Ever since I was little, I've been afraid of Mother's Day. That's because shortly after I was born, I was abandoned by my mother.
Just over a month after I was born, I was discovered at the Hsinchu train station..., The police "uncles" quietly took me to the Delan Center in Baoshan, Hsinchu County.
It was probably because I was somewhat gifted, and helped by enthusiastic tutors to boot, that I successfully tested into National Hsinchu High School. After taking the national college entrance exam, I was accepted into the civil engineering department of Cheng Kung University.
While I was doing my military services, I returned to the Delan center for a break. To my surprise, Sister Sun said there was a serious matter she wanted to discuss with me. She pulled an envelope from a drawer and invited me to have a look at what was inside.
In the envelope were two tickets. Sister Sun told me that they generally preferred not to go digging up the origins of abandoned babies, so they had kept the two tickets and waited for me to grow up.
I had always wanted to meet my parents, but now that I held these two tickets in my hand, I hesitated. I had a great life now -- I had a college degree, and I even had a girlfriend with whom I was about to bring up the prospect of marriage. Why should I go back and sift through a past that was totally foreign to me? I eventually went.
After several trips back and forth between the town hall and the police station, I found out when and where I was born. The problem was, both my parents had passed away.
But it was after all a small town, so everybody knew everybody else. An old officer at the police station told me my mother had been a custodian at the middle school for most of her life. He promptly took me to see the school principal.
The principal asked me a lot of questions, each of which I answered truthfully. When she found out I had grown up in an orphanage in the north, she suddenly got excited. She opened a drawer and pulled out a big envelope which she said had been found beside my mother's pillow when she passed away.
With trembling hands, I opened the envelope and discovered that it was filled with tickets, each set of them round trip from this tiny southern town to Baoshan, Hsinchu. All of then were perfectly preserved.
The principal told me that every six months, my mother would go north to visit one of her relatives. No one knew who this relative was, but they noticed that she always came back very cheerful.
What moved me even more was finding a copy of a page out of the yearbook from my graduation year. It was the page where my classmates and I were wearing our square hats.
Very quietly, the principal said, "You should be grateful to your mother. She abandoned you in order to give you a better life. If you had stayed here, at best you'd have graduated from middle school and then gone to work in the city -- people from here hardly ever get into high school. If you were less fortunate, your dad's beating and scolding would have driven you crazy, and you might very well have left home forever like your brother did."
Suddenly I was seized by a powerful impulse. I asked the principal whether the school had a piano. I opened the keyboard cover, and then facing the winter sun as it set outside the windows, I played one Mother's Day song after another, I wanted people to know that despite having grown up in an orphanage, I was no orphan.
本文作者為 : 李家同教授, 出自 "讀李家同學英文" 一書