Not having yet been blessed with an individual whom I can call my soul-mate, I think the one person I love best in my family is my father. I love my whole family equally, but I would say I spend the most time with my dad.
My father gives me lifts to school almost every day even though he has to travel back from the far west to home again, then back out to work. Sometimes, after he drives me to school, he drives my mother to work then goes to work himself. He loves his car and has been driving ever since he was 17. Public transport worries him because there are too many people on it and he does not know what to do.
In the car, he will ask me about the events that are going on in my life. Somehow, he always directs the conversation to the friends I have and whether they are boys. I do not tell him that my closest friends are guys because he will treat all of them as potential boyfriends. I get irritated because it seems that he is prying into my life. Boys can just be my friends. They do not need to be anything more. He wants me to get attached as soon as I can. He also wants me to go out and earn money to pay for the house or to help him with financial matters.
It is always pressurising to hear these things from my dad. I sometimes wish that my family was rich and that we did not have to deal with the problems we have now. But I know that it is always so easy to complain but hard to appreciate what we have.
I tell myself that I am already very lucky.
We eat breakfast together at the same place before school. He parks on the ground level and we walk up some flights of stairs to the coffeeshop. One time he decided to take the risk of not using a parking coupon. He ended up getting fined a sum of money and he kept complaining about it. I told him he was setting himself up for a fine if he made the choice not to use a parking coupon. If he did, it would not have happened. He remembers this and has used a parking coupon ever since.
This coffeeshop is 90% filled with old people in the mornings because it is in an old neighbourhood. I observe the old people there sometimes. They sit alone and slowly drink their coffee and eat their noodles, but some are in big groups of 15. They must have met in a community centre or something. It would be nice to grow old with people even if you have to prepare yourself to wake up one day and not see one of your friends at breakfast.
The coffeeshop is somewhere near university and the aunty who sells drinks recognises us now. She does not mind if we do not pay straight away because we are frequent customers. One time, she gave me Teh Peng in an exceptionally large cup and this made me happy. I do not like when the coffeeshop aunties ask me to add up the price of the drinks though. My math has never been good, especially in the early mornings.
Dad used to always buy fish ball noodles for breakfast. But now that his gums are hurting, he opts for Chee Cheong Fun. I feel sorry for him because food is his favourite thing in the world besides his family.
He always drinks black coffee. He says he cannot do without it. Coffee for him and Teh Peng for me. It has always been like this.
We resume our conversations back in the car. He often talks about financial problems and I constantly feel burdened. I get irritated because I think that I should not have to bear the responsibility of earning for my family. I am still a student. Why do all my friends not have these problems? Why am I the one to have it? My dad always says he is unlucky because it takes a lot of effort for him to get business in his job but the people who work in the same industry seem to get it easily. He says it his destiny to be unlucky. I tell him to stop complaining and that he has the power to change his fate.
But I guess there is more hope for me to change my fate because I am young. But he is old and there are not many options left.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for my dad. He is trying his best and I love him very much.