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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Black to Match
By Martha Granderson


A girl of about eleven sat on her bed late at night in a Seoul orphanage dormitory, brushing her hair. Her back, as always, was to the mirror on the wall— why look at it unless she had to? A low murmur of voices in the hall made her stop brushing and look up, straining to hear what was being said. “They say that her father is coming to get her, imagine that! She’s been raised here since her mother brought her as a two week old baby; she dropped her off and never looked back.” One voice muttered.
“The way the child looks, no wonder! There’s no way that her mother could hide that the father is a black American soldier, not with her frizzy hair.”
The voices moved up the hall and the girl resumed her brushing. She had heard it all before, lived all her life with the stigma of being abandoned by her American father in a monoculture land. She was different from everyone in the world she supposed, dark skinned and curly haired – she’d never seen anyone else with them. She stopped and looked at a wrinkled envelope on the bed in front of her. A large bold hand had scrawled the address across it unevenly – the Korean parts of her address were in horrible handwriting. The letter was opened, but not by her, the orphanage staff had opened it and translated the content into Korean for her before passing it on. It was from her father.
In all her eleven years, she had never gotten a word from either parent. Now, with the letter in front of her she was afraid to open it, what lay inside? What could a father be like? Her hand crept to the envelope and slowly pulled it towards her. If her father cared, why had he left her, and why had he written now after all these years? Slowly, she pulled the letter out and spread it on the blanket.
“Dear Eun Seon,
Can you ever forgive me for leaving you? I’m so sorry. I didn’t know until two years ago that I had a daughter, then it took years of God working on me before I finally realized what I needed to do. I’ve given my heart to Jesus and he has flooded me with love and longing for my little Korean daughter. My wife is excited about bringing you home too, we’ll be coming at the end of the month when the paperwork is in order.
Love, Your Dad, Mike”
The girl stared at the English scrawl and read the neatly typed Korean translation. She was very still for a moment, and then reached for the envelope to put the letter away. As she picked it up, a picture fell out. Her hands shook as she took it and held it to the light. A young black man with a inch of fro smiled back at her. She drew a shaky breath as a tear slipped down her dark cheek. Brushing it away, she turned to the mirror. Placing the picture in the frame of the glass, she looked at her reflection. Tentatively she smiled – a smile that matched her father’s. Then reaching up, she pulled the tight rubber band out of her hair and tossed her head, letting her frizzy curls fly around her face. She reached out a finger and touched the black man’s hair, a giggle escaping into the silence. She matched.

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This article has been read 465 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Pourbabaee 10/24/09
Loved this little story of hope, the giggle released into the silence, and "she matched"...you are a charming
Jan Ackerson 10/27/09
Oh, very sweet!

Teensy suggestion: hit "enter" between paragraphs. There's a "preview" button you can click before you click "submit", to be sure the formatting worked.

I really, really liked this story.
Ruth Brown10/27/09
Precious story!
Marie Fink10/29/09
For anyone who has spent any time in Korea and learned of the "monoculture", this story is powerful.
harvestgal Ndaguba10/29/09
Wow, totally enjoyed reading this. Good writing!
Alicia Calhoun10/29/09
You did a great job. I loved your story
Charla Diehl 10/31/09
Congratulations on your win with this beautifully written deserving entry.
Natalie Cole11/02/09
This story was so emotional- Life isn't always sunshine but it works out in the end. It's great to read something so refreshingly real