Humans are weak. We’re not born to be the fastest runners, the strongest lifters, nor the most adaptive creatures. An infection could kill us, or a virus, even a fall that happen to hit your head. It’s weak to be human.
I had this toothache for three days last week. It was the infamous wisdom-teeth that everyone has. As soon as I mention it to someone, they gave me the deepest condolences. Everyone would likely have the wisdom-toothache at some point in their lives. Humans share the same weaknesses.
Pain medicine kept me alive. In those three days, the toothache took away my nice sleep, my patience, and my pride to be human. Advil, Tylenol, Advil, Tylenol again… Every 4 to 6 hours, I had to sedate myself to keep the pain in an unreachable box somewhere in my head while it is ready to burst out of the box at any second.
Fortunately, my surgery was moved up by the dentists as my teachers negotiated with them, begging for them to treat me earlier. The wait might take 5 or 6 days before the time change. Knowing that I couldn’t overcome a little toothache, that my survival depended on luck and sympathy, I felt so weak, and so rotten.
Three hours before the surgery, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. “Not even Advil?” The mere thought astounded me. The wait was painful. Without using the pain reliever, trying the hardest to distract myself, with a swollen face…
On the way to the surgery, I wondered what people did to their wisdom-teeth before, you know, before all this technological madness. Did they just suffer? Did they die because of a toothache?
A deadly virus has spread throughout China. With now 76 people killed, tens of thousands being possibly infected, death festers upon negligence and ignorance. Some fools choose to travel, knowing they’re infected with this crazily contagious virus. More and more innocent people, children, are dying for that idiocy.
I’m anxious. Checking the updates on anything related to the virus has become my new habit. The ones I care the most about are in China, and tomorrow they could be dead… all because of that damned negligence.
But at the same time, I feel sad. What are the infected supposed to do? Sit down and die? How can you blame anyone when the whole plot is sad, when it is your townspeople you’re talking about, when it’s your friends and loved ones’ lives on the line.
Now I’m in dispute with myself. I don’t know what to write. Thinking that you’re lucky, that you’ve escaped the virus, that the deaths of other people are irrelevant… I don’t know what to think.
At first you’re in shock, then relaxed, thinking that they’ll have the cure developed by tomorrow… isn’t it the 21st century? Then anxiety hits. You start a journey looking for the antidote for the virus, but there’s no antidote for you.
It’s the Chinese New Year. After a year of struggling, most people finally get some rest. Families get together, friends gather… and boom…
My hometown in the same province as Wuhan City, where the virus first started to murder. Now the province is under lockdown. For that, I pray for my family.
My mother hasn’t been healthy for a few years. I worry for her well-being, now that a deadly virus walks the earth. My sister feels ill, I hope it’s just a cold…
However, there is a silver lining. And how can one go on without faith?
Today, the first step toward curing the disease with vaccination has been initiated.
stuck uncomfortably askew into my otherwise sweetly lapsing childhood
the odd cold memory next to geraniums and my dads’ warm hands:
it hadn’t rained in weeks but it would tomorrow
tyler and his friends tore down the highway
the truck old
the boys young
and the night infinite
four teenagers careening through space
running out of time
(twinkling like stars, the holes in the bottom of his truck shone into the cab. Twinkling not like natural light, but like reflections from yellow road reflectors and moonshine)
then as Murphy knowingly frowned
the teenagers plunged abruptly into the darkness
two flew through the night and landed bloody on the highway
but he and his passenger tumbled endlessly into that indiscriminate abyss
and someone I hadn’t thought about in years came crashing back into my life
(and those stars that lined his bare calloused toes erupted into vivid supernovas)
tyler and I were friends when i was very young. he lived in Kauai and i would visit every so often. he was a terrible influence; he would steal stupid things, and i would watch. sometimes tyler took me fishing. he would torment the fishes by cutting off their fins and sending them back to the water to die bloody but breathing. and i would watch. he told me fish don’t feel pain, but i saw that he did. he grew up between houses, neither one was particularly welcoming. he grew up never believing he had a chance. one day he was watching his younger sister, and i remember sitting where the tide leaves sandy pools on the beach. she splashed and screamed while he delicately folded her clothes placing them carefully on a log. I watched him pull a shirt over her wet sandy head and I saw how precarious tyler’s life was. he couldn’t have been more than twelve.
it barely hurts to imagine him flying down the road drunkenly focused, it doesn’t pain me to imagine his dark brown eyes, and not even the dead teenagers trapped in a combusting coffin bring me to tears
Most people think nothing of getting close to someone. They just hang out with someone and one day find themselves closer than the first day they met. I wish I could be like that, but instead, I sit in my room alone scared of getting too close.
It’s not that I hate everyone and I don’t want to be close to anyone. It’s that I don’t want to lose them. From the time I was 10 until I was about 15, I lost 9 close family members. For a while, I couldn’t go more than 6 months without losing a family member. Whenever a family member died, it seemed like I had just started to get close and attached to them.
For the longest time, I did not want to get close to anyone because I was nervous that they would die. I believed I was cursed and that everyone I loved would die.
After a little, I somewhat got over that and started to get close to people without fear of them dying. This only caused me to develop another fear. It seemed as though most of my friends decided that I wasn’t good enough for them and would leave.
I know it’s a dumb fear I should get over and I am tryin,g that’s why I am writing it out.
When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”
I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.
When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.
When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.
Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.
“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.
“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”
“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.
He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.
I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.
Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.
There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.
I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.
I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.
I raised them. They are dead now.
If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.
I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.
Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.
When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.
When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle things on my own.
When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.
Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.
No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.
I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…
Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry. I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.
Loralee was born on April 28, 1970. Loralee died on June 3rd 1970.
My mom never met her sister; I never met my aunt. She spent her thirty-six days in a hospital. Loralee wasn’t born lucky.
Due to her cleft pallet, she was unable to swallow. The hospital put a tube down her throat to feed her. Instead of going into her esophagus, the tube was misplaced and put into her lungs. After a month and three days, her lungs were filled from the tube’s givings and she died from suffocation.
Loralee Myra French never came home. My mom never got to see her sister. My mother was less than two years old. I wonder what my grandmother told her. How could you explain that to an innocent child?
My mom learned the full story when she was older.
I learned the full story a week ago.
Recently, my great aunt died. I wasn’t close to her. She was an awful person. She put her son through absolute shit, abused my grandmother, and put my mom’s side of the family through living hell.
Even though she was a cruel human being, it hit me hard when she died. As bad as it sounds, it wasn’t hard for me because I cared about her a lot, it was harder for another reason.
As I’m getting older, death is so much more real. I understand it and am effected by it more and it takes place more in my life. There are so many people who are going to die in my lifetime: my parents, my grandparents, my kindergarten teacher, the owners of my favorite place in the world… There are so many people who have died in my lifetime: my grandfather, my aunt, my favorite artist, my dad’s best friend.
I’m still young, but I’m old enough to understand how abruptly life can end.
I was doing driver’s ed a couple days ago. I read a story about a man who got in a car crash and killed his best friend.
One mistake, one wrong turn, one bad decision, and your life could be done.
We all know we will die one day. It’s not “if;” it’s a “when?”
When am I going to die? When are you going to die? It’s inevitable, unescapable, and, in my opinion, scary. So scary.
On the news, I read about a girl who traveled in Costa Rica, met a man at an Airbnb, and went missing. Later, she was found dead.
One misgiving of trust, one ignorant move, one second of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you could be found lifeless too.
And, then, there’s so many undeserving people who die cruel, miserable deaths. Cancer, suffering, abuse, rape. So many innocent people whose lives get taken away. Just like the young rape victim who was found dead in a suitcase behind a dumpster, just like orphan who starved to death, just like the 13,000 people who died in shootings this year, just like the young baby who only got to spend thirty six days on this earth; my aunt Loralee Mya French.