“Fly & Fly Away” and “Oh Canada!” by Ricky Tsang

about the author:

Ricky Tsang was a pillar in our Duchenne community for years. From his website DearRicky.com to his Facebook group We Are Dystrophin, to his first book, Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain, Ricky’s priority was helping and advocating for our community – well, that and romancing women.

Shortly before passing in 2016, Ricky shared the manuscript of his second book with me. It was never published, but now we would like to share it with our Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy community.

Fly & Fly Away
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 2, Part 1—

The tears continued falling as they exchanged their final farewells. I never realized how much my parents, especially Mom, had to sacrifice until I was older. I was just thrilled to go on another plane ride, with more strangers to annoy. 

My sister and I were always the social junkies, talking to whomever, whenever possible. Our amiable encounters allowed us the opportunity to meet our long-time friends, Cyril and Cindy. We became close through the years, and Uncle Cyril was the coolest adult friend I had the privilege of knowing. He, unfortunately, passed away at a very young age. His daughter, Sally, looks so much like him. 

Did I mention how I fell in love with the pretty stewardess? I suppose no one should be surprised, considering my romantic history, but on that timeless night between fluffy gray clouds, I was given a small glimpse into a woman’s heart. It was during the end of the flight that I became thirsty, and when I asked for juice, there was none. She was sympathetic towards me and offered lime Jell-O, which sounds rather disgusting, but it was the effort that counted!

By the time of our arrival, I was already half asleep. In those moments of squinty eyes and drooling lips, Dad and Uncle Cyril wrapped me in a winter coat and I was carried outside. There were tiny snowflakes falling upon and tickling my little big head as I was drifting away into dreamland once more. 

Oh Canada!
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 2, Part 2—

When I awoke we were greeted by my grandparents and aunts at their home. We were violently introduced to Aunt Deborah’s fine line between cooking and baking. She made soy sauce cookies as a welcoming “gift” that no one dared to ingest. Laughter filled the kitchen as she continued tormenting the oven with batches of fermented bean liquid and flour. 

Unlike our apartment complex, their townhouse was more than twice as big. I had a fascinating time getting piggyback rides upstairs and downstairs and into the basement. They had more than a couple of television stations, which helped a great deal to improve my English skills. I owe much of them to reruns of The Huckleberry Hound Show and The Yogi Bear Show. Uncle Louis laughed at me for being afraid of stepping on the grass. In Hong Kong, doing so was illegal because there was so little. 

Soon after, we needed a vehicle, especially for the upcoming winter. Aunt Clara, who only dares to make right turns, finally conjured the courage to buy her own. We had many great memories in our Chrysler K-Car… I wonder if the bubblegum I stuck in the ashtray is still there. I loved the scorching heat in that ugly red shoebox.

Eventually, I started attending Chartland Junior Public School, and the most important phrase that I kept practicing was “Teacher, toilet!” With the new power of a foreign language in mind, my visit to the restroom was rather interesting. It provided an encounter with a strange little boy. Standing in front of the urinal with my tiny butt exposed, I heard his cheeky voice from behind, asking what it was. By the time I answered that it was my “pet”, we were both scratching our heads because apparently, the Cantonese slang word for “butt cheeks” wasn’t the same. 

And I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you I had a bit of a dilemma with women. There was only one other Chinese student in the class and it just so happened that she was a girl. She was a familiar face that I familiarized myself with quite well because I always squeezed her during story time. In fact, I got in trouble for being the first hugging predator. I knew in my heart that it was a sign to go with the times and embrace the beauty of diversity. It was how I met Janine. 

At six years old, the weakness in my legs started to have a great effect. I had a difficult time getting to my feet after sitting on the carpet. It looked awkward because in the position of a quadruped. I’d use my hands to push myself upright. I couldn’t comprehend why such a seemingly easy task would take so much effort but put it out of my mind because there wasn’t an option. 

On another restroom adventure, I slipped and fell in the corner. The wet floor made it impossible to get up, so I prayed, asking Jesus to save me. Seconds later, two of my fellow classmates opened the door and there wasn’t a doubt that the finger of God was at hand because the bell had already rang. I shared my story at church. 

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