The way you blow on every spoon of soup before you feed it to me. The way your voice sounds instantly happy when you realise it’s me who called. The way you carefully walk into my room when I’m asleep, pull the covers on a little tighter over me, and leave. Thinking you got away with it. Thinking that I don’t know. Oh, but I do know.
I know you think I don’t notice everything you do for me. And that’s true. I don’t notice everything. But sometimes, when my so-called preoccupied mind slows down, I can see a little clearer. Seeing clearly is so beautiful. I can now see how you plan your schedule based on my mood on the day. I can see how you get excited cooking for me. I can see how relieved you are when I finally come back home from wherever I was. It doesn’t matter where I was. As long as I’m home, safe with you.
You say you like my new haircut. You say you like my new dress. I can’t tell if you really like them or if you’re just saying that because you know I like them.
You have an incredible ability to see through my actions. And see through the layers of people in my life. You can accurately predict my friend’s true intentions from that one-hour play date that we had.
What’s funny is how much so many people I’ve introduced you to adore you. Even though you two couldn’t even converse in the same language. Your love transcends dialects.
And I’m so thankful for that. You are the right mix of respect and comfort. I look up to you but I still look forward to your hugs. You know me more than I know myself. And you’re the only person I trust with that power.
I find myself feeling guilty sometimes, thinking about how I took you for granted. I will never do that again. I know better now.
The way you learnt the alphabet just to impress me. The way the title tracks of your favourite TV shows were the soundtrack of my childhood. The way you stood so strong all these years. How you never let an ounce of sorrow show on your face. How life has been so cruel, and yet here you are. Thriving. How will I ever be like you? Your strength is the strongest pillar in my life. I still stay up at night in awe. You are unbelievable.
Sometimes I wonder what I did so right to deserve you. I am not worthy of all your love. But I will continue to graciously accept it, because now, that’s the standard you’ve made me feel like I deserve.
But it’s you who deserves the world. And even the world sometimes isn’t enough. You deserve so much. So much. I hope I help you get there. I hope I’m half the woman you are, because that is more than I can ever dream of. The way you so naturally covered up my mistakes in front of my parents. The way you always fought on my side. The way the smell of your shampoo, which you never changed, now instantly calms me.
You always were and always will be a part of me. You saw me grow. You shaped me as a person.
[artwork by Heo Jiseon]