would never fail to recall what happened that night. It was raining
in the evening. They brought along umbrellas and headed to the hospital.
When they arrived, they did not go inside the room as the doctors
instructed them not to do so. It was harmful for youngsters to stay
in the room with radiation. Outside the room, there stood four of
them watching their mother through the glass. She was pale. She
always had her eyes tightly closed and when they were not, she was
coughing. The treatment made her weak and tired. Charles was recalling
when was the last time he heard her voice. His father sat at her
bedside. Sometimes he pulled the blanket up to her shoulders for
fear that she might feel cold. They were all moved by this scene.
Though this was an usual visit among all others, they all felt sad
and uneasy. Then they went outside together so as to get rid of
the boredom and the still air. Outside of the hospital, they recovered
from the sorrow and quickly came to themselves. They found droplets
of rain water dripping down from elsewhere. In the beginning, they
just tried with their fingertips and water was running on the surface
of their skin. They were amused and began to twist their umbrellas
softly. Water kept flying out as they twisted them harder and faster.
Then umbrellas struck against each other. They played, jumped, laughed
and did whatever they liked. They were all in the air and in all
a sudden, they dropped down so quickly and hurt so badly when their
father appeared. They could not find any gesture on his face, hardly
one. He said nothing and when they heard the voice, it was "Go home
by yourselves.". He said this in a cool way. They went home
him. He did not tell them why he kept staying. He did come home
at last but really late. While all were in bed, the phone rang.
It was a loud ring, a hurrying ring and it was also the ring which
brought the news of their mother's death. quarreling between the
eldest sister and her father rose. Their father kept blaming them
in all these years for playing so crazily outside of the hospital
while their mother was dying. After the death of their mother,
a social worker came and since then she was totally involved in
the matter. The social worker did Charles no harm nor good except
paying frequent visits to him. They usually did some chatting
and worked together in order to solve some practical problems.
However, Charles's father was so annoyed at what the social worker
had done to his four children. He had not been working since Charles'
mother died. He intended to play the role of mother and take care
of them. None of them had ever thought of being in the same house
with their father for a whole day. In the old days, they considered
their father a person who would appear only at night. The relation
between their father and the home was the same as that between
a guest and hotel. In the old days, he came home after the harsh
work. Being overcome by the tiresome, he would go to sleep after
dinner or at most after watching television for a short while.
The change was hard to come through for both father and children.
As time passed, their father could no longer control his temper
as he had done. None of the children would stand a father like
this but also none of them would show a bit of resentment
the eldest sister. She was always ready for the war
with her father. Screaming, shouting and even fighting were all
over the house. Their father used violence more and more frequently.
Once things went really wrong and went beyond joke, Rose would
dial 999 to call for help. She would report to the policemen that
they were being maltreated. This happened for a number of times.
Once this did happen again, this time, Rose called for the police
and requested for an examination of injury. Four of them were
brought to the hospital, while their father was brought to the
police station. The social worker persuaded them to leave their
father. Both of Charles's sisters then settled in a shelter, Small
Good Home. Followed by them was Charles's little brother.
was the only one not leaving and kept staying. He was so confused.
He was helpless. He was alone. He wanted a shelter in which he
could stay with peace. He did not want to spend time in thinking
where to go after school. Why couldn't he go straight home as
other boys did? He did not have the least security. He was afraid
of his father but he was much more afraid of going nowhere and
sleeping nowhere. He would rather stay with his unbearable father
than to explore a new life all on his own. At last he ended up
the same as Rose, Ann and Samson did. He made such a decision
from the total disappointment to his own father and the future
ahead of him. He was now living in a shelter. Life was different,
there was no doubt in that. He would visit his sisters and brother
on Saturdays and Sundays.
made phone calls to his father, however, they were never answered.