Just Eric – Part 6
Just when it seemed like my life in Seoul was perfect, yup, that’s when the North Koreans invaded. When I say they “invaded” I don’t mean like in a war but it was more like millions of refugees who had nowhere to go and nothing to do (I’m sure you’ve seen all about it on the news by now). It was bizarre, to say the least. They looked all ragged and weird, like strange hillbilly mountain people or something, moved slow, sickly and weak, had nothing to say and didn’t seem to understand any of the English the South Koreans at that point were only allowed to use. This mess of people was slowly trudging down the streets by the hundreds of thousands, seemingly circling around the city like a big whirlpool until they’d get tired and sit on the curb. Since there were so many of them, in order for one to sit or lie down on the sidewalk, another would have to get up and go back to walking. This procession just kept going on in perpetual motion, and was definitely hypnotic to watch from the window in my office building that was located right in the downtown core. Steve and I, the only white people in the office were the only ones who apparently cared to watch though, everyone else just went about their lives, business as usual.
They had a point, what could you do? There were too many refugees to help all at once, that was for sure. And if anyone did try to help them they were going to have to sacrifice just about everything they had in order to make someone else’s life better. No one was going to give up their money, clothes, food and apartment to a stranger only to then be just as destitute as they were! Only if the government told everyone they had to do this, like the All-English changeover, was anyone was going to do something like that. After everything I’d gone through to earn what I had in Seoul at that point, there was no way I was looking to give it up anytime soon. Sounds cruel, but ask yourself what you’d do in this situation? The same thing you are doing now and were doing before: nothing. So I don’t judge you and I didn’t judge anyone then.
Still, something had to give. And that’s when I knew it was time to dust off the old gibberish language concept and make it into something we could sell. I asked for a meeting with the CEO and COO, and had the ADD Supervisor come along too even though she’d tried to kill this idea in the first place. I explained how I used gibberish words in my old classes instead of English and it made the cool school material go much smoother with the kids who weren’t fully comfortable expressing themselves in English yet and couldn’t understand the very adult concepts we were supposed to be teaching them. Instead, with the freedom to just mumble away they had fun and it brought out their real personality through language in a way that was actually very cool. I pitched them the idea that this kind of language teaching right now could be sold to the public as a way to communicate with the North Koreans. Of course, it didn’t have to actually do that but it might help make some big money since so many people were looking for ways to profit from all of these new potential customers on the streets. And since the North Koreans don’t seem to speak any English, I said we could volunteer our services to teach them English, like a 1-for-1 deal, if you signed up and paid for a class we’d give a free class to a North Korea. The idea being that soon everyone would be able to communicate in this common gibberish. Across the board, they loved this idea and wanted to know what I needed to get started. I said – double my salary – they said fine. I said – give me a promotion- they said the Supervisor’s job was now mine. I said – get rid of Steven – they said absolutely. I said thank you, and they said congratulations. The ex-Supervisor calmly stormed out and went over to Steven’s desk and very professionally told (her secret boyfriend) that the executives needed to see him. As I was coming out of the CEO’s office, we walked past each other and I winked at that clueless bastard on the way to my desk where I got my things and planned to take the rest of the day off, thinking I’d never see him again.
On New Year’s Eve, after having spent an eventful 8 months in Seoul, I was ready to celebrate my new autonomy as creator and arbiter of the gibberish language craze that was sweeping the city, and what better way that to do it than with my fantastic girlfriend. Sure, I recognized all the big changes I’d made but it still astounded me to be dating a beautiful flight attendant by the end of that year. I needed it to be more than just dating though, it was time to go all the way. I didn’t want to take advantage or pressure her into anything, but this was the time, we were celebrating, the year was changing, the sky was about to light up, and millions of North and South Koreans in the city were rambling on in gibberish words feeling cool and connected all because of me. I felt super powered, like whatever I said would come true.
I met Stacy at the centre of the city, in front of the big bell at the City Hall where people were shooting hundreds of roman candles in the air every few feet on the street, making it look like a shoot out at the border. There was no real violence, only the simulated fun kind, as everyone jammed together, bopping to the loud music, a mosh pit of dancing, garbled words, and right in the middle were Stacy and I, embraced and kissing passionately, her black hair pink from the reflection of the exploding sky. I pawed at it like cotton candy and I was filled with a sugary rush, our tongues swirling around, mixing like melted chocolate and caramel, my stomach tightened and tingling. With my arm curled around her tiny waist, I pulled her closer and could feel the shape of her body pressed against mine just like all those the grotesque men and cute girls that I smushed together with on the rush hour subway everyday. I squeezed harder and through the thickness of our jackets the contours of her body were naked in my arms, and I knew that I could wait no longer. “Come home with me now,” I withdrew from her mouth and whispered in her ear, “rafine ngein lieqdnga!” And she responded, “Ubuh corsuh.”
And with that the hordes of people parted, making a lane for us to walk unobstructed through the enormous and wildly packed street just as the countdown to midnight began. Every step fell in time with the chanting of people who were thinking numbers but shouting out gibberish. The fireworks went off, that massive bell started to gong and we stepped unobstructed into a taxi. The driver, seemingly oblivious to the celebrations, was only there to serve my will and understood where to go with only a few words of gibberish. The car sped through the darkness, a blur of people and traffic disappearing in front of us, making the long trip to the suburbs in mere moments. We were cuddled together and floated from the taxi into my apartment as one mushy, squishy ball of embarrassing passion, it felt like the entire country was watching everything we did live on television. Inside my apartment we fell to the bed, our clothes dissolving from our bodies. Her skin was as pure and smooth as the sheen of warm water than covers you in the shower, and the wetness between her legs merged with the hardness between mine in tender magnetic ferocity. Then my whole body just melted away like our clothes had, my bones liquefied into organs that swirled cream down the drain of molten skin pushing out from my centre. I laid there, a mind with no body seeping into her and thus bleeding into the fabric of Korea. I was more than just her lover but her savior, and everyone was then under my protection. I proclaimed that there were new rules now, as my normally cold wintery room warmed up from a gentle spring heat, awakening us both when the sun shined on our smiling loving faces.