Life When We Don’t Go to Stanford
I opened the door, and something slapped me across the face. It was Mrs. Park, Jinjoo’s mother. Ever since they found out I had lied about going to Stanford, I’d been getting angry calls and letters.
“아이 컴 투 기브 유 댓,” she said. “유 루인 마이 도터스 퓨쳐.“
This pained me. Jinjoo was my oldest student in Korea.
“I’m sorry I lied on my résumé. But that’s not why she didn’t get into a top school. And Sookmyeong is a perfectly fine university,”
Mrs. Park stepped in and let the door shut. Her voice rose by a full pitch.
“잇츠 어 우먼즈 유니버시티. 진주 머스트 컴피트 위드 멘 앤 썩시드 앤 오버컴 비잉 우먼.“
She trembled as she stressed each word. There might have been tears, but she blinked them away. She took in the mess in my apartment. Half-packed boxes all over the floor.
“They want me out by this weekend,” I said. “Please, tell Jinjoo I’m sorry.”
She looked at me for a moment.
“유 노, 진주 라이크 유. 아이 노 유 아 굿 티쳐 인 아메리카. 벗 진주 이즈 노 아메리칸.“
Then she looked in her purse and showed me her old college ID card. She looked just like her daughter.
“앤드류, 아이 웬 투 숙명 유니버시티. 마이 패런츠 디든 원 미 투 고 투 베터 스쿨 댄 마이 브라더. 아이 웬트 앤 겟 굳 허즈번드, 앤 해브 베이비. 댓 워즈 마이 라이프. 아이 돈 원 댓 포 진주. 쉬 이즈 스페셜.“
I did not say anything. Jinjoo was special.
Mrs. Park and I were sharing the last common ground in this terribly big world, and that ground was closing up like an eclipse. We stood and cherished that last bit of agreement, as we were learning to find ourselves at home in a world where neither of us went to Stanford.