Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Maybe it's the cold...

Lately, I've been feeling kinda introspective, I find myself looking inward, analyzing everything that's happened in my life, how it affected me, what my actions were, should I have done the things I've done, would I have done them differently, would it even make a difference?

Hold on folks, this post is going to be long one.

It's Christmas time. At least that's what this time of year is usually called. It's past Thanksgiving and all the X'mas carols that have been playing everywhere are finally starting to NOT annoy me....much. See, I have this thing about hearing the appropriate music and songs for the events and holidays. Meaning, I do not like to hear X'mas songs on any day except Christmas morning. Yes, I don't even like to hear it on Christmas Eve. Except for that "Lucy and Linus" song from the "Charlie Brown X'mas Special" album. I just fucking LOVE that song and can't get enough of it.

So last week, while I was playing City of Heroes, my sister calls me up on the phone. This has always really irritated me. I live with my sister and our place is a three story house. She's usually on the top floor, while I'm on the bottom level. I always thought she should come down here if she wants to talk to me, but no, she just calls me on my cell phone. What's even worse, I'm in the middle of a battle in COH. I see from the caller ID that it's my sister, pick up the phone and snap at her. I immediately feel like shit when I hear her voice. I can hear that she's been crying. My sister and I aren't very close. None of my family have ever been close. I mean, we've had our odd moments, when we let our guard down and open up to each other, but that's few and far between.

Me: "What's the matter?"
Her: "Why do you always have to be so angry?"

I hear the tears in her voice and tone it down.

Me: "I a little busy right now, what's wrong?"

There's a pause.

Her: "Daddy's in the hospital."

I feel a sense of dread.

Me: "What do you mean?"
Her: "Daddy is in the hospital and he has cancer."

It got a little confusing after that, but I found out that my father, who was a huge smoker all my life, had developed lung cancer and it had already spread to other parts of his body. Chemo has already been ruled out, due to his age (he's in his mid 70's) and whatever else reason. He's being treated in a hospital in GuangZhou and says that he does not want to come back to the states. He states that nobody here will care for him.

I started going through my past. I thought of all the happy times I've had with my father.

Not surprisingly enough, I can't seem to find any. What's strange is the fact that I'm even trying to find any.

I came to the conclusion a long time ago, that my father isn't my father. At least, since he doesn't act like my father, then I won't treat him so.

I was having a really hardtime at this point. I mean, I could have compassion and empathy for complete strangers, but I can't muster up any for my own father.

I realized that I didn't feel sad about this.

I got angry at myself for not feeling sad.

I was still playing COH, so I told Tan and Scott what I've just found out and not to tell the others in the group. That I have to go take care of my sister and will be away for a while. I went upstairs to my sister.

I saw that she had stopped crying and I was able to get more info about dad's situation out of her. Apparently, someone from the hospital had called my sister and that's how she found out. My sister has the phone numbers of all my brothers, so she's going to coordinate something. My brother Allen has already said that he only wants to go back to China if it's to pay his last respects. My brother Chester will probably be the one to go back and handle things, as he has inlaws in Hong Kong and can stay with them. I've already decided that I won't be going back.

I still haven't decided if this wasn't some scheme of my dad's. Regardless, I still have a dental surgery planned to pay for, so have no money for an overseas trip.

I felt so useless at that point.

For the longest time, I always wondered what I would do if I were to find out that my father was dying. What would I say? Would I forgive him of all that's he's done to me and my family? Would I forget it all and just accept him as my father?

All those times, I never came up with an answer.

I couldn't.

At least, I couldn't and still be true to myself. I would end up resenting him even more and myself and everyone else around me for "forcing" me to accept him, to forgive him, to forget.

So in all those previous times in my mind, I never forgave him. I decided that if he wants my forgiveness, then he will have to make the first move. He will have to prove to me, that he is acting like my father, that he is even capable of that.

I knew that he wasn't.

So I never did, and here we are, the moment of truth.

I flashed back in time. Back to when I was still in high school and I was hanging out with my best friend Kevin. We were hanging out every day and were as close as two people can be.

One thing that Kevin could never get past was the way I acted towards my father. Kevin's opinion was that no matter what he said or did, he was ultimately my father. He gave me life and I had to give him respect for that.

I didn't have that opinion.

I knew that I wasn't wanted. I knew that my parents did not want another baby. My dad had already had three sons from a previous marriage and already had one son and a daughter with this wife. I was an accident. Hong Kong had something happen to it's contraceptives that year, but that didn't stop my father's getting pleasure. So he continued to fuck my mom, without protection, and I was the result.

When I was only a year old, I had really fell in love with superheroes on TV. I decided to emulate their flying, by jumping off our really high bunkbed.

For just a brief moment, I was flying just like a superhero, then the pain came.

