I walk down the hallway, my fingers lightly following the wall, my eyes fixed on a tiny light coming from the kitchen. My step
falters when I hear Uhmma’s voice.
Where were you? Uhmma asks.
That is not your concern, Apa
spread by scattering
The coffee table is overturned, Korean newspaper
strewn all over the carpet.
having an oblique or slanting direction or position
I pick up a broken picture frame, the photo of our family at the airport in Korea slightly
skewed, and set it on the couch.
contort the face to indicate a certain mental state
Here, Uhmma, I say and offer her the bag of ice. Uhmma takes it from me, presses it to her eye, and
a platform raised above the surrounding level
Up at the front of the room a man with slicked-down hair stands at a
podium surrounded by two stands of yellow and white flowers.
composed of or covered with small particles
I nod and swirl my feet through the rough grains, enjoying the
gritty tickling at the bottom of my feet.
a small, thin bit of wood, glass, metal, etc.
She lines up the halves of the scallions and starts to chop. Fine
slivers of green and white circles cover the cutting board.
cause to be indebted
I am not
obligated to her, Uhmma. I am going to pay her back.
mixed substance used for paving and roofing
In my neighborhood, instead of lawns there are fields of concrete and
a tuft of hair in a different direction from the rest
Apa’s hair is wet and slicked down, his
cowlick forced to lie still.
group that habitually attends a particular place of worship
Ahn-young-ha-say-yo, Mr. Park, he says, bowing and shaking Apa’s hand. We are very happy to have you with us today. Your wife has become a most valued member of our
move along rapidly and lightly; skim or dart
Apa nods, but his eyes shift around the room,
flitting from person to person, family to family.
shy or modest, often in a playful or provocative way
He tells my parents, Young Ju is looking very grown up. More and more like a
demure young lady.
marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
discreetly wets her fingers with some spit and reaches up, pressing the lock of hair back down.
marked by skill in deception
When it looks as though someone might approach him, Apa
slyly moves away to another corner of the room, pretends to become interested in his crumpled program.
distort or make false by mutilation or addition
At first I am not sure if they called me because the name sounds so
garbled, but when Amanda gives me a nudge, I stand up.
the state of being unaffected or not intoxicated by alcohol
As we near the police cars, Mr. Doyle starts to nod as though he understands what is going on. He turns in his seat to look at us and explains, “They’re just doing one of those
My chest tightens in
anticipation even though I know Mr. Doyle has not been drinking.
She shakes her head and
laments, To think of all those people there to honor you, and your own parents could not take a night off from their jobs.