PrologueCluck! Cluck! Cluck! The rooster’s call woke me up from my bed. I rushed down from my wooden house on stilts to the fields. I gazed around all I could see was rice fields, rice fields and rice fields. Not to mention the muddy road that led to the big city. I lived 2 miles from my school. But lucky enough we could afford a motorbike so my Grandma would take me there. It was still dark, but almost dawn. “Thong, can you feed the cows and the chicken?” Grandma shouted from the window upstairs. I went to find the rice and threw them into the chicken’s shelter. It was a small dome made from wood sticks. I have always wondered what it felt to be a chicken living inside the cozy dome, to have a room of your own. Oh it looks like I’ve forgotten to introduce myself! My name is Thong, which is short for Thongthamson Levaprachachuen. It’s a real mystery why we have such long names. Well each name has a meaning mine means a Spiritual man. I live with my grandma in the rural areas of Ayuthaya Province where there are many temples. My parents work and live in the the Ayuthaya city where it is less rural. My sister is in Bangkok, she writes letters to us describing how life is much easier there, she’s learning in one of the top medical universities in the city to become a doctor.Anyways back to the story. I hopped on to the motorbike with my Grandma and drove to the water-market.A water market is where vendors sell groceries on boats. There’s one in the city too. Mom brought me there once, but it’s much busier there. We bought some groceries, rushed back home at the speed of light and made some food. We made a lot, enough to feed 5 people despite only two of us living together. Well, the other portions we would give to the monks. “There they are!” Grandma exclaimed when she saw the monks walking up to our house. We put our hands together and bowed to show respect. The monks walked barefoot with their small food pots in their hands. They chanted a blessing and walked back to the temple. Grandma and I often go to the temple. We chant, make merit and pay our respects. The temple is the center of the community. The Talk”We need to talk.” Grandma said one evening. I recalled everything I had done since birth and didn’t find a reason for a ‘talk’. Was she sick? Or did I do something wrong? All these questions came into my mind. My heart thumped, thumped and thumped. I was nervous. I’ve seen in movies that when someone says that, they mean serious talk. Or do I watch to much TV?”My dear, I am getting older everyday. I don’t know when I am going to go to the fields for the last time.””Ummm.” I hesitated.”I believe you should head towards for a better future than continuing our family tradition of farming just like your sister. I want you to go to city and live with her.” “Are you coming with me?””I am afraid not. Look, I am 70 years old now. You don’t need me that much anymore. You’re very mature unlike others, I think you can do it.” A tear fell from her eyes, then flowed a stream, rolling down from our cheeks. I could taste the salty feel on my tongue. We sat there crying teardrop after teardrop. I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilt imagining leaving Granny living on her own.v”But… But..” I couldn’t help but stammer, “I don’t know what it’s like out there in the city! I don’t even have a phone!” “I know a man.” Grandma replied.”What do you mean?””Well, my half-brother’s in Bangkok, he’s a monk, in fact he’s one of the monks at one of Bangkok’s largest temples; Wat Pho. So you can ask him for help! I’ll give write him a note. Don’t worry, everyone knows where Wat Pho is.” added Grandma.


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