It was a cold night as I looked for him outside my window. I knew he wasn’t going to be anywhere, he probably didn’t even know I existed. I heaved a sigh and looked at the moon. The moon seemed as cold as the night, yet it was still brighter than the darkness surrounding it. He was like the moon- distant yet illuminating. My mood grew tenebrous at the thought of my love for him, but he did make every day more enjoyable. I suppose life was more fun when you are in love, even if it is unrequited.
“Maya, go to sleep!” I
heard my mother yell in Japanese. She was right, I shouldn’t stay up so late on
a school night. I always listened to her, because I was a good daughter.
After brushing my teeth and putting
on my pajamas, I went to my mother’s bedroom to kiss her goodnight. As I made
my way to bed, I looked at the moon once again and wished it goodnight as well.
“If he is the moon, then you
are the sun,” My friend Kyoko told me. I gave her a look of confusion to
indicate that I need an explanation. “He is moody, you are cheery, he
wears gray and black, you wear bright colors, he’s mysterious, you’re an
open-book,” She smirked, “You could stare at him for hours, people
can’t look at you for more than a few seconds.”
I elbowed her, even though I found
her joke- I hope it was a joke- funny. There was definitely some truth in her
rationale. He and I were as different as night and day in many ways, but there
was one crucial difference that Kyoko glossed over:
He was Korean and I was Japanese.
I did not really care that he was
Korean, but I feared that my mother would. She never explicitly degraded Korea
or Koreans, however there were things that she did to display her discomfort.
She did not go into Korean-owned stores, she squirmed when she heard Korean
names, and she never spoke about WWII. My uncle was much more open about his
“thoughts” and did not hold back to using harsh stereotypes to
describe Koreans. My mother would tell him to stop, but she never denied what
he said. It was small details like that which made me keep this crush a secret.
After all, it was merely a crush. It would fade away like stars in the morning
“He looks at you, you
know,” Kyoko whispered to me on our way to Geometry, the only class I had
“I think he looks at
everyone,” I replied, although my mind was elsewhere. I had taken Kyoko’s
small comment and ran a million miles. Perhaps he did like me? Perhaps we could
put our differences aside? Perhaps my mother would not care that he was Korean,
WWII ended 40 years ago after all. I knew it was unlikely, but I allowed myself
to daydream. I was always forced to stay grounded, so there couldn’t be any
harm in letting my mind wander.
Mathematics did not come easily to
me, but I did well in Geometry. I had to try harder, but I always did well on
my tests and got high marks. My mother would hang my report card on the
refrigerator. Although most teenagers would find that embarrassing, it filled
me with pride. A part of me wanted to get good grades just so I could make my
mother happy. It was the least I could do.
I looked over at him as I worked on
a worksheet that the teacher passed out. He had already finished and waited for
the teacher to give him more to do. I could tell that mathematics came easily
to him. A part of me wanted to fail a
test just so he could tutor me, but I was not going to compromise my education
for a boy.
He was a special boy though. He was
very smart and beautiful. Kyoko teased me for calling him beautiful, but he
was. He had hair that looked so soft , skin that was so clear, and he was tall.
If he were white then he would be the most popular boy in school. Sometimes I
would stand in front of the mirror and wonder if I was beautiful enough for
him. I knew it was a ridiculous thought, and he probably did not care about
beauty, but I couldn’t stop it from crossing my mind. These thoughts continued
to fill my head as I looked at him and then it happened:
He looked at me!
I turned red and looked back at my
I tried to focus on the problems but
my mind was racing. Perhaps I could make it seem like I was looking at the
clock? But the clock was on my side. Maybe he didn’t even notice. The bell
rang, so I put my homework into my binder. As I looked up, he was standing in
front of me!
“Did you need something?”
He asked impassively.
I was so flustered that all I could
say was “what?”
He broke out into a smile and I felt
my face turning redder because I thought he was laughing at me and, also, he
never looked cuter.
“I’m sorry, I guess I caught
you daydreaming and I used that as an excuse to talk to you,” He said, still
smiling, “My name is Jin-ho, but people call me Jin or Jim.”
I nodded, even though I already knew
his name. “My name is Maya, nice to meet you,” I said and shook his
He laughed some more. “So
formal, it’s cute.”
I looked down so he won’t see my red
“I need to go now, Maya, but I
hope to see you again.” His voice was happier than I expected. I looked up
at him, hoping my face was less red, and gave him my best attempt at a charming
smile. He smiled back and went away.
I stood by my desk and tried to
contemplate what just happened. He approached me, after catching me staring at
him, and started a conversation. He was funny and polite, while I was demure.
Perhaps Kyoko was wrong? Perhaps I was the moon and he was the sun. Either way,
there was a time where the moon and the sun would meet- it’s called an eclipse.
You needed special sunglasses to stare at the eclipse, but it was beautiful.
What just happened between Jin-ho and I was an eclipse, a meeting between the
sun and the moon.
I could not wait for tomorrow.