Well, guys, I braved another day on the outside.
Met with my friend, Ellen, at a coffee shop to talk shop and feel normal. We almost made it the entire hour without being bothered. But, of course, when you’re on the outside, you risk the high anxiety of the run-of-the-mill assholes. Honestly, it’s like a video game called life. Only this time, she noticed the staring. “Those people who just left would not stop looking at us,” she commented. Well, now she knows what I go through every single time I go out.
I can’t hold up a sign on my person, reassuring them that I’m not the enemy. I’m just a normal person. But my face says something else entirely too threatening to the ones who aren’t familiar. In the ’70s, I was the Viet Cong. To the Japanese- and Polynesian-American locals in Aiea, I was a katonk. Today, in the age of Covid, I’m a Chinese spy, working for the totalitarian government, out to steal the jobs of decent U.S. citizens (white people).
I can’t swear on a stack of bibles that I’m not even Chinese, I’m a Korean-American who absolutely hates what any government does in the name of expediency, treating its people like roaches.
They see my face, and think I’m bad. I must be eradicated.
I had my back to the young, white couple — an unconscious habit born from decades of micro- and macro-aggressions. I better get used to this. I’m moving in March to the land of the white people.
I also drove to my old house, to drop off baked goods at a neighbor’s. Google Maps announced, “Welcome home,” and a pang went through me, like a current. All the lights were out. I almost felt myself want to drive up and walk through the garage door. Old times.
As I drove away from the prim, manicured lawns, from the only world I knew for 15 years while the only child I ever had grew up, I said out loud, “Goodbye, Wingate… I did my best.”
And wondered if I’d ever be back here. Maybe to visit, when my son moves back to start his adult life. Maybe to bury another friend.
Originally published at https://carolbankswebercoggie.wordpress.com on February 21, 2021.