There are so many ways to shapes ones’ hands.
I have seen them lifted up in fists of anger against enemies.
I have seen them comfortably clasped in the familiar bond of friendship.
I have seen them playfully shoving one another in good-natured camaraderie.
I have seen them, fingers intertwined, lacing lovers together.
But today, I have not just seen them. I have felt them. Hyeon-jeong’s hands.
I felt her hands squeezing mine goodbye.
I felt the strength, the love, the urgency in them.
It was as if her hands knew that this was the last time they would be in mine,
and simply could not let me go.
They stayed with me, her hands, while I bid fare well to other students.
While I bowed solemnly to other teachers.
They crossed the broad expanse of campus with me,
as I slowly, painfully walked it for the very last time.
They gently wiped my tears away as I struggled in vain to not cry.
They stayed with me, her hands, even long after the bell had rung,
summoning her back to her studies.
And, when we reached the edge of school,
when I crossed the line that her society dictates she must not cross,
her hands reached out after me.
In that moment, the frizz of my hair or the slant of her eyes were no longer noticed.
The color of our passports were longer a dividing line between us.
It didn’t matter if we couldn’t wax eloquently about politics or religion or philosophy.
All that mattered were her hands in mine –
reaching out to me, connecting with me, loving me.
And in that moment, we were no longer foreigner and native.
We were no longer adult and child.
We were no longer teacher and student.
We were simply….together. Friends. Sisters.