“No no, it won’t work. It’s not as romantic as you’d expect."
“No no, it’s easy. Just put some boards together as a tall table."
“No no, you don’t understand. When typhoon comes it’s gonna leak and everything would be wet and moldy."
“No no, what do you mean? Just put it away when it rains!"
Mom still doesn’t look impressed. I got frustrated. Is that so hard to understand? I don’t mean installing a nice pice of permanent wood furniture at our dusty windy rainy balcony. Just a few pieces of board would work!
Suddenly I saw our old shelf behind the fridge, under-utilized. “That’s it! See, that’s what I mean! That would would perfectly!" The shelf is just below my chest and would be perfect for standing at the balcony window, a drink and a laptop at hand.
Mom look bewildered and giving up at the same time. Yes, the old dirty shelf… it’s definitely not romantic as she thought I mean. Not for everyday drinking at the night view.
“I do that already! Here, at the back kitchen balcony." She urged me to the long, narrow balcony full of pots and plants she experiments with. On the left side is the tiled window sill with 4 large, tall dusty window panels. It looks towards the Tsing-Hua campus, residents and hills, different from the front balcony looking towards the street night lights.
“I stand hear to have breakfast sometimes. Just to get some sun you know, because there’s morning sun here. I don’t go out everyday you see. I’d play some English news in your room," she gestures my room adjacent to the balcony, “Bring out the stool in case I need to sit, and eat here. It’s great!"
It is great. The lush, small size greens surrounds us with refreshing warmth in return of the care Mom gives. She keeps chatting about the scary howling of the crazy Hsinchu wind, the hopeless feeling of a rainstorm attack, and how impossible it is to clean the dusty windows from the 9th floor apartment.
It shouldn’t be a surprise we look for the same romance in this modest little apartment. We are mom and daughter, after all.