I had dislocated my right arm in three places, shoulder, elbow and wrist, all at the same time. I had to go to the hospital for treatment immediately. My mother called my father on the phone to come home and take me. He declined and stayed with his friends and gambled. So my mother took all three kids and went out the door, right into the hurricane that happened to be right on top of Hong Kong that day.

We had to walk all the way to the hospital since taxi's and busses were not running due to the hurricane. I was carried on my mother's back as my seven year old brother and six year old sister had to walk.

Year's later, in the United States, I would go to family association gatherings with my father. I was usually the only one to go with him. I never understood why that was. My brother and sister never went with us, just the two of us. I felt very special those times. My father would tell all his friends about my arm and I was constantly being asked to show how strong I was. I had forgotten that my arm was dislocated in three places, apparently, my father hadn't. He was telling them how good of a son I was, that I could have an arm broken (in Chinese, we didn't know the difference between "dislocated" and "broken", so it was all called "broken") in three places, but still be as good as new.

My father got a lot of praise for fathering such a strong and healthy son.

It was only years later that I found out the whole story. I just got tired of constantly showing off my arm and feeling like a show pony or a sideshow freak. I couldn't see anything wrong with my arm and didn't understand when they told me that it was broken, since it was obvious (to me) that it wasn't.

I stopped going to those gatherings.

My memory jumped to another time, when all I could remember was my father was really angry. He grabbed my brother Chester out of our room and into the kitchen. I had no idea what was happening. I was studying, when he came into the room, dragged me out and that's when I saw that my brother was chained up, on his knees. I was dragged through the kitchen and to the chopping block. I was getting totally freaked and thought I was going to be killed. My father grabbed my hand and put it on the block, asking me, yelling really, which hand did it. I had no idea what he was talking about and yelled that out in my answers to him.

That's when I found out that my brother was caught shoplifting. I told my father that I didn't steal anything and I was finally released. I noticed the open bottle of whiskey at that point and I recognized the smell of it on his breath. I ran back into my room and locked the door.

My memory jumped to another time. I was 13 years old now. I was just coming out of my bedroom to get something to drink, when my father started attacking me with a feather duster. This feather duster is the prefered weapon of choice when the kids were punished, and would leave stinging marks on the body for weeks after the lesson was administered. I had no idea what this time was for and I tried to protect myself, with no success. I was getting beat.

I kept screaming, asking what I was being punished for and didn't get a response. I finally noticed the bottle of Jack Daniels on the table. I didn't know it was alcohol at the time, but I did see that it was open and there was a glass next to it, half filled. I realized that my father was drunk.

I screamed for him to stop hitting me. He didn't. He wouldn't stop the beating.

At that point, I tried to grab the feather duster. I was finally able to grab it as it hit my open hand and I snatched it out of his hand. I was so angry, that I snapped the feather duster in two. My father was shocked, then got even angrier.

My memories went back to when he threatened to cut my hand off.

He reached for his slipper and I told him that if he ever hit me without reason again, I was going to totally kick his ass.

By then, I was already a full head taller than him and the only reason that I never did anything and let him beat me, was that he was my father. I had just broken the feather duster like it was nothing. I did not lay a hand on him yet, but I just threatened to. We were at a standstill.

He turned around and started towards my mom. I told him that he better not touch her. He turned around and glared at me, then left the room.

I had told all of this and more to Kevin, yet, he still insisted that I have to respect my father. Finally, I told him to just come home with me one day, while my father was there. I asked that he not say anything to my father and just observe. He didn't understand, but agreed.

It took several weeks, but it came one day, Kevin came over to my place and my father was home. Kevin didn't act any differently and asked for me. He went into my room and after grabbing my stuff, we left together. Once we were outside and the door had closed, Kevin just turned to me and said that he understood.

Now, I find myself on the edge of something, some decision. Stkyrice mentioned that he thought something with my dad was going to happen before I left for Seattle. I wish he had mentioned it to me, not that it would have made any difference.

I spoke with Scott about this and he made a very good observation. I was able to be compassionate for total strangers and not my own father, because these strangers didn't hurt me, whereas, my own father did. This makes sense, I'm not happy about it, but it does make sense.

I'm listening to Pandora right now, and it's playing (Money Can't) Buy Me Love by Blackstreet. Funny thing, whenever my father tried to placate me, he would bribe me, with money, clothes, etc... something material.

I'm not stupid, when I was young and didn't have a job, I took his peace offering and everything would be fine. I've always believed that everything was okay, as long as the person was sincere in their apology. I learned that my father wasn't. He just did his best to placate me, till the next time, when he would bribe me again.

I learned how to take the bribe, but not accept the apology. Like I said, I wasn't stupid. When his bribes were no longer having the desired effect, he stopped trying and never just asked what I wanted or said sorry.

I'm now listening to "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell and the line comes on, "I should by crying but I just can't let it go, I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking..."

The cold, numbs my heart,
Protecting it from the world.
Waiting for the Spring.


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