Wednesday, December 31, 2003

nothing like looking back and sharing stories, especially embarassing ones.

on july 6, 1982, my family celebrated my aunt's birthday by eating three lunches at three different restaurants. my mom had indigestion that night, and i was born by morning.

my happiest memory is somewhere in bangkok, under a palm tree, with sun tan lotion and sticky rice, and somewhere in the shade my mother sleeps.

when my brother was born i was so happy i jumped as high as i could and crashed into a table. i still have the scar on the back of my head. i would make faces at my brother and he would try to smile under his big overgrown cheeks.

my best friend before my brother was a plastic toy shark named monstro the whale. one time i took monstro to ocean park (hong kong's theme park) and i accidentally pooed in my pants. in public. in front of everyone.

i grew up in an apartment on the 14th floor of a green-tiled building somewhere in hong kong. i would bike in my building's parking lot, dip cookies in soy milk, and hold funerals for broken gi joes. when my brother slept and my parents worked, i'd sneak to the balcony and watch the sky turn black over the city.

my mom stuck me in an english pre-school, a chinese kindergarten, and then a french school. i couldn't speak a word of french so i had trouble making new friends but i didn't mind. i playing by myself and pretended leafs were spaceships.

i was at my friend's eigth birthday and i fell in love with a girl - a love only nine years olds know. i would whisper into her ear, share stories, jokes, and silly things, and when i ran out of words, i would yell "tag, you're it!" we only knew each for one day. i would only run into her again much later. it was mid-autumn full moon at a park, all children ran around red with little lanterns. i nearly bumped into her and the only word my nine year old mouth could mutter was a "hi." we then both stood shy for a moment and walked away in opposite directions. i remember sitting by myself on a swing set and really watching the moon for the first time.

in paris, france, my brother and i drew norse gods in my grandparents' dusty living room. loki was my favorite god, such a prankster. while mami napped on a recliner chair, my brother and i got into a bitter argument over absolutely nothing that tragically led to the two of us tearing each other's drawings to shreds. we woke mami up with our bickering and we both cried.

she, little blonde girl, broke her arm while climbing a hill so i, little bowl cut boy, rushed to her hospital and gave her a kiss.

benjamin jumped off a building. erik hit by a taxi. they're still so small in my dreams. benjamin shy and lanky (all the girls liked him, i think.) erik with the quick wit and warm smile. it's ten years past and i still can't say "goodbye."

my worst memory is somewhere in a bedroom lurking under the curl of my father's belt.

by then i begun to notice that my classmates were either considered cool or uncool (often calculated by the circumference of the waist of their jeans and how low they could sag.) i had tight jeans. i figured i would become cool, someday. perhaps by thirteen. if not, definitely by eighteen. if not then, surely by twenty one.


i was fifteen and feverish the day before i moved out of hong kong. i spent the evening neck deep in a hot bathtub. "cook the germs out," i thought. i was delusional on the plane trip to los angeles, singing michael jackson's "black or white" in my head as a farewell tune to the small island.

it's very shallow of me, but the memory that comes to my mind right now as i think of high school is a drunk tony danza yelling "who's the boss? you the boss!" to me from the visitors bleachers of senior homecoming game.

i got to college and i learn (or re-learn) to simply dooOOOOOOOOOOOooo it.

(much more later. but now i rush to my bed with a swifness no one knows save the wind. no, that's not me trying to sound like a poet. i still have all the fanciful hobbit and middle earth lingo stuck in my brain.)