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Two In-Laws, a Baby, Three Dogs, and a Cat (Last)

I am able to do a little work. I took two days off from forward progression and almost got off the train altogether. Two sleepless nights of guilt.

Today I buy Cathreen flowers when she cancels her morning lesson. She says "Come home and we'll talk." I panic, but she's happily flitting about the house when I arrive. The power of this phrase. I feel like I've just run a couple miles.

Boise meows and waits by the door like a dog. In the presence of babies, the cat is love-staved. He whines and eats anything that touches him. He bites lightly on my hand. He sticks his claws in me and holds me to him.

Everyone is out of sorts. Cathreen arranges the flowers in a vase. Her forehead is hot. The in-laws go to a hairshop and leave us with the baby. An hour later, Cathreen takes the baby to them. We're looking for each other, I think, we're wondering where we are. I mean in general. As Cathreen dressed to go out, I held the baby and he looked around for her like she was his mother. I sit here writing now wondering when she'll be back--she left her phone, so I know she will be.

In another window, Facebook asks me to write 25 things about myself, and I think, what better way to end this essay. So here they are:

1. Each day a moment exists in which I think life is perfect, and another in which I wish to die.

2. I spend too much time not doing things I'm supposed to do, and I dictate what these things are.

3. My stomach is currently growling but I am so sick of lunar new year food I will let myself go hungry.

4. I am envious. I am an envious person. I hate that.

5. Last night I tried to pray. I tried to pray completely sincere, completely selfless prayers. I could only think of one.

6. I worry constantly that Cathreen will not like America, especially once the city is covered in snow, in the fourth month of winter. Because yes, Boston has a fourth month.

7. Sometimes I think global warming isn't so bad; then I remember Venice.

8. Cathreen is in love with animals so I try to be in love with animals. Mostly this works, surprisingly.

9. Two in-laws, a baby, three dogs, and a cat: overall, I like it.

10. Maybe it's like this: I love cleanliness but I hate cleaning

11. On the other hand: all my life I thought I liked dogs and now I am not sure.

12. Also: I've always said I didn't like babies, while secretly liking them.

13. In life, I don't always want to be happy, but I never want anyone else to be unhappy. I really don't.

14. I watch Korean television and feel like I understand.

15. Before I came here in 2005, I thought some locked-away part of my brain would be engaged by my return, and I would remember Korea from when I was two years old, the language, everything, and I was so disappointed this didn't happen.

16. I am still sort of waiting for it to happen.

17. I believe many things other people don't. Not that a fan in a room without a open window will suffocate a person, though. That is a myth. That is my favorite myth.

18. Time-wise, I think about the future far too often. I think about the past about the right amount. I think about the present not enough.

19. If I hadn't written these essays, I would have forgotten they happened. True story.

20. People hate that I have a terrible memory, but I'm not sure I hate it.

21. We are coming to the end.

22. Though it's taken me a long time to write this, Cathreen is still away. I often imagine her when she is not around. Her photo pose: pressed lips, downturned head.

23. Last night, my mother-in-law screamed in her sleep, one long exhalation of sound that woke the house.

24. And here's what I know: I know she dreamed of Michigan. English piled in drifts of snow. Babies hollering. Her daughter compulsively cleaning. A shining floor, a one-room apartment. Her son-in-law disappearing with the car, their one ticket out. Waiting for Korea.

25. I wait for Boston; Cathreen's lawyer says not to worry, the visa will happen soon. Everything is soon.

1 comment:

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