On Monday, Myeong-Seon left. I had suggested to her that she spend her last night at our house for an easier trip to the airport early the next morning.
On Saturday, having been invited by her to her church on the day before, we attended the Adventist meetings together, afterward dining again at the older church members’ house as we had on my first visit. The couple are Frances and Harvey. We were joined by a (younger) church elder and pastor pro tempore, Brad, and his wife, as well as two younger people, siblings. It was a wonderful meal, and I enjoyed the company, appreciating the dignity and wisdom borne by those church-goers, who knelt with us to pray before we left.
At this point, I have respect for both them and the doctrine of their founder, whom, if we can acknowledge such figures as the heathen Oriental sages as inspired, we should also honour as an instrument of God for his children’s good. Before leaving my house on Saturday, Myeong-Seon gave me a finely bound copy of one of her Ellen White books.
After our farewell on Saturday night, I hadn’t gone very far before being overcome by my impending loss. I made a sobbing mess of myself out on the sidewalk (by chance, only a street up from where I had once collapsed in a tearful heap after being rejected by Eunhee following our last day out together). I concluded to return and borrow some tissues from Myeong-Seon. I glanced her in her second-floor window, but she soon left for the bathroom or somewhere, and didn’t return to notice me tossing my gloves repeatedly at her window. I didn’t want to bother them by knocking. After some minutes, I left again.
I biked to her house on Sunday, taking back to my apartment some blankets she couldn’t carry, then returning. We ate some of her remaining food, and finalized her luggage. When the time came to catch the bus in the early afternoon, I left my bike tied at her place, with some of her excess supplies adorning it.
On the trip to Salt Lake, we met Rekha Selvaratnam again. She did some more preaching to Myeong-Seon on the train, which was somewhat more energetic than we had become accustomed to yet.
It was a hard walk to the bus (and, in Salt Lake, from the 33rd South bus to my house) with her fifty-pound bag (as well as my relatively light laundry). Later at the airport, her suitcase would turn out to be five pounds above what we had measured it as, and leave me to doubt the integrity of those airport scales. Anyway, I had commented to Myeong-Seon about how uncaring these vehicularly over-blessed Provo residents were toward struggling pedestrians, and had advised her not to repeat the behaviour when she drove again.
The situation brought to mind a very difficult trip I was making about a year ago from the store back to my apartment, before I had quite gotten into my shopping routine, when countless drivers witnessed my distress but only one stopped, and that just when I was about to arrive. At that time, I had just returned from Mongolia where people perhaps felt less entitled to their cars and were somewhat freer in giving rides, and noted in my mind that Provo, for all its smiles, was not humanly connected on the roads.
So, when I and Myeong-Seon got off the bus in Salt Lake and made our way home, I told her that we were going to find out which city was nicer, after all.
Of course, nobody stopped in Salt Lake either… until we were about 10 minutes from home. An older couple pulled over, called to us, and then pulled around to our side of the street. Our strength was waning, and we appreciated the help. They were from the Holladay Stake; their daughter in law, they mentioned, was also Korean. By chance, they had lived before in the same region of Washington state that Myeong-Seon would soon be relocating to.
Surprisingly to me, Salt Lake won that contest.
On Sunday night, we visited Temple Square again for pictures. I had a fun visit, though Myeong-Seon seemed tired or sore.
Around the new year, these Adventists customarily perform the Biblical ordinances of the Last Supper and mutual foot-washing. Late on Sunday night, probably because she was going to miss it, Myeong-Seon without warning performed the latter upon myself, rousing me from what had been my deepening stupour. I could only watch in silent awe. Although she declined reciprocation (which had been apter, as she was my guest), I was left in stunned humility by her gesture, one I had never before seen despite doctrinal familiarity with it (for us, it has been swallowed up within our “washing and anointing”).
Some time before our 6:30 bus on Monday morning, my mom suddenly got concerned that the later airport bus might be too crowded to accommodate our luggage. I doubted it myself, but we accepted her offer of delivery. On arrival, inside, we spent some time lightening her bag before removing upstairs to the line, which wasn’t long. I took some pictures… My mom eventually left her car to come inside and remind me of her work schedule that morning.
…And then she was gone…
My mother dropped me off back at home.
Later, I found out that Myeong-Seon had had a slight fall on an escalator from the imbalance of her weighty carry-on rolling case. It seems to not have been major. She managed to catch her flight after some confused directions about the departing gate.
When I finally reached Provo again on Monday evening, I got off at her stop and trudged to her apartment with my laundry…
…I began to cry again.
In recent days and weeks, she had become a nearly constant companion… Her presence pulled at me all Monday night, and I composed some lyrics about her. The notes in my head weren’t very catchy… It was what it was. It was the voice of my heart.
…I didn’t expect that I would sing again after Bomie…
On Tuesday, I woke up somewhat normal again. For these three days, I’ve been taking tests at school. I’ve done a little worse on some than I would have liked, but above all, I’m glad I was able to finish my homework for the majority of my classes last week. Excepted is some transcribing homework for Vietnamese class that I don’t think I want to finish.
On Tuesday were Korean, syntax, and Viet, and on Wednesday, morphology (the teacher e-mailed me a reminder probably about half a minute before I walked in). I had a little difficulty drawing those syntactic trees, and I have a slight concern that I won’t pass that class, due to the teacher having refused to accommodate my error of missing the mid-term. The good news would be that the same class is offered next semester, with the same teacher, and that I wouldn’t have to do a solitary thing more than I’ve done except take the two tests. The bad news would be if I couldn’t get BYU to increase my credit limit. Repeating that syntax class would take me two credit-hours higher than I can go, but I don’t see how I could bear to drop either of my two non-essential language classes (one is two credit-hours, one four).
Today was my language acquisition test; it was much easier than the mid-term. I have one more test to finish tomorrow: my religion class with Susan Black. This will be our third test there, besides which we will have done nothing but take notes for the whole semester.
The week has been an ample distraction from the loss of my friend… but, anyway, I’ve talked to her every day on MSN Messenger (except last night, when she was ‘away’), and the virtual proximity has blunted my perception of distance that first night.
Today, finally, our asynchronism re-emerged, and I had to end our conversation early. We struggled with this in the weeks prior to her departure before deciding to just enjoy the time left. I still find myself repelled every time she brings up what I could call “drama”, or any sadness, resentment, or blame because of anything I say or do that’s below her hopeful expectation of committed mutual cherishing. She surely deserves respect, but I’ve long since jettisoned from myself the necessity of respecting any one. Four years since, to be precise. After Bomie, whom have I cared about?
Anyway, I can hardly endure the negativity, the painful pressure that comes any time I seem to disappoint Myeong-Seon and find that she’s made herself all sad and hurt for, as I think, no reason at all. I have even sub-normal tolerance for it. She might be beyond malleability… and a propensity for stress might be inherent to her race… but I do hope someday that she can learn to laugh at frustrations instead of stabbing herself and me with them.
I know I was the same way with those I…
…Well, I won’t throw her to the emotional wolves, as they did. We are perhaps no more (or less) right than we ever have been… but I will always talk to her again. She has been a good 누나 to me, and I owe her whatever kindness I can find inside of me.
I’ll surely see her again tomorrow. With her, it will always be, “See you later”.