We often say, the only thing we can really keep is our memory. We are wrong.

Think about your best friend from elementary school, your high school sweetheart, or anyone you used to spend so much time with. Can you recall most of the things you did together? Can you remember his/her name? Do you even remember what his/her face looked like?

Old memories never die. They just fade away.

But there are times when those memories all of a sudden flood back to you. And it’s so overwhelming you can almost feel you are right there again, reliving the moment. Like when you opened the family photo album and saw yourself crying on the first day of school. Like when you cleaned up a closet that has been abandoned for years, only to find a silver ring given by someone you once thought you would spend the rest of your life with. It could be a T-shirt or a letter. Or a receipt.



That’s the first time I took J to my parents’ house. Right before we took the inter-city bus, we walked around in the new bus station building. There were lotions on sale. I bought one--because it was cheap. After all, it was only 100NT ($3.50) for a bottle of rose water. “La mier is a very good French brand. It’s very popular. We are offering a discount price because it’s the anniversary of...,” the saleswoman tried very hard to sell her products despite the logical fallacy in her message. J laughed. “It’s not even a French word,” he told me.


That was J’s birthday. I picked his favorite taro flavor.

He always said he didn’t like birthdays. But how could one not like his own birthday? I thought to myself. Of course we would celebrate his birthday. Of course I was going to surprise him and make him happy on his birthday. So I invited some friends, picked up the cake, and went back to our apartment. We even knocked on the door instead of opening it with my keys just to add a bit of drama. Surprise!

Of course he was surprised. I’d been planning it for the whole week. And the dragon seal. The dinner party at that Taiwanese restaurant. And the night market after dinner.

I only noticed these tickets because I was checking the receipt lottery. Most people in Taiwan, including me, keep their receipts and check them (as lottery tickets) every two months when the winning numbers are announced--and throw them away.

But sometimes it’s hard to just throw away certain things. Sometimes it takes so much to let go of things that seem so pointless. Like an invalid lottery ticket. Or an expired promise.

Old memories never die. They just fade away--until they show up again at the most unexpected turn of life.

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  • I can relate to this... Little tokens that trigger our memories of people. I gather that you and J were/are boyfriends? Good to know there are fellow lgbt interpreters out there even though we never met. Thanks for sharing.
  • Trust me. There are plenty.


    AveryTaiwan 於 2011/01/12 09:35 回覆