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The warm air that was blasted in front of me from the heater thawed out my body, taking away the chilliness that was bottled inside me. The radio played out unknown lyrics into my ears and cars beside us rushed by, exceeding the speed limit. The DVD player was suspended in front of me on the car ceiling, casting the reflection of my face back to me. I looked into the reflection, and saw myself as a confused girl with long, brown hair that fell down to my narrow shoulders. Big, dark eyes glared back to me, alongside cherry red lips that stretched across my face. Slightly above the big lips, was my flat, smooth nose that curved inwards. I thought that I looked like a true, native Korean and in reality, I was. My parents immigrated to America one year before I was born, because America "supposedly" had lots of opportunities.
I looked behind my shoulders and saw the hospital getting smaller and smaller, until it was as small as an ant. One of the doctors in that hospital told me in a very low, sympathetic voice that I had a disease called dyslexia. The doctor used so many hard and enigmatic words that I couldn't understand. I wanted to ask so many questions, because of the curious girl I am. But my mother would quickly stop me, and would later explain to me in Korean that I would never be able to read again. I wanted to ask her so many questions about this particular disease, but I soon realized that it wasn't the best time to because she looked very frustrated, and her back was hunched over. I think I even saw a few tears run down her face. But the funny thing was that I didn't feel anything different about my body. I didn't know why my mom looked so saturnine. My thoughts about this disease lingered in my mind, and various questions I wanted to ask swirled vigorously in my head. As my thoughts wandered off, it was brusquely ended with my mom saying, 1 "지베 왓다". *Jee-ba-wat-da.
I got out of the car and headed inside to my warm home, where it would block out all of the cold, whistling snow that was hailing down. "Go inside and up to your room," my mom ordered with a thick face.
2 "내", I humbly replied. *na
I brought my backpack with me and opened the door up to my room. I walked in and was confronted by many Barbie dolls and my favorite teddy bear. I lied down on my soft bed and rested. The loud conversation of my parents downstairs drowned throughout my thoughts. They were in a fight and the thunderous roar of my dad overshadowed my mom's high pitched voice. I didn't know what they were fighting about, but I heard the word, dyslexia a couple times. As the argument abided, sleep entered my thoughts and soon, all I saw was black.
“Sangyung, it’s your turn to read a passage from Barney’s Travel. Please come up to the front of the classroom and read up to pg. 5. Show everyone how it should be done,” proclaimed Mrs. Kipple.
Yes Mrs. Kipple,” I replied.
I got out of my desk, and headed to the front of the classroom. Every single eye was on me, and fear started to creep up all over my body. Being a quiet girl did not help during these kinds of situations.
I opened up my book to the first page, and started to read. The words and sentences rolled out of my mouth, creating a nice rhythm. But as I headed onto the third page, the words started to flip and the letters got all jumbled out of place! I tried to pronounce the words, but all I sounded was like a person trying to talk under water. I just couldn’t read it. I stumbled and stuttered, and person after person started to chuckle placidly, until a jungle of laughter was drowned clangorously throughout the classroom. Even my teacher was laughing! Balls of anger rolled up into fury as hot tears rushed down my face. As hiccups interfered, I still tried to read, still resolute. But I just couldn’t do it! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t read it. I quickly closed up my book, and stood in front of the class. Tears still hastily ran down and people were still chortling. My best of friends came up to me, and called me a loser. My face hardened, and I ignored them, but anger flared deep inside. In the distant, I heard the loud clang of the bell. The kids rushed past me and kept snaring at me, as they ran outside for recess.
It felt as if the world around me was toppling down hard and fast. The burning, hot liquid still stumbled down my face, staining everything around me.
Throughout the rest of the day, loneliness was trapped inside me. Laughter and joy rang happily all around, but yet, I felt so secluded and alone. The only thing that joined me was the cold, winter day that hung in the atmosphere. I felt extremely empty and hollow, just as if everything was snatched away from me. I once loved school, but that all changed now. The rest of the day was filled with aggrieve, creating a hate for school.
The big yellow bus steamed away, as I was forced to walk back home in the cold, frigid air. The snow glistened blithely in the bright sun, casting a crystal like look. Though it was gelid, I was hot, because of the fury that was blazing deep inside. I was so tempted to erupt, but I tried to keep the temptation bottled up.
I opened up the door to my house, and slid in quietly and tip-toed up to my room, not wanting to confront my mother. But unfortunately, my mother must have heard me come in, and called out, 3 “Sangyung, 어리가?” *u-lee-ga
“I’m going up to my room,” I replied innocently.
“Hold on, you don’t look too good,” my mother rebutted worriedly.
“It’s nothing mom,” I protested as I was heading into my room. I plopped down heavily onto my soft bed and my mom joined me. Joy, I thought.
“You don’t need to hide anything, Sangyung. I can tell that dyslexia is bothering you in some way. I want to read you something. It’s from the Disney magazine. After I read you this, dyslexia won’t feel so bad,” my mom said reassuringly.
