As mentioned in my previous post, I’m now surrounded by (mostly) other Koreans. Although this has been beneficial in some regards, it has also been incredibly, incredibly challenging.
Each person I pass is a potential parental candidate. I find myself looking at everyone, really looking at them, and making eye contact with as many people as I can. It’s like I’m trying to bore my soul into theirs, hoping to force some “magic spark” which would lead to an instant, mutual realization that we’re related.
There’s a line in a song that goes something like “if I saw you on the street, would you know that it was me? Or would you smile and let me walk on by?” I can’t get this out of my mind. I think about it all the time. I’m haunted by it in my dreams. It’s exacerbated as soon as I step into the lobby, becoming more intense with each step I take. It’s worst while lost in crowds of Koreans because at any moment I know that I could be passing my parents, my brothers and/or sisters, my family members, their friends…and I would never know it.
One of the large motivations behind this trip, aside from miraculously being able to meet one or both of my birth parents, or at least anyone who could tell me about them, was being able to at least be in the same location that they were 25 years ago; to know that they were here. Unfortunately, what I learned was that all of the buildings (the Holt Office, Reception Center, and orphanage) have been moved from their original locations. Those buildings held nothing for me, no connection to my past.
Being in Korea is the closest I can get to being in the same spot as them.
This is the closest I will ever be to my parents, to feeling okay, and yet I’m still impossibly far.
When I came home from my “ultimate life fail,” a part of me died.
And now, another part, a much larger one, is dying too.
It feels just as one would expect it would.
And what is an “instant” death anyway? How long is an instant? Is it one second? Ten? The pain of those seconds must have been awful as her heart burst and her lungs collapsed and there was no air and no blood to her brain and only raw panic. What the hell is instant? Nothing is instant. Instant rice takes five minutes, instant pudding an hour. I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels particularly instantaneous.