13 ︎︎︎ leaving + the only option

by Inky Lee

[ leaving  ] 

Originally spoken in Korean by Inky Lee's mother, translated by Lee

being pregnant with you and coming back to Korea with your sister?
that experience…

when I think back to that time, tears still fall down my eyes because
back then, my heart was broken even before I got on the plane because
I’d have to give birth to you, recuperate, and then leave you…
when I think back to that time, my heart still always aches…

if I wouldn’t have come back
if I gave birth to you there in the foreign country
it would have just been impossible to do that because
back then, it was very expensive to pay for a caretaker for an infant like you
it would have cost everything I’ve earned
it was very expensive
I don’t know how it is nowadays
yes, it was like that… and…
it was very painful

I cried every day
I cried every day

even during my post-birth-recuperation
I cried everyday
knowing that I have to leave you and go

when you were lying next to me…

my heart was always aching
my body… so my body was also very unwell
when my body was so unwell
when my body was so unwell
I got on the plane with your sister on my lap

I could only buy one seat on the plane
the long flight was very very painful for me
yes, so my body was in a very bad state
because my heart was in a very bad state
during your post-birth-recuperation
you have to be comfortable in your heart and your body…

[ the only option ] 

when you were due 
I had no health insurance  
I had no money to cover the fee for giving birth in the foreign country 

so I got on the plane with my huge belly 
with your sister  
back home 
because that was the cheapest way 

I only cried 
before and after giving birth 
knowing that I had to leave you  
I had no money to be with you  

my heart was ruined  
so was my body  

after a month  
with my broken body 
I got on the plane back to the foreign country with your sister on my lap 
I could only afford to buy one seat  
It was a long flight 

I told myself 
this is the only way 
no other option 
this is the only way  
the only option 

These songs make part of Inky Lee's new album one of many.  

They make also part of the Podcast A Space for Grief.

About „one of many“: The album resulted from talking with the author’s mother about her experience as an immigrant living under a patriarchal and religious family structure, not speaking the new language she was faced with, working illegally, and having no acquaintances in the new culture. The fragment of the mother’s story, composed into songs, tell of isolation, loneliness, and pain. Lee considers her mother’s story as „one of many others’ who have lived a life like hers“.