Saturday, February 26, 2011


"Search" is not a word I feel has much power. If you're searching for something, probability is not on your side. Misplaced your glasses, your wristwatch? Don't search for them; they're lost. You'll never see them again.

I didn't search for true love, I stumbled upon it, bumped into it in the middle of my life. By chance. Life is a lottery, and everyone wins sometime or another.

I was twenty-seven.

The Seoul subway network has nine lines, nearly three hundred stations, over four million passengers daily. I used to ride it every day, in the morning. Wake up at seven, shower, dress, break fast and leave home by eight. That was the schedule. There are a lot of people like me.

Perhaps I'm not properly evolved, but I've always been uncomfortable traveling above and below terra firma. Airplanes frighten the shit out of me, but subways...subways feel like a burial. If you've ridden inside an underground capsule shuffling bored people to and from places they'd rather avoid, you know what I mean.

It was on the morning of March 19, 2006 that I met the love of my life, however, and for that reason I have a fond interest in the metro. I remember it was raining. I held a cheap umbrella.

Like most mornings, I left my one-room apartment shortly before eight and headed toward Hapjeong Station. The driving rain drenched my soles, then my socks. I considered running into a convenience store for a sandwich, maybe some banana milk for later, but neither time nor the weather was on my side. Instead, I scurried like a rat in a drainpipe down into the bowels of the earth, took a free copy of Metro and waited for the train to arrive.

Standing on the platform as the train approached, I wished, hoped, desired that, instead of a metal locomotive, a fat, fire-red frankfurter would emerge from the tunnel. When the train pulled into the station and its doors opened to ejaculate bodies, I was disappointed. Real life is never as fun as fantasies.

It normally takes twelve minutes by subway, give or take, from Hapjeong to City Hall, but on that day (a Monday), there was a delay. The cars stopped between Ahyeon Station and Ehwa Womans University [sic]. Stuck in the tunnel, my skin began to crawl. Metal, cement, hot flesh -- they don't mix. Probably some asshole jumped in front of a coming train.

In any case, after arriving at Ehwa and experiencing yet another delay -- and the onslaught of a thousandfold delayed passengers -- I chose to foot it. I exited the car, stopped at a newsstand to buy a pack of gum, and climbed upward.

Emergence. Now there's a word that holds power. We are brought into this world through birth, and nothing, I am confident, is more empowering to the human spirit than reliving that experience. I walked up the subway stairs and came back to life.

Above was a gray scrape of sky. The rain had stopped, however briefly.

I looked for a bus. What I saw was an angel.

She was pink. The wind had died, but there she was, twisting and turning in her own breeze, all limbs. Positioned between two speakers in front of an electronics shop, her movements were magical. I stood in awe at her beauty, her height. Her wonder.

I was lovestruck.

To make a long story short, tomorrow is our second anniversary. Thing's haven't always been easy, but you know how it goes. Love survives even when feeling dies. Ups and downs. We're expecting our first child this May, a girl, and the sonogram shows that she has her mother's fabric.

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