I bounced my leg in place as I sat next to my mum at the kitchen table. She was clicking and scrolling on different pages on the computer, trying to figure out how to get to the page she is trying to get on. I would rather just be grounded like a normal teenage girl instead of sitting through this process.
“Mum,” I called out for her. She briefly looked at me before she continues to browse through the computer. I already know she was not going to let me get out of this. “Is this truly necessary?”
“Yes,” she coldly answered. “You haven’t spoken to your father in weeks.”
“I don’t have time when he calls,” I explained, trying to make it as believable as possible. My mum shook her head and continued clicking on pages on the computer.
“Well, you have time now,” she coldly responded once more, before turning the laptop to face me. I was getting nervous. Maybe I should’ve just called him on my own time; maybe then I wouldn’t be sitting here with my mom as I have this call with my father.
It wasn’t long after that the screen went blank and appeared my father. He was wearing a navy blue uniform; I expected my father to wear stripes or orange like how a prisoner typically wears.
“Hi, Edwin,” my mom smiled as she spoke to my father. I could tell that my mom still loved my father. Every time I heard her talk to him or visit him on these video calls, she smiled big with her teeth flashing and eye wrinkles showing. It made me upset at times; she was able to forgive him so easily after everything he put us through these last two years. Two years, dad. You broke my trust two years ago on Valentine’s Day.
“Hi, Haeun,” I hear my father say back. I could tell he is also smiling. “How have you been dear?”
“We’ve been fine,” mum answers. She looks at me softly, which is rare for my mum. She was always a hard person to read, but she has been like that for as long as I can remember. I was never close to my mum growing up; I think her Korean culture never interested me growing up, but she was always strict in making me follow tradition and grow up in the ways she did. It was my father that introduced other cultures into my life. It was him that decided that coming to live in America would open doors for me and my future. Now it feels like any opportunity or hope I had left for me in America wasn’t here anymore; it was back in the UK in a prison cell.
“And Sophie? How has she been?” he finally asks. I feel the knot in my throat get bigger and the pit of my stomach get deeper. My mum turns the laptop screen toward me and he finally sees me on camera. I see him on camera. The man on the screen looked like my father; same black hair, glasses, and smile. The only thing was that his facial hair was more noticeable. My father always preferred a clean shave.
“Hi, daddy,” I said to my father. He looked like he was at a loss for words.
“My Sophie girl!” he excitedly said. “You’ve gotten so big, my God!” He laughs after speaking. I miss his laugh. “How’s school going? High school is a big deal, especially being in that school.
“School’s going well,” I answered. ” I’m in the string orchestra in the band.”
“You were always so good on the violin,” he added. “Have you had any performances yet?”
“We have a showcase in a couple of weeks,” I answered. I didn’t want to share too much about myself with him. I just wanted to have this visit and then get as far away as possible. He nodded his head.
“And you’re making friends, right?” he asked. I nodded quickly, even though I can feel my mom’s eyes on me. Whatever; it made him smile. “Your mum told me you sprained your ankle at school the other day. How are you feeling?” I looked at my mom, not surprised she shared that with him on her video visits with him.
“I’m doing better,” I simply answered. “I go back to school on Monday.”
“That’s good,” he answered quickly after. I can tell his time is coming to an end. “As long as you’re keeping your grades up and practicing your violin and are enjoying yourself, that’s all that matters, Sophie girl.” I simply smiled for him. My mother sighed and turned the laptop to face her to say goodbye. I couldn’t help but get up out of my seat and walk away and out of the room. Any longer in the kitchen and I would’ve cried in front of my parents.
I waited until I closed my bedroom door to finally let everything out. I miss him so much.