Sunday 25 December 2011

Make it simple

Thief was scheduled to be aired on public TV as a Christmas special, so I suggested to Jay and CJ that I dropped by at their place with a couple of friends to watch it and have a little get together with drink and food. Ulysses and Benoît were the friends who were to join me but their bailed out at the last minute. Jay had just moved into a new flat in Guandu, North of the city, not far from where I stayed on my first visit to Taipei.
It was Christmas so I knew my whole family would be together for the traditional meal. I had told my brother I would make a call or use Skype. Twenty minutes before the film started, I got to see them from Jay's computer. There they were, my parents, my brother, Mathilde and the newcomer in the family (who was having a nap, but opened his eyes to strike me a little smile), Mathilde's parents and also Julia, who's now part of every Tôn Thât gathering. It was already quite late in the afternoon, but they were just finishing the Christmas lunch. I exchanged greetings with everyone.
"Next year, you'll come for Christmas and stay until Chinese New Year!" my father said said with when it was his turn, he was holding a tea cup in his hands and his voice was strangled by emotion. It was not a wish, it sounded nearly like a command! I miss him so much.
"Oh! One month? That's a long time!" I didn't know what else to say. That I live far away, each visit has to be worthwhile, though by being worthwhile, the visits also become quite draining. Once again, the thought occurred to me that absence is sometime better to handle than presence. Because absence can be shaped and moulded at one's will.  
It's my fourth absence for Christmas. I don't really have any regret. Compulsory official holidays have exhausted all their appeal to me. Am I selfish? I made the effort through the years, Christmases, New Years, birthdays, mother's days, father's days, anniversaries... but I find it more refreshing to show them that it's always possible to create new and improvised opportunities to celebrate. 

The Tôn Thât family
I promised to call them after the film. But I knew that this little video appearance would be enough. We watched the film. We talked about the next one Rowboat, that CJ is going to do soon in a couple of months. Another short film.
I was also happy to be there with Ryan.

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