After my return from Canada, one of my best friends mentioned that he and his girlfriend would be spending time in Toronto and I’d be welcomed to join them. So a week before we left, I went to a gift shop in Vermont that had all these touristy type of souvenirs. There would be a little cow here for my aunt.
The tough thing about finding the perfect cow is that this is a souvenir shop. So the name Vermont was embroidered on many if the items in the store. I found a very small cow I thought my aunt would enjoy. It was nothing too extravagant or fancy. The cow could easily fit inside the pocket of my jacket. I also bought a very tiny red bag that would be the cow’s vessel for the next few days because red is a very auspicious Chinese color.
We only stayed in Canada for a few days. I spent a day with my cousins, and on the last day I went to visit my aunt. My cousin was already with my aunt when my niece and I arrived. Aunt had already fallen asleep, and a bit of disappointment filled my chest as I stood there with the red bag and cow. We entered aunt’s room and my cousin nudged her (actually patted her arm with good force) saying, “妈,龙华到了!” I wanted to tell my cousin that it’s OK and she didn’t need to wake her up, but cousin pushed a remote that raised the be into a sitting position and poor aunt woke up confused. “Who are you?” she asked me. Nervously, I handed her the cow and she looked at it with more confusion. “What is this? Who are you?” In the moment, it’s quite sad that she didn’t recognize me. Even though I knew she wouldn’t recognize me, it’s difficult to grasp. You spend a lifetime knowing somebody, building memories and experiences and then suddenly all that is stripped from your mind. After explaining to her that it’s a cow (she said it’s not a cow), she still brought it under the blankets.
It felt rewarding to be able to give aunt the cow. When I was younger, aunt would bring me to McDonalds or Arbys to eat. She and uncle would also take me to the library and just go around Hamilton for fun. Since my name is “dragon” in Chinese, and she knows I like dragons, she would buy me these graphic dragon shirts that were very small on me. I always found it humorous that maybe in her eyes, I’m her younger brother’s youngest child and she had to buy me these very small clothes. I wore the shirts a few times, but honestly they were just too small.
A few days after I came back to the US, my cousin called to tell me aunt liked the cow. I’m not sure if my cousin just said this to bring me happiness or aunt really did like the cow. I’m not sure where my belief lies. Sometimes it’s comforting to believe an innocent fib than to drown in a dark truth.
I do feel though that somewhere my aunt recognizes me and knows I brought her a cow.