Note: My grandmother, my “harlmony,” is a small, Asian woman. She has a round face with grey hair peppered around in tight, permed curls. She has many wrinkles fanning upon her aged hands and on her face.
Music: Her face still shines and her eyes still twinkle as if she has no care in the world.
Note: My harlmony makes me patjuk, red bean pudding, every time I go to her house because she knows I love it.
Note: To make the patjuk, she grinds hundreds of red beans with a mortar and pestle. Afterwards, she must strain them into a boiling pot of water, stirring it for hours on end, until a thick pudding forms. Throughout this entire process she must stand in the hot, sweltering kitchen.
Music: With all the steam and hot water blowing in her face, the only reward is the sound of her grandchildren slurping it up within a matter of minutes.
Note: My harlmony left elementary school to take care of her siblings, relocated her children to America from Korea, and now she takes care of me and my sister.
Music: She has always been the “mother figure.”
Fact: My grandmother suffered through polio as a child and it left her left leg slightly shorter than her right leg. So everytime she walks, she limps a little. She never complains, but we all know now that it even hurts her to stand.
Music: Through the pain, she makes patjuk for me.
In my mind, they were disparate notes just randomly playing, but one day as I was enjoying my harlmony’s patjuk, I heard music.
The notes hummed and hung in the air. But this time they weren’t distant notes. They formed a beautiful song.
It was a beautiful song of my harlmony’s patjuk, a song of her love for her grandchildren.
This is the sweet truth from the facts.
This is the sweet music from the notes.
The Song: A grandmother’s love.