Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fight, Lohbado memoir episode 5

rock hills, acrylic on paper

One day, when Lohbado was about five years old, his older brother Tony, who was eight, told him they were going to fight the enemy. There would be a little battle and Lohbado would have to fight.

They hiked through the bush and into the neighbour’s back yard where, sure enough, another five year old boy was waiting. Things appeared to have been worked out in advance. It was a strange setup. Lohbado didn’t understand what was going on. He’d never seen the boy before. The boy’s parents sat in lawn chairs and said Lohbado could fight their boy. The boy looked scared. Suddenly, Lohbado was face to face with a boy, in a ring of people who wanted Lohbado and the boy to fight. It felt like a dream. It felt so unreal, Lohbado had a moment of dissociation. He floated out of his body and was gazing down at the sheer absurdity of the scene.

The boy timidly approached. He heard people shouting that they should fight. Lohbado pushed the boy away. The boy seemed almost embarrassed, like he too didn’t want to fight. The boy fell down. He got up again and approached. Lohbado said he didn’t want to fight. He pushed the boy again and was surprised at how easily he fell down, but then understood that the boy also wanted the situation to end. Falling down would make it easier to end the fight. Lohbado felt shocked and alienated, like something had gone horrifically wrong with the universe. He intuitively understood something very disturbing about the human condition, something he wouldn’t fully comprehend until he became an adult. He started crying, even though it was shameful for a boy to cry, especially back in 1961. In crying, he violated a taboo. He was expected to throw a few punches. Of course, maybe it was all a cute little joke, which Lohbado was too young to understand. He was taking things way too seriously. No, it was serious. Later, he would be severely punished. Punishment was the way of God. It wasn’t a joke. One creates an enemy to hunt down and punish.

Everyone immediately became concerned and asked Lohbado if he’d been hurt. Lohbado couldn’t understand why they asked him if he’d been hurt, since the boy hadn’t even touched him. Finally the adults understood that Lohbado really didn’t want to fight the boy. He didn’t want to fight anyone. He never wanted to ever fight at any time throughout the duration of his life. He didn’t understand why anyone would have or desire to have enemies.

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