Well, one day I brung some friends home after school, only Granny come up and whispered that we all needed to play outside, and I said, “Sure, Granny. You can just bring the snacks out there.” And she got this little bit of sadness on her face, and she said, “No snacks today, Chong-Su. Your friends will have to eat at their own homes.”
And I tried to explain to her that none of them had any food at their own homes, that there was a famine in Chongjin in those days, but she pushed me outside even though she was near weak as a teeny tiny breeze, and she shut the door. It was the first time since I got to Chongjin Granny didn’t give me what I asked for, and it was hard-like to grasp at first. So we played with sticks — bug hunting was harder on those days on account of some folks stealing them for food — and then my friends sorta looked around at that closed door and went off one by one long before sunset.
I was pretty mad at Granny, and I was planning to tell her she had embarrassed me, and why else would anyone be nice to me if it got around that Chong-Su’s granny didn’t pass out free treats anymore? But I got in the house, and she was sitting in the chair just sorta crying-like, real quiet so you wouldn’t have even knowed it unless you saw her. And I sneaked by and drawed some pictures in my notebook until dinnertime and forgot about yelling at her like I planned.
The "Twelve Days of Woong" series includes short snippets from my upcoming novel, Flower Swallow. Get your pre-publication copy NOW when you donate to Liberty in North Korea or read it free on Wattpad.