Wednesday was my grandfather’s death day. My halmoni prepared the 졔사 (special ceremony to honor dead ancestors), like at 추석 and 설날.
There is a one part in the ceremony where you scoop 3 spoonfuls of rice from the bowl of rice into the bowl of water- symbolizing the dead person eating the rice.
After the ceremony we get to eat all the food laid out on the table for the ancestor. After eating, my cousin reaches over to the bowl of water with the rice in it and takes a sip.
“If you drink this you lose all your fears,” my 이모 says.
“Don’t give it to Salgu,” my aunts all say. “She’s already unafraid.”
But they don’t know I just pretend. I have so many fears and they show up to haunt me at night.
“I want to drink some, too,” I say, reaching out for the bowl.
As I take a sip, I only hope it’s true. I hope my fears really do disappear with that one sip of fearless elixir.
My 이모 takes one sip after me. And my cousin finishes off the rest of the bowl. He’s probably hoping the same thing I am.