In Korea, if a person was older than you, they become your 'sister' 'brother' 'aunt' or 'uncle'. I had also referred to my Foster parents as Mother and Father. With this said, I am sharing two memories. Two very different times in my life but yet what age is unclear. To go through your life unable to place your memories is like puzzle pieces that appear to have the same shade of color but do not come together to complete a picture.
I sat on the cool vinyl floor with my legs tucked beneath me. I could hardly keep my eyes open as I tried to focus on the television screen. I tried to tune into the game show host introducing his newest contestant but the voices from the room behind me became louder until I heard my sister crying out to my Father. I peaked pass my shoulder with slight interest but not enough to keep me away from my favorite show. I felt a tap on my shoulder but did not answer. "KyungMee."KyungMee." My Father then brushed his hand over my head speaking a little louder, "KyungMee!" I turned and smiled at him. "We need to go into town. Get up and come with me!" He looked down at me, as he spoke, waiting for me to respond. I could not understand why I was always chosen to go do the errands. I dragged myself up from the floor, headed for the entrance, and quickly put my shoes on. I was ready for our little adventure.
It seemed like a perfect day. I was happy to walk down these narrow stone pathways holding onto my Father's hand. I felt awake and full from his love that smiled down to me. As we walked down and around these paths, I sang to the sun, to the dogs, and to my Father. He found me to be very silly, but encouraged me to sing to him. I laughed and hugged his leg with my arms.
I released my embrace then ran ahead dancing and skipping to the music in my head.
We soon came to the Market where everyone gathered to see the display of fish, salts, and grains. There were rows and rows that stretched down on long tables. There were tables and sectionals that divided the displays and people who sat there eating their Lamein soups and fish. My Father grabbed my hand again to rush through the crowd. We quickly slipped between the tables and aisles until we entered a clearing. I turned my head looking back to the crowd. I glared at the men eating their Lamein. I looked up and then ran ahead to forget my hunger.
My Father had already collected many bags that he held in his hands. We were about to turn around to head for home when we came across another cart full of steamed snails, roasted corn, and juices. My eyes must have spoke out loud, for my Father stopped and and reached over to the cart to hand me a cone full of snails and a roasted corn. I happily skipped along with my Father, smiling with delight, as I pulled another kernel from the my roasted corn.
Hearing my name in the distance, I got up and dropped the vegetables down onto the bamboo mats. I rushed pass the house gates and up the little hill that sat behind our garden. As I ran up the pathway, their faces became clearer. The men stood before me, sweating, and dressed in grey covered overalls. I looked pass them into the dry fields. I could see nothing but dry dusty dirt. The dogs ran up and down the field chasing the dust that swirled around their bodies. I stood there sweating and waiting for them to say something.
My Father placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. " KyungMee." Please, go and fetch us some pop." I was happy to be at his service. I turned around and ran back as quickly as I could to our house. Holding the soda pops in my hands, I rushed back up to greet them with the cool bottles. They grabbed the bottles and twisted the caps and began to drink all in unison. I stood there smiling as I continued to stare up at them. They had finished everything. Just empty bottles. "KyungMee, take them now and hurry along!" I looked up at my Father as he spoke to me. I squinted my eyes to not look past him. I stood there kicking the dirt, looking up at him then away. My eyes continued to wander off his face, in search for our dogs. "Rush along." He repeated. I did not want to go back to the garden. I wanted to stay longer with my Father. Seeing that I was not moving, he told me to go tell my Sisters to give me a soda pop. I became so excited I forgot immediately how I wanted to stay and ran down the hill, smiling, calling out, "Awn ni! Awn ni!" " Sister!" "Sister!".
5 years ago