Secret Aunt

When I was a youngin’ my parents had to slave away to keep us all fed and clothed. We qualified for welfare but my parents’ senses of pride tongue the fine line between dignity and hubris. Sad to say I eventually found out how good welfare cheese tastes, but my belly was full.

Anyway, 엄마 and Pops were out of the house a good part of the working day and since I was so young and we couldn’t afford a caretaker of some sort, that meant Dennis was in charge. He made weird-tasting food just to see if I’d eat it cooked, he cleaned, and he made sure I didn’t die. Unfortunately, Dennis was at that age when it wasn’t cool to have a kid sister skipping along after you. I don’t blame him for thinking I was a pain in the ass because I was. I cried, I ate dirt, and I seemed to ALWAYS have to pee. How did he not leave me in an orphanage? He’s the real MVP.

It got to the point when Dennis would turn on the television and leave me at home by myself. He told me not to tell, and I didn’t… until there was a fucking Huckleberry Hound marathon on Cartoon Network and I blew a gasket. If people wonder why I’m weird, it’s because I got my brain melted by listening to a blue dog shittily sing “Oh My Darlin'” for about three hours straight. HOW CAN YOU EVEN MAKE THREE HOURS’ WORTH OF HUCKLEBERRY HOUND EPISODES?!?! 엄마 came home from work, she said “Jeshka, what you do today while Mommy away?” and I said “I HAD TO STAY HOME WATCHING A DUMB DOG SING BAD SONGS ON TV WHILE DENNIS WAS AT TIM’S HOUSE!” And then she blew a gasket. Ass whoopin’s were handed out, there was lots of crying, we had an awkward, silent dinner. Then my parents sat us all down in the living room, and my mother told us a story.

My mom had a lot of siblings growing up; she was one of seven, third oldest. She had to take care of the younger ones since her mother and father were often busy. This sounds familiar. Her two older sisters shirked their duties as caretakers, so my mother shouldered the responsibilities of taking care of the fourth child (I don’t think the youngest three had been born; perhaps a couple were infants.) My grandmother would yell, “Chong Yon! Take your little sister with you!” and my mother would grudgingly oblige. Wow, this story REALLY sounds familiar.

One day 엄마 decided to go to her friend’s house to play, little sister in tow. They arrived, and my mom’s friends said they wanted to play with sand and that she should fetch a pail of it. She left her sister with her friends and went to bring back some sand. While 엄마 was away her friends began to chide her sister. “We want to play with Chong Yon, not you.” “Why do you bother Chong Yon so much?” “Go away!”

My mother came back with the sand but her sister wasn’t there. “We told her to go home,” they said.

On her way home, my mother’s kid sister had been hit by a car. She died on impact. She died thinking her older sister didn’t want to play with her. She died thinking her sister didn’t want her around.

Dennis never left me at home again, and I’ve never watched an episode of Huckleberry Hound since.

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