Friday, June 15, 2007

He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself.

Kina is sarcastic and quick to pick up on things, but she is also easily bored. She gets irritated when the simple answer she devises is insufficient. For example, we were at dinner without Rui and Caitlin wanted some soy sauce. Despite what you may think, soy sauce is not just sitting on the table like salt and pepper in China. Far from it. When I didn’t know the Mandarin for “soy sauce”, Andrea noted that she didn’t even have the words to describe it (neither did I). Kina chimed in. “Duh. It’s BLACK.”

Thanks, kid. Because no other sauce in the world is black. I’m sure they’ll understand.:-)

Caitlin acts like her mother a great deal, often to the consternation of her parents. She likes to boss Kina and Victor—really, just Victor—around. She speaks much more loudly than is necessary, given the size of the room and the closeness of the listener. She likes to chime in when she knows the answer, often before a question is asked. That said, she is the same little girl I fell in love with five years ago, just a little bigger.

Victor is a little slow, but very observant. His slowness may be in large part attributable to his difficulty with the language; a function of his time in the orphanage, his adoption, and the City School’s inadequate treatment of him. He cannot stop moving; I often have to grab him around the shoulders to keep him from wiggling or wandering into someone. He is also sweet and loving, and begins most sentences, whether declarative or inquisitive, with “Okay. But I have a question.”

I mention all this, these factoids about the children that I love, because right now I want to eviscerate Caitlin and Kina in the worst possible way. They are so mean to their brother. Savagely mean. Unbearably mean. It tears at what’s left of my soul.

An example: on a vehicle ride at some point so far, Kina, Caitlin and I developed an “electric handshake”. I hold Kina’s hand and Caitlin’s hand, then when they hold each other’s hands, we all shake and make a noise like we’ve been shocked. Well, in the elevator on the way back from playing some games in the “game room” (read: billiard hall), I grabbed Kina’s and Victor’s hands. Kina asked what I was doing. I told her and Victor to take Caitlin’s hands, to make a four person electric handshake. Kina immediately dropped my hand, and Caitlin crossed her arms. “We’re not doing that with Victor,” Kina said.

I have two types of mad. One of them is the fly-off-the-handle, shout-and-jump, hafling-barbarian rage. It is terrifying (and sometimes comic) to behold. In it, I would drink the blood of my enemies out of their recently severed heads. This type of mad, however, pales in comparison to the steely cold, I-will-make-you-obey, power-is-my-boot-on-your-neck-forever mad. If I get this type of mad at you, go dig your grave. Now.

That is the type of mad I got at those girls.

I lowered myself to eye level, and with the wrathful, quiet voice of a vengeful diety, said:

“Look at me. You will never exclude Victor. Ever. He is your brother. Do you understand me?”

They wilted in my gaze. They did not respond.

“Do. You. Understand. Me?”

They nodded.

Later Andrea informed me that they walked straight into her room and began to sob. They hated their brother, because hating me was inconvenient. Victor had come between us. If only he could go away.

Once a speaker came to my university, the guy they based “Remember the Titans” on. He talked about integrating the football program in Alexandria, Virginia, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I remember only one thing that he said:

“You can’t legislate love. Ask your Senator! No, for love, you gotta have a dictator.”

And so my first impulse is not to let it slide, as Andrea suggested. She thinks the best answer is not for me to keep forcing the girls to include Victor, since that will only further alienate them. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, but I think it’s something like maintaining a friendship with two sides of a divorce.

My first impulse harkens back to the history of the land of my adventure. To call upon those that united this land into one nation. Do you know the writings of Xiang Yu? That is my first impulse.

I love those girls. And I hate them. I hate them because I love them, and they are so mean to Victor. I hate them because I love them, and they act as I know I would to a slower, unwanted sibling. I hate them because I love them, and they bring out my will to dominate, to force obedience to a reign of kindness. And I hate them because I love them, and they bring out that which I hate in myself. Because I know the writings of Xiang Yu.

I could have written them.

What does one do with such feelings? That I do not know. But my first impulse, that will not avail me. That I know.


Liana said...

Sigh. *Obviously* you had a much more amicable relation with your sister, Jared. I tormented mine, sometimes in conjunction with our cousin. Once, I teased her mercilessly to the point where she pulled a knife on me and hid under the table. I bullied her about wearing her bicycle helmet, I made her watch TV while holding a towel around her and the screen so it wouldn't bother me (we lived on a boat at the time, see), and later, I abandoned her to fend by herself in dowtown Washington, DC one afternoon when she was 14 (she did make it back to our motel in East Falls Church okay, but our aunt, who brought us there, was NOT pleased).

Anyway, not saying that I think the girls are justified, only that I've been there and done that and forcing interaction (yes, people tried that with us, too) probably won't make anyone change their minds.

Digger said...

Funny the things you pick up on a trip. Like a lesson from your "Dutch Uncle". Your genuine disgust for their behaviour shamed them. This is a good use of shame, Jared. You've given them something to think about and perhaps more importantly, you let Victor know that he is so precious to you that you would rebuke his sisters - whom you hold so dear.

Champions are a good thing to have in your knapsack. Handy that you were around.

Also -- I never saw you exclude julie..quite the opposite. If she was excluded you'd tell the others to take their gi joes and hit the dusty trail...which was the genesis of the role of gi jane in the war under the box elder tree.