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A Drunkard's Life----1.1

Viewed 650 times 2019-1-1 13:37 |System category:Life| life

The sun had gone down to the west, and almost everyone was having supper. In an old house, a man was sitting at a table on the middle of which there was a steamed fish,some vegetables,some sauce and,in front of the man, a glass of some transparent liquid. One can easily tell what the liquid was if he smelled it, it was spirit with strong smell, a local drink people like very much. Above was a small light bulb hanging over the small old table. Book in hand, the man was reading while having supper, and he was the only person in the house.

His name was Kim,a known-to-all person in his small village.

He was not an orphan,but most of his lifetime, he lived alone in his own old house. He didn’t have any true friends throughout his life,friendship may probably mean nothing to him, it seemed he was okay with it. And the house,where he spent all his life, used to be home for his whole family. He started to live there since the first day to the world.

His family, like many others in China in late 20th century,was a big one. There were totally nine people in his family, they were his parents,two elder brothers and two younger brothers, as well as two younger sisters. When he was young, they all lived together in the house.

The house was not big, only contained two small rooms in which only one bed can be settled, then there were not enough space left for a wardrobe or a dressing table. Once the bed was settled inside, the rest space can only be available for a small chair. In such a small room, one must turn around to leave some space for the other to get through if they encounter face to face. Between the two rooms was a big hall,where all their family’s belongings were stored, besides, there used to be a bed in the right up corner of the hall, when all his family members lived together at that time. The kitchen was on the left side of the house. Rather than connecting to the left side of the room, it was in front of the room.

It was really crowded for his big family to live in such a small house. But poor as they were, just like many other people in China, because at that time, China was suffering from poverty and backwards, they had no choice. And they were not the only family living like that in China.

There was a spacious grassland in front of the house, where only grasses can be found,nothing else,of course, sometimes, some snakes would hide there. Sometimes,it turned out to be the playground for the kids, who would like to play when the sun was going down to the west.

Before he lived alone, his family lived there for many years,until his brothers had their own houses in the other side of the village,where was not too far away, and his sisters got married with others. When he was around ten, his brothers with his parent’s help started to build their own houses. As soon as their new houses were constructed, they moved out one after another. His parents moved out to live with his brothers as well. Before long, his sisters also got married with someone from other villages and left the house. From then on, he started to live there alone. At that time, he was not up to twenty.

Mentioned above, his family had nine people, but as a matter of fact, it was not quite true. His father used to have 8 children, six boys and two girls. And he was the 4th of the six boys. But there was one thing to be clear, as mentioned before, why only two of his three elder brothers lived with him? It was said that his third brother, Gavin, was adopted by one of his neighbors, who had two girls only, no boys. There’s an old Chinese saying: with more sons, he will be happier. What’s more, he who has no son was regarded as being not filial. As in the standpoint of view of Chinese culture, it is a great responsibility of the man to make his family flourished, so that the family can pass on generations after generations. The son was the only granted person that can bear the responsibility, because the girls would someday leave and formulate a new family with others. So for almost all the Chinese couples, to have a son was considered to be their greatest responsibility. And the son was also the only one who they can rely on, by whom they will be taken good care when they were old.

Some couples may be very lucky to have many sons, while others can not, though they had tried their best. What’s more, some people can not get married because of poverty or other reasons. In this case, those couples who can not bear any boy, or someone who can not get married, would like to adopt a boy from those who had too many sons and lacked of enough food and clothes to raise them up. Conversely, for those big families with too many children, it was a great burden to raise so many children. Particularly, in such a special time that China was suffering from poverty, lacking of food, clothes,and basis medicare. So for those big families, they would also like to give away one or two of their children.

At that time, adoption can easily be found in his village, even around China. It was under this circumstance that Gavin,his third brother, was given to his neighbor who lived nearby. Since it was not too far away,to some extent, they were still a family. Whenever there would be any troubles, they would come and deal with them together, as a family. That was how things should be.

