Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 28 2001

A friend of mine who went to my college emailed me…

A friend of mine who went to my college emailed me late last night. I was just about to go to bed when I got the message. He told me that one of our professors, the one professor who had the biggest impact on the direction of my life and who often went out of his way to help me, doesn’t expect to live more than a few more days. He was in his 60’s when I was in college, so he should be in his 70’s now, and he’s been battling cancer for about a year, my friend said, although I hadn’t heard of it before. It’s a real shock, and I’ve been walking around in a vague mist of sorrow since.

One day back when I was still in high school in Winter Park, Florida, he wrote a letter to me, all the way from Taiwan. The postmark was one I’d never seen before, the blue-and-red airmail envelope seemed strange. A Chinese postage stamp with characters I was just beginning to learn. I like to think that it all started with that letter, with his descriptions of his neighborhood and the little dou-jiang stand where he ate breakfast every day, even though in my heart I know that it started much earlier, in ways too subtle to recount.

This morning I wrote a letter to him, a letter that is on its way across the pacific ocean in a similar route as that first letter so long ago. I don’t know if he’ll get it or not, but I had to write it and try to thank him for all that he’s done for me. I don’t think I could trust myself on the phone, but I hope he gets the letter.

posted by Poagao at 8:00 am  

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