Uncle and dad asked me on the phone, if I will go back for Cheng Ming. I asked back lazily, when is Cheng Ming? I know I should not have asked this question for I can tell Cheng Ming falls on every 4th or 5th April if I cared to give it a thought for a second.
But I never care if Cheng Ming is coming this time. To tell the truth, I have totally forgotten this event before uncle and dad asked me the question. When I think back, I know how harmful my response sounds to uncle and dad.
Cheng Ming is a day for family to get together and visit to the grave of their ancestors. Uncle and dad take this as an important day in their calendar, but I sounded like I do not really care about this event. Yes, I am busy with works and study, and I have friends to meet every night. I have ten thousand reasons for not going back home at this juncture. But for uncle and dad who live a static and simple life in kampung, Cheng Ming is a big day to be remembered.
Life has changed. And I have changed. I still remember how I longed for Cheng Ming when I was a little girl. Those days in kampong, after Chinese New Year, I would look forward to Cheng Ming, not because I longed to pray at my grandma's grave, but for the reason I liked my quiet life to be stirred by traditional events.
Over the years, the content of my life keeps adding on. I study, I work and I have different friend's groups to hang out with. But the content of life for uncle remains the same. He still has his simple dishes everyday and has his TV2 seven o'clock drama on every night. While he is sitting at the dining room watching TV, and at the same time counting for the day of my return, perhaps I am drinking with friends chatting about politics, love and sex, and minding others' business.
I am no longer a simple girl he thinks I am. Cheng Ming is no longer a big day in my calendar simply because I need no traditional events to give me excitement now.
There is change.
Change is not something good or bad. It is just a journey of no return ticket. You can feel good thinking of the old time but you can never return to the earlier stage after things have changed. I can plan for a return to hometown for Cheng Ming but instead of doing so for the reason I long for it, I now take it as my responsibility to go home as a daughter of uncle and dad.
The fact is, there is a grave in everybody's heart. Once dead, memory is only something for us to pay visits, not holding on.