Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)
- TITLE: Black to Match
By Martha Granderson
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“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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