Warning: May contain topics of alcoholism and abuse, if any of the following makes you uncomfortable, please don't read. Thank you~
Hi, my name is Mae. At one point, you'll know me as Park Li Mae. My given name. I was conceived in Seoul on the stretcher of the hospital. Guess I wanted to get out. My father always told me I wanted to start my exploration of life.
I think he just said that to make me feel better.
Because my life was indeed an exploration. But its not what you think.
My mom was already divorced to my dad by the time I was born. And she felt she was too young to raise a child, considering she was only 22. I get it, you want to see the world and enjoy having no responsibilities. But come on, a baby needs a mother.
But my father saddled up and headed back to his hometown in America along with me. The town of Leafhill. A small, western town full of dust and the smell of cows. An unpleasant smell I might add. As well as VERY loud trains that run through. I grew up inside the town, then moved out to the country side when I turned 10.
My father had already turned to alcohol by that time. But never wanted to hurt me. He loved me. He always made sure I had good grades, good clothes, and good food, and of course, learned both cultures. I never learned my moms Korean ways even when I looked exactly like her. My dad says I look like a 'true korean beauty' which he used to call my mother all the time.
He never knew much about the culture. He learned the language in college and moved on to study at a university in Seoul, where he met my mother. Hee Kyoung Li was her name. They instantly became school sweethearts and fell in love, then got married after they graduated. But problems arose when she found out she was pregnant with me.
They were both distraught. Both thinking that it was too early. But, being the good man my father was, decided that he could make it work. Even with a child to raise. He knew that he's always wanted kids.
As a child, when I was about 7, I was walking home from school and saw the most beautiful instrument at a garage sale. It was a violin, the owner said it was her sons who had left for college and didn't want it anymore. She sold it to me for $50! Usually newly tailored violins are $100-$200! I started learning the very second I got home.
My poor father. I bet he has to get hearing aids. He helped me buy all the books and pay for private practices. It was the only thing I was good at. The only thing I loved doing. Things started to go downhill after we moved to the country and I couldn't get private lessons anymore. But I still kept it up. We started band at around 6th grade. When I was 12. And those were the best times of my life. I was the only one who could play violin.
But I still got picked on. But I hung out with a group of band geeks. 4 boys and 2 girls. One girl named Kailey didn't like me, but the other girl Clara- she liked me. I guess I drove off the other girl, because she left to join the popular group. The guys were hilarious. They had so much humor in themselves. But of course we'd get bullied by the jocks and prissy popular girls. Middle school was only the beginning.
3 years pass and I'm a freshman! My first and last class is band. For homeroom and last period. I deal with it. I'm still practicing the violin. I've gotten so much better. I mastered the "bumblebee" as people like to call it.
I hang out with just the guys now. Clara went back to Kailey and now they like to spread rumors and help the others bully me. But the seniors band guys always back us up. So far, I'm getting by as a freshman. It's just usually when I get home that I'm bothered.
I'm making a pizza, my fathers favorite dish. He smells of alcohol every time he's come home. Yet, he's been trying his best to be in my life. I can tell. I love that he is being somewhat responsible about it. But I did tell him he didn't have to worry about me anymore, now that I'm getting older. I do all the chores when I come home, I even had to sell most of my stuff for money. For my violin and basic surviving. I even gave some to him. I.... don't know why I did that.
He didn't want it, but I snuck it in his wallet anyway. He was mad when he got home but said he knew I was thinking in the right place. But I really wasn't, he came home with 2 full cases of beer. I scolded myself that night and let him have the rest of the leftovers, the only food left till I go shopping. I know this situation isn't good for me, but as long as he doesn't go overboard everything will be alright. Wouldn't it?
But it wasn't alright at all. 2 years have passed. I'm working 2 jobs. I work on weekends at one job for living expenses and the other job I work school nights- for college. I want to have some future. Last year, dad gave me his truck since his work paid for a new one for him. I felt as though 300 pounds was lifted off my shoulders.
I still hang out with some of the guys. But we don't talk as much. I just sit there, contemplating my existence, as every teenager does. "Mae, do you have notes?", "Mae, what do we do? Can you help me on this part?" they ask. And I'm suffocating! quite figuratively.
I get tripped while getting up to throw my tray away. They laugh. They all do. The band guys don't even try to help me up. Some friends. psh.
The rest of the day is boring. Pretty soon band is all that's left. Yes, I still take it. I started working on the electric violin last year as a sophomore. It sounds so cool. But I just don't have as much time to practice anymore. Today, we turn in our permission slips to go to a festival, where I finally get to solo. I feel extremely nervous. I've never solo'd ever.
That night, there is a football game. I sit in the band section by the others. I duet on one pep song with the percussion. It's a pretty boring game. We are losing by 10 points. 31-21. By our rival team. There is some pretty hot commotion going on. The band if forced to leave under circumstances. I chuckle at the grown men, fighting by a bunch of teenagers.
I help put everything away back at the school, then walk to my truck. I start it and set off for home.
As I approach my driveway, I notice that my dads truck isn't there. He must've stayed somewhere again. Of course, I thought. What else is new right?
I shower off and stretch after a long day, and I wake up to my phone ringing. I pick it up and answer.
"Is this Mae Park?" they asked.
"This is she."
"This is the LPD, we need you to come down to the station."
I almost choked on the air I was breathing.
"I'm sorry, but what for?" I ask, my breathing was unsteady.
"It's your father, there was an accident."
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