I wore the high tops just to annoy Her.
I brought three life altering questions to ponder
during the sermon, my favorite cartooning pen
for before and after, and Altoids--
"curiously strong mints"
for those soporific moments in between.
I schlepped into the room like an amoeba under the scope,
counting the lines between floor tiles between each step.
She shook the pastor's hand, or somebody's.
I sank into my chair. Safe inside my head for the rest of the service.
I never got to question one: "What are
the hazards of time travel in the B.C.E era?"
No, the music forced me to read the English
words on the screen, because it was in Korean.
The sermon-- translated by a girl my age with
these huge eyes-- I stared.
Too bad she knew both languages,
she had to hear it twice.
After it was over, it still wasn't over.
Lunch in the gym. I didn't have a plan,
since She neglected to mention this
would go on practically all day.
We sat at a table with the pastor,
and the girl with the huge eyes.
I stared at my plate.
It's kimchi, She said.
Why do you stay and eat lunch
together? I asked the eyes.
to be together on Sundays. This
gives us time to talk, and relax.
Then there is an evening service.
I choked. Would She make us stay?
Try the kimchi, it's good, the pastor prodded.
No way was I going to look
scared in front of the eyes.
I took a huge bite of the cabbage
and alien vegetables swimming in red sauce.
It was incredible--unbelievably complex:
vinegary and vibrant; spicy and sour;
heady,and hotter than anything
I'd ever tasted. It was exciting and new;
ancient and wild. I shoveled
in every mouthful from my Styrofoam bowl.
This is what church should be like, I found
myself saying aloud. Church should
be more like kimchi then I'd come
all the time.
Everyone laughed. I ate second helpings
of everything. I mark that bowl
of kimchi as the moment I made
friends for life.