Walt was his eldest brother. He was not rich, he could only make his ends met by farming. He was the first one to have his own house and leave the family. But his parents didn’t live with him, because he had four sons, there were not enough rooms for them. Not long after Walt moved out the old house,Kim’s second eldest brother, Rum,along with his two younger brothers, Howard and Mark, jointly, built a bigger house in which all of them can settle down. Then they started to move out of the old house one after one. Very soon, Rum, his second elder brother, built his own house, and moved away,too. Finally, his elder brothers owned their houses respectively, and his parents lived with his youngest brother. As for himself, he lived in the old house alone,which belonged to him from then on.

Unlike his brothers, who were either too thin or too fat and short, he was medium build, around 1.75 meters high,to tell the truth, he was the strongest one in his family. He liked combing his long hair from one side to the other, and he didn’t like to keep one hairstyle for a long time, he changed it very often. Sometimes, he combed his hair from left to right, sometimes, from right to left, and sometimes, he would like to have it cut short. Needless to say, his hairstyle was always eye-catching and the most shining one in the village. People would like to make stories of his hairstyle,in other words, they liked to make jokes with his hairstyle. He had a long face, two big eyes. When he was angry and opened his eyes wide. It was a little scary. For most of time, he liked to wear black suit, sometimes there would be a tie on his neck, and he liked wearing leather shoes,too. In fact, it seemed he seldom bought any new clothes, and those he was wearing must have a long history. No big change have taken place to his appearance through all these years. This was what people knew about him in his middle age. But his whole life could be taken as a tragic story.

It was said that he used to be a smart boy at home and a good student at school. Diligent as he used to be, he always got high scores in exams. And he was often praised by his teachers and neighbors. As he grew up, it came to the time for him to go to serve in the army. For quite a long time, serving in the army was taken as a glory, not only for he who went to serve in the army, but also for his families. So he joined the army at his eighteen.

Due to his good performance in the army, he was awarded several times by the army. At that time, every body was expecting a promising future for him. As it was for sure that, once he fulfilled the service in the army, he would be assigned to good company and have a good job. Things seemed to be going the right direction for him.  

But sometimes, things may change unexpectedly at a speed people failed to catch up with. An accident happened when he was serving in the army totally changed his life. It surely became a turning point of his life.

Perhaps it was too painful for him to recall that serious accident,or maybe he just can’t remember anything about the accident. Seldom did he ever talk about it or tell anyone anything about it for the first few years after he returned from the army, and people didn’t know too much about it, though many of them were very interested in it and asked him so many times. He kept it pretty well as a secret, not so many people knew about it. But there was a time few years after he returned to his village,in a special situation, he told the story to others by himself,after having a drink with his neighbors, and almost drunk.

Daming, one of his neighbors, who was drinking with him that afternoon, with a pitiful look on his face, said to Kim: “ you may be living a better life,probably a prosperous and wonderful one, or at least a different one, if that accident didn’t occur to you. Though I have no idea what accident have occurred to you, it must be a fatal one.” Daming said sympathetically, intended to induce Kim to tell the whole story. As a matter of fact, everyone was curious about what have happened to him, just nobody had ever got the answer, though they may have asked many times. As whenever they asked, Kim would be mad at them and started to quarrel with them, and he viewed whoever asked him the question as his enemies for a while. Since then,no body dared ask him. So most people just knew something serious have happened to him, but no one knew clearly about what on earth it was, except his families.

Hearing what Daming said, everyone else at the table stopped eating and drinking, and started to wait for the story to be told. “We were sorry about that accident occurred to you, but nothing did we know about it. Can you still remember what accident it was that happened to you and how did it happened?” Daming asked, curiously.Some of them were afraid that he would be angry,like what had happened many time before, and asked all of them to get out, or he would start to blame everyone here. Because everybody knew Kim was not the one he used to be, he became easily irritated that he would be angry with anyone without any reasons. Some people said he was mentally disorder, or insane. Those who were drinking with him were afraid he would be angry and go crazy, then drive them away angrily,which he has done many times when he was asked this question. So the others were all sit quietly and waited for something to happened.

With a peaceful look on his face,Kim upheld the glass of rice wine to his mouth, and bottomed it up. “How could I ever forget about it? It was really a nightmare, a disaster for me.” He said as he put the glass on the table. Then, he started to recall and tell the long unhappy story from the early beginning.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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