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part 6 – Who is this Mr. Im?

The fear factor, real enough to Sam, didn’t create any reaction in Mr. Im. And yes, that was his name, not a pseudonym. Sam had asked earlier. When Sam asked about the surname, which was entirely foreign to Sam, Mr. Im explained that his parents were originally born and raised in the area which at that time was called Indochina. Their surname was Imito, which was simplified once they migrated to the US. So now, his host was Mr. Im.

Although Mr Im, himself, was born in the US, he described himself as being bi-cultural, and appreciated the values of both his family heritage as well as those of his birth country. He was, as far as he could tell, completely comfortable in both cultures. At this point, both of his parents had passed, but he did have several siblings who lived on the West Coast. He periodically visited them, and Sam detected that Mr Im had strong sentimental attachment toward his brother and sister.

Gracious in demeanor, polite, a most pleasant host, Mr. Im drew Sam emotionally closer. On one hand, Sam was feeling more and more like a school child, diminished, but not resentful, as he compared himself to Mr Im. Mr Im would answer Sam’s questions completely. Sometimes, Sam would ask for further clarification, and he got it with no hesitation. It was as if Mr Im’s responses were just the skimming off the top of a vast underlying body of comprehensive knowledge and understanding.

At the same time, Sam found himself wondering why this gracious man was so willing to spend time with him. After all, Sam was the one who had broken into his house after pumping sleeping gas into it. He was the one who had left a threatening note, of sorts, on the man’s desk. Yet, there was no hint of reproach toward Sam. There was not even a hint of “it is time to get even with you” in anything Mr. Im said, implied, or insinuated.

Sam was simply drawn toward Mr Im while simultaneously recognizing his own inferiority. He was mixed up. He wanted to stay, but he knew he had to leave. Would he ever meet Mr Im again?   He already knew that his mind would be hopelessly churning from the moment he got into his car.   He was wrong; it began even earlier – as soon as his foot touched the porch floor and the door closed behind him.


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