Trip Start Sep 24, 2005
10Trip End Oct 25, 2005
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Nothing much happened on Friday or Saturday during the day. I stayed in, read, played video games, and thought.
On Saturday night at 11PM I was preparing to go to bed when the Sixth Sense came on Korean television. It's a movie that I've been thinking about watching a lot, but I didn't find the time for it in the states. I didn't think I'd watch. I was tired and wanted to get up early. But I was drawn in to the movie. After ten minutes I was watching intently and no longer feeling tired. I was really into it, with gooseflesh constantly running up my back and arms.
When it was done I went into the bathroom and brushed me teeth. I had a conversation with myself:
"Do stories make you a better person?"
"No, not really."
"Do they make you want to be a better person?"
"Yes. They inspire me to want to be great and to do great things."
I want to tell stories.
I spat out the toothpaste foam into the sink and stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I would like to say that I could tell you what I was thinking at the time, because it would make it easier to explain what happened next. I was thinking, but it was subconscious rather than on the surface, like a buzzing in the back of my mind. I was studying myself when a voice came up in my mind and said:
"It's okay." (you can let go)
I started to cry, and thoughts of my uncle P.D., hit and killed by a truck last spring, came flooding in.
I kneeled down on the bathroom floor and gave in. It was the first time that I really cried in... I don't know how long. There are times when I would've said I cried, but I really didn't. Times when I teared up and sniffled. Even those at the time seemed like a big deal, because even they were a great rarity. I suffered my pains quietly, privately, and without tears.
Even when P.D. died, I didn't really cry. I thought that I did, but I was wrong. I always choked the feelings back, pushed them down, composed myself. I would shed a few tears and then squash the grief, stiffen up my mind and go about my business.
But this time I let go, and I cried, really cried, for the first time since I reached junior high school. I cried for a long time. It was good and terrible.
After the wave passed I felt exhausted. I tried to just go to bed, but thoughts still came. Some were of P.D., but my mind had all but burned itself out on the subject during my cry. Most were of me and my situation here, though it shames me to say it.
I thought about not wanting to say goodbyes.
I remembered often thinking about death before leaving Korea, that someone in my family could die while I was away. I thought about not being there at the end... I'll use my dog Merlin as an example, because it's the only oncoming death that I dare to speak of. Merlin is twelve years old, ancient for a Labrador. He doesn't have much time left. Before leaving I thought about not being there to pet him the last time he went to bed, to call him a good dog.
I also thought before coming here that part of my foreboding about the trip was a premonition. I've had them before, as well as other experiences of small time ESP, or whatever you want to call it. Most of them have been in cars. I had strong a feeling of foreboding before both of my car accidents, and avoided a third by finally listening.
Last night I thought about the time our house caught fire. I remember the day before immediately family was driving back from visiting Butch and Dana Jung (sp?), and I was suddenly thinking about our house burning down. I remember asking the family if that would be such a bad thing, given that we could collect insurance money for all the useless junk that we've accrued over the years. Of course they said it would be, and they were right. After asking the question I wondered why I had even said it.
The next day I was upstairs in our house for an early lunch before packing up and heading back down to Santa Cruz for school. I was eating at the dining room table when I looked up and saw smoke drifting in the loft. I quickly called for my dad, who was working at a chair in front of the large windows at the back of our house. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran up stairs to find flames leaping up from a box placed in front of a heater and up the wall. He put them out in a few sustained sprays.
I would think later about how lucky it was that I was home and upstairs at that exact moment. My father was further away and wouldn't have seen or smelled the smoke for awhile, and a few moments could have been disastrous. The fire caught among dozens of cardboard boxes and next to a library of old books and magazines. Two more minutes and we would have been in big trouble. I would also remember that the thought of our house burning down came randomly and unbidden into my mind the day before. We never really explained the fire. The heater had been behind boxes for a long time, and though it seemed to have turned on we have no idea how it happened. It was a freak accident, but no real harm came of it.
I wondered a lot last night about what would happen if I wasn't there the next time? What if I wasn't there to stop bad things from happening?
What if my aversions to this place and the parts of my desire to go home that I can't explain are a bad thing coming on the horizon?
I guess I understand my change in psychology now, my desire not to lose any more people in my life to death or circumstances. To not want to say any more goodbyes.
Maybe I just picked a bad time to travel.