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The Best Moment

After work, he was driving home on the Parkway. Tired ... bored ... restless.

He was merely following the cars ahead of him, or rather following streams of red tail lights, as if he had to swim fast to keep himself in this running river which was going to absorb him very quickly.

He slightly looked up. Far away towards the west, the glow of sunset had already painted the edge of the sky with a dense color of bloody red as if a fire was burning at the horizon. He straightened himself up trying to see the very edge of it, but failed to see much.

Being isolated in the interior space of the car, he felt a little better.

So he took a sip of the coffee that he bought at a Dunkin Donuts, but it was already cold.

However, with the bitter taste of coffee, he began to look beyond the sunset and slowly he saw a blurred image of a little boy, about 10 years old, quietly sitting in the living room of his home in Shanghai.... That was himself.

It was a sunny afternoon. His mother just finished washing the dishes, and his father was next to the stove brewing coffee for the family. The coffee was boiling inside the coffee pot, and the aroma of it had already saturated every inch of the room where this little boy was sitting by himself in the couch, waiting for the very first cup of brewed coffee.

A SANYO tape recorder on the tabletop was playing a sentimental song of Deng Li-Jun who was popular at that time. The little boy also liked her because she looked so sweet.

The windows were closed because it was winter, but the sunshine still flowed through and scattered onto the wood floor, and onto the face of this little boy.

He felt warm, easy, peaceful and secure.

Even after 16 years, as a grown-up, he still remembered that sunny day as the "Best Moment" of his life.

At that point, he sneezed in the car, and his mind walked out of the past. Then he thought of the other day when he tried to reproduce the same "best moment" in his apartment in NJ.

He also brewed a cup of Hazelnut coffee; He also played sentimental songs from his Bose speakers; He was also sitting by himself in the couch in his living room and it was also a sunny afternoon.

Unfortunately, he could no longer locate the very same feeling of the "best moment," and the sense of warmth, peace and security at home. He was upset and lost. Just as a woman who lost her wedding ring can still feel "that thing" around the finger, he could still visualize that happy little boy, but he just couldn't feel what that little boy once had felt for the second time !

He realized probably it was simply because he had come to this new country with his caring parents left behind; because he was already 16 years apart from that little boy of 10 years old; or because he had grown out of the innocence and learned how to earn for his own coffee.

He had long said farewell to that little boy because time couldn't freeze. But he carried the "best moment" with him wherever he traveled.

The road noise pulled him back as he kept driving. Shortly he saw a road sign and knew he had missed the exit to his home. He was driving further away from his home.

The fire burning at the edge of the sky had vanished and there was no star shinning up there. In that minute, he couldn't see any tail light ahead of him, and he was the only particle in this dark night.

He raised his head, and stepped very hard on the gas pedal. His car was dashing into this total darkness like a speeding bullet. He didn't know where to go, but he could tell a new "best moment" was somewhere in front of him . He must find it !

With the car's acceleration lifting him up, he smiled...

11/19/97