The sign is new.
Something in my heart disappears, seeing that new, shiny, neon sign. Of all the things, I had hoped.... I raise a hand to my mouth to stifle the sob that is sure to emerge as it has so many times these past few expectant years. And I nearly walk forward and place my hand on the doorknob, nearly open the door and confront whoever is inside. Maybe it is Min-Jun. She was always nice to me. I wonder whether she has changed?
Of course she has. She must be.... what, twenty-nine now? Yes, twenty-nine. So old. I catch sight of my reflection in the window: I have changed too. My face is wrinkled. It seems to be painted in black-and-white grainy film. There are numerous spots on my gaunt cheeks. My hair is nothing to speak of. They will not recognize me, I am sure. It was so long ago, after all, a time when the sign was hand-painted on wood, beautiful Chinese calligrahy traced and beaten into it by wind and storm. I had loved that sign. What have they done with it?
Someone rudely brushes by me, knocking my shoulder. I turn to shout after whoever it is the familiar, oft-repeated words, "No respect for your elders, eh!" but catch myself in the nick of time. I would not have said that then. The sign...
The sign is new. I am old.