Seoul is cold, colder than I expected, colder than I remember. It’s raining and I didn’t bring an umbrella, my fur coat and leather bag lightly doused in icy raindrops. I sit at a cafe not far from my apartment. There is a man behind me that is shaking his legs in that shaky annoying way that despite my changing angles, will not leave the peripheral of my eye. I saw a mosquito and now my ankle itches. It’s November and the devil mosquitos of Korea still thrive. It’s been twenty-four hours since I arrived, expecting a fury of emotions about how I departed. But the change in the leaves and my month in Japan have made time pass at an extreme, I feel a year has gone by, I feel rejuvenated as if all the horrible things that happened never happened at all. A bad dream, a waking nightmare– cured by cash, booze, and indian food.
Yesterday I lugged my suitcase from the bus stop the four blocks it takes to get to my house, the wheels all going in different directions like inebriated horses at a race track. I curse Samsonite and I curse the cold, and make my way to the elevator in my building and my inconceivably small apartment there within. The room is warm because my friend forgot to turn off the floor heaters when she left, so it is to say the least, somewhat inviting. But where there is moisture and heat there is mold, which has crawled from the back of the bathroom sink and onto the floor surrounding it. I curse the mold. I leave my suitcase on the only available floor space and I put on some make up, turning off the floor heaters and locking the door behind me to take the train to another part of town.
I fall in love with three different Korean men on my one hour commute. I forgot how long the trains take here, only one express train in the whole city. It’s stop after stop of old ladies chewing gum while staring angrily at anyone who sits while they stand. I would get up if they would chew with their mouths closed. It’s almost winter, so the winter clothes are out, the boys in their fitted pants, their asses juiced up from the hours at the gym, staring at me from my chair. Their chiseled expensively purchased jaws wrapped in fur collars with leather shoulders. Their eyes meeting mine for a moment before returning to the glow of their cell phones. Korea, I love it. Men should spend more money on crafting their looks and their faces for the sole purpose of giving my blood pressure a jolt throughout the day. They give me energy, they keep me young.
In Sangsu, the neighborhood next to the bustling University in Hongdae, the rain sheds the giant leaves from the tall trees. They are yellow and green, I get the feeling they have fallen too soon, before their glory red or auburn brown. So many of us are those leaves in a sudden rainstorm.