Love Letter Day 6.
My mother frequently recited lines of scripture to me growing up. One of her favorites was from Corinthians. “Love is patient, love is kind…” such a sweet mom thing to say to her child except she invoked it when I was being impatient, unkind.
We recited the Lord’s Prayer every night in Japanese. I was surprised to hear the same syntax in Japanese Shakespeare many years later and to learn that when she went to church in Japan the sermons were half in Korean, a language I wish I understood better. I’m putting off getting into K-pop till they’re singing pansori, I decided, but that’s when I will use music to learn another language.
I used to tell my sister that I got to be cruel to her because we were related. Only we got away with being mean to each other. We could never be mean to people outside of our family, and let’s be honest, we would be murdered if we were ever mean to our parents.
I hurt my mother’s feelings once when I wouldn’t stop talking about how much fun I had at her sister’s house. If you like it so much there you should live with them! It was the first time I witnessed envy. I never triggered my mom’s jealousy again. Love does not envy…
Aunt Yoko was so flamboyant and opulent. At a family party once, she shoved her hand in someone’s face to show off a giant emerald ring, and said: this is worth more than your whole salary. She was drunk and apologized later to whoever he came with. She frequently said “showtime” to exclaim subdued glee. Found a good parking spot. Showtime. Successfully ordered forbidden off-menu fare at her regular Chinese banquet restaurant. Showtime. Got a great discount on a Magritte reproduction. Showtime. Look at her showtime ring.
On her deathbed, she sang once, improbably loud and clear: a song called “Love is Over” by Ouyang Fei Fei, a Taiwanese-Japanese singer.
I can’t say with certainty but I think the song came up in the context of Ouyang and not the music. Someone in the cancer ward looked like her and Yoko broke out in this song. It’s Fei Fei!
At her funeral, her son played the Beatles (All You Need is Love). The Beatles were her absolute favorite band in the universe. My aunt would have murdered the Beatles with her fat emeralds. She owned so many records. We keep finding more of them at our grandmother’s house. You might think her affection was for John, but she was obsessed with Paul.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. —1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Epistles of Corinthians, said another way, were letters Paul wrote to the people of Corinth. I’d listen to the Beatles with you.