Growing up, in an instant, because tragedy had, hit her, hard, it’d, taken away someone whom she loved, and loved her so very, much, translated…
He’d made me my formula, took me to the bathrooms, taught me how to use the chopsticks, tied my hair up, as long as I can remember, he kept by my side, fulfilled every one of my requests………
He Took My Hand, Led Me to School in the First Grade
He was the third child of his house, he had an older brother by eight years, a second older brother, by five years, they couldn’t play together growing up, ever since he knew it, he’d been asking for his mother for a younger sister to play with, and, he’d, bugged her, for years on end for it. That New Year’s, he was, awakened, by the loud sounds from the firecrackers outside, his mother dressed him up in brand new clothes, new shoes, told him happily, “you have a baby sister now, let’s go see her.”, Hsian who lived in the back alleys close to them had a daughter.
As the eldest in my family, I was, spoiled, at the end of the following year, came my younger sister, the year that followed, my youngest brother was born, my mother was like a hen, in a jiffy, gave birth to three children, and quickly enough, all the adults started, paying a ton of attention to my youngest brother, but that was, okay, I have, a young older brother. He’d made my bottles for me, took me to the bathrooms, taught me how to use the chopsticks, tied my hair, since I could recall, he’d been, around me, fulfilling every last one of my, desires, took me up to the mountains to watch the birds, to the creeks, to catch the fish, all of my happier memories of childhood, I’d made, with him.
In the first grade, he’d taken me to school, holding my hand, led me to outside of my class, told me, that I can only go to the bathrooms, after the bell rings, that his class was the fifth one, and the last room was the bathroom, that the girls’ bathroom had a girl doll, to not go into the boys’ rooms. And, the teacher ranted on and on, I couldn’t get a word in, because I had to go, and, I couldn’t, hold it anymore, and I’d, wetted myself, and I’d, started to cry, and, it all, came out.
He’d appeared in between classes, I’d told him in a barely audible voice, “Older brother, I’d, wetted myself!”, he’d taken out a pair of clean underwear from his backpack, “it’s okay, I’ll take you to get changed!”, and as I was changing into the dry underwear he brought for me, he was, at the sink, cleaning my soiled underwear.
He’d taught me to read, to write, to draw, to shoot the slingshots, to make the paper boats, to kick the sandbags, to make the guns from the bamboo chopsticks, to saw up the bamboo, to make a whistling toy…………so many things, it’d, filled my childhood with a ton of color, and laughter. Other people’s older brother wouldn’t allow their younger sisters to tag along, but my older brother took me everywhere he’d gone, I was, his tagalong, his Siamese twin.
There were, little materialistic wealth where we lived, but, an abundance of wild plants, we’d sought out the butterflies, the bees, the birds, the fireflies in the springtime, picked off the fruits, the mulberries, finding the cicadas in the summers, the frogs, the beetles, the tiny ladybugs, plucked the longan, the guava too………
There were, the tracks that the snails left behind after the rain, he’d taken me, to track them down, and picked them up, we’d, filled up, bag after bag, after bag, sometimes, we were, lucky to find the small red berries that were ripe, and, I was the one, he’d, given the fruit to. That sweetened and soured taste filled up my mouth, and, I’d felt, very sweet on the inside too, that’s, what bliss felt like, I supposed!
Two Malt Lollipops, in Exchange for My Young Older Brother to Go to Middle School
He’d,taught me to break the snails’ shells with the rocks, and, he’d, used his smallknife, cut off the tails of the snails, gave the internal organs to the fowls,and the edible parts, he’d washed it with care in salt water, and gave it toMrs. Jing, she’d used garlic, chili pepper, basil, the pots to fry it all up,added in a splash of rice wine, soy sauce, smelled so very wonderful, and theuncles had their snacks before the houses, with some sorghum wine, and, therewas, a mixture of the various dialects, that managed to, ease their homesickness.
I was born, with bad skin, the summers, the gnats attacked me, other people used the peppermint oils to get rid of the itches, and I was, covered in the red spots all over my skin, itching like crazy, I’d, scratched too hard, and, made my skin ulcered. There were, many snakes up in the mountains, the snake soups can help rid of the poisons, he’d, scooped up a bowl of hot soup for me, then, took the meats off the snake bones, so I can, eat it more easily, life in the mountains was, leisurely, it’d, slowly, made us both, grow taller.
He’d needed to take the bus for an hour into town in middle school, I’d wanted to follow him, in the second grade too, and, I’d still, clung on tightly, to his shirt. Seeing how the bus was about to go, he’d told me, that he was to bring me the malt candies after school, I’d gestured to him a “two” with my tears, circling in my eyes, “I want two!”, and, just like that, I’d, traded his going away for school, for TWO malt pops.
TheDaja Creek at the foot of the mountain was our water adventure park in thesummers, and, during the long summers, we either stayed in the mountains, or, soakedourselves in the waters, found the abandoned tires, to use as floatationdevices, and went “rafting” on them. There were, typhoons, the hard rains, and, the reservoir would, let thewater out, at unset times, and the P.A. in the police station would announce forus, to stay clear of the creeks, that the reservoir upstream was about, to beopened up.
what they were
That day, we’d, dove behind the rocks in the deeper regions of the water, to see who made the bigger splash, and, the water, the screams, tuned out that life-saving message from town, and, the playful children can care less about the warmings. As I was just about to do a bomb dive from one of the rocks, the water had, rushed to my feet, it’d, swallowed up my older brother, and the rest of my playmates, and, those tiny hands raised up, were taken away, I was, so dumbfounded.
Several days later, their bodies were found, downstream, stuck, between the rocks, and they’d told us, that their faces were, all smashed up, by the rocks in the stream, I’d become, dumbfounded, not said a single word. My mother took me to the temple, to get me “treated”, it still didn’t do me any good, my older brother and our playmates had, drowned before my eyes, for a nine-year-old child, it’s, something that’s, too heavy a burden, for me to bear back then.
We’d moved away, away from my childhood home, which symbolized the end of my childhood, but, there was a part of my heart that’s, stayed, in that summer, with my older brother.
Later on, I’d read the verses of childhood love, and, suddenly, I’d, understand everything.
And so, this would be, a very prominent childhood memory for this woman, the boy started out as an older brother to her, taking care of her, looking after her, and, as they both grow up, the love of an older brother for a younger sister changed, into the love for a girl by a boy, and she didn’t realize it then being too young, and, tragedy struck, it took away, this young love of her childhood years………