Truth Ignored

Truth Ignored

A Chapter by MeratheRestless

"Stop!" Grandmother snapped when Joon entered the stuffy apartment. "What have I told you about this singing all the time? Are you a circus monkey?"

Beats by Dre still covering his ears, he paused only to step out of his Retro 10 Air Jordans. He was use to her nagging. Underneath it all, he knew she practically worshipped him as the family's first grandson and desired nothing more than to run his life.

"Good evening to you too,Halmi." He finally yawned. "Is there still some chaya on the stove? I had to see Albina to her door first of course."

"Where did you get those silly shoes from?" Grandmother rose from her sewing machine and went to the stove to prepare fresh hot tea for him.

"You're the one who bought them so why are you calling me silly?" Joon took a seat in the front room with his back against the wall and fiddled with his cellphone.

"Don't be stupid! You know I would never waste over 10,000 som on a pair of shoes. You're starting to think as foolishly as your father." Grandmother clucked her tongue.

"You were here and you are the one who put those shoes beside my mattress while I slept, Halmi. I have been falling asleep beside you since I was 3 years old, remember? So really who is being silly now?"

For a moment Grandmother's eyes blazed like fiery coals at Joon's insolence. Then just as suddenly the glow drained from her unwrinkled peach hued face. Their was the slightest hint of uncertainty in her tone. "Of course I did give you those shoes....because you wanted them and I love you enough to indulge you. Your father is rich, but he doesn't care if you go barefoot. Your old Halmi isn't as young as she used to be. Please, let me make you something to eat."

The woman was all of 60 years old, didn't look a day over 40, and barely caught colds let alone Alzheimer's disease. Time had been good to her and to Joon's parents also as much as he hated to admit that. Halmi passed herself off as his mother under some circumstances;while few people dared believe his real mother was 30 never mind have grown children. At least he knew he had good genes though.

For the sake of peace he accepted the offer of something to eat and let the matter drop. "Just some rice and kimchi is fine. Please and thank you, Halmi." To pass the time, he first fished around in his eyes to remove his contacts and put on his glasses now that he was home, then settled down to play Grand Theft Auto on the PlayStation 4, Halmi also didn't remember purchasing.

Here this humble seamstress scraped up kopecks to make sure her treasured grandson wanted for nothing. Yet his wealthy software creator father lived like a king in greedy, selfish, capitalist America. In nearly 20 years Seok or Seth as he called himself now hadn't sent a single rouble or som to contribute to the expenses of his children. It was as if he didn't think they needed to eat or something. For all she loved him, Halmi didn't ever let Joon forget how grateful she should be to him.

"Thank you. Sorry" He mumbled mechanically as a tray of food and tea was placed for him. When you say the same words over and over daily for nearly your entire life they lose all meaning. It was tiring to constantly apologize.

*******************************************
"Why is aunt taking so many pictures, Uncle?"

17 October 2002 was Joonushka's 10th birthday and he found himself as was with many afternoons in Third Uncle's apartment. New toys and clothes with labels like Sean Jean and Phat Farm were strewn about, plucked from the huge unopened parcel he had been presented with. Fabrika Zvezd 1, a popular Russian music program played on the TV set and held Joon's attention much more than his gifts though.

Every time he looked up, Ermina took another picture.

"And you?" Uncle No Good had turned to 8 year old Ara, ignoring Joonushka's question. "How do you like your new clothes and toys?"

For reasons he didn't bother to inquire about, his little sister had also gotten a parcel that was nearly as big as his. Quiet and shy Ara shrugged her shoulders, dark Pocahontas plaits yet to be relieved of their large poufy bows. The only thing she had taken from her parcel was a battery powered educational handheld gadget that had been tossed aside when realized it displayed only in English.

"You want some help?" Aunt Ermina gently suggested. "You need some new tights for the winter and your brother got some in his box, so let's look for yours', okay?"

Again Ara shrugged wordlessly. She couldn't have cared less. Ermina left the camera on the table and sat next to her on the floor.

"Let's leave the women to it. " Uncle No Good sighed. "I still need to take a picture of you with the cake. "

"For what?" Joonushka reluctantly tore his attention away from the TV. "I thought we were done with the pictures!"

He felt like a show pony and was starting to get annoyed.

"Here." Uncle No Good handed over a heavy knife. "Stand at the top of the table and try your best not to look like we abuse or neglect you. But don't smile like an idiot either!"

Obediently Joonushka took the knife and went to stand at the head of the table. A round apple honey cake frosted red and adorned with fruit, nuts, and thin red wax candles was placed in front of him. Someone had either gone to great pains or paid quite a sum for the confection. If Joonushka had his guess then he would figure that his uncle had had a fantastic night at the card table and decided to buy him something nice. Uncle No Good loved gambling and he was fortunately quite good at it. Joonushka knew because he'd spent many evenings tagging along and sitting on his uncle's lap or wandering around the card table restlessly. Eventually he would always be called back to sit down and tell his uncle in Korean not Russian what the other cards looked like.

"What are you waiting on?" Uncle No Good chided grounding his nephew in the present. "Cut the cake!"

The knife dropped slicing through the surface with ease and Joonushka's contented face framed by neatly trimmed bangs was immortalized.

"D****t!" Uncle No Good Swore. "Why do you and your sister have to have such strange colored eyes?"
*******************************************
Sometime during the night, Joon awakened. In the darkness he heard Grandmother's even breaths from somewhere in the room. When he'd finished his tea and food and fallen asleep he couldn't recall. At least he had remembered to take his glasses off or maybe that had been done for him. Those glasses were expensive and he was often careless with his things.

If he laid there long enough, he would eventually fall back asleep. In the meantime his hand felt the floor around his mattress searching for his cellphone. Inverting the display colors so that the screen would not illuminate the entire room and disturb the others, Joon rolled on to his back to check his VK account.

""ашан Хонг." Dashan Heong.

He typed in the birth name his uncle insisted had been denied to him just for boredom's sake. It was stuck in his head now. The itch wouldn't be satisfied until he scratched it.

"What the...." Confusion stymied his voice.

Picture after picture popped up.

One caught his attention immediately.

On autopilot Joon sprung to his feet, stamped into his discarded Retro 10s, and left home slamming the door behind him.

Down six flights of stairs. Across the courtyard. Up another flight of stairs.

Joon flung the door to Uncle No Good's apartment, which was never locked to him, open and scanned the floor.

"Nephew?" Hyuk slurred. "What...."

Joon's phone smacked him right in the chest.

"Explain!" Joon hissed teeth gritting audibly.

"What are you, high or something? Calm down before you have a heart attack!" Hyuk propped himself on his elbow and picked up the phone. "It's a picture of you opening some stuff your parents sent you."

"Halmi told you to buy that stuff or either you won the night before!" Joon remained looming over his uncle's mattress. "And anyway why do strangers have pictures?"

Hyuk lay back down on his back with one of his arms over his eyes. "You must really be on something, Nephew. Mother was mad as hell. She would have rather you did without."

"You're drunk and telling lies again!" Joon accused impatiently.

"You're not stupid, Nephew. Think! Who would want every picture of you they could get their hands on? Who would I take pity on at the risk of Mother's wrath?"

"I. Am. NOT. Lost. Or. Kidnapped. And. I. NEVER. Was. My. Sister. Is. Dead. But. She. Was. NEVER. Missing." Joon enunciated every syllable barely containing his anger.

"Talk to me again when your mother refuses to relinquish your children's passports, is constantly demanding money, and files bullshit abandonment charges to keep you away." Hyuk rolled over. "Now close the f*****g door and go to bed."

After a few more tense moments, Joon did just that.


© 2017 MeratheRestless


Author's Note

MeratheRestless
Feel free to comment

Kopeck: Russian coins
Rouble: Russian currency
Som: Kyrgyz currency

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Added on October 4, 2017
Last Updated on October 10, 2017


Author

MeratheRestless
MeratheRestless

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Really there's not much to tell. I study in university, work a part time job, go to Kingdom Hall twice a week, out preaching at least twice per month, and spend the rest of my time at home. Don't like.. more..

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