This morning I woke up with my bike stolen, my laundry machine not working properly, my hot water off, and a wretched cough. I called my parents on Skype and moaned and groaned like a sullen teenager.
“Hannah, I’m sorry you are having a frustrating day, but you have to see the positive. You have a lot to be happy for,” my mom said softly, but I ignored her and tried to convince her otherwise.
“This sucks. I want to get the hell out of here. What the fuck is wrong with this country?”
I spit out insults and hoped my landlords could hear me. My face was red and blotchy and my hair unwashed.
“Well, Han. You look real good,” my dad, the comedian, said to make me smile and even more so, stop bitching.
We started talking about our plans for when I would come home for the summer. River rafting, new restaurants, finding a hotel room for San Francisco, and trying to keep my brother in one place so I could see him. My spirits started to lift and on my mom’s suggestion, I went for a walk outside.
Without a bike and without ear buds for my Ipod, I was more in tune with my surroundings and instead of racing through town on my bike, feeling perturbed at people in my way, I walked slowly, taking in the sights of my farm town.
Kids, teenagers, and adults laughing and conversing at a bellow while painting plant boxes bright turquoise.
Two men on scooters traveling at the same speed, chatting, and looking sharp in matching sports jackets.
Women carrying bags of fruit, that they bought from vendors under rainbow colored umbrellas. The fruit looks like it will explode past ripe in the hot sun.
A little girl with big cheeks giggling with glee as she jumps into the doorway of the toy store. Her father grabs her hand and gives her an exasperated, but kind smile.
The sun has gone down and the lights on the arch over the river change from purple to blue and back again. Sometimes they turn pink. I’m not sure if there is a pattern, but it gives the feeling of being in an outdoor love motel. This part of the road is usually empty at night, which is both eerie and comforting to me.
I see a blue and white crane with large, wide wings sit in the river and take off into the sky when it notices me watching and making my way towards it.
A chubby man with a boy’s face sits on a chair three sixes too small for him and cuts chili peppers in front of his store. He gives me a slight smile and a nod.
As they walk past me, I see that the boy holds his girlfriend’s hand and in his other hand is a lit cigarette. They are not matching, but both only wear black and white.
Inside shops that are closed for the night, I see a woman with her mouth gaping, watching the television, six feet above her. Fruit boxes almost have her trapped in there. In another window, where domesticity is on display, a man and his wife cram noodles in their mouths as they glance now and again at the glowing television set in front of them.
Ajummas sit in front of a shop full of glittery parasols for blocking that dangerous sunshine. They are enjoying the cool air, while a bit further down the street a secretive room with the walls papered in white and calligraphy, is full of ajoshi’s eating various Korean dishes under a bare light bulb. I wonder if I would be allowed to go inside.
In the quick light of a passing car, I see a ginger cat sitting regally up on the shingles of a house, as if guarding it. The cats in my town are scrappy and travel in gangs. I’ve seen a ginger one around that I call “The King of Cats” in my head and I think this majestic cat could be that very one.
On the hill up to my apartment, a teenage brother and sister play their own version of badminton. They are both in summer clothes that would have been in fashion in the 80’s. This seems to be their routine, as I’ve seen them silently playing in the dark evenings numerous times.
These little snippets of life may seem boring or worthless to the negative soul, but to me, it was proof that life is more important than a boiler that doesn’t work and sometimes a bike being stolen is a blessing in disguise.
When I found out my bike was stolen, my friend Jasmine, said to me, “Hannah, I believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe your bike was stolen instead of something worse happening. And now something good can happen.” Honestly, this sounded like crap to me and I said, “Jazz, there is no way anything good can come of a bike being stolen, but thanks.” I dismissed her positivity, just as I had my mom’s.
But, by the end of the day, my landlord had come by and fixed the laundry machine and hot water. I came to terms with having no bike and my cough had practically disappeared, due to cheap antibiotics from my doctor who speaks English and always helps me out quickly and professionally. Tomorrow I’m going to sunbathe on Janette’s roof and have a picnic of sorts with two of the new girls in our town.
Life is good. If you choose to look at it that way.
You were right, Jazz. I was wrong.
See song below 🙂