Fiction Issue 6

When the Paleolithic Diet is Back in Fashion – Song Ji Hyun

When the Paleolithic Diet is Back in Fashion

By Song Ji Hyun
Translated by Bryan Stubbles

We saw the accident by chance. 

All coincidences happen that way, but it was a little unusual for us to suddenly want to drink beer at three in the morning. First of all, neither Bong-gyu nor I enjoyed alcohol; that day we had something important to talk about. We also hated discussing things with an unclear mind. 

Nevertheless, we went out to buy beer. I put on Bong-gyu’s coat and slippers. The night air was still chilly, so my toes were very cold. I followed a couple of steps behind Bong-gyu, I saw my toes getting redder bit by bit as I walked. But suddenly Bong-gyu stopped and let out a small sound, and I hit my forehead on Bong-gyu’s back. Bong-gyu’s gaze reached the building next to our villa. 

We usually carefully observed this building. That was because of the A4 paper stuck to the glass on a weekly basis. English texts about love were printed on the A4 paper. We skipped over most of the phrases due to our poor English, but on the way home we had an argument about the interpretation of “Sex is the biggest nothing of all.” Maybe that sentence caught his attention because of the word “sex.”

I thought Bong-gyu, who’d stopped, was looking at the text again, but his gaze reached a parking space on the first floor. When I looked where Bong-gyu was staring, there was a woman in an unusual position. Bong-gyu went to the woman first and called me over. Her face was pale. The shadow of the woman lying motionless was so thick I almost mistook the shadow of the woman lying still for blood. Bong-gyu grabbed and shook the woman’s shoulder several times before letting go. Bong-gyu looked through his padded pockets, trying to find a cell phone. I was relieved to see the woman’s chest move weakly.

“I must’ve left my cell phone behind, I’ll go to the convenience store and report it.”

When Bong-gyu finished that sentence, the frightening noise of a window closing came from the floor above. When I looked up at the building, all the windows were closed tight. Bong-gyu grabbed my wrist and pulled. We walked to the convenience store nearest our home. The white-haired manager was doing inventory in the stock room, with his back turned. I stood at the counter while Bong-gyu went to alert the manager. Stuck on the counter was a still photo from the CCTV camera a few days ago when an item was stolen. Two men were standing at the counter. One was wearing a grey hoodie and the other was wearing a black baseball cap. They were so ordinary that I was certain I wouldn’t recognize them had they walked by. Bong-gyu had called out several times for the manager when he got the idea to pick up a few beer cans. Only then did the manager come out and ring us up. When he paid for the beer, I asked him why he didn’t report it. 

“I guess if anyone were to go check on her, she’d be gone by now,” he said.  

We headed home again. An ambulance appeared on the road in front of the house. I wasn’t sure if it was carrying the woman, but I thought somehow it was. When we went back, the woman really was gone. There were no traces left where the woman had been. We went home and drank beer. Soon I got drunk. After arranging the beer cans side by side and brushing our teeth, we laid down in the same bed.  It was a single bed but neither one of us were uncomfortable because we had small builds. 

“I’m turning off the light.” 

The room became dark after Bong-gyu’s words. For a while after that, each time we went to work, we took a look at the house next door, but the woman never appeared. Instead, I found a grey hoodie at Bong-gyu’s house. And I saw a lot of men wearing hoodies and a lot of men wearing baseball caps on the street. 

*

A few weeks later, in the morning, I closed my eyes and listened to Bong-gyu go to work. Bong-gyu sat on the bed for about five minutes as usual, then went to the bathroom. He washed his hair, dried it and got dressed. And just went away. Finally came the sound of the door locks activating. The room was quiet again. I felt sealed in. I was laying down a little bit more when I searched for a moving truck on my phone