On this, my first trip to Korea, I thought I’d seen

all of my relatives except one. Then yesterday,

eating dinner in Busan, although it was very dark –

the lighting in restaurants here is usually quite dim –

I thought I saw my grandfather drinking soju with his friends

across the room. I strained to see, and after nearly going blind,

I simply stood up, went over to the table, and said, bowing,

Grampa, it’s Lanning, from Honolulu. He stared at me

looked at his group, shrugged his shoulders, and shook his head.

Hal-abeoji, Hal-abeoji, I said, remembering he couldn’t

speak much English, I’m Lanning, from Hawai’i.

This time he growled at me as if I were a stranger,

waved me away, light glaring off his glasses.

I think perhaps he wasn’t my grandfather after all.

Talk story

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