(31) Disco Nation
It was a gloomy rainy day when Violet dropped by to pick up something from the library. She forgot to bring the room key so Mrs. Bento walked her up to the third floor. On the way Mrs. Bento asked Violet about her responsibility to the library - besides keeping it clean and tidy. Violet shrugged her shoulders and said, "nothing much. Your responsibility is to know all the contents inside." Violet said half-jokingly, "It has a good documentation of my parents' life."
"Do you mind if I ask where your parents are now?" asked Mrs. Bento.
"Oh, they're retired, and living a nomadic life, a few months here and there. Now they're still in Keelung. Do you know where Keelung is? It's a port city in the northeastern part of Taiwan."
"Wow, what a lucky couple! I'd only been to Taipei once, many years ago. Have you visited them?" Mrs. Bento inserted the key in the lock of the library door as she spoke.
"I'm planning to go this Winter. This will be my first time in Taiwan. I missed my 'real first time' when I was two years old. My parents planned the Taiwan trip in a hurry. When the three of us arrived at the airport they suddenly remembered they had forgotten to apply for my traveling document! I had to be carried back by my uncle, crying!"
"Poor little girl!" Mrs. Bento flicked on the light switch by the door as they entered the room. Halfway she stopped, looked around the library and asked Violet, "when you said my responsibility is to know all the contents inside this room, are you just teasing me or do you really mean it? To be honest with you I did see something, especially books and things related to photography, that can be useful to our project - to build our Little House of Something on Photography…" Mrs. Bento rubbed her hands gently and gave Violet a short account of how their friend George won a lottery, and decided to use the money to start a photo museum.
"That is amazing, awesome! You know my parents were photographers when they lived in Hong Kong? In fact I come to pick up some photo magazines they helped to produce around the 90s. The museum in Hong Kong needs that for an exhibition. When they left Toronto they handed me this legacy to protect. I know it's their life-time passion for the work, as well as a treasure trove of photography. Yes, the material in this room can be very helpful. Do feel free to do some research here for the photo museum project. If you ever need more information, I'll be glad to pass that on to my parents."
"Is this really happening Violet? Thank you!" Mrs. Bento poured out these words from her heart. Overflowing with emotions, she held Violet tight by the shoulders and kissed both of her cheeks without reserve. "It will definitely be very helpful, and we all thank you for helping us. Tell me," she went over to the shelf containing cds and dvds, bent down and fished one out. "Can I also check out this cd? It said something about a discussion of five photographs, but in the bedroom. I don't know whether this would intrude on somebody's privacy."
"Absolutely not! My parents were always open to share their experiences with like-minded people. I know that they started to do some recordings on their conversations years ago, but I had not asked them what it actually was about. I am glad that you located the recordings. Just go ahead and play it, and, remember to tell me what the discussion was about next time when you see me."
"Well may be. I hope we will find out more than just sex, or the orientation positions. Oh, by-the-way what are you looking for? Can I help you to find it?"
"They are just old magazines. It has a funny Chinese name, something like nuna something. I can't really remember. Oh yes, it's dislocation in English. Actually I haven't even seen one."
"Disco Nation right? You know what, when I was in Hong Kong, I lived on a minor street a little uphill in the Central District. We rented the third floor of a five-storey building, which was just facing the back door of a very famous disco. Its name was … I think, yes, Disco Disco. Oh why am I telling you all this? It was the mid-seventies and you weren't even born yet. Now where could all the magazines be?" Mrs. Bento scratched her head, looked up and down the four walls, "Ahh, they're all up there. We need a ladder."