Written in September 2004
For everyone who has watched and loved Damo… I wrote this to release some of the feelings in my heart…
Jang Jae Hee
Little Jae Hee. Could you even imagine the joy your parents felt the day you were born? The delight on your father’s face as he gazed at you… the peals of laughter that could be heard throughout the house. “A perfect little sister for you, Jae Mo,” he said, as he carried you in his arms. “Our little Jae Hee.”
And that’s how your parents always referred to you. Not just “Jae Hee,” but always “our Jae Hee.” You were so loved. And as you grew up, you were so pretty and oh so precocious! You asked so many questions, you wanted to know everything. And even when the servants were working in the kitchen, you would wander in there because you wanted to see everything. “What’s that?” you asked, and the servants laughed and said, “Just honey water, our curious little lady, it makes the body strong.” And then of course you wanted to taste it!
As you were drinking the honey water, you heard your brother calling for you and immediately you put down the bowl and ran out. There was no one that you looked up to more than Jae Mo. You adored the ground he walked on. You followed him everywhere! “Little Jae Hee, are you my shadow?” he asked as he scooped you up in his arms and threw you into the air. You shrieked and laughed and said, “More, some more!”
But everything changed one day. It happened so fast – the way you were hurriedly bundled out of the house and onto the horse…. you couldn’t even take your favorite doll. “Hold me tightly, Jae Hee, hold on tight. Don’t be frightened, I’m here,” Jae Mo said as he urged the horse to go faster and faster. You heard the thundering of many horses behind you as you clung to him… and suddenly… how did it happen… the horse tumbled and you fell, you both fell…
You laid on the sand and all around you were strange men on horses. You cried and cried for your brother… but where was he? Where was everyone? And just as suddenly as you had fallen, you were carried up and taken away.
And so in one day you lost everything. On that day you walked the longest you ever had… until your feet bled. And still the stranger said, “Faster, walk faster, you are so slow.” You came to the woods and there was this boy… just as tall as Jae Mo… almost like him. He carried you on his back and to your surprise he cried as he ran. You didn’t know why and it didn’t matter too… because you were so tired.
Little Jae Hee. In the day you cooked and swept… you did the things your servants had done for you. Sometimes you played too… with that boy who was so like Jae Mo… this boy called Hwangbo Yoon. When you were with him you were happy… but in the night… when you were sleeping on that cold dirt floor… who could know what you went through?
The dreams always started the same way. “Come here, our little Jae Hee,” your father said, and you hopped happily onto his lap… and nestled your chin against his beard. There was your mother, brushing your hair and singing so sweetly and gently, songs that she had made up just for you. “Our Jae Hee is so beautiful,” she whispered as she combed and braided your hair. “Shh, Jae Hee. Look, a bird on that tree,” Jae Mo said as he carried you on his shoulders so you could see.
You didn’t want to wake up. You missed them so much it was like a knife piercing your flesh. The pain coursed through every vein in your body. And so in the night when no one could see or hear you… when you couldn’t keep the thoughts or memories down… you cried and cried. Huge gulping sobs that tore through you like someone tearing your flesh apart.
“Where are you?”