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Beautiful Disaster

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“Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, Smiles await you when you rise. Sleep-”
“You can stop now. I’m fourteen!” I quickly turned my back on my mom and closed my eyes, pretending to fall asleep. She let out a small sigh and slowly left the room. As I wandered off to sleep, the walls around me started to shake and I became trapped in a black and white kaleidoscope, swiveling round and round as if in a distorted version of Disney Land’s tea cup ride. The tea cup spun faster and faster and the black and white patterns started to change colors from red to orange to all colors of the rainbow, then to neon colors and even to some metallic, sparkly colors, and to silver, burgundy, gold, sapphire, fuchsia, ruby, emerald-
“BRRRRRRRRING!”
Sweating, I turned off my alarm clock and rummaged for my pink glasses. With the multicolor blur still engraved into my mind, I slowly got out of bed.
The sun was beaming into the living room as I sat down to eat breakfast. Today was an important day. It was the day that I got to see my grandparents for the first time in years. As an expat kid, I lived overseas for most of my life and rarely had the chance to visit my home: Seoul, Korea. But this summer, my family and I came to Korea to celebrate my grandfather’s eightieth birthday. The celebration of my grandfather’s big 8-0 birthday meant only one thing: reunion – travelling two hours away from the city to a rural area where my grandparents lived and seeing all my cousins, aunts and uncles that I have not seen in years, and eating my grandmother’s delicious traditional Korean mandu-gook.
After voraciously eating breakfast, I went to my room and selected what I would wear to this special gathering. As I dug through my suitcase to find clothes, my mother came into the room and held up a red and white dress with an enormous ribbon at the back and a tutu on the front – something that Minnie Mouse would wear after she took inspirations from Little Red Riding Hood’s dress and incorporated these ideas into her own dress. My mother smiled and exclaimed in a thrilled voice “Wear this! I bought this for you last week while you were at that sleepover. Isn’t it lovely? Remember how you used to love wearing ribbons on your hair?” I pulled a disgusted face and did not even bother to reply. How could she possibly think that I could still enjoy wearing ribbons in my hair –a silly fad I enjoyed almost eight years ago?! Instead, as if to rebel against my mother’s puerile vision of me, I took out a black sequined shirt with a star in the middle along with a pair of dark blue jeans and replied with a curt “I’m wearing this.” To further enhance my ravishing look, I slipped on a pair of black shoes with metallic heart imprints. This outfit that I had picked out did not match, nor did it look fashionable in any sense. However, at that time, I was ready to catwalk down the runway.
After getting ready, my aunt came to pick us up on her Mercedes Benz R350 SUV. Next to her on the front seat was my nineteen year old cousin Charlie, and on the backseat was my 18 year old cousin Irene. As I climbed into the car, I quickly shouted, “I’M SITTING NEXT TO IRENE! I don’t want to sit next to mom!!” From the corner of my eye I saw my mother simply smiling, opening the door for me and waiting until I settled inside the car before getting in herself. Inside the car, Charlie turned up the volume of pots-and-pans remix, or what he referred to as ‘rock music,’ and I lay my head down on Irene’s cozy lap and spread my legs across the seats. My mom and aunt chattered loudly over the blaring music, commenting on how Jina’s-son-got-engaged-and-he’s-only-20-years-old-can-you-believe-it?! After an hour of jabbering and laughing, I peered out the tinted window. We were on the highway, and there was a long line of traffic jam. Then, all of a sudden, cars around us started to honk simultaneously, blasting sounds in a rhythmic beat and growing louder and louder. For a moment, I felt trapped in my dream’s team cup again; except this time, I was besieged by disorderly sounds of honks rather than multicolored whirls.
Suddenly, with a loud THUD, our car was shoved violently from the back, and I jolted out of my seat onto the floor. On the floor with my legs tangled and my shoes nowhere in sight, the car careened uncontrollably from side to side. The car was a rag doll being dragged by its owner, and I was sandwiched between the rugged carpet and the car seat. I heard screeches and smelt burning tire waft into my nose. In the midst of this chaos, an image of a funeral flashed into my head. I pictured my father and brother in grim black suits, looking solemn and grave, yet refusing to cry as to preserve their tightly guarded masculinities. My imaginations were quickly interrupted as the car jerked forward and crashed into what seemed like heavy cement. I bumped my head on the front seat and the car came to an abrupt halt. I lay still and Charlie’s music, once appearing to be loud, was suddenly silent, and all I could hear was my heavy breathing, pounding rapidly and vigorously without skipping a beat.
Back at home, I lay down with a cast on my left ankle and a band-aid on my forehead. I stared at my ceiling, swinging my finger around to make loopholes, as if to trace the swirly design on my ceiling. The swirls appeared to disentangle and unwind, resembling the tapes of a cassette coming undone – a mix tape replaying “crash – jolt – scream – sobs” over and over in my head. My mom entered my room and sat on the edge of my bed. She began to stroke my hair and as usual, opened her mouth and sang in that mellifluous voice of hers. Except this time, I did not stop her. “Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, Smiles await you when you rise. Sleep, pretty baby, do not cry, and I will sing a lullaby…”





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