[Disclosure: I am not trying to get anywhere with anything I am about to write...]
Memories of my childhood flickers dimly at the back of my head like a candle in a dark room, as everything in my past comes to a slow focus, sometimes more often than usual. Growing up wasn't easy for me; like most youngsters in the neighborhod, childhood wansn't to be for the most of us. To share that childhoold with five siblings made it both horrific and eventful. What devilish little brats! After all what is said and done, I couldn't for the love of anything live without any one of my crazy brothers. As hard as childhood proved to be, it made us that much stronger and wanting far more than what was feasible to acquire in that small little town known as Wamrong. The dream had to expand beyond the boundaries of the town and perhaps even beyond the country itself.
Wamrong. What a characteristic little town! Even after all these years and 10, 000 miles away here in the United States, I still think of myself as a Wamrongpa. That old feeling comes rushing back. The colorful neighbors, the hordes of stray dogs we loved and hated at the same time, and the old dilapidated ghostly school which appeared to be in ruins. The reason for everything in my life came out of that school and my father's strong belief that an ounce of knowledge far outweighs a pound of gold. As I grow older, I get to appreciate that principle more and more. To think of it, I am becoming more and more like what I used to hate about my father. Well, I guess I am my father's son after all.
Characters, I hear are shaped and developed by the environment a person grows in. For me, it was a combination and culmination of family values, poverty, sicknesses only poor people seem to get, and education. I realize that I have very far to go in life, but I fear time is fleeting by. However, I feel deeply rooted in the virtues that a man is never too late to start on something and that dreams can be had if one puts their passion into it.
For as long as I can remember, my father was a well known drunk. What drove a grown man to drink that stupid was beyond any of my young reasoning and logic. Then there was mother, from a whole another side of the spectrum, who could easily have been a mother to Buddha himself. I wondered how two people of polar opposites found and stayed together for so long as a family. Then I heard rumors that father had cheated on mother and borne a child with another woman, later proven to be a fact. I was far too young to understand the severity of the act and the consequences that undeniably came along with it. But the deed was done and the seed planted and as we all know, there is no turning back time...
Mother wouldn't have anything to do with father's woe-begotten child, and rightfully so, and there, six of us instead of ten. Ten? Yes, ten. Three of the oldest were lost at a very young age, including the still talked about and only daughter they ever had who passed away at a tender age of eleven. Hence began my parents determination to bring forth a daughter to this world, to replace the one they dearly loved, but now lost, leaving them broken. What treachery! What lame life! However, not everything was in vain. After six sons, lessons were finally learned, and hope forever lost of ever having a daughter, and denying me a sister I always wanted, they decided to settle in for six crazy sons. A sister would have been nice, but my five brothers? I wouldn't trade that for anything! I still have all the scars and bruises to remind me of them everyday....
Sometimes, I do wonder how different things would have turned out if father fought for his other son and introduced him to the rest of us and to the rest of the world. I could only speculate, but I would love to know the man, my half brother, whom I know exist, yet remain nameless. Did he become one of those young men who becomes a grandfather at only 30 and driven to a life of poverty? Did he end up fathering ten children? Twelve? Is he a monk? What kind of monk? Did he die young? I have many things to know about this man, my other brother.
Well, that's me. I get easily distracted, sometimes, and go on a tangent. So, what did I want to write about?