teaching and guiding me. From that day on, my writing style progressively improved - although my characters still can’t hold a candle to yours. After turning ten, my father changed jobs and I was sent back to our home village for school. It marked my transition to self-reliance, although thoughts of my father still revolve around our myriad memories together.
Subconsciously, I feel that fatherly love is like a bubbling spring at the heart of a desert. One drop has the power to take me from chaos to calm. Fatherly love is also like a bright star in the night sky, lighting my way forward and steadying my stride to keep me on the right path. Twelve years now have passed, and I have lived apart from you for three. For me the distance has been unbearable.
I have never felt lonely as a ‘left-behind’ child because the love of my Dad is always with me. My memories, as beautiful and precious as pearls, urge me to press ahead and to improve. My Dad’s love is like wisps of smoke – passing without a mark, yet inspiring deep thought and ideas. It is also like a soldering iron – inspiring awe and leaving an indelible impression with each experience. “May we be both blessed with longevity and share in the beauty of the moon’s light together.” Dad, I am waiting for you to return home!
Comments of Reviewer 1
1. The author’s borrowing of Zhu Ziqing’s use of fatherly ‘profile’ in this essay on fatherly love is very emotionally satisfying. Using memories to share feelings about her father’s love and teachings, the author shows sincerity while achieving emotional effect.
2. The author shares the story of how her father once braved a downpour to pick her up by bicycle at the station. Not seeing her father waiting elicits feelings of worry and disappointment as well as a sense that her father had broken a solemn promise. These sentiments persist until she finally sees her father. Learning what caused his delay further elicits feelings of remorse and shame. The author narrates her changes in emotions vividly and sincerely. She also shares how her father’s grip on her pen and advice on good penmanship are woven into her fond memories of her father. The author writes gracefully, and the article has solid literary merit that helps it shine.
Comments of Reviewer 2
The father described in this article is an honest man of few words. While hardworking, he ably shows his deep fatherly affections. His daughter observes and remembers his principled discipline, his demands, and his love. This father-daughter relationship, while ordinary and fragile, nevertheless pulls warmly on the heartstrings.