The Story of My Father（25-27) 我的父親（25-27）
Because of the special circumstances surrounding my sister and me, it was very difficult for us to communicate with each other. I dared not use my parents’ home phone or my cell phone to call her directly, as that could bring immediate danger to her. I had to call her beeper number using a public phone, and then wait there for her to return my call.
After receiving my beeper message, my sister needed to try to find an opportunity to leave the bar first, and then find a public phone to call me back. She had to be very careful, so each time she called, she tried to use a different location.
After overcoming all sorts of difficulties and challenges, I finally found a place to go. I asked my sister to buy two train tickets from Chengdu, one for herself and one for me. As the train started from Chengdu, it was easier to buy a sitting ticket from there. When the train stopped as Mianyang, I would board from there and join her.
I did exactly as we agreed. However, when the train arrived and stopped at Mianyang, my sister didn’t come down with my ticket as I had expected.
I felt something very ominous, but still managed to get on board with my platform ticket. I went straight to where our seats should have been and found two peasant workers sitting there. I asked them whether they had seen a young woman with such and such an appearance when they first boarded the train.
They immediately cut me short in a panic and said, “No, we didn’t! We have been here from the very beginning!” I knew that they were worrying that I would say that those two seats were not theirs and drive them away.
Failing to find out any clue, I had to push my way to and fro within the very crowded train, trying to see if I could find any trace of my sister while knowing too well that the possibility was miniscule. After about one hour, the train arrived at the next stop, which was more than 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) away. I had searched from the first to the last car of the long train a couple of times, but still didn’t see any trace of my sister.
Not knowing what to do, I got off the train. It was about 3:00 am in the morning; with heavy rain pouring down. Everything was so dark, and so strange. Standing in the pouring rain, my heart kept sinking and sinking.
Finally I decided to call a taxi and go back to Mianyang. How could I leave alone without knowing exactly what had happened to my sister?
As soon as I entered my parents’ home, I saw a lot of luggage scattered everywhere on the floor. My mother was trying to sort them out; with her hair in a mess.
Upon seeing me, she didn’t ask why I ended up returning. Instead, she said to me with a dull and blank face, “Your sister was arrested yesterday. This is her luggage; your brother-in-law just got it back from the detention center. And this is the receipt of the confiscated items that were found with her when she was caught.”
I took the receipt and looked at it with a blank mind. It says, ” A number of copies of Falun Gong books; two train tickets to Taiyuan; and a storage room ticket for luggage…”
My father suddenly grabbed my bag from the ground, rammed it into my hand, pushed me out of door; and shouted loudly, “Hurry! Go! Don’t wait until the police find out who was planning to run off together with your sister!”
I was dumbfounded for a while. Then I clenched my teeth, took a last look at my mother’s newly dull eyes and grey hair, then turned around abruptly and quickly walked away.
Later on I learned from my mother that it was indeed that police classmate of my sister who had reported upon her, so that he could gain the 30K yuan reward.
After he alerted the authorities, police officers from Chengdu and Mianyang worked together and launched a blanket search for my sister, while I was trying to find a place for her to go. On the day when we had planned to leave, my sister left the bar in early morning; and stored her luggage in the train station, as the train wouldn’t leave until late at night.
She decided to utilize her spare time to visit several classmates in Chengdu, whom she dared not meet before. She wanted to say farewell and tell them about Falun Gong and why it was being persecuted. But, alas, she ended up being caught on the bus, before she ever saw any of her classmates.
All this was reported in great detail by the “Rule of Law” newspaper in Mianyang. Local police celebrated my sister’s arrest as a big achievement, since she was on the national wanted list. So they boasted about themselves in every detail in the newspaper.
I couldn’t imagine how many police officers they had deployed in order to catch my sister in a big city with a population of more than 10 million. How did they manage to locate her while she was just randomly on a bus without any previous plan? As far as I know, she didn’t have a cell phone with her either, which might have been used to trace her. I could never figure this out.
Several days later, I arrived in Taiyuan alone. The friend who waited for me there still took me to Mountain Wutai, a famous Buddhist site, according to our initial plan.
Standing on top of the mountain, thinking about my sister who should have been there together with me, looking at the sacred Buddhist site being turned into a chaotic tourists’ destiny, and listening to the sutras chanting played with cassette recorders in the shop that sold travel souvenirs, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a tremendous feeling of sadness and sorrow. I couldn’t help but cry. Deep within my heart, I suddenly felt connected with a poet of more than a thousand years ago, who wrote this famous piece:
Before me, where have all the Sages of yore gone?
Behind me, where are their successors (– Tell me,m’friend)?
O Heaven and Earth, how boundless and without end!
I’m all alone, down my cheeks tears keep rolling on.
Yes, the irony and sadness was, while ancient and sacred Buddhist temples and sutras could be traded for money a million times, genuine cultivators of Buddha principles were not even allowed to exist in the vast space between heaven and earth.
However, while I was feeling extremely concerned for my sister, I had never realized that the moment when my father pushed me out of the door would be the last time that I would ever set my eyes upon him.
（To be continued 待續 ）