About two weeks ago, my cousin’s family invited my aunt and me to dinner. The restaurant was incredibly loud because half of the restaurant was rented out for a company party. Due to the noise, we had to scream in order for the other person to hear us. During one of the conversations, my uncle asked me if I can still remember what my dad looked like. I answered, “Of course,” after all, I’ve seen pictures of him.
“Do you still remember what he sounded like?” My uncle asked.
“Do you know what he would sound like?” For a moment, I was confused by the question because I might not had heard him right due to the noise. Anyway, I shook my head and answered, “I’m not sure.”
It was then my aunt clarified the question which was whether I want to hear my dad’s voice. Of course, I do! Who wouldn’t want to hear the voice of someone who’s dearly departed? “I have the tape of my wedding day,” my uncle said, “it has your dad in it, would you like to see it?”
“Uh, okay,” I stuttered.
After dinner, my aunt, cousin and her parents, and I returned to their apartment. Upon stepping into the foyer, my uncle immediately went to his library to dig up the disk of his wedding while my cousin and her mom began pulling out photo albums, one after another, showing me pictures of me when I was young. I don’t remember when or where these pictures were taken.
A few minutes later, after my uncle inserted the disk into the blu-ray player, the video began playing. Music was added, to make the video less boring, my cousin told me. I smiled at the idea. It began in a small bedroom with my uncle standing before a mirror, adjusting his bow-tie. Then the scene shifted outside to a man getting out of a cab. I recognized him immediately. I mean, why wouldn’t I? That’s my dad.
“That’s him,” my uncle informed me. I nodded in agreement. In the video, my dad looked young and alive. He wore a loose button-down white shirt and khakis, typical fashion on a warm and humid October day. The scene changed again into a small living room. People sat on every wooden furniture available, focused on the screen of a television. My dad sat by the kitchen, his arms folded across his chest, grinning.
The scene shifted again to the next room where a group of young men and women were standing outside of the bride, coaxing her to come out. They were bribing her with money. My dad came in and joined the crowd. He spoke in a familiar dialect with a coarse yet velvety voice. At that moment, it seemed as though for the first time in 25 years, my brain finally registered my dad’s voice.
After that scene, I watched the remainder of the video enthusiastically anticipating my dad’s next line but he didn’t speak. There was no more lines in the movie for him. I saw my uncle (dad’s brother), my mom (27 years younger), and my dad’s entire family gathered around a table.
In conclusion, I learned a few things from this video:
- The details of a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony
- My dad’s voice wasn’t what I imagined.
- My parents were already married when this video was taken