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Perfection, the Biggest Mistake
I examined the back of my right hand. What can I say? I need one centimeter more for every finger to make me into a pianist. My calluses destined that I will not become a ladylike woman. Even every piece of my finger nails is unique; they are the consequence of my constant fiddling and lack of polish. Skin is tolerable. But what really catch my eyes are scars in the middle. When I take a closer look, they expand so that the image of them keeps lingering on my mind. I have been waiting for twelve years, anticipating that time will restore me impeccable skin. It never does. However, I do wish the story behind those scars stays eternally in my heart.
One of my best friends came to our house downtown. The friendship between us had lasted since we were babies. My mom sometimes went to work and left me to her mom. Then two families moved to the same southern city, where both mothers held jobs in hospitals. There were so many similarities that I thought each reunion became the most blissful event in a whole year time. My dad was drunk that night. It was common sense that no one could persuade a drunken person to disobey his own wish. My mom cautioned him not to drive his motorbike anymore, fearing an unexpected accident would turn this happiness into disaster. My dad, on the other hand, insisted on driving me back home. I trusted him at that point. He had been my hero, my defender and my best friend. I never realized that I was risking my life on this unconscious man until the moment came that I found myself lying under an unknown motorbike. That was when I recalled my father's motorbike crashed with another one in a complete suburban darkness-no street lights. I tried to move a little. But my hands, when straining to feel anything, touched the working exhaust pipe and threw me into newfound pain. I had no idea what temperature meant then, and my only thought was that the heat burned me to death. Tears burst out immediately and never stopped. It was from the scream that my father detected where I was. No use any more. My perfect hand was exactly like a witch's hand: char, dark, wrinkled....
I had no desire to know who the other driver was, yet I blamed on my dad. If he had been everything to me before accident, he was then everything wrong to me. I even considered telling police to arrest him for driving after drinking alcohol. He was not my dad but one that always stimulated the nightmarish experience. I started to create distance between us, until one day when I received his call. Already nine years passed.
"Hello my little girl! What are you doing right now?" Something different emerged from his voice; I could tell he pretended to be still.
"Nothing. Where are you?" For years, I had been accustomed to talk to him in an I-don't-really-care manner.
"I am in the police station."
"What?" My wandering thoughts began to focus on his reply.
"Yes, I am in the municipal police station."
"Why? Are you kidding me?" I guessed the last thing I had ever expected was happening right then. He was arrested for some reason I did not know, and then confined in cold and damp cell and finally executed...
"Dad please don't go. What happened to you? Just tell me what happened!!"
I had no way to subdue my feeling of losing him, of being abandoned by him, even of not seeing him at once. It was the last day of the world.
For nine years, I could not bear his barking toward my failing subjects, thinking that whatever he talked was rubbish. I intentionally sat at the farthest seat every time we three ate together. I begged my mom to attend parents' meeting at school rather than my dad. He was there, and it did not matter if he wasn't. But that call changed my entire view of him and taught me new perspective to see life and everything.
What huddled in the innermost alley of my heart was love. Such love, during my growth, was layered by my own pursuit of perfection. I imagined him perfect. I dreamt my life, including my hand, perfect. I longed for perfect grades, friends, books, tooth and chocolate. Yet once witnessing a sabotage of perfection, I filled my heart with disgust. Or the worse situation was OCD (Obsessive Compulsory Disorder). It took me a minute to write a perfect word on paper. I was forced to check the faucet again and again so that not a droplet of water would be wasted. My life, in all, was governed by an absurd idea of perfection.
That moment dawned on me that I was not at all a mighty god. I had been a human being all my life, and one of the most significant characteristic of this race is that every body is imperfect. I had to accept my dad, not because I denied the possibilities of a better dad but because I truly loved what he was, his good and bad. About my hand, I could ask him for apology, and that was it. Also, I started to like myself. Every part of my body is unique, however imperfect. Girls envied me because I never need curl my hair. It was natural. Moreover, I tried to convince myself of putting more effort in studies and activities without establishing a fossilized notion to gain success. Success is good, but I am now pleased to receive failure as well.
My dad spoke after a ten-second pause that felt like a century:" Yes, I am kidding."
"You scared me, dad!"
I hung off the phone. Walking to the window that faced the street, I watched people passing by with paces at different speed. The whole picture, consisting of plain man, common nature, normal houses and starry sky, was but already utopia. Later, I raised my hand and re-examined those scars. I kissed them and left for bed.