I squeezed my eyes shut; shoot. I close the front door behind me and directly walk to the kitchen. I see my mother drying up dishes and putting them in the cabinets above her. She turned around to face me.
“Where were you?” my mom asked in Korean. My mother still speaks to me in Korean and calls me by my Korean name since she’s afraid that I would become too “Americanized” and forget my Korean; which I found contradicting considering we lived in the UK, an English-speaking region in Europe.
“I was with Milo,” I answered her. She sighed and turned back around to keep drying the dishes and put them away. “I was at his grandparent’s house in the treehouse.”
“Did his parents know where he was?” my mom asked. My mom knew that Milo rarely checked in with his parents whenever he would hang out with me. I didn’t believe my mother when she told me that, but I started to notice it when Milo and I would hang out.
“Yes, mom. I reminded him to tell his mom,” I answered, walking towards the fridge to grab a water bottle. My mother didn’t say anything after that, but if I knew her well, I know she had more to say.
“Soojin-ah,” my mom softly said as she was brushing my hair one night. We sat on my bedroom floor in our pajamas. I made a noise to my mom to let her know I was listening to her. “You start high school in a couple of weeks, and I need to have this conversation with you.”
I took in a deep breath, already knowing where this was going.
“Yes, mom?” I responded.
“I know you and Milo are friends,” she began. I wanted nothing more than to disappear from my room. Was I about to have this womanly talk with my mom on a warm summer night while she detangled my long hair? “It’s okay that you are friends with a boy, but in high school… things can be different…”
“Mom,” I had to stop her before she proceeded with this conversation. “I can reassure you that Milo and I are just friends.”
“That’s great, but… things can change,” my mom still continued with her conversation. “High school is when teens experience new and different things, like dating and–“
“Mom,” I had to stop her once again. “I am solely focused on my studies. Being one of the very few girls in band class, I have to work extra hard to prove myself. I’m not going to have time to do the things you are thinking of.”
“Soojin,” my mom stopped brushing my hair to look at me. “I see the way that boy looks at you. I don’t want him to sidetrack you on your studies.” I got up from the floor and walked to my vanity. I looked at myself in the mirror, and my mom quickly showed up behind me, looking at me through the mirror.
“Mom, I will be okay. We are just friends,” I continued to reassure her. She doesn’t say anything right away, but she looked like she was trying to form the right sentence before speaking it out loud.
“Let’s keep it that way for a while,” she simply said. She kissed the top of my head and walked out of my bedroom. When she left, I let out the breath I was holding in for the past 10 minutes.
“Your father called looking for you today,” my mom randomly said. I freeze in place, not really knowing what to do or say at that moment. “I told him you were at school and to try calling again during the weekend.” I looked at my mom, and I knew my mom was looking at me, waiting for a response.
“How is he doing?” I asked.
“You can ask him yourself when you speak to him this weekend,” my mom sternly stated. My mother hated the fact that I never speak to my father whenever he tries to call. The truth is that I don’t feel comfortable talking to him. I try to not hold resentment for choosing what he did over his family, but that’s just something I can’t understand; at least not now in life. “Really Soojin, he just wants to see how you’re doing.”
“You can’t tell him for me?” I complained. My mother looked annoyed at my question.
“He’s your father,” she said. “He wants to at least talk to his daughter. He sacrificed a lot for us to be where we are now.”
Yeah, he sacrificed so much that he got himself deported from America and can’t live with his family for the next 5 years.
“Are you listening to me, Soojin?” my mom said in a louder tone. I nodded my head, just wanting this conversation to be over.
milolani: We should totally rent a studio space for our first band assignment!
I cocked my eyebrow up and responded back to Milo’s text message.
leesophie: We don't have money to rent a studio though.
My bedroom door opens and I quickly put my phone in my desk drawer where one of my scarves lives. The fabric on the scarf lessens the vibration of the phone whenever I get notifications, which are most likely text messages from Milo.
“You’re working on your homework?” my mom asked. I quickly nodded my head. She smiles back at me and closes my bedroom door. I quickly take out my phone to read the messages Milo sent me.
milolani: my mom owns a studio
milolani: we could use it to work on our assignment
milolani: so i guess i meant to say is
milolani: hey scout! we got a studio for our band assignment!
milolani: does Saturday work?
I smiled at my phone before returning his message.
leesophie: Saturday's perfect. See you in school tomorrow! ^.^