We’d invited my friend to our family party on the 26th, but the time passed with no response. For three days after Christmas, I convinced myself to accept my new role. On the fourth day, Saturday, my friend called from her new phone — she was bored. And me, well, I was obviously free. We met at the mall by our school, shopped a little, and went around for the rest of the day. We got some Koreany food at old Hunan Garden.
On Sunday, she wanted to visit our ward. I guess it was fine… After coming home, my mom and she shared their pictures from abroad, then at last she was delivered to her home. These two days passed so pleasantly, I thought…
On Sunday night, I picked up my three Zambian friends and their friend from Angola and we went to a fireside to hear the preaching of Joseph Freeman of North Carolina(?). He told his impressive story about joining the Church from his Bible-believing background, finding his wife, and being the first of African descent, after 1978, to receive God’s restored priesthood. His clarity about the gospel was admirable. "If this church was true, then I wanted to be a member." My friends had cutely hoped that they would see others of their race there, but it was just them. Mable told me she was glad she went. Our ride home was filled with discussion of race, mostly involving some of their (ex-)boyfriends and their parents. I did what I could to allay concern. There was some pie and ice cream to eat after the fireside, and as they wanted to distribute all the leftovers, I took two pies to give to my friend who had not felt like going. The girls were going to Mable’s, and Mable lives right next to my friend, so I dropped those off and then went to Mable’s house. The girls played Guitar Hero… I was in no mood for that on Sunday, and eventually I left. I waited outside for some time, having planned to take Inonge and Monde back home. I thought they were right behind me… but they never came out, and I assumed they thought I had left, and if so, I knew they would have quickly made other plans for transportation… so I just left.
My friend and I had arranged to meet at school on Monday for registration, which we did. Mostly I had just wanted to see if we had any classes in common that we could take together. We went to a counselor, Cindy Lampropolous, and she helped my friend get her schedule set up, then we went back to the second floor and I attempted to set up mine. We did have one same class, a religion class… but my friend had taken the last available spot in her class. Instead of bothering with rearranging her schedule, I just gave up the idea. I did get a little sad because my friend seemed uninterested in taking any classes together… Finally, because of that, I didn’t even have the spirit to finish my registration, and we both left. It suddenly felt like the entire purpose was to rush her through the school and out the doors as fast as possible, while the true purpose of school is social definition (life is about family-making, not money-making). Anyway, there I was, this… long-term, part-time student with no such whirlwind goals, and there was no room for me in my friend’s class, and probably not even in her social circle. I felt like the school wasn’t even mine any more. I started to doubt whether I even wanted to go this semester… My life has not been about rushing madly forward to one goal after the other. …Well, it’s probably just that I felt rejected.
Anyway, she was going to Gateway again, and I joined her. Later we visited a bank, then ate again at Hunan, and then visited the Korean store, Oriental Market (which she seemed to thoroughly enjoy). Soon my troubles were forgotten amidst her delightful and entertaining company. That night, she was going to visit the home of a new friend she’d met, one of the school staff. We waited at her place until after nine, then I drove her down there. We thought I should stay in case she had no ride back. It turns out I was familiar with the staff member already. We’d expected a larger group; it was us two, the girl (Alex), her roommate (Julie), and another guy (Renato) who works at school. We ate a bit, played some games, and counted down together. The girl was from Hungary, so we had buns and hot dogs after midnight, then we all went home. My friend wasn’t quite ready to sleep yet, so we drove back and forth, up to the U., and so on… then parked at her place and talked for an hour or so. I don’t know why, but I got so sad then… Somehow I thought… well, every time I have said goodbye to my friend here, I’ve thought it would be for the last time. I don’t know… It just seems too good, too happy, too fortunate that we might be good friends here. And here, two hours into 2008, I had the same thought. Maybe the school will swallow her up… or her life here will just engulf her, bury her, and I’ll never see her again.
Oh well. I already got out of my dependence, on Christmas… I didn’t expect it to be an immediate cessation, and I guess it won’t be. But, I got out; I got a new belief that I think will grow stronger.
…She’s just so overwhelmingly cute and pleasant and fun to talk to… It’s so hard to endure sometimes. I’m a bit afraid that I can’t have such an attractive friend… I’ll just start to like her and love her again. Because I have no anger towards her. I forgave everything, hoping to escape ruinous negative feelings. I don’t resent her for anything… so her natural brightness is just so… dazzling.
But, I know I can’t. I won’t bother her again with my unwanted feelings… I only want her to be happy, and I want her to be able to trust me. If I’m a friend to her, then I have to be faithful in friendship…
Oh… these three days have been… maybe………….. the happiest of the year. This hard year, 2007… full of reversals and disappointments, and so challenging… but then three heavenly days at the end… and now is the whole year beautiful to me because of them? How ridiculous…
The year is gone, anyway. It was her anniversary of baptism… "Happy birthday!" the girls told her last night.
Now, though, three dark days passed, and then three blest days completed… and I have no more immediate plans with her. I don’t know if I’ll see her again, or when. Maybe the year was not all erased, because I’m still not comfortable enough to just call her randomly, after so many unanswered e-mails and messages… I guess I’ll wait another three days or something, see if she ever gets bored again. And when school starts and she’s too busy for boredom… well… bon voyage, amie.
O.k., then. I hope so much that she’s happy, and that I’m happy. She seems to have gotten over the gloom of her first week and taken more of a liking to this place. God, bless her forever. I hope someday she remembers this city with fondness.
In 2008, I will love better… and not selfishly. No matter if any girl is "right" or "wrong" for me; I will try to love her as God loves her. I wish for a family, but I already have the whole human race as my family…. and many millions of children to care for.
I guess it’s back to work, too, in ’08. I guess I’ll vacation. Maybe not. How can I go to Mongolia when I have no more connection at all with the country? I have nowhere to go… although the pull of the Orient is still as present as ever. I would just as gladly return to Seoul and reignite my Korean.
Mostly, though, I will love better.
And if so, not selfishly… then I won’t skip school just because she didn’t want to share classes. That’s nothing… "It just doesn’t matter," as Brother Freeman might say.
What matters? A happy ending to the story matters… and these last three days were happy.
So 2007 was a wonderful story.