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A Bystander

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'Look at that person, Dad. She's looking for her cellphone everywhere! WHILE SHE'S TALKING ON IT!' My dad and I imitated the old lady on TV, using our hands as phones, taking the cushions off the sofa, and looking underneath the TV set. Every few seconds, we would ask each other, 'Where could that cellphone have gone? It's not like it has feet.' After our little show ended, we turned to the front of the TV and continued to watch funny video clips while my mom persuaded my sister, Eunbi, to solve yet another problem set in her practice booklet. She had her science test the next day. With merely a sigh, Eunbi opened her booklet and began to answer some questions. As a soon to be first grader, I thought, 'Well, that is her duty. She should be studying right now.'


'Trrrr....' The last bell of December rang at exactly two thirty. Everyone yelled out 'Winter Break!!' Echoes of closing binders and desk drums filled the room. In less than a minute, everyone emptied the classrooms that had encaged them daily for an hour and five minutes. I, on the other hand, moved slowly, with no hurry. For once, I did not have to run home, turn on the computer, and write an extensive lab report, a ten page research paper, or finish odd problems in the math textbook.

I walked down the second floor hallway and opened locker 402. Happy faces, shining star stickers, a bright pink strawberry yogurt stain, and Korean movie star pictures ripped from magazines welcomed me for one last time in the year 2007. One binder, one notebook at a time, I gathered my homework materials and waved goodbye to the sophomore hall.

In the high school office, hosting a Christmas tree decorated with hand-made paper stars and red and white canes, Eunbi waited for me to go home. Saying goodbye to the office staff, we walked toward the bus stop and headed to our home in the yellow striped 622 route.

Once we arrived, Eunbi and I went separate ways. As I entered my room to turn on the TV, Eunbi entered hers to study for her upcoming SAT. Watching her reach out for her bluebook and her word smart, I thought, 'She has to be studying for the SAT. She's taking it next month.'


As a younger sister, I have always believed that Eunbi had to be busier and work harder than I did. I believed that it was Eunbi's responsibility to study for her science test and SAT. Nevertheless, when I entered third and tenth grade, as Eunbi had two years ago, I still looked at Eunbi and focused on why she had to do this and that in fifth grade or as a senior. I have never remembered my responsibilities. I have taken the role of a bystander. Now that the reality of the frightening SAT and AP approaches me, I will have to break the character that I have molded myself into for so many years and begin to take the role of an independent worker.




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