Moms…How could they read your mind like that? I thought. I looked her in the eyes, and decided to give it a shot. Besides, books wouldn’t hurt, in fact, I loved books. Books, studying and learning educational stuff was still my passion. 4 “Sure, 일거바,” I promulgated. *eel-ga-ba.
My mother’s face lit up like a Christmas tree and started to vigorously read.
“Mickey Mouse had gigantic ears…,” she started off.
“…Others would make fun of his big ears and he was bullied every day,” she continued.
As the story progressed, I learned that Mickey Mouse used to be in the same position as I was right now. He was also very emotional and put down. But he soon realized that his ears made him special and inimitable, and he started to ignore all of the nasty comments that were delivered by others. In the end, resolution and perseverance paved a new path for him.
As I attentively listened, I realized that it was my job to be more determined and to ignore all of the criticism.
When the story came to a slow halt, my mother closed up the magazine and asked, “Well…did it help you in any way?”
I almost jumped out of my bed and gaily shouted, “The story helped me tons!”
My mother’s lips slit across her face and said, 5 “바.” *Ba.
“I’ve got so many questions to ask you,” I blunted out unconsciously.
“Calm down. So, what’s your first question?”
Question after question was asked, and many answers followed. Curiosity took over, and later, sleep took over too. Right before my eyes shut tight, I told myself that dyslexia made me special, and I liked it. Then, the world around me blackened out.
My eyelids cautiously opened up and a ray of light splashed the world around me. Yes! No school today! It’s a Saturday! As soon as that thought passed by, my mother stood right in front of me with a smile on her face.
6 “모?” I inquired. *Mo
“I’ve got great news! A cure for dyslexia has come out! Your doctor just left a message informing us that you’re his first costumer and wants to see you at 2:00pm!” My mom said exultantly.
“What?” I croaked out. I could feel that I wasn’t the least excited and my face tightened up alongside my smile disappearing.
“What’s wrong?” My mom demanded agitatedly.
“Nothing,” I forced out.
“You’ll need a healthy breakfast. I’ll make you a Korean breakfast…rice, 7 kimchi and
8 bulgogi. Your favorite.
“I’ll be down in a few minutes,” I responded.
As my mom joyfully slid out of my room, I pondered to myself, I don’t really know if I want this cure. After hearing Mickey’s story, I realized that dyslexia made me special and unique, but at the same time, I also wanted the cure too because I wanted to read again. My mind and my feelings were torn apart from the decision that I had to make. I cerebrated deep and hard, but no decision or answer came forth. My head ached with excruciating pain from all of the thinking that I was doing alongside the various questions that were swirling madly in my head. It felt like being stuck in a split road and all you could do was to turn left or right, not knowing what the outcome would be. My feelings were split in half, and I really didn’t know which the best choice was. One part of me said that getting the cure was the best choice, when the other side said that not getting the cure was the best decision. I still thought hard on this issue, for I had to come up with a decision, and headed down for breakfast.
Throughout the whole time period before my visit to the doctors, the decision that I had to make buzzed loudly in my head. It was not until I took foot into the cold, dark doctor’s office was when I had finally stopped thinking about the issue, for I had made my decision.
As the doctor stood in front of me, I could feel that my hands were plastered with thick sweat and my heart thumped posthaste, not missing a beat. Then, the question rolled out of my doctor’s mouth, “Do you want the cure?”
As soon as that question was asked, it felt as if the clock stopped ticking, and the world around me paused. Everything except me was stopped. I looked over at my mom, then to my doctor. My heart leaped, and I knew that everything was going to work out perfectly. This decision was going to make me happy and I knew I wouldn’t regret the decision. This is what my instincts told me to go with, and I knew that I had to trust my instincts. Everything was fine now. Nothing worried me anymore, and the ball of fury that was growing rapidly for the past few days were now shrinking, and taking its spot was a lump of glee and joy. The frustration and scabs and bruises were now vanished. Nothing’s wrong now…Everything’s perfect…and I knew that.
Then, suddenly, the clock started to tick again and the world around me started to move again. The doctor looked at me and waited for my response. Then, I gave him my response nice and slowly, so he and my mom could both understand me, “No, I don’t want the cure.”
I smiled blithely and knew that the pain was over now. I was different now, but in a good way. Nothing’s wrong now…Everything’s perfect…and I knew that…
1 “지베 왓다” – means “we’re home”
2 “내” – means “yes”
3 “어리가” – means “where are you going”
4 “일거바” – means “read it”
5 “바” – means “see”
6 “모” – means “what”
7 “kimchi” – is a Korean cabbage that is marinated in hot spices. (Tastes really good)
8 “bulgogi” – is a Korean meat that is marinated in special, secret sauce. (Tastes awesome)
*- means how to pronounce the Korean word.