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Sex, Fire, MagicThe Story of Faith Moon
By Luci Kim
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Luci Kim
All right reserved.
Chapter OneInnocence & Early Friendships
This rarely happens, but sometimes when I look back I can vividly remember and relive the days I spent cooped up in the apartment. I can back track to the times I had to walk through the burgundy halls where the dust collected along the edges of the ceiling and floors. The dingy elevators with the button lights smudged out by time and the stained grease from people's fingers. The halls littered with the slight odor of cigarettes (my father partly to blame). Our room well lit with some dimming in between the sections. I love feeling the steady breeze from the fan in the TV room. My fathers cigarette resting on the ashtray as the ash slowly kills off the flame. The window slightly open to exhaust the fumes. My bed, the family futon, ready to be setup at exactly 11 PM before my parents depart to their room. A bathroom between my bedroom and my parents nesting spot.
I remember long boring days when I'd spend the day gazing into the mirror fixing my hair, trying on moms cosmetics. Day dreaming I could be like one of those pretty women you find on television or magazines. Cept I would fantasize my own pride for being the first Asian to grace those covers, or the shows and advertisements on TV.
Some days my parents would visit the Lees.
I always looked forward to meeting the Lees. They owned a house! Cept it wasn't one of those common American houses you would see on TV. It was a fair house that fell short of expectation. Maybe it was because of the bars that adorned all the windows. I don't know, but I loved being inside it. So much room and freedom inside compared to the apartment. The kitchen was bigger than our TV room! Oh and there was Robert, he was a year younger than me. Growing up I always called him Robbi, and he would call me Fate. That was until he turned three when he could pronounce the th in Faith.
Robbi was so cute! Short and pale with dark black eyes and hair. He always roamed around with this slight hunch and a look on his face like something was gonna jump out of nowhere to kill him. I had to find any excuse to squeeze him every chance I got. One of my favorites was teasing him by sneaking behind, and suddenly screaming my lungs out. He would always jump startled and start crying back then. And I would always hug him after wards, resting his head on my shoulders and telling him how sorry I was. Secretly laughing inside of course. Sigh, those were good times. Robbi my sweet little ghost.
Growing up in school I never had a collection of friends like most of the girls. At recess it was just me and Robbi through my years from first to fourth grade. During those few years we'd play house at recess. I was the mother of the house; which was just a dry corner at the school yard away from all the jungle gyms, black tops, and grassy fields. And Robbi, well, he was the guard dog of the house. Recess was so much fun with Robbi the guard dog. Secretly though, he was the spying guard dog. He'd always run off somewhere within the playground facility only to comeback to report what the other kids were doing. Meanwhile I was serving dishes made out of dirt, rocks, and/or wood chips to my imaginary family members. Often times when I had the chance, I'd toss Robbi a couple of Tatter-Tots for his little spying antics. However at recess, I'd usually exchange helpful information about the teachers that he'd encounter for the next year. You know important stuff like how they taught and graded, etc. It was just an alternative reward for him when Tatter-Tots weren't being served for lunch that day.
Oh Robbi was such a good guard dog. He was always coming back with such interesting information. Like who the mean girls next target was, if it was Jason or Matts' team that won the playground sport of choice for the day. He was so good that he even came back with some taboo stuff like; who kissed who, or who dominated the recess war in the jungle gym (Asian/African/ European/whatever). Robbi saw everything. Obviously Robbi and I were distant from all the other kids. Even from our own race. Our parents would assure us of that every time our family got together. They kept telling us that we were third generation. Whatever that means.
When I reached fourth grade, I met my first girl friend, Victoria. She was new to the area the teacher would say as she introduced her to the class. Somewhere from the south. The teacher sat her right beside me and assigned her a cubby next to mine. Ironically we clicked instantly, not in the classroom, but at recess.
I was outside busy making Mac n' Cheese with some pebbles and wood chips when Robbi comes back from his routine spy check. Hiding behind him was Vikki as she called out my name in a quizzical manner. As if to say, why are you hiding over here? I looked up and was stunned. Her green eyes glittered even under the shade. I think Robbi noticed as well cuz he just gawked with his tongue hanging out and drool collecting under his chin. I didn't know whether he was still role-playing or mesmerized as I was. Vikki didn't seem to mind Robbi though; she would smile while taking quick peeks at Robbi when he wasn't aware. It was the recess "house" where our friendship was initiated
"I like how straight your hair is," Vikki said.
"I like how pretty your eyes are," I replied.
Like magic we became best friends after that fateful moment. Trading answers secretly in the classroom when the teacher wasn't noticing, and sharing our role as mother and aunt while taking turns being sisters at recess. I always wanted a sister. I remember often times asking my parents why they won't have another baby. It was always the same answer. We can't afford one.
Saturdays were always my favorite day of the week after we became friends. Cuz it was Saturday when my parents allowed me to visit Vikkis' house. Her house was a little bigger and prettier than Robbis. Probably because it was further up north. Basically it looked exactly like how a white medium sized house of the suburbs should look. Going to Vikkis was always an adventure whenever I looked back.
I remember entering Vikkis room for the first time. It was so glamorous. Bright white with dangling pink wherever you looked. The floor jumbled with dolls and doll houses of all sorts of size and color. I thought I was in love. This was my dream room. Except for one thing, some of the dolls were missing hair or a limb. Most of them lost their clothing. Almost all of her dolls were practically naked. I was lost in a moment of bafflement; it was so much to take in at once. But the dolls are what struck me the most as confounding. Probably cuz I took care of my dolls. I didn't have half as many as she did, but I made damn sure mine looked picture perfect.
Chapter TwoHouse of Victoria
The first time I stepped into Vikkis room she asks me if I've ever been to church. Church, back then as a toddler, my mother and father would drop me off at the Lees' to go to (at the time I thought) a club ran by a guy named Jesus who only invited adults in. Which I eventually learned is just a building devoted to a guy named Jesus opened to everyone. Then of course that's when I popped my parents the question of why. Like, why don't you take me to church.
"Oh, you're too young to know about Jesus," my parents would reply to me at my tender age 8.
Vikki thought it was cool that I didn't go to church. Saying something like my parents must have studied the King James Version of the Bible. Of course I had no idea what the bible was or what it was about at the time. When Vikki found out, she insisted on informing me about the first chapter in the bible, Genesis. She then screamed; "Joseph! Adler!"
Next thing I heard were approaching footsteps; one coming up the stairs and the other coming down the hall. The door slams open and in came her two brothers. Both seemed to be well into their middle school years at the very least.
"What you need Vic?" they asked
She smiled and introduced me to both of them.
Then she said, "This is Faith, she's not a Christian and has never heard of the Holy Bible."
Then both her brothers grinned and said, "Lets save her before she gets conformed."
Vikki screeched with excitement, meanwhile her brothers howled as they pulled out a large chest from her closet. They flung it open only to reveal a large selection of Dinosaurs.
"These used to be my brothers," she said, "but now their mine because they want to start growing up." Meanwhile her hands dug deep into the pile.
Seemed like her brothers weren't in a rush to grow up as Vikki claimed. They quickly dug their hands in to pick out their favorite as well. Then it was my turn. I approached the chest, looked down and picked up the first figurine that caught my attention. A short but lengthy yellow dinosaur.
"Ok," they said, "Lets go outside;" as her brothers quickly raced out of the room.
"C'mon Faith," she said as she grabbed my hand and led me trailing after her brothers.
We scampered outside to the back. I stopped quickly in my tracks after what I just witnessed. Her back yard was gorgeous. Vibrant colored flowers along the edges of her fence: a nice tree just tall enough for me to grab at arm's length and climb up if I wanted to. A pond that took up almost half the yard. Sunlight bright and reflecting off of everything green. It felt like I was in Heaven.
"C'mon Faith," they called out as they sat patiently in a circle between the tree and the pond.
I hesitated a moment waiting for my eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight and quickly joined them. Joseph started speaking without hesitation, I guess he was the oldest because Vikki and Adler were eagerly sitting and listening. Joseph began by saying that before there was an Earth there was God. He said that before there was light the universe was just darkness until God opened/ closed, folded/cut, and put together time and space. Which Adler clarified as how Heaven was set into place. Heaven being the universe with all its planets, and Earth being the last planet to be set into place.
"This is the start of Genesis," whispered Vikki while she reached out to hold my hand.
We got up and moved toward the pond. I noticed Adler picking up a large stone as we made our way toward the pond.
"Before there was land," said Joseph, "the Earth was just water filled with Darkness or Light." He winked and nodded at Adler. At that point Adler dropped the large stone into the pond.
"Then God formed land and gave us a sun and a moon so that the Earth could have two great lights in the morning and the evening," said Joseph
"And God created barriers between the waters, land, air, and Heaven," added Adler. Joseph nodded and grinned.
"That was all done by the fourth day of God," said Vikki.
"But it was Before the Fourth day of God that Dragons Roamed the earth. When the Earth had no sun or moon. They became extinct after God created the Sun and the moon." Joseph finishes with a bow.
"Dragons?" I muttered
"Yes," exclaimed Vikki
"Devils and Demons," said Adler.
"Also known as Dinosaurs," said Joseph still grinning.
At this point I just stared at them. I didn't know what to say. I remember when I was really little taking peaks into my parents room. It was majestic with red and gold. Images of dragons illustrated on the blankets, bed posts, and the furniture antiquities. Was this story true? I was wondering to myself, but most of all did this story somehow have a connection to me or my parents? After all, I was magically thrown into this situation because Vikki wanted to know if my parents went to church along with my limited understanding of the bible. The moment of tranced wonderment quickly broke when Vikki poked me and said look.
I looked down and saw a big ferocious looking dinosaur resting on Vikkis lap. She called it a Tyrannosaurus Rex as she let out a mighty roar. Then Adler showed his dinosaur, a giraffe like thing called a Brontosaurus.
"The Brontosaurs fought and defended itself with brute strength." Adler said with such pride as he took his dinosaur and had it tail whip Vikkis out of her hand and into the pond.
"Hey! Not fair," said Vikki as she stepped into the pond to retrieve her beloved T-Rex unafraid of getting her skirt wet. "T-Rex only killed to feed herself!"
"Oh yea?" said Adler. "Then how come it's so big with large sharp teeth?"
"It's so it could kill its food without letting it suffer in pain," said Vikki in a pitiful tone.
"You don't know that for sure," said Adler.
"Yes I do!" screamed Vikki.
Meanwhile as Vikki and Adler continued their argument Joseph approached me holding out his hand. I looked at his palm and noticed a yellow figurine with the head of a pelican and wings like a bat. Joseph said that it was a Pterodactyl, he called them the watchers of Hell. My skin suddenly tingled and my blood turned to ice when I heard that word. Hell. Back then I didn't know what the word meant or was, but it sure didn't sound like a good thing.
Then he took my wrist and opened my palm to reveal what I was holding. It was yellow like his except it didn't have wings or a head like a pelican. All I knew was that I picked this one out because the feet looked like hooves or the pretty shoes my mom would sometimes wear. But when I looked closer, I noticed that the feet weren't hooves at all. They were sharp hooks coming from the toes that the toy manufacturers forgot to cut out.
Joseph snatches the figurine out of my hand and says; "This is a Velociraptor."
I don't know why but I smiled looking up at him, Velociraptor, the name sounded so strong. Joseph said that the Velociraptor was found all over Asia and that many of them grew feathers.
"Really?" I gasped, "and what kind of dragon were they?"
Joseph paused and looked me dead in the eyes. His stare so strong I felt steam rising out of my body.
"You're not ready yet," said Joseph as he turned away to join his siblings. I followed to join them.
That day we played dragon wars. Well to be honest it was just Vikki and Adler trying to kill each other and knocking each others figurine off the large stone into the pond. Meanwhile Joseph held his pterodactyl like it was an airplane, soaring in the skies diving and rising every time Vikki or Adlers' dinosaur fell victim to the pond. I just sat and watched their battles ensue while staring at my Velociraptor. Maybe it was fun witnessing brother and sister interacting in play, or I was still shy because this was the first time I've been to Vikkis' house. Or maybe it was all the random animal noises they were making, and I didn't want to make the wrong kind of sound. I don't know for sure, but I was having a fun time being quiet and listening. I felt like a welcomed alien from another planet after what I had just witnessed. So I just sat there monitoring the war until my mom came to pick me up. That was the first time I got to really play with Vikki outside of School.
On the drive back home I told my mom everything. The whole time I heard my mom snicker under her breath while she kept saying Vikkis family was special. Every once in a while I'd drop my mom the repeated question; if she could have another baby. I wanted to be like Joseph as he would take command and watch over his siblings. Sigh, but she always responded with a firm no. You don't need one she would reply assuring me that my friends are all I need.
Chapter ThreeMother's Parting Words
I remember growing up how my mother spent most of her time in the kitchen/dining room. Phone tucked between her ear and shoulder. Cigarette pursed between her lips as her hands were busy cooking, cleaning, organizing, always doing something. If she wasn't doing that, she would relax on the dining table as she opened or folded her hand fan with a sharp snap. My mom never really liked to waste time, she was always busy wrapped up in some sort of activity. When I was little, our favorite activity was what my mom called eye-shopping. Eye-shopping is when we'd go out to the mall together and see all the new clothing and jewelry we could try on. That or the fragrances and free make-overs from Macy's. It was so we could get a taste of what we couldn't afford, and have a good idea of what we could. Yes, I know it should be called Window Shopping, but I like using the word eye-shopping more.
Excerpted from Sex, Fire, Magic by Luci Kim Copyright © 2011 by Luci Kim. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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