Shelter by Jung Yun Read Free Book Online

Book: Shelter by Jung Yun Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jung Yun
eyes. “In any event, why don’t you both go home for the evening? Everyone’s resting now. We’ll have more news tomorrow.”
    â€œWe can’t see his parents?” Gillian asks.
    â€œNo, not now. Mrs. Cho is heavily sedated, and Mr. Cho requested no visitors this evening. You understand.”
    Kyung understands that his father doesn’t want to explain what happened, how he let it all happen. And for the first time, he realizes that he made a mistake when he found Mae in the field. She didn’t say, “Your father hurt me.” She said, “Your father is hurt.” Her loyalty to this man is insane. Even in that state, beaten and brutalized and reduced to nothing, she was trying to protect him, to save him. It should have been the other way around.

    The Presbyterians first came to visit when Kyung was fifteen. It was a common interruption in their old neighborhood—zealots of every denomination ringing the bell at odd hours, selling their magazines or peddling salvation. His father would usually bark something unkind and slam the door in their faces, but not so with the Presbyterians. With them, it was different. Maybe it was because they were Korean. Or maybe it was because they were poor. Whatever the reason, Jin invited the ragged-looking couple inside to join him for coffee. A week later, two more couples followed. And four more after that. Within a month, the parlor was teeming with Koreans, who eventually convinced Jin to worship at their church. Kyung didn’t understand what his father saw in them, why the sudden change of heart, but he knew what they saw in him. His big house, his generous checks, his willingness to sponsor anything they asked.
    When Kyung returns to the hospital in the morning, it feels like he’s gone back in time. The waiting room is no longer crowded with policemen. Instead, it’s filled with Koreans.
    The irritable woman at the front desk, the same one from the day before, stands up and snaps at him as he walks in. “Can you do something about them? Visiting hours just started, but they’ve all been sitting here since seven.”
    Kyung shakes his head and continues down the hall. There’s nothing he can do about these people. He has no rank with them, although they all seem to know who he is. He can feel the weight of their judgment as he walks toward his mother’s room. Doesn’t go to church. Not dutiful to his parents. Took a white girl for a wife. He has no idea how the news spread so fast, but as he enters Mae’s room, an even more confusing sight awaits him. Standing at his mother’s bedside are five men: his father, Connie, Tim, Lentz, and the Reverend Sung. All of them have their eyes closed and their heads bowed in prayer. They’re holding hands limply, not quite committed to the act.
    â€œWhat are you doing here?” he asks, not certain who deserves the question most.
    Everyone looks up. Reverend Sung opens one eye and quickly closes it. “We ask you to guide our beloved brother and sister in the days and weeks ahead. Heal their hearts and bodies and minds, dear Lord, and grace them with the absolute power of your love. In your name, we pray. Amen.”
    Connie and Tim make the sign of the cross and mutter “amen,” something that Kyung has never witnessed before. The McFaddens aren’t a religious family. Their faith—ceremonial as it was—seemed to die with Gillian’s mother, who dressed everyone up for Mass and confession because that’s what families in their neighborhood did. Gillian talks about this part of her childhood like she talks about her mother, with more fondness than either probably deserves. Occasionally, she mentions the idea of going back to church like it’s a long-lost hobby, something she’d pick up again if she had more time.
    â€œCome join us,” Reverend Sung says.
    Mae turns and angles her face toward the

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