Day 16: A Song That Makes You Cry


There are a lot of songs that make me cry for all kinds of reasons. It all depends on what I am feeling at the moment. For example, I feel a little sad and heartbroken, I listen to the Gutterflower album of The Goo Goo Dolls. If I feel so happy in love or just plain happy, there are house music and EDM I cry to.

But there is one song guaranteed to make me cry once I hear it – because of what it means to me, to that person (this is his favourite) and all the underlying meaning and questions of this song.

My Dad loves the Cat Stevens‘ song “Father and Son“. He always sings that song in karaoke. It makes me cry because somehow I feel that he is singing the song for himself – as both the father and son, while simultaneously revealing the deepest, desperate desires of his heart. If you know the song, you will understand my story.

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

My father became a dad at a young age – 21 or 22, I think. He was still in college when my mother conceived my eldest sister. He had no choice but to stop his studies and work abroad for my mother and sister. I think deep in his heart, he had always meant to come back to finish his degree in Electrical and Communications Engineering, but with my sister on the way, a house on the works, he had to forego all that.

As a father, I feel like he is talking to us when he sings this song. You see, the ironic thing is that he has no son, he has five daughters to look after. But I believe that he does not regret having daughters instead of sons. My father lost his own father early in life, and I wonder now how he felt when he learned of my mother’s pregnancy. He only had my grandmother to go to – which I believe, knowing how wonderful she was, was enough. But having a father to lean on to during a tough change in life is different. They would have understood each other better. But he didn’t have a father to talk to then. He let go of his dream of becoming an engineer to raise us all, because he believes we are the most important people in his life.

I mentioned earlier that I feel like he is talking to us when singing this song. Somehow, I think he wants to get his message across that we should pursue our dreams and try to put our life in order first before settling down.

Father
Look at me, I am old but I am happy.

I could not agree a hundred percent on this line based on my dad. He is a simple, hard-working man. I believe that he has his ambitions, his desires, his what-ifs, but he does not show it – he is just quiet most times, smoking his cigarette, looking far away – but I know he is thinking, meditating. And when I see him getting that way, my heart clenches painfully – I don’t know what to do or say to relieve him of the burden he carries inside. Yes, he is happy at times, we can see that – when he is out having a good time with friends, or when he is watching his favourite anime, Naruto, or when he is particularly enjoying the new TV series we want him to see. He is happy when she and my mom get along so well, they have their good and bad days, see. He is happy to see us happy. But he is lonely, sad – there are things that makes him so, some of them he had already shared with me.

Son
How can I try to explain, cause when I do it turns away again.
It’s always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

I wonder how my father was as a son. I knew he was a naughty child; my grandmother regaled us with stories on how she caught my father cutting classes, and challenging everyone in a chess match – and he always won, he was good at it. But my grandmother told us that she only had to punish him once – after that, he straightened up – or perhaps, he didn’t let her catch her doing anything red-handed. I wonder about his relationship with his father – you see, my grandfather worked abroad to provide for them, as well. He was based in Saipan then, and that was where he died. I don’t think they spent many times together. My father just tells us that our grandfather was a great, kind man. Other than that, nothing.

These lines, I feel as if I am the son in here. Feeling misunderstood, feeling hurt, feeling unappreciated. I don’t know if my father felt that way, too – but if he had, he would have let them know – and then kept silent about it afterwards. These lines have that undercurrent of “unfinished business” and it’s sad.

Father
It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want, you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.

Son
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me.
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

In my heart of hearts, I want nothing but the best for my Dad. He deserves that much.

I know I have to go…

In my previous post, I shared how a part of me will die when he leaves, but all I am hoping for is, he die a happy man. A happy man proud of his accomplishments in life – raising daughters, giving his family a decent life, has great, long-time friends, and an over-all damn good man.

Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy…

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