Excerpt: Somewhere Inside
Moments later the officer returned and in Korean explained that they would take us to the bridge. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Were they really letting us go? He looked me over and ordered a soldier to bring me a rag to wash the blood off my parka. I took this as a good sign, thinking they didn't want the Chinese authorities to see that I'd been beaten on Chinese soil. He looked at my head and inspected my face. Fearing I hadn't cleaned myself up well enough, I had Euna tell him that there was a hat in my bag, which I could put on to look more presentable. He allowed me to retrieve the white wool cap, which I put on to his satisfaction. The officer seemed trustworthy; there was a kindness in his eyes. But I was still skeptical of his intentions.
A soldier on an old military motorcycle with a sidecar approached, and we were told to get in. We were given our belongings. Wanting to hold the officer to his word, I asked Euna to see if the man could accompany us. He said it wasn't possible, that he needed to stay at the post.
"Don't worry," he said reassuringly. "You'll be fine."
"Thank you, thank you," I replied in Korean.
Another soldier hopped on the back of the rickety motorcycle, and the driver tried to start the engine. I looked around the dusty base. There were no other vehicles in sight. This dilapidated motorcycle appeared to be the only transportation available. Three or four attempts later and the cycle finally began to roar. We were off. Euna was sitting in the front of the sidecar. I curled up behind her, bracing myself against the brisk morning air.