Friday, January 30, 2015

Yesu shuffled around the corner of Dreamwood Terrace to Sunnyside Up Diner. He didn't have enough time to make food for his four "patients" in apartment 413 before his early morning shift at O'Harley's so he decided to bring them back some eggs and bacon. Besides, they had been making a surprising amount of progress this week so he figured they deserved a treat. Yesu called them his "patients" because he was fixing them. Just like a doctor would fix their patients' physical illnesses, Yesu would fix their mental illnesses. He would teach them to know God and teach them the error of their ways. Yesu made a mental note to order a special side of sausage for his patient that had been making the most progress recently. Jedediah, as Yesu had named him, was an ex-sniper for the United States military who had killed over 200 people during his service. Yesu gave all of his patients biblical names to strengthen their tie to Christianity and remind them of God's word. Jedediah, meaning "God's friend," was given to this man of war because he needed to make friends, not enemies. To Yesu, war was one of the worst sins of all. God did not make man so that they could destroy each other in pointless bloodshed.

The Diner was vacant except for one man sitting at the far end of the bar with his head down over a cup of black coffee. He looked young, yet darkness sunk his eyes and wrinkles were carved into his forehead. He was lost in his thoughts, staring at his coffee, and didn't seem to notice when Yesu sat down and ordered his four to-go meals. Silence weighed down the room for the next several minutes and Yesu pondered whether or not to say something to the man. He hated to see people who looked lost and alone. They were usually people who did not know God.
"What brings you here so early?"
As if he didn't believe he'd been spoken to, the man looked up hesitantly at Yesu.
Ahh-umm I don't know, honestly," he admitted with a slight smile appearing on his face. "I guess I just couldn't sleep. What about you?"
"Just grabbing some breakfast before I go to work at O'Harley's. I live around the corner in Dreamwood Terrace so I come here often for breakfast. I've never seen you here before, though. Did you just move here?," Yesu said, happy he could engage the man.
"Oh that's my place too. But yeah, I just moved in recently."
"How are you liking it so far?"
The man was quiet for a moment. "Well... you know, I'm still adjusting. It's a process. Coming back after serving from so long has been harder than I ever expected." The worried look returned to his face.
"Serving in what?" Yesu asked, confused.
"The army. It's just that I've changed more than I can understand. I've seen so much more than I can wrap my head around. It's not that I regret serving, it's just when you meet so many people and watch every single one of them die, it... it changes the way you look at the world."
As the man finished his sentence, the waitress put four to-go boxes down in front of Yesu. Yesu stood and was silent for a moment, unsure of how to close a conversation abruptly after such personal information had been shared. "It was nice talking to you," Yesu smiled while locking gazes with the man. He wasn't sure if it was doubt or gratitude that he saw in the man's eyes.

As Yesu walked out, he thought maybe people who served in the military weren't as bad as he originally perceived them to be. The man in the diner wasn't evil, he didn't need to be cured or healed. He just needed to be loved.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Insanity was taking over Yesu. He had been working nearly 24/7 for the past three days in order to make the rent for apartment 413, his "storage space" as he told the landlord of Dreamwood Terrace. Only giving himself enough time off to sleep, Yesu had not prayed in exactly 35 hours. Without the calming and euphoric effects he got from his prayers, he was shaking and mentally hyperventilating, kind of like a drug addict going through withdrawal. After his shift and before he went home to sleep, Yesu HAD to get a load of laundry done as he was almost completely out of clean clothes. His wardrobe consisted of a limited amount of loose cloth pants and robes with asian inspired prints. He grabbed his basket of dirty clothes from the apartment and briskly walked to the laundry mat. With dark storms raging in his mind, he didn't notice the open bottle of detergent on top of the washing machine and accidentally knocked it onto the floor. Blue liquid oozed out and only seconds after Yesu dropped to the floor to  clean up the mess, a man swooped in and said "here let me help you out with that." Even more mentally distraught now with this mess, Yesu couldn't form words so he just put his head down and vigorously rubbed at the floor with a towel. The man looked up at Yesu with a kind smile on his face as he wiped at the floor. "I'm Charlie," he encouraged. Instead of replying with his name, Yesu thanked the man. This was partly because he rarely experienced Americans display random acts of kindness, but mostly because help cleaning up the mess would help get him home sooner. Maybe he could sneak in a quick prayer before he went to sleep. With limited further interaction with the man, Yesu hurried out of laundry mat.

As he walked back to Dreamwood Terrace, a well dressed man walked even more briskly in front of him. Like Yesu, the man seemed distraught. He kept looking over his shoulder suspiciously at Yesu. A drug addict. Yesu knew the symptoms of withdrawal all too well. His father had been a cocaine addict from before Yesu could even remember to the day he died of an overdose when Yesu was 15. The way this man clenched his face in his hands and shook his head as if to convince himself he hadn't seen a ghost reminded Yesu of his father when he would run out of money to spend on the magic white powder. It reminded him of the "Appa (Dad) where were you?" and the silent, distant glares like he didn't recognize his own son. Yes, drug addicts are sinful. But Yesu couldn't save them: he didn't want to be drowned by the flood of memories they brought him nor should he even bother with them. They couldn't be saved; Yesu knew that firsthand.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Yesu finished his five hour, late night shift working the kitchen at O'Harley's at 2 AM and left the restaurant with a subtle smile on his face. Unlike the rest of his co-workers, who groaned and slouched over while working the night shift, Yesu actually enjoyed it. He felt more peaceful at night. Especially on nights like this where it was unusually warm for winter. Warm, humid nights reminded him of his childhood in Sepo, North Korea, where he would sleep in the hammock on the screened porch of his parent's house and the sounds of the tree frogs would lull him to sleep. What Yesu missed most about North Korea was his Uma or his mother. His Uma was a very religious woman and would read the Bible and teach him the ways of Christianity in secret even though religion was very strictly controlled by the North Korean government.

He loved his Uma dearly, but thought of her more as a foster mother. Yesu's real mother was the Virgin Mary, he believed it with every ounce of his being. From the time that he was a young boy and his mother was just starting to teach him about the Bible, Yesu felt a strange and overpowering sense of nostalgia for the stories being told in the new testament and an uncontainable connection to Mary. The type of connection only a child has to their mother, an internal and unexplainable one that is controlled by only the forces of nature. The more Yesu read and learned about Jesus, the more he believed he was him reincarnated. Yesu was born Kwan Myongo but had secretly called himself Yesu, meaning Jesus in Korean, since he was seven years old. The boundaries of religion under the Democratic People's Republic government in North Korea were suffocating Yesu. He wanted to embrace his true identity to its fullest extent and carry out his prophecy, which is why he smuggled himself out of heavily restricted Korea and into America when he was 25 on a cargo ship carrying potatoes. Quickly after arriving in "the land of the free," Yesu realized that fulfilling your potential was much harder in this country than it appeared to be in all the stories he heard. People thought he was utterly deranged for believing he was Jesus and wouldn't give him the time of day. He yearned to fix broken people, bring meaning and light to their lives like God wanted him to. The people of America certainly needed it. They were a godless group who chased after money and status like a pack of vicious, hungry animals. After years of failing to get through to anyone, Yesu realized something. The people rarely came to Jesus, Jesus had to come to the people to make them realize the errors of their ways. What Yesu saw next would be the perfect opportunity to do this.

As he started walking down Boulevard Ave. towards Main Street, Yesu heard groaning noises coming from the alley way between O'Harley's and the YMCA. He peered around the corner of the alley and saw the shadow of a person huddled over in the fetal position and a dark figure running in the opposite direction. Simultaneously, a bright light came flashing from above and Yesu looked up into the sky. Dazzling beams of light shot through the sky and filled the darkness. It was a meteor shower. It was a sign from the father. He was saying "Go. Go chase after him." Yesu thought no longer and quickly ran after the mysterious person. The burglar swung around the corner of the YMCA and as Yesu did the same about 15 seconds later, the man was already at the top of a massive chain linked fence that cut off the alley from the street. As the man hopped to the ground and ran down the street, Yesu angrily kicked a bag of trash. Issues with his hip prevented him from being able to climb the fence. Yesu wish he was as fast and powerful as the meteor shower. If he was, he would easily have been able to take that criminal down, knock him out, bring him back to apartment 413 and put him in the barred room with all the others.