My parents are two-paycheck couple. so I like omelette smells from the kitchen when my mother comes home early from work at times. I can vaguely remember those moments. I of childhood stood in the shady doorway. Still the air around me was chilly. Maybe because I opened the doorway to let the cold air follow me in from outside. Then my whole body from the tip of my nose of my tiptoe turned warm as the heat exhaling from the kitchen passed over my skin. And I crouched quietly in the doorway several minutes, watching the shadows on the floor dancing, It happened a long time ago.
A year ago, I was left alone only with the dark kitchen on that day too.
“It’s already six o’clock, I’ve got to eat”
I turned on the kitchen light and went to the veranda. the cold remains of seaweed soup was on the Kimchi refrigerator. I poured a glass of water over seaweed soup in the pot and heat it on the gas stove over medium heat.
“Who knows, maybe I should lower heat.“
I don’t think I could ever get used to the quite. I grope around a sofa in a dark living room for a TV remote control and turned on TV to break the silence. My favorite channel, MTV. I walked into the kitchen again, set each cutlery on the table and set across from the doorway. The sounds of TV sets and a clatter of the handle of the pot was heard.
At that instant the phone rang. I thought it’s something that I have come to expect and picked up the pone. “Hello?” It was my father. If my mother is my role model, my father is a wonderful dad that even I hope my future husband be like him,
“Hello? Dad?“ I put stress on each word for him to answer me.
“What did you call me?
“Has your mom come home yet?”
“She hasn’t. but It’s already 7:30. Pretty soon she will be home, I guess.”
“Cindy, I have something to tell you. It’s about your mother,” he began, and paused.
I hesitated to ask what it is by his unusually serious tone like never before. I tried to wave aside all sorts of association that flashed through my head. But my heart stated beating very fast as if I do the complete opposite of what I think.
He said finally, “Mommy is sick.”
Another pause. My mouth is full of a saliva that couldn't be swallowed easily.
"She has late-stage breast cancer. With the doctor’s remarks, she knew it, but she totally neglected herself arranging your maternal grandfather and attending your maternal grandmother. I learned about it three days ago...Final test results will come out next week, you can come with us, I want you to stay with your mom“
There was a pounding in my head. Everything seemed to be a lie. I wondered if it was a dream only briefly.
The pot on a gas stove gave out a pleasant aroma. My eyes that rolled emptily were suddenly fixed on a seaweed soup had been boiled too long. I was frightened that I went to turn off the gas and the main valve immediately. My view was obscured by the smoke from the boiling pot when I opened the saucepan lids. My eyes and nose itched, and the smoke made me cough persistently. My life didn’t even give me a little break. I felt like there was an aching emptiness in my heart. A smoky kitchen was filled with wailing of mine. I was like a misfortunate woman in the drama. Thinking in that way, I was overwhelmed with grief and at the same time, indescribable feeling descended. Catharsis. Perhaps grief deranged my mind, I was still alone. It was late at night.
Nothing dries sooner than a tear. In a saturated state that all tears were dried, I struggled to keep myself at a full boil and therefore I was getting hardened.