The letter A

  Christie Brown (1932-1981), Irish writer, painter and poet. He suffers from congenital cerebral palsy, unable to control speech and body movements, only his left foot can use it freely. His mother always supported him and taught him to write with his left foot. Later he also learned to paint with his left foot and even type. In 1954 he published his autobiography “My Left Foot”. Died in 1981. For more than half a century, “My Left Foot”, like “If You Give Me Three Days of Light” and “Education of Love”, has become an inspirational classic that touches and inspires thousands of people in the world who are fighting against fate.

  On June 5, 1932, I was born in Lutanda Hospital. There were 9 children born before me and 12 children behind. I belonged to the middle group. Of these 22 children, 17 survived, and 4 of them died in their infancy, leaving 13 of us to support the family.
  When my mother gave birth to me, it was difficult to give birth, which I learned later. Our mother and son almost died.
  After I was born, my mother was sent for several weeks of rehabilitation. When I was not accompanied by my mother, I was left in the hospital. At that time, I had no name because I had not been baptized. I was not taken to church until my mother recovered.
  It was my mother who first realized what was wrong with me. It was when I was 4 months old and my mother found that whenever she tried to feed me food, my head would fall backward. She put her hand behind my head and stabilized her head, hoping to correct me. However, once her hand is removed, my head will fall over again. That was the earliest warning signal. Later, as I grew up, my mother discovered some other symptoms: she often saw my hands clenched behind her back; my mouth could not hold the nipple of the baby bottle, even when I was so young, I would The mouth was closed tightly, so that the mother could not separate them, and sometimes suddenly loosened weakly, and the whole mouth slanted to one side.
  The doctor believed that I had some strange disease and there was no hope of cure. Many doctors carefully tell my mother that I am suffering from some kind of brain dysfunction, and it will be so for a long time. For a young mother who has raised five healthy children, this is a heavy blow. The doctors insisted that my mother should not have ridiculous confidence in me. They tried to convince her that they could do nothing about my situation.
  My mother found out that the doctor didn’t give her any help. Apart from telling her not to hope for me, they just told her to forget that I was a living life, but just as a little thing that needs to be fed, cleaned, and then thrown aside. . At this time, the mother immediately decided to deal with all this on her own. I am her child and part of this family. No matter how dull I am, no matter how disabled I grow up, my mother is determined to treat me like other children. She didn’t want me to be the “strange kid” hidden in the back room, or the one who always kept secret when visitors came.
  Four years passed in a flash. I was 5 years old, but I still live like a newborn and cannot take care of myself. My father went out to build a house, earning us bread and butter; my mother, bit by bit, patiently tore down the wall that seemed to lie between me and the other children. She slowly and patiently crossed the thick curtain hanging in my head. This is a difficult job that often makes my mother sad, because the feedback she gets from me is often just an ambiguous smile or a vague chuckle. I can’t speak, not even a grunt. I can’t get up on my own, let alone walk. But I am not completely immobile. In addition to sleeping, I always seem to be making various movements, exaggerated, difficult, and snake-like movements. My fingers kept twisting or cramping, my arm twisted back and then suddenly bounced. My head fell to one side. I am such a strange, sick little thing.
  There is no evidence of my intelligence. I showed no obvious interest in everything except my toes-especially the toes of my left foot.
  However, suddenly, a miracle happened! Everything changed in an instant, my future life has a clear outline, my mother’s belief in me has been rewarded, and her unspeakable fear has become a victory that can be declared loudly.
  It was a gloomy December afternoon. In the room, family members gathered by the fireplace, warm light shining on the small room, and huge shadows of the fire dancing on the walls and ceiling.
  In the corner of the room, Mona and Patty leaned together, and in front of them were some elementary school textbooks. They wrote simple arithmetic on a slate with a bright yellow chalk. I leaned against the wall next to them, supported my body with a few pillows, and looked at them.
  That piece of chalk attracted my attention especially, its slender one, shining bright yellow color. I had never seen anything like this before. It was so eye-catching against the black of the slate, and I was instantly attracted, as if it were a piece of gold.
  Suddenly I desperately desire to be like my sister. Then, without realizing what I was doing, I grabbed the piece of chalk from my sister without hesitation—with my left foot.
  I don’t know why I did this with my left foot. This is a mystery to many people, including myself. Because, although I showed interest in my toes at a very young age, I had never used any of my feet in any form before. For a long time, my feet are as useless as my hands. And that day, my left foot, obviously entirely by its own will, stretched out and rudely snatched the piece of chalk from my sister.
  I clamped the piece of chalk tightly with my toes, and then suddenly drew a stroke on the slate. But then I stopped, a little dazed and surprised. I looked at the yellow chalk between my toes. I didn’t know what to do with it next, or how it got to my feet. Then I looked up and found that everyone stopped talking and looked at me in silence.
  Mother walked out of the kitchen with a steamer in her hand. She stopped between the table and the fireplace, feeling the tension in the room. Following everyone’s eyes, my mother saw me in the corner. Her gaze fell from my face to my feet with chalk. Mother put down the pot.
  Then she walked up to me and squatted down beside me, as she had done many times.
  ”I’ll tell you how to use it, Christie.” She said. As if from some kind of excitement in my heart, a strange red luster flashed slowly and intermittently on the mother’s face.
  Taking another piece of chalk from Mona, my mother first hesitated, and then very seriously, wrote the letter A on the floor in front of me.
  ”You write one,” my mother looked at me calmly and said, “you write one, Christie.”
  I didn’t move.
  I looked around and looked at the faces looking at me. Those nervous and excited faces seemed to be still and stagnant at that moment, eagerly looking forward to a miracle.
  Silence shrouded. My eyes were full of flames and shadows in the room, and my tense nerves entered a state of half-dream and half-awake. I heard the dripping sound of the kitchen faucet, the ticking of the clock above the mantelpiece, the crackling and hissing of burning wood at the bottom of the stove.
  I tried it again. I stretched out my foot and jabbed a stroke with chalk, but I only drew some crooked lines, they were nothing. Mother helped me stabilize the slate.
  ”Do it again, Christie,” she whispered in my ear, “do it again.”
  I did. I straightened up and stretched out my left foot again, a third time. I drew one side of the letter, and halfway through the other side, the chalk broke, leaving only a small section. I want to give up and throw away the chalk. But I felt my mother’s hand on my shoulder. I tried again and stretched out my foot. I was trembling, sweat dripping down, and every muscle was tight. My hands are so tight that my nails are embedded in the flesh. The teeth are too hard, almost biting into the lower lip. Everything in the room seemed to be spinning before my eyes, and the faces beside me turned white. But—I wrote it out—that letter A. It appeared on the floor in front of me. The diagonal lines on both sides are crooked, and the horizontal line in the middle is also crooked. But it is indeed a letter A. I raised my head and looked at my mother with tears on her face. Father bent down and lifted me up on his shoulders.
  I did it! This is a new beginning, I can try to express my thoughts. Although I can’t speak, I can now express it in a more permanent way than speaking-in words.
  That letter, the crooked letter I wrote with the yellow chalk head between my toes, opened up a new world for me, and it was a key to my spiritual freedom. It brings a certain relief to the little thing that is eager to express and whose tongue is knotted and tense all day long.