There is a pair of gel flip flops
, which were bought two years before going abroad and worn five years after going abroad. Its shape is very ordinary, just like the most common style you can see everywhere on the streets of Taipei: flat bottom, light blue, with the front cut into six circular ribbons, with a knot in the middle to connect them. When I bought it, I liked its color. Five or six years later, it had changed from light blue to light grey, and the soles were worn high and low. "Do you know why I am reluctant to throw it away?"
It's a memory that makes life very tender in an instant. When I graduated from college, I lived in Beitou Mountain. In the morning without classes, I often ran around the mountain with two puppies. On sunny days, the beauty on the mountainside of Datun can hardly be described. What makes me happiest is to suddenly turn around in my walk and then carefully identify which one is my home under the hillside.
Walking along, my new flip flops are out of shape. But I don't have time to deal with it. Until one evening, when I came home from school, across the low stone wall, I saw my flip flops neatly arranged on the cement path in the garden. With the arrogance just behind my classmates, I shouted out from the low wall:
"Who dares to move my flip flops?" There was no movement in the garden. Looking in the direction of the living room, Grandma was sitting behind the screen door, shaking the fan and looking at me and laughing.
"This afternoon, I washed your flip flops with your watering pipe, and they dried out just after they were put in the sun. How convenient! What a big girl! It's a joke to wear such dirty shoes."
Later, whenever Grandma went up the mountain, she would wash and sun my flip flops, and sometimes even put them in front of my bed. Then in the evening, she would sit quietly in the living room, shaking the fan and waiting for us to come back. I often feel warm and comfortable when I put on my flip flops. I don't know whether it's the afternoon sun in the yard or the after-heat in my grandmother's hands.
Just because I couldn't give up this, after the news of my grandmother's death came, all the things that could make me remember her old people, such as the ring given to me on the eve of going abroad and the cotton jacket made of materials, were well put away in tears. This pair of flip flops has also been around, reluctant to lose. Every time I touched the warm wrinkled hands of my grandmother who had washed her, I would think of the garden path in the sunset, and the smile of my grandmother behind the screen door in the living room, so far away, so gentle, and so sure that she would never return.