Day 13: Hand Me Down

Jin cursed in Korean.

“What was that, hon?” his mom asked.

“I said, this doesn’t fit me.” He waved his arms to demonstrate the flapping sleeves of the suit.

“You’ll grow into it. You look very smart.”

Jin cursed again.

“You know I don’t understand you if you don’t speak English,” his mom replied. She tried to hike up the arms at the elbows, but they slid back down. The sleeves covered Jin’s hands down to his fingertips.

“I need my own suit,” Jin said. “I’m an adult now. That’s what this is all about. Everyone else has their own suit. David was twice my size–I’m not going to fit into his grad suit.” Even if he never got to use it, Jin thought.

“He’s not twice your size. You’re very strapping. There, now, spread your elbows out a little to fill in the shoulders.”

“You bought David a suit.”

David is my son, Jin’s mother thought with shame. She pursed her lips and flattened the shoulders of David’s–Jin’s–suit with her palms.

“Mom,” Jin said. “I’m not David.” All the Korean didn’t seem to help remind her. Maybe it made her angry, Jin thought. Maybe she was making him wear this suit to remind him he didn’t fit. Even at the end of his schooling years, on the cusp of adulthood, she wouldn’t embrace him. He didn’t ask to be adopted. Why couldn’t she–

Jin saw the tears in her eyes reflected in the mirror. When she caught his gaze she lowered her head to hide it behind his back.

Shouldn’t have said his name, he thought.

“Mom,” he said.

She sniffed and lifted her head again. Jin hadn’t turned around–he was still watching her in the mirror as she stood behind him. Tears were still in her eyes, but she was smiling.

“I’m just so proud of you,” she said.

It was the first time Jin wanted a translator for her instead of the other way around.

 

 

Today’s three prompts were: “Hand-me-downs,” “A graduation,” and “A translator.”

Got a little sentimental with this one. Or maybe cynical. Either way, I like it. Till tomorrow, Reader.

– H.

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