2011/08/14 Su – Condemned to Live

Last Sunday (7), Myeong-Seon asked again whether I would join her there…  She found another program with her school that was a week long.  I thought again about it before refusing on financial grounds.

We’ve talked electronically almost every day this week…

I spent the majority of the week doing nothing.  From Monday to Thursday, I’m not sure whether I left my room for more than an evening snack or meal, or to use the rest room.  I had nothing to do…  I’d lost that drive I’d had on the day we’d parted, and only felt… blanked out, and used up, as if there was nothing left to do but wait for old age to take me.

Oh…  At some point, I went in the evening to try to meet my bishop and get him to sign my BYU form…

A lady at BYU had been e-mailing me in the summer telling me that she needed to “delay” my graduation, but that she couldn’t do it till I re-registered or something; anyway, she needed my current bishop’s form (I knew those were required yearly, but I’d stopped caring after the hassle of doing it last year, expecting to have graduated before it expired at the end of the 2010-11 school year).  She told me to do it by August…

I think I asked Bishop Olson about that two Sundays ago, then reminded him last Sunday, and then tried to catch him during the week.  He didn’t get back to me as soon as I’d expected…  A newish bishop in an area that doesn’t feed especially heavily into BYU, he wasn’t quite sure how to do it.  There’s a new membership record program, “MLS”, which he assumed would also supply him with this form.  I had thought that that must have been an innovation, since we’d always needed to bring and fill out the form ourselves before.

Beside not being clear on what the form was or how to get it, he was also very busy this couple of weeks re-arranging many of the ward callings.   Nearing the middle of the month, I had begun to wonder if I’d surpassed that lady’s August dead-line.  I started thinking that if, by chance, I missed any administrative dead-line and needed to re-apply for BYU, then, at the same time, I would at least be freed to go visit Myeong-Seon.

Not yet having my form, I was hesitant to contact the woman again.  But on Friday, there was the second day of ceremonies for autumnal graduation at BYU.  I drove there in my mom’s car (she’d gone to Manila) because I thought that if I had been “graduated” from the school, they might have put my name on their programs (they hadn’t — and I’d forgotten that I’d needed to specifically apply for graduation last spring).  I also took the chance to eat again at the excellent Cannon Centre cafeteria.

Before going to Provo, I’d dropped my sister off at the state fair, where she’d been assigned to work that day by her SL County employers, and after coming back, I picked her up again.  At home, we had a very fine and lengthy talk about our lives, and I seemed to connect with her.

On Saturday, I went again, attending the MTC.  I saw the same sisters Kelly and Burningham (she, I found out, had grown up partly in Japan but mostly in Korea, having now forgotten Japanese; her parents had split up, and her mom had remarried a man with her current last name, who “adopted” the kids).  I met an olderish volunteer, Elly Wong.  I was taught by two elders, Herrick (Ho4) and Denos (Ding1), from Orem and Riverton, who spoke quite well.

After the MTC, I went to Juan Artal’s sister’s apartment across from UVU.  The broad sunburst in the clouds and dusty air almost stunned me for its beauty.  Juan had messaged me earlier in the day, from Mai’s Skype, and I went to see if he needed help carrying stuff to Salt Lake, whither he would soon move.  We decided that I’d just keep his stuff in my mom’s truck till Monday, the earliest date of vacancy in his new place.  As I drove home, a dust storm briefly hit with a little rain, settling into an eery, low sunset…

Today after church, I went to pester the bishop again.  His clerk tried to help me access the form.  He encountered the same trouble I had had when I last tried to print it out myself: the file on the school web-site didn’t work.  I had him print out an alternate ecclesiastical endorsement, designated as for “graduate study”.  It was basically the same form, so I thought they might accept it.  I’ll try to work it all out this week.

At home, I watched with my mother the commentary for The Last Samurai.  It was nice…  That sweet “Taka” started recalling Myeong-Seon to my mind…

I couldn’t fit in a timely visit to the Itos yesterday or today, as I’d planned.  I’ll have to try later.

The sky lit up from distant storms tonight…

On Saturday night, Myeong-Seon and I had something of a talk about ourselves.  I tried to further delineate our boundaries…  But today, my friend Fan and I talked again.  As we did so, I thought about meeting other people again… but I felt that Myeong-Seon had really grown into my ideal, and nobody compared well with her.

We were… what?  If we were right for each other, we were also clearly wrong for each other.  If we were wrong, yet were we so happily right…

We can’t be together, I know… but… what a tremendously significant “but”.

I miss her like she’s been gone for a year.  But already, after only a week, we’re starting to drift…

-Steve Foster

[8/15 Monday:
I got up slowly and found that I wouldn’t make it to Provo before closing time, so I cancelled the trip.  At night, I visited Cheryl Thorup again, whose guests will be returning to Korea this week-end.  They were having another Korean-food party.  Fortunately, Cheryl had forgotten about inviting me and only offered me a sampling plate, which excused me to go drop of Juan’s belongings to his new house a few blocks north of LDSBC.  Mai also came to drop off her stuff there, and asked for help moving it to her new place later in the week (her first apartment plan, at the Gateway Mall, had been disrupted by curious management).  After that, I visited Temple Square briefly and then returned home.

I found my mother asleep to a certain film edition of “A Christmas Carol”, which I watched from the beginning.  It was well set in the period and decently acted, and I finished it broken-hearted, wondering what I could give, and newly shamed for the selfishness of the petty sorrows of my on-line journal.]

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