It was mid-day. Yes, I tell myself I do know this. I peered through my very own rectangular window to see the sun sitting up high over the sky. It was the third seat in from the front of the old bus. This was where I sat, waiting like everyone else there to reach our very own destination. I do not remember who had sat next to me nor who had put me on that bus. Perhaps, it was my eldest sister or my foster mother. I can see her sitting one row in front of me talking to the driver. I see her hair sitting just above her shoulders, curled upwards and waving in the little breeze that slipped through the open windows. She does not turn around. Like a dream, I revisit this memory to see her face hoping that this time it would all become clear. Then I realize, this memory did not survive in my thoughts to see the face behind the image nor to know my destination. It was there to remember what I had experience during that bus ride in Seoul.
The ride felt forever to me. It was hot and over crowded. I sat there on the very edge of my seat anticipating for our stop to arrive. I looked out and around the bus catching the faces and expressions of the people around me. Some smiled back and I looked away as quickly as possible. I repeated this as if a game until boredom came back around again. Not knowing what to do next, I decided to look back out the window . My stomach began to rumble so I glanced up to see if she had noticed. I hunched back down into my seat frowning to show my impatience.
It was then, across from me, one seat up, I saw a man sitting alone and staring right at me. At first, I was scared but found myself staring back at him. He was an older man. He could be my harabulgi (할아버지). He looked at me with tired eyes, grey hair, and torn clothes. He sat there, leaning into the aisle with his elbows resting on his legs. I looked past him to see all his bags that sat next to him bulging out from the clothes and papers he had in them. My eyes went from the bags to his hands. In his hands, he held a sweet sesame candy still wrapped in it's foil.
He sat there twisting the ends of the foil with his fingers acknowledging the fact that I was fixed on his candy. I stared into the sesame candy, studying it, knowing how good and sweet it would be in my very own tummy. My eyes followed it up and down as he moved his hands as if to tease me. I did not smile at him. I rather stared at him very intently as if I was telling him with my eyes that I clearly wanted his candy. He lifted his head slightly and smiled even though he did not receive one in return. He took the sesame candy into one hand and lifted his arm as if to put it away into his pocket, but then, to my surprise, he leaned over and handed me the candy. A smile appeared across my face as I grabbed the candy from his hand. He smiled again and turned to look out his window. Feeling so happy, I held the sesame candy in my hands and stared at the seeds that was held together by it's taffy. I placed it under my nose to smell the sweet flavor. I took the candy and pressed it between my fingers to feel the bumps from the sesames. Feeling very pleased, I quickly opened the wrapper to eat it.
5 years ago