[Feel the drive, 976 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
As a boy, Yen had been teased his entire life. It was a curse of birth, the stars had aligned themselves a certain way, according to the Chinese calendar, and through disposition of the localised area, he was brought up in, all the components that made up his life came to coincide with one another and in some sort of perfect synchronicity, things aligned themselves to form Yen’s life path.
The reason why Yen had found himself teased from childhood throughout his adolescence was, in the Chinese calendar, he was born in the year of the pig. He was the only child born in his local village in the year of the pig. And so when he went to school in his local village, all of the younger and older children would tease him by placing their fingers on their nose and making a snout of their own noses and torment him by repeatedly saying, “Piggy, piggy, piggy.”
As a child, Yen had a bit of weight to him. He was hardly considered obese, ‘chubby’, was the best word for it. This only further enhanced the fact that Yen was teased by all the other children. He was teased by other students, both older and younger than him. He was the only child born in the local village that was born in the year of the pig and because the village held on to local superstitions, the teasing was relentless.
The only other child born in a singular year was Ji. Ji was the worst in his relentless teasing of Yen. But Ji was born in the year of the dragon. And everybody in the local village respected the dragon. Ji was seven years older than Yen and even though they shared the common aspect of being singular in their zodiac signs in the local village, Ji was the one who led all the other children to tease Yen.
Everything that Yen believed to be his, was given to Ji. All the girls loved Ji and whenever Ji was around all of the girls would swoon over him. Whereas whenever Yen approached one of the girls, asking them for anything, they would all say, “Go away Piggy.” All the children wanted to be like Ji. Ji who was the luckiest child, Ji who was the fiercest competitor in every sport. Ji; who was everybody’s best friend. Ji; who had everything that he could want in the world. While all the other children played, Yen would be forced to sit outside of everything and watch.
Yen wanted to change the stars. Yen wanted to be born in the year of the dragon, but no matter how much he wished to change the stars, the stars would not change. So Yen had a lot of time on his hands. And in his spare time he studied. He studied business and law. While all the other children played and converged, Yen was left to his own time. And in his own time, he studied hard and grew in knowledge and discipline.
When the time came that the children graduated from school and they had become men and women. Most of them decided to stay within the village. All of them, except for Yen. Somewhere deep down, Yen knew that he was meant for bigger and greater things. He travelled to the city and through reading all of his books in business and law, gained a scholarship in business law at one of the top universities. This time things would be different. Nobody knew him at the university and so if someone asked, he would say that he was born in the year of the dragon. In the future, he would be known as the dragon and he would no longer be teased and bullied by all of the other people.
Twenty years had passed. Yen had graduated from university and had been nicknamed by all of his colleagues as, ‘the dragon’. He was fierce in knowledge and made wise business decisions in practice. He had found a woman, they had married and had a child. Yen was practical and wise with his finances, he did not spend frivolously and looked after his family well.
His wife and child were proud of their ‘dragon’ and his wife would call Yen, behind closed doors, ‘her fierce beast’.
As time grew Yen worried that he would be discovered for the pig that he was. Then one day, while they were having a coffee on a holiday. They ran into an old acquaintance of Yen’s from the past. Ji. Ji was there, dressed in rags. The dragon had fallen low. He was begging for money.
Ji pointed at Yen, “I know you. Give me money.”
“You must be mistaken, sir.” Yen responded.
“No, I do know you. You. Piggy, piggy, piggy!” Ji taunted him.
Yen’s wife asked, “What is he talking about?”
“Nothing, nothing.” Yen responded.
“Give your money to the dragon piggy!” Ji ordered of Yen.
Then that is when it all happened. Yen’s past caught up with him and the lie that he had been telling to everyone that he was born in the year of the dragon was a lie. Yen’s wife was in shock. Ji began to laugh. That is when Yen’s wife, born in the year of the tiger, rose up and started yelling at Ji, “Go away you bum! He may be a pig, but the pig provides for his family and you, you are a beggar. If you’re a dragon and he’s a pig, I would happily have a pig rather than a dragon for a husband in any life!” Yen’s wife yelled at Ji and Ji shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
It was the first time in his life that Yen was accepted for the person that he was. And he was at peace.