“Throw the handkerchief, Throw the handkerchief, Put it back of our friends quietly, we all do not tell her, quickly, quickly catch her, and quickly, quickly catch her.” When this familiar children’s lyric is sung again, the old cheerful music is like a magic paintbrush sketching the blurred memory which has begun to fade and now becomes fresh and clear again. The past is like a roll of beautiful picture, being slowly unfolded in the mind. In the picture, we see the pals who played “throw the handkerchief” with us when we were children. We see the handkerchiefs waving in our hands, small and beautiful.
A handkerchief is just a small printed cloth square. Some of them are big, some small. Some of them are plain, some colored. Some of them even have all kinds of printed patterns. Some of them are thin, and some are thick. Some have straight edges, some wavy. They look simple and plain, but they have accompanied a generation going through decades. They have made contributions and brought happiness quietly. And they have conveyed the message of adoration between lovers.
When we were young, after getting us dressed, Mom always folded a clean handkerchief into a strip and pinned it on the left side of our clothes. The handkerchief began to accompany a child starting a day in the kindergarten. They were used to wipe their tears when they cried, the sweat when they played, the rice hanging on the chin when they ate, and the faces when they got dirty. When the day was over, their faces were clean and the handkerchiefs dirty due to the frequent use.
However, the handkerchiefs never cared about it. They would still serve their masters loyally after they were washed clean. Sometimes, the handkerchief was the best toy. It could be folded into many animals, such as a small mouse or rabbit. It even became a small hat when four knots were made at each corner. We looked funny and naughty in it. It was happy seeing the handkerchiefs changing in our hands. Thus, the handkerchiefs were like good little pals accompanying us to walk through each day in our childhood and into adolescence.
We were restrained and shy when we first fell in love. And we would not say “I love you” easily, the seemingly simple words. So when the favorite handkerchief was quietly handed over to him, he knew what the girl felt. He was so delighted and proud. In those sweet days, the girl often received handkerchiefs given by him. Those handkerchiefs were with different colors and styles but the same affection. During the days when they missed but couldn’t see each other, the handkerchiefs were her company, as sweet and thoughtful as he was. When she touched the handkerchief with her face, it was like being touched by his warm hands. The tears were wiped by the handkerchief and kept in the lover’s heart. The missing became bitter sweet.
In the era of material scarcity, a handkerchief was a good decoration for a girl wanting to look beautiful. The long hair bound with a bow made from a handkerchief would attract much adoration. The handkerchiefs would enable a romantic air in the boudoir when they are folded into different shapes and hung on the walls or in a mosquito net.
Although handkerchiefs were cheap, they had loyally accompanied us going through years. Whenever you took out a handkerchief that you have kept, you could read those silent hidden words and recall the happy or sad past. You could even think of how you felt when you bought it. It witnessed the growth of a whole generation and their emotional experience. It quietly brought about cleanness and happiness to many people and never asked for any reward. Nowadays many people like to use tissues of various brands. However, there are still quite a number of people who like using handkerchiefs. Tissues are thrown away after being used once, so in it we cannot see the path of life, memories of the past, and growing of emotions, which we do not cherish and have feelings to since they are just simple and superficial.
Handkerchiefs have faded out of our sight, walked out of our lives, and lost in the old days with time passing by, together with the childhood and youth of our generation. It has disappeared thoroughly although we still cherish the feelings. They have disappeared without trace that we cannot catch it. Only the beautiful memories stay deep down in our hearts. In fact, we are going to lose everything no matter whether it is precious or plain. So, why not cherish more when you still own it? Thus, there will be less pity or pain when you lose it.