“It’s Your Friend.”

After taekwondo tonight (2,250 turns of the jump rope) one of the boys said Master wanted to talk to me. I went downstairs and he said, “Amanda, phone, your friend.”

I thought. Good Man would call my handphone. Have I given anyone Master’s number because he can speak Korean? No… I’m faxing off some paperwork to get my teaching certificate in a new state, but they’re all using Mark’s numbers…

I was so confused. “The phone?”


I took of my shoes and sat down behind the desk he wasn’t sitting at. “Hello?”

“Hello, Amanda. How are you?”

“I’m fine, you?”

“I’m good.”

I still couldn’t tell who it was, but he didn’t sound American. “Um, excuse me, who is this?”


Daniel, whom I haven’t seen in 19 months, whom I’ve only talked to on the phone maybe twice since he got back from the Philippines, whom I’ve corresponded with maybe a half dozen times. That Daniel. He couldn’t find my phone number, but he remembered which taekwondo studio I said I went to, so he called last night. Master told him I wasn’t there and to call again tonight.

We’re having dinner tomorrow night after class. I told Good Man and he was fine with it but said with a sly little grin, “Nineteen months and he remembered your studio? Maybe he has a little crush. You call me if there’s a problem…”


Before taekwondo class I had to run to the bank. There were four or five middle school (maybe lower high school) boys there being noisy, rowdy, and just plain annoying. One of them yelled, “Hi!” when he saw me. I wasn’t in the mood, so I ignored him, figuring he’d see that I was listening to my iPod and shut up.

He didn’t.

He came closer and yelled again, “Hi!” He was right next to me while I was trying to enter my PIN, acting like an oaf, trying to get my attention, waving his hand in my face.

The younger the kid talking to me, the nicer I am. Heck, I’ve had fun with older students, too. But this boy was just plain rude. He would never, ever treat a Korean like that, and if he did, any self-respecting ajumma would give him an earful.

I turned around and glared at him. I said in an icy voice, “What?”


“What. Do. You. Want?”

He looked shocked, and his friends were starting to laugh. I switched to Korean, to the low form. “누구야? 아는 사람이야? 내 친구야?” He simply stared at me, not answering. His friends were standing with their mouths open. The instigator, the fattest kid of the bunch, was trying to hide behind his friends. He was not small. It was not working. I went on. “아냐! 말하지마! 무례해!”

They started trying to run over each other to get out of the cash machine area. I turned back to the machine. When I looked up not ten seconds later, they were nowhere in sight.

Who are you? Are you someone I know? Are you my friend? No! Don’t say a word! You are rude!