My dad is dope

If I could ever bring myself to write a book about my silly life, I’d dedicate an entire chapter to my dad. Maybe two.

One year after I was born my dad was framed and got kicked out of the army. Unemployed for a few years, he stayed at home and looked after the little me while my mom was doing three jobs at the same time trying to make ends meet. I guess that’s how our father-daughter bond was built. That “bond” included me being beaten up with a broomstick when I asked for toys that the kid next door had. That “bond” also included me being slapped so hard that I literally saw stars when I picked up the terrible habit of staring at people through the corner of my eyes.

I don’t blame him for any of these. He must have been under a lot of stress and I must have been one hell of an annoying naughty kid (I still am, ask my boyfriend if you don’t believe it). But sometimes I feel a little bad that the few memories that I can recall from my childhood are mostly grim ones. Why is my brain so useless? Why can’t it discard all of these unwanted images and just preserve beautiful moments like the first time he held me in his arms, or when he saw my first steps or heard my first words?

I’m not a techie person but I’d like to think I’m relatively computer-literate and boast an impressive typing speed (Not that I have ever successfully used it as a selling point in my salary negotiation. But still…) I owe this to my dad. He got me a computer when I was 10. It was a pretty big deal at that time, and as you can tell by now my parents were not exactly well-off. In fact when he bought me that first desktop (which was probably twice as big as my own size), we were in big debt and loan sharks would slam on our doors every other week or so. But after I complained to Dad that I couldn’t keep up with my friends in the IT class, he spent one month installing the entire electrical system of someone’s house for free, in exchange of their old computer. So he could bring it home to his little daughter. To me. 

My dad is like that. He doesn’t have much but he always tries to give us the best that he can. When I was in my teenage years, it was not some boy who cared enough to know that I was into Mashimaro and even bought me a stuffed one on my birthday; it was Dad. When I was in high school and a desperate fangirl of Kangta-oppa but couldn’t afford to buy a ticket to his concert in Hanoi and wailed like the world was coming to an end, he secretly gave me all the cash he had in his wallet and told me to go (I didn’t, but that stopped the crying).

You see I used to believe my dad is a superhero. He never seemed scared of anything or anyone. He could easily kill a rat with nothing but a broomstick in his hands. He could leisurely walk straight to a flaming electric pole while everyone else in the neighborhood was running away. One day he came home from work, blood gushing from his head, and there was zero hint of pain on his face … 

If I had to go out in the dark for some reason (e.g. to pee), Dad was always willing to accompany me because he knew I was afraid of the dark. When I was about 13 and received a phone call through which I learnt that a close friend of mine had passed away in a road accident, Dad hugged me and told me to sleep in their room that night. Last year as I told him I want to marry an Indian guy, he simply said “All I want is for you to be happy. But if one day you find that impossible, just know that you can always come back to us.” I tried very hard not to cry.

Ten years ago I used to pluck his grey hair. Five years ago when that became infeasible I started dying his hair black before each Tet. Now I think he has given up on this whole black hair thing.

My dad is turning 55 today. In paper at least. His mom had 8 children and could not remember the exact birth date of each one of them.

I find it so hard to accept this fact. That my dad is getting old. I’m not even sure what to wish him on a day like this. I’m not a fan of meaningless wishes. Youngsters wish each other beauty, wealth and success. But what about when people get older and none of those things really matter anymore? What about people who spent all of their adulthood trying to bring the best to their children and now their only source of happiness is that of their children too? Eventually I wished him health. As I always do. Because that’s what I genuinely wish for him. But is it even nearly enough?

So let this October post of mine be about him, the most special man in my heart. My super duper dope Dad.

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P/S: If you’re one of those whom I told the legendary “handkerchief” story and expected me to write it here and thereby ridicule myself, I’m NOT giving you what you want hahaha.

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