there will be blood.

my grandma's sister celebrated her 81st birthday on saturday. she looks in better shape than i am. clear-headed, too. the shindig went down at some thai restaurant in roseville. uncle hennessey drove me, sam, and byron. on the way, i asked, semi-rhetorically, "they have a lot of tragedy on that side, huh?" "yeah," hennessey said, talking about how jojo's car wrapped around a pole in the late seventies. they blamed my dad for his wrecklessness. it was a street-racing fiasco down on watt, or maybe it was arden. no one really knows. my dad tries to block it out.

but even earlier than that, during world war II, auntie mae, my grandma's sister, lost one of her babies during some "underground escape from the japanese army." i don't know how accurate the story is. apparently, the child suffocated.

later, another loss. i didn't get the details.

and just recently, auntie mae's daughter, bing, found out her son committed suicide in l.a. apparently it was over a girl that had abandoned him. and he, having been abandoned earlier in life by his dad and bing, most likely saw he had no other choice. he went out the same way his grandfather did, "russian roulette-style," my aunt anne recounted.

despite all the tragedy, they seem like a normal functioning family. auntie mae has kids who work, make money, climb the ladder. something to be proud of. neh-neh approached me, asking the same old, dry bullshit. "what are you doing now?" followed by, "if you want to get into real estate, give me a call. we'll talk."

no-noy, the gay son, kept cutting up lichon (roasted pig) and serving it to everyone. i stared at a small plate of it and didn't touch it. not because it was served by a gay man, but because i could see half the pig, head and all, sitting in his little cardboard coffin. lichon always brings me down.

they sang "happy birthday" with deep filipino accents, then served ice cream cake.

as byron and i were leaving, some of my aunts stopped us. "james, they're saying they can't believe you're 24! they said you look like you're still 16!" i think it's because i don't talk. i don't put things on credit. i don't make small chit chat about the best route to take to work. i don't smoke or drink. i won't listen to music unless it can evoke some sort of physical or emotional reaction. i don't smile unless i'm genuinely happy. i don't smile just to make other people feel more at ease. i don't feel at ease. maybe that's where the 16 year old vibes come from.

i really don't get family. i always get invited to these family gatherings, but i never truly feel like i belong there.

today was another prime example. lola ampy's and uncle junior's 80th birthdays. (why the hell is everyone turning 80 this weekend?) all my cousins are working professionals. i majored in english. go figure. i just don't want that bigger house, that faster car, or even to talk about what it is i'm going to do.

for once, i'd just like a relative of mine to say, "james, it's weird that we're related, but i spend more of my time watching t.v. than i do getting to know you as an individual." i think that would give me more incentive to go to the next gathering, than say, a steaming pile of lichon.

1 comment:

ultrafknbd said...

Needless to say that I avoid those shindigs - mostly, because I can't afford the gas to get there...or mostly, because I don't share much in common: faith and capitalism. But if the game's on and they have cable...well, we'll see.