A Cup of Coffee
©David Hyun 1997
by David Hyun
Omma cried out, "No! No! 'Mot heh yo'. Don't do it."
Papa looked back. He did not answer. He walked forward unsteadily on bent knees, his right hand
gripping a brown walking cane. His gait seemed slow and determined and yet unsure. Papa
turned his white-haired head once more to glare at his wife and continued walking. Papa had again
withheld an answer. He felt a surge of power for a moment and his knees stopped shaking.
Papa was angry. He stomped his cane on the ground.
Omma spoke. Her voice was softer. Deliberately, she injected a pleading note and said, "Mot heh
yo. Please hear me. Mot heh yo."
Two years older then her husband of ninety, Omma looked upon her husband's back. She shook
her head several times and sighed.
Omma was dressed in old tweed trousers that seemed transformed into Chinese pantaloons and
a white Korean blouse. Somewhat exasperated, she watched her doddering husband, fleeing
down Maltman Avenue in Los Angeles, but she could not restrain a rising smile. Her thin lips curled
at each corner. She noticed her husband's right hand shaking, unsteady, on the top of his cane.
Omma hurried after her husband.
She called, "Wait for me." With a tease, she said, "I'll make coffee for you."
Papa turned and said, "You insult me again." The words and voice of anger lifted Omma. She
smiled widely. She knew this quarrel with her husband would soon end. She took necessary
She caught up to Papa and said, "I didn't know. How terrible of me. Forgive me for what I did
wrong. I was ignorant."
Hearing her words, Papa felt mortified. He was glad to give her victory but her words humiliated
him His anger vanished.
A Cup of Coffee - page 1
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