’Course, being a flower swallow’s like most other things, I figure, ’cause you hafta get used to it before you start doing it right. That first winter was hard, and that’s the Pyongyang-perfect truth, but most of that was on account of me not knowing the way to do things. You don’t get born knowing how to do it right, ’course, so you make a lot of mistakes and end up hungry and cold more often than you woulda if someone teached you how to do it proper-like from the start.
Well, if you was a young boy and didn’t have no place to go but you knowed enough to figure you couldn’t stay awake much longer without a real meal, or even some tree bark or whatnot, you’d hafta to go and decide what to do, and you couldn’t waste your time guessing if it was right. So what I did — and looking back, I figure it was the best I coulda done given what I knowed at the time — was I went to the busiest neighborhoods and knocked on doors asking for something.
It might sound like an ok plan to you if you never lived in a famine, ’cause you’d probably figure that folks would see a boy hungry and most of them would give him at least a little something to eat even if they didn’t invite him in, except that’s not what happened. Most of the people wouldn’t open the door for me, even the ones that had smoke coming out of the tops of their houses, and I guess if you figure they was just as hungry as me then it sorta makes sense, except I wasn’t thinking about that right then. All I was thinking about was needing to get something in my belly.
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.