Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Chapter 29

By An Na

Chapter 29

Seeds of Life

  • Apa's been handcuffed and taken away—whew—but Uhmma's super-loyal to Apa, and she tails him in the cop car even though her face is completely bruised and misshapen.
  • In fact, she's so bad off that the police force her to go to the hospital.
  • She ends up with a lot of stitches and some broken ribs, but still Uhmma doesn't press charges against Apa.
  • Why? Because he's her "huh-su-bun."
  • The police hold Apa for the night.
  • The next morning, Uhmma and Young Ju go to pick him up, but Apa pretends he doesn't even see them.
  • Instead he hops in the car of some other Asian woman.
  • Yep—he's a cheater, too.
  • Uhmma's really mad; she turns to Young Ju and tells her it's all Young Ju's fault.
  • For months everything's a blur: Uhmma doesn't come home much because she has three jobs to juggle; all the work and stress makes Uhmma thinner and thinner—plus she's stopped eating; they don't even go to church.
  • When summer comes, Uncle Tim hires Joon and Young Ju at his ice cream shop on the beach.
  • Joon complains, but he still goes to work.
  • At the end of their day, both Joon and Young Ju get thirty dollars.
  • They pool the money, and Young Ju uses that money to buy their weekly groceries.
  • Super responsible, right?
  • Young Ju even gets to the point where she finds comfort in her chores, especially when she washes the rice every evening before cooking it.
  • She likes finding all the tiny seeds underneath and within all that murky water.
  • One night, while she's washing the rice, Uhmma sneaks up behind her.
  • Young Ju's wondering what Uhmma's doing home (she's on break), and Uhmma's wondering when Young Ju learned to make rice.
  • Young Ju's pretty nonchalant about the rice and says she's watched Uhmma do it enough times; Uhmma compliments Young Ju on her rice (clearly, rice is a big deal).
  • Then Uhmma starts talking about the real issue: Apa.
  • She lets Young Ju know that Apa's going back to Korea (or Han Gook) according to Gomo.
  • Plus Gomo's willing to borrow money to pay for their trip back to Korea… That is if they want to go with Apa.
  • That's not what Young Ju wants to hear—in fact, she's determined not to go with them as tears fall down onto the counter.
  • Then Uhmma gets honest.
  • She tells Young Ju that she shouldn't have blamed Young Ju for saving her; that it was her mistake, not Young Ju's.
  • Which is why she wants Young Ju to know that now's the time for her to do right by Young Ju.
  • They're not going back to Korea; they're going to be just fine without him.
  • Have you busted out the tissues yet?
  • Young Ju's getting all emotional (who wouldn't be?), with tears everywhere.
  • She rests her head on Uhmma's shoulders, and Uhmma tells her that Young Ju's her "strong girl."
  • Sniffle, sniffle, folks.