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Why You Had To Go

By Eugene Kim

Age Group: Middle School

That day, it happened.

That day, I learned what it’s like to lose someone you thought would always be

with you.

That day, I experienced the worst day of my life.
Because that day was the day you, my dog, died.

My most precious friend.

If only I could trap your soul in a jar, board an airplane all the way to Korea and

lock it up in a cabinet.

All for the hopes that I could see you, my friend, my comrade, again.
I wish you would come back, deeply and sincerely, down to my bones that will
one day turn as hollow and brittle as yours did before you left me.
You left me, and now I am a haegolbagaji of my mom’s Korean storytelling, old

bag of bones, dust, and long-shed tears.
Still, I remember you.
I remember thinking you were forever.

As though my childlike innocence was getting in the way of reality, whose sticky

hands kept reaching to me.
Still, I ignored it.

At last until I watched your cremated ashes slip through the cracks in my fingers,

gyrating in the wind away from me.

I know you had to go. That you couldn’t stay. That it just wasn’t meant to be.

Yet I couldn’t bring myself to forgive you for leaving me alone, stranded on a

barren island full of nothing but melancholy.

Like any friendship ending with a petty dispute, ours ended the day you died.
But I forgive you now. I exonerate you from that day, the day you left.
I can only hope that you can hear me, whether you’re in the afterlife, reincarnation,

heaven, or somewhere, anywhere.

I just want to tell you something that I never got to tell you that day. I want to tell

you that I understand.

I understand why you had to go. Why you’re never coming back.

And that’s okay.

I’m sorry you had to leave with a burden on your shoulders because of the guilt,

the anger I placed on you.
I’m sorry, I really am.
This is my apple, my gesture of peace.

An apology, because in Korean, the two are one word- apology and apple as


It’s fine. I get it. You had to go, and you have to go now.

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