| If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all. It was a saying that meant to bring hope to the less fortunate. Jii-san, my caretaker and father-figure for the last ten years, would tell me that when all hope would be lost. When the trading between the big cities and the riverside villages halted, he told me that. When I would reminisce of my biological father, the man who I have repressed so much hatred for since the start of my coming of age, Jii-san reminded me. When I fondly thought of my mother and was curious about my dead sister, he patted me on the back and said it just like that.|
You see, Jii-san was an elderly gentleman who went from rags to riches. He said he was a traveling merchant, but in a couple years’ time I realized he was a conartist. He was a man who bargained for every pound of gold he earned, and he reckoned himself a genius. I’d say he was. He came to my small village just at the turn of the century, and just at the turn of a new era of kingship. He came at a time when my father was in a state of mourning after my mother and sister’s passing. At the mark of the new kingship, support to our village and those surrounding was halted. According to King DeMarcus, “In our economic crisis, we need to save every gold we have. With the currency at an all-time low, and threats to our kingdom’s sanctity underway, I am halting all further medical and economic support to the Riverside Villages, effective the first of winter months.” ‘the first of these winter months,’ as our-lord-praise-the-b*****d-DeMarcus stated was conveniently the time that my mother was due to birth my sister.
Doctors didn’t live in rural towns. They lived in bigger cities, where the gold flowed. But before this new kingship, doctors would come to us and provide care. All our villages had were shamans. My mother got sick. My sister got sick. The two died a few days after, and my father swung into full depression. He let the crops get eaten away by parasites. He let me go without food some days. Instead, he sat in the kitchen, weeping at the empty spot at the dinner table. He became reckless, and gambled away the money we had established over the years. That’s when a “traveling merchant” came into town. Jii-san was a nomad. He traveled from village to village, attempting to swindle people out of gold with some of the junk he found, and played up to be magnificent artifacts. When Jii-san stumbled upon our farm, he fell in love. He was a romantic at heart when it came to nature, so when he saw how the riverbed was nestled beyond our crops, and the dock at the foot of the bed, and how our cottage was surrounded by tall trees, he was determined to win over the land.
My gambling father gambled his prized farmland, along with me, and lost. I remember that day. I was ten years old and I cried my eyes out. Months prior I lost my mother and my baby sister. Now I lost my father, and it wasn’t through death. I would have rather lost him in honor, than the dishonor of being gambled away like cattle. I never saw him after he told me to “be a good boy for the merchant.” I never would see him after that day. He was shunned from our village and would never have been allowed to settle back peaceably. Although, Jii-san got more than he bargained for, it was against his moral code to allow a defenseless child to wander the streets aimlessly—he didn’t want me to live the life of a beggar child, so he adopted me as his own. All the neurotic, trauma-induced basket casedness baggage was his to bear witness to. He didn’t gamble and barter (as much), and he didn’t travel the world. He stayed put in this boring town, with his boring foster-son.
Here we were, ten years later. The crops were back, the farm was engaging in commerce between the Riverside Villages, and Jii-san was nowhere to be found. When I woke up that morning, the everyday routine was already disrupted. By sunrise, Jii-san was usually in the kitchen either trying to get his wits together, or cooking breakfast from freshly slaughtered livestock. He wasn’t. There wasn’t even a trace of him. “Jii-san,” I called out as soon as I entered the dining area of our cottage, “Jii-san, where are you?” There was silence, spare for blue jays resting on the windowsill. “Jii-san,” I tried again, tiptoeing into his bedroom to see if he was still asleep, “Jii-san?” No luck. “Huh, guess the old man ran away.” Maybe he was leaving me with the farm. I grew up on it, I knew the tricks and trades of bartering with other villagers, selling crops and meat to neighbors, and how to efficiently pick crops during harvesting season. Still, after all of our history, leaving with no goodbye? Low blow.
Before I tended to any of the crops, before I tended to any of the cattle, the pigs, or the cocks and hens, I decided to get a quick scope around the village. I wanted to make sure he didn’t decide to change his ten-year-routine on me before jumping to any conclusions of being left to the work on the farm. I put on a shirt, my grey-baggy workpants, and leathery brown boots, and walked outside towards my house. She was tied up to a stake right outside the cottage in the front-yard, “I didn’t leave you here, girl.” Veronia was a beautifully well-tempered horse that was adorned with brown fur. She had a dainty, yet impressive build, and was brought to the farm by Jii-san. He said she was his prized horse, so I’m assuming he won her through a bet, or one of his usual antics. Normally she wasn’t apprehensive, but when she saw me she backed away and snorted. Her hooves were restlessly pounding on the ground, and she eyed me wearily. “Hey, calm down, girl. Come here,” I went to fiddle with the leash attached to her harness, but she lurched back. Something definitely wasn’t right. As I watched her continue to shun my presence, and shoo me away by stamping at the ground, the hair stood up on the back of my neck.
Oh hot dayummm
this iz mah jayuuummm