July 9th, 2005


Random Childhood Memory: Cousin JF

weather: partially cloudy
outside: 20.3°C
mood: cheerful
When I was back in Guangzhou in 1998, we visited my father's sister's family in the apartment where we used to live. It's no more than about 600 sq. ft., if that... it's a 3 bedroom unit (bedrooms the size of closets). We used to live there with my paternal grandmother, my Aunt L, her husband, their four kids (two boys, two girls), my parents and me.

Currently, it's down to my Aunt L, her youngest son JH, his wife and their (now) 15 year old son. My paternal grandmother passed away in early 1986. Uncle L had passed away in the mid 90s. Both the girls have married and moved out.

Aunt L's older son JF, was left blind from a surgical procedure he had when he was very young. I don't know much more, no one will talk about it. He adored me when he was alive and I loved him. I was so pissed when I found out he had passed away "quite a long time ago" (early/mid-80s?) and no one thought it mattered enough to tell me. No one thought I would even remember my cousin JF, but he was the one I remembered the most. I remember that I loved being around him and everyone tells me that aside from my parents, the next person that I wanted to hang around was JF. So, for them to think that I wouldn't remember him was the biggest WuThuFu!!! ever.

I was about two when we left China, but when I went back, I could still point out the spot where he used to sit. He was blind but his other senses were incredible. The family says that he knew who was at the door by the way they knocked. And he would know where you came from by the feel of your hands.

He would save his White Rabbit candy every time he got one. White Rabbit candy is a dime a dozen now, but back then, to get one was a big deal. He'd put it in his pocket until the candies half melted sometimes for the right moment to sneak me one. For some reason, back then, Aunt L was insanely jealous of any contact her children had with my Dad, Mom or me and would get upset at whichever one of them talked to us or did anything with us. When I happened to walk over to his chair and Aunt L wasn't around, he'd slip a candy into my pocket and go, "shhhh". =)

I didn't quite grasp the concept of blindness at that age. I knew he "couldn't see", but I thought he just didn't want to open his eyes or something. I used to stick my foot under his feet when he was walking around, to the dismay and frustration of my parents. They didn't have the heart to be upset at JF because it truly wasn't his fault that he couldn't see the little meatball zooming around his feet. But as a parent, you can't help but be defensive when you think your baby is hurt.

And I don't remember it hurting me at all. My reasoning was, if he can't see me, then if he stepped on my foot, he'd feel it and know where I was.

Yeah. Not. Terribly. Bright. =}