Posted on 2012-11-01 06:11:13

Big Thirty

When I was in grade 2, 8 years old, perrenially dirty and greasy, we always played games. In the parking lot, whether it be touch-taya (tag) or raber-pulis (cops and robbers), I would always give it a full measure of love and devotion.

On this particular day, we were playing touch-taya. It was after school. We were in the parking lot. I was maneuvering my way between cars just so nobody could get to me.

I prided myself in having the fastest pair of legs amongst kids my age so I did anything and everything to prevent getting caught. But the labyrinth of cars eventually ended. I was suddenly out in the open, in a place particularly susceptible to getting caught. I had to move so I ran into a field right next to the parking lot.

That field was bad! It was a small patch of forgotten real estate with grass and weeds left to grow untended. There were construction materials hidden here and there, which made it even more dangerous, plus there were non-biodegradable leftovers of countless meals left to bake under the Sun.

It was a no man's land. There were vines that crisscrossed the upward direction of grass, making it impossible to get anywhere walking or running without tripping.

This didn't stop me. Knowing no one would dare follow, I ran in. And within 20 paces, my foot got entangled. I started falling forwards. The only way for me to regain balance was to plant my left foot in front of me, but because it was stuck I fell on my left knee instead.

I stood up to inspect my patella. There was a deep gash, an almost exact replica of Kenshin Himura's first slash when he killed his first wife's lover. But my cut had more blood or so it seems.

I had a view of raw flesh. And I must say, raw flesh looked better on sashimi plates than on my dirtied knee. As blood trickled down my 8 year old knee, so did tears trickle down my face.

The school bus brought me to the hospital. The nurses asked me what happened and I told them I fell on a sharp rock that cut through my knee's flesh (I wanted to add "obviously", but I hadn't developed sarcasm then yet). They sewed me up with 13 stitches.

The next day, I felt fine. But that afternoon, there was a stiffening felt in my knee joint. The next day, it wouldn't bend at all!

When my dad saw me, he got angry. He was particularly irritated with people who pretended to be handicapped. A flesh wound that was fine one day was definitely no reason to stop walking the next day. The only time I remembered ever angering my dad really bad was when he asked me to walk and I limped on one leg instead.

My mom brought me to a therapist who bent my knee forcedly and had me walking again the next day. I wish the story could end here.

Later that year, my sister and I were playing tug-of-war, with a chair instead of a rope. Somehow, the chair hit my left knee at exactly an inch above my scar. From there emerged this towering bump.

My mom applied some ointment, but the bump stayed put. Stubborn bump! We gave it a few weeks to disappear, but it wouldn't. So we saw a doctor. The doctor told us to try applying hot compress. But the bump was solid as a rock. The doctor punctured a hole on it, converting the mountain into a volcano spewing puss.

We tried everything and the X-rays showed nothing. Finally, my mom asked the doctor to operate on my knee to see what's inside.

They found a tiny piece of glass that was green in color. When I thought I fell on a sharp rock, it was actually a shard of glass. X-rays couldn't help because glass is radiolucent.

Fast forward this year. Two decades later. I was on my bed scratching my left knee. I felt something sharp and hard. Sharp and hard... I often wondered what it would be like if we discovered more glass shards left in my knee, but thought it would be impossible.

But then this thing sharp and hard felt like it came from somewhere deep in my skin. So I took my phone recorded this video.

When I graduated from High School, our class advisor wanted us have a celebration with our parents. He made our parents go in front of everyone to say an anecdote or two about their graduating child. Between my parents, my dad went first, but it didn't matter because my dad thought of the same thing my mom wanted to talk about.

They felt bad forcing me to walk thinking I was acting when really--I had a very solid reason why I should only limp. I had kryptonite in my knee.

My parents were not perfect. Obviously. But neither am I. What this part of my life means to me is how important it was for my parents that I grew up tough, and even sometimes to a fault.

This lesson is very important to me because I know, I'm not particularly smart, nor am I particularly talented. To reach my goals and my dreams, it'll take me longer than others with better talents. But my family did not raise me up to feel sorry for myself. So as true as I am the son of my parents, I will never give up, I will never stop working hard, I would always give a full measure of love and devotion, even when it hurts, and sometimes especially when it hurts.

Mom and Dad, I love you!

mom and dad

Yes, this probably has nothing to do with my birthday. But I miss my mom and dad, and it's my birthday so I get to pick what I want to talk about. And today I want to talk about my mom and dad. Thanks for reading!