The introduction to Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi asks, “If you could go back, who would you like to meet?”. I think, no, I am certain that it would be dad. If I could go back in time, I would like to meet papa. Maybe as his daughter or a customer at his bank or shop. Or maybe as a complete stranger passing him by on the street. I’d like to observe all his features again, compare them to mine. I’d like to follow him around, find similarities in his demeanor and mine. I’d like to watch him read before bed, snuggled in the blanket with a yellow light shining on the pages. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see him fall asleep with a book on his chest and glasses still on his nose! I’d like to see him write–his ritual, his frustration, his thoughts. One of the characters in Writers and Lovers by Lily King says that we can never really imagine a person younger than the age we met them at. Then I think, I’d like to see papa as a kid–running around his yard, or studying hard, or losing himself in books. It would be good to learn how he developed his love for reading and writing. All these amazing poems, which are most of what I have left of him, it would be good to see where and when and how and in what state of mind were those written. I’d like to see how he met maa, what did he think of him, how did he fall in love with her. I’d like to experience his childhood. Maybe I’ll find some answers there. And I think I’d really like to see him in the ambulance on the night he was being taken to PGI; say a proper goodbye knowing that I won’t ever see him again.
Yes, it would be my dad.
I’d like to meet him again.
I’d like to fall in love with him.
I’d like to get to know him. And myself.