Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Mother, My Sister, My 경숙

Scars, Tears, and Laughter

Where is my husband? Oh yes, he is sitting tall on the small couch, peeking over, and a little removed from all the tears and laughter that encircled this table. I look over my shoulder to see him, to be reassured. He smiles back to me and I know where I am again. I feel home. I can feel my hand is wrapped in warmth and is protected. I turn and see her. She is holding my hand as she speaks, she is telling a story. My eyes circled the room, the table, and back to my sister, KyungSook. I heard the words fill the room but could not understand her. I felt frustrated but it did not seem to matter. All I wanted and needed was to know we all were there, together.

Then she spoke to me. "KyungMee. Yes. Scars. Here. Yes." My heart filled with immediate wave of emotions. She began speaking, pointing to her body, and redirecting my attention to her words. "KyungMee, Sorry before. True. Yes. Scars". My eyes filled with joy and then tears as they watched my sister and brother nod their heads in remembrance and forgiveness. I looked over to see my husband but he had already come to my side. He sat, smiled, and replied back to me. "She wants to let you know she remembers. You are not crazy". All I could think about was that she gave truth to my memory. My mind began to race as the old familiar thoughts rushed in with their open end questions. I wondered, why did she tell the translator earlier that she had no scars, that she never had a child nor was married before. Yes, she must have been embarrassed, shamed perhaps. It didn't matter. Time had stopped that night. Twenty some years I had waited to hear the word,"Yes"! I would get my answers another day. For that moment, this was all I needed.

It is All Blood to Me.

The night was closing in and the narrow street ways lit up with lanterns that hung along the store windows as if to show the festivals had begun. For us, it was late and we needed to head home. My eyes searched through the crowd as I felt my brother pulling me forth towards home. I glanced quickly as the puppet shows came and passed. I smiled at the men who sat there eating their noodle soups. I wanted to stop and eat the Ramen soups but was reminded with a little jerk that we were late.

As we approached our house, my brother and sister picked up their pace and headed towards the doors. I looked up to see my brother frozen, staring his eyes into me. I was scared. What did I do? I was tired and could not keep up but now I am here...what did I do? My sister grabbed his arm, pushed him aside, and peeked into the room. I realized that I did not do anything wrong? Something was wrong inside. I heard my oldest sister's voice crying. I wanted to see but my brother would only push me back. My sister pulled me away from the house doors, crying, "KyungMee, don't come here." "Wait. No!" What was wrong! I began to cry out loud. I could hear my oldest brother now. He is yelling at her. There is noise coming from inside the room. I hear it hitting the wall then the floor. My brother is sitting at the door crying. My sister is hugging him. Frustrated and feeling confused, I ran around them to push the doors open. As the paper doors slid apart, my brother grabbed my side and pulled me to him. I saw it. It was red. Red was everywhere. Then I heard my sister again. She was hurt. I sat next to my brother and sister crying and holding them close. I was too afraid to look. I did not understand. All I knew was red.

Memory My Dream

Time and time again, my thoughts go back to this memory. They click by like snap shots of an old reoccurring dream. I managed to block them until I reached my early teens. Then, once more, I could not hold them back. Pictures, flashes of red, telling me to revisit that moment. Every time, I rewind my thoughts, I came to the same conclusion. This was the moment that led to our separation. It was the last time we were all together. I then wonder, who was in the room? Was it my brother? Was it my sister's new husband? My mind goes back to my sister. Although, I cannot see her face, they are very clear now. I see her scars. I am sure this is not a dream. I tell my Mother of my visions and she recalls some old stories but she is uncertain.

They all rush forth. I cannot stop them. They are perfect like vivid photos protected by age. I am sorting them, filing them, giving life to my 'other life'. Who am I? What had happened on that fateful night? Would I ever know? These thoughts consumed me, filled me, and shaped my past, giving it new roads and more questions. I asked myself, could my thoughts form a dream to what now is lost?

The Reassurance

My husband wrapped his arm around me as we sat at the table watching them talk. My brother pours everyone more Soju as he listens to my sisters. I tell my husband how happy I am. They are laughing now and we laugh too. My Sister looks at me and smiles as if to say that everything was okay. KyungOk smiles at her and turns to me and says, "KyungMee, KyungSook scar, you scar, but me, no!" She smiles and repeats it again, "KyungMee, KyungSook scar, you scar, but me, no!". Everybody laughs. We laugh too.

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