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The Sound of My Father’s Keys: A Memoir of Loss, Inheritance, and the Passage of Time

  In my memory, it seems that my father was born with a bunch of keys, some big and some small, hanging on his waist, like a house filled with grain when the crops were harvested.
  The sound of my father’s keys is very different. In my opinion, his keys have secretly formed a fixed musical score. It can remind me in time when I am lazy and watch TV in the afternoon, and it can also make me momentary in the crowd of people after school. Locate the father’s position.
  In my memory, my father would take me for a walk as a child after dinner, from the small garden downstairs to the People’s Square, around the moat, and we would not return until the sunset was sent home. During this period, the sound of my father’s keys was always ringing in my ears. Like most fathers, he was not good at words, so I regarded this sound as a conversation with him. If the key shakes fast, it means we are about to cross the road. If the key shakes slowly and lazily, it means my father is attracted to something. I will look up and look for it. It may be strange clouds or kittens with unique colors.
  This unique way of communication accompanied me in my childhood. When I grew up, I consciously or unconsciously observed the composition of my father’s keys, including those for homes, shops, rental houses, motorcycles, and various storage boxes. The combination of these is a miniature model of a home. He hangs the key on his waist, runs through time, opens one lock and then goes to the next, repeating this, maintaining the balance of our lives.
  Under the protection of the sound of keys, I successfully passed through my teenage years. I imagined that the future would be so peaceful and peaceful, until the sound of keys stopped one day.
  One summer night when my father fell ill, my mother hurriedly handed me the key chain and rushed to the hospital. That was the first time I obtained all of my father’s keys in one piece. With the help of my neighbors, I pulled down the heavy rolling shutter door and parked in front of my father’s motorcycle in a daze: it was all white, had a tall trunk, and was larger than other cars. Its diamond-shaped headlights seemed to look down on me. , saying I couldn’t control it. I finally walked home alone and stood in the silent corridor, frantically looking for my house keys. The voice-activated light turned on and off, and the number of keys in my hand seemed to increase, until I was forced to burst into tears.
  It was summer vacation at that time, and I would carry my homework every day and walk to open, guard, close, and go home. My father’s keys hung on my body and made an incongruous sound. I hated this, and I often hallucinated in my dreams that the sound of my father’s keys sounded again in the corridor.
  It’s a pity that my father’s body can no longer adapt to so many keys, and these keys are naturally scattered among my mother and me. I began to learn to deal with the relationship between various locks and share some pressure with my mother, but our pace could not keep up with the rush of life. My mother could only think of ways to reduce the number of keys. She built a new store that no longer required multiple locks, lowered the standards for renting out spare rooms, and sold her father’s favorite motorcycle.
  The sound of the key disappeared and was replaced by my father’s nagging. He became interested in everything and would always drag us to talk about some inexplicable topics. In fact, he didn’t understand either. He just wanted to talk to us more. For him, some rude tenants in a store in an unfamiliar new mall, as well as his car that he cleans twice a day, are all locks that he can no longer open calmly.
  While I was preparing for the college entrance examination, my father’s whispering in my ears became a source of stress for me. I became estranged from him, and he always used words to catch up, in exchange for the door blocking me. He may also be wondering why the little girl who sent the sunset home with him no longer walks with him.
  After spending the sourness of my youth, when I controlled my own keys in a strange city, I began to understand that my father, those silent collisions of keys were my fight with life.
  When I was a junior in college, I went to Japan to find my father’s motorcycle. Unfortunately, that car has been discontinued a long time ago. The staff thought I was a motorcycle enthusiast and helped me think of many ways to modify it to be close to the original one. I shook my head. Actually, I just hoped that my father could have his own key again.
  When time comes to a place where we can tolerate our relaxation, life at home gets better again, my parents move to a small city, and life becomes quiet. Before I graduated, I went home and told them my plans for the future. My father suddenly changed back to the man who rarely spoke before, just sitting in the corner and nodding.
  Before officially moving out of the dormitory, I organized my keys, including those for the dormitory, apartment, car, and workstation. After everything was settled, I took the keys and moved my luggage to the new place. During this period, there were sounds of keys in the corridor. I realized that my father’s keys had never disappeared, but had only been passed on to me.
  Suddenly, I seemed to see my father and mother walking in the park. Under the sunset, their steps were light, and my father only had a key to the house left in his waist.