Trembling with fear and hiding behind the couch, I saw my mom burst into tears through the mirror. It was the day when my family lost everything. In the last twenty minutes, people to whom my father owed money came into our house and repossessed all of our belongings. My parents’ hunched shoulders and eyes, full of desperation, convinced me that they just lost their last hope. In that manner, IMF-Korea’s economic depression struck my family’s happiness for several years after 1996. At 7 years old, without knowing what to do, I was sniveling behind the couch. It was a day before my birthday, 18th June, 1997.
My mom was always been home when I came back from school; however, after that melancholy incident, I never saw her before eleven at night. Hoping to see my mom, I tried to stay up until eleven at night; yet, most of the time I fell asleep before that. Sometimes when I saw her coming in, she was so worn out that she could hardly walk. It had been such a long time since I saw my dad, I barely remembered his face. One day, I believed my father had abandoned me and I resolved myself to the fact that I would never see him again.
I still remember the day when all my classmates came to school with their parents and had a “family drawing contest.” All the students looked happy with their parents. I was sitting by myself just like an orphan. My teacher came to me and asked, “Where are your parents?” I answered, “They went to Japan on business,” and I just ran home. Once I got home, I cried out loud and cursed my teacher and father. There was no one to hear me, and no one to console my somber mood.
For a long time after, it was wriggling sounds that woke me up at dawn. I heard my mom and man whose voice I didn’t recognize praying with a candle lit. While slitting my eyes I eavesdropped on what they were saying. “Help us to stay in love.” It was my father whom I hadn’t seen in almost five months. Although I had the impulse to go hug him, the long time gap kept me under the blanket. Coming closer to me, my father kissed my forehead, and whispered in my ear, “It won’t last much longer, because mom and dad both love you,” then he left again.
As my father had told me, we regained our happiness in the following summer. As I dreamed for a year, my family had a dinner, talked and laughed together. Although my family suffered from being destitute, it taught us an invaluable lesson: family is the great source of power that can overcome any obstacle. I was fortunate enough to realize how important family is. I will always be grateful to my parents who taught me there is nothing to be afraid of with family. I believe that now it is my responsibility to let other people know the importance of love among family members.
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