Rosamunde, a piece by Schubert and the melody has been with me ever since I listened to it in my car. A Korean friend loaned me the CD which she told me that helped her with her piano practice.
Things were difficult for me in my high school years. By then, I was totally lost (following on from junior high). I didn’t make many friends and the friends I hung out with were the other foreign students from the ESL class. I was seeing this Taiwanese boy who I met at a party, who went to another high school.
The neighborhood the boy lived in was new and the park near his house had only a vast grass field with a swing, benches, and a table. I was old enough to drive, so I used to drive to this park and I would sit there by myself, jiggling on my journal, or smoking, in the cold cloudy weather, hope to see him without knowing when he could get out of his house.
The soothing and simplistic melody of Rosamunde reminds me of the park. Maybe a little melancholy, but it’s exactly how I felt at the time when I was in Ohio: alienated, lonely, yet the simple delight of seeing a boy was enough for me to stay out in the cold winter in a land that has almost nothing but green grass fields, the smell of which I loved the most.
I had to walk to school which took me 30 minutes when I missed the school bus. On the way to school or back home, I saw cows in the field. “There is nothing here!” I wrote a letter to my parents to beg them to let me return to Taiwan even though I was the one to ask them to let me go to school in Ohio. In Taipei, I could go shopping with my friends and eat good food whenever I wanted to.
The neighborhood we lived in was reasonably well off in the city of Columbus, and the public high school I went to was new. The high school students were mostly white and black people, and only a few Asian students: Japanese kids whose parents worked at a Honda plant and kids from Taiwan or Korea.
I tried very hard to get into the school basketball team because the boy I liked was in the basketball team and I thought I could see him if I was in the basketball team. Sports like football and basketball were popular in Ohio. I remember going to hockey and tennis tournaments with my aunt, who enjoyed all kinds of sports.
On the weekends, we’d go to a big shopping mall to buy clothes in stores like Express, or we mowed our lawns as a chore and when it was snowing, we had to clear the snow out of the driveway with a shovel. The climate was dry in Ohio and one simply couldn’t live without a lip balm. Even though I don’t remember much of Ohio, when I played Rosamunde at a small recital, I didn’t make a mistake like how I always did. I saw the park with the green grass field under a cloudy sky in my head and I was calm.