This story has no connections to any other series, but is the outgrowth of a conversation I had with two students about jam. Sometimes, words I recognize turn out to mean something else such as the case with jam. I expected something sweet, but my students explained it means fun. Oppa, it should be noted is the term a girl uses for any older male around her age. It means brother, but doesn't have to be blood relation.
I was under the belief that all children no matter gender, ethnicity or religious background were all monsters. My adorable, four-year-old nephew being no exception save when he slept.
Unfortunately, the little troublemaker had risen from his nap with an empty tummy.
That my oppa had yet to return from the forty minute trip he had left on four hours beforehand could only be attributed to wanting a respite from his adorable, yet terrorizing child. Innocent brown-black eyes notwithstanding.
A devil lurked under his black mop top.
"Hungry," he announced, shuffling along the wooden floor from his room. He dragged his favorite blanket by one hand and his demon doll in the other. The later had been a gift from me, by the way.
I turned the television volume down. "What would you like?"
"Toast and jam."
"Toast and jam?" I glanced towards the kitchen. "Does your father even know what that is?"
My nephew sniffed and rubbed his nose.
As I walked to the kitchen to scrounge, I turned up the temperature on the AC. Wouldn't do for my little demon to catch a cold during our hottest summer. I put two slices of toast into the toaster then went for the butter and jam while the demon got out milk for himself and a soda for me.
I moved around the ham from the other day, checked behind the blueberries and tossed a couple rotten peaches which I had bought for my brother, but he never ate. My nephew loved peaches like his mother before him, but my brother had an aversion to peaches, pears and nectarines.
I hated melons, so I couldn't blame my brother much.
Still, no jam meant a cranky nephew on normal days, just waking up threaten a full blown little demon child.
I closed the refrigerator door. "No jam."
"No jam?" My nephew repeated, shoulders sinking. "No jam, no jam," he said sagely.
Jam, it should be noted was slang for fun in Korean. When teaching a young child two languages, things were bound to be mixed up.
He looked up at me with tears welling up in his eyes.
Now, personally, I thought having no jam on my toast was horrible, so I could understand the little demon's trouble, but I also could sense the imminent meltdown with loud sobbing and flailing arms. I didn't understand the hysterics children could reach over simple things.
"You'll just have to have toast and butter, I guess," I told my nephew. "It's not all bad, monster mine."
I shrugged. "No jam." I wondered if my brother could bring some home with him, but as I texted, a message popped up saying he was running late.
Then I remembered Mom had said something about a surprise at last year's Christmas. Oppa didn't like cinnamon cause it made him sneeze, but Mom wanted cinnamon in her Christmas cookies and hot chocolate, so instead of bringing some with her, she bought a big canister and hid it in the cabinet where she knew oppa never looked. I had a very tricky mother, I might add.
"Success!" I crowed holding out the canister. "Cinnamon toast."
The demon sniffed once as his face brightened.
I sprinkled cinnamon over his toast, enjoying his gleeful cries.
As I watched him eating, his expression mirrored one I had observed on my mother's face a few times. Maybe demons skipped generations because I think my mother would be proud of her little grandson.