By John Ulutas
It was an early morning in Philippines. I woke up in the hot heat to the sound of the chickens, 7:00 AM like it was clock work. I get up from my bed and I walk into the kitchen, flagrant with smells like always. My mom greets me and hands me a plate of rice and stew. I sit down and slurp away, when I finished I pick up my plates and carry them to the sink to wash. As I’m washing my little brother comes to me and says that’s it’s time for training with the others. I hurry to finish washing and I jog out to the front courtyard.
The courtyard was a square big enough to fit a party, with 4 low rise walls and a rough cement floor. Surrounding the courtyard were palm trees and tall soft grass. I take a deep breath, the moist air in my nose and step into the courtyard. My two brothers are already training so I hurry to pick up my weapons. 2 sticks, each a meter long. I bow to my sensei and we start practicing, smashing our sticks together in a patterned fashion, from one movement to another until I’m drenched in sweat. Then I started training with my older brother and we go at it, but today he seemed off, he had a look in his eyes I didn’t recognize. Throughout our practice I kept pointing out to my brother how he was doing it wrong, and he simply refused it and continued. With every time I corrected him, the stronger his strikes became. For some reason the frustration in me rose and made me match the strength of my brother.
My mother was taking pictures of us with so much pride in her heart that she is too blind to see the battle between my brother and me. As the fight went on we gritted our teeth harder and harder. We moved like lightning striked our sticks so hard that they sounded like thunder, and like a movie we dropped our sticks and fought. We were broken up by our father who split us and sent us to different corners of the house. Tears streaked down my face, I was crying with anger. I went back to my room and slept, I was done for the day. Since that day my brother and I haven’t talked like brothers, in my eyes he reverted back to some stranger I didn’t know.
I wish I said sorry and made up. We didn’t talk for years, but at least now we are on our way to repairing our relationship. It’s getting better.