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A Look In the Eye

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When I was a kid my dad used to teach me to look people in the eye. This wasn’t so common in Korea back when I lived there: looking adults in the eye meant disrespect: it meant you thought you were equal to your elders. Still he told me to look people in the eye when talking.

“It shows them you mean what you’re saying”

I could only believe in the dark sea of his pupils directly reflecting my own.


The most vivid memories of my father lie on the white couch in front of the black table on the fourth floor of our villa in Seoul, Korea. I would always be holding tightly onto my brown, coffee colored cushion sitting in an upright fetal position.
From my father’s breath I smell the bitter scent of alcohol and I notice his face is red like a dying ember. His cold hands touch my face and quickly I pull back surprised. Slowly, he turns around and looks far out into the abyss of our living room. Then from his mouth he utters a few words: “Noah, you know you’re my only son, I really love you. Don’t forget that”.

I’m waiting for a look in the eye, maybe just a quick stare, but instead he seeks something from the empty space before him.

His words fall flat before me.

I feel a large weight on my chest and a strong ache begins to choke my lungs. The pang deepens as a weakness spreads through first my chest and then my limbs.

It feels like my body is about to break.

There’s a hole through my body. I need something to fill the void of my own emptiness. The air around me is sucked up into a vacuum: my lungs fall dry as they expand while my heart starts to pump blood rapidly. Adrenaline rushes through and I gasp again yearning for some air but there’s nothing left to breathe.

Quickly, my vision gets blurry as I turn to my dad and the last things I see are my father’s eyes reflecting nothing but the darkness before him.

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sakthi.vetrivelThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm
Wow, this memoir is so deep and personal. A lot of the time, when people try and put something like this down on paper, it sounds a little fake. But you did a great job keeping it real. I think you could maybe work on keeping your descriptions from being repetitive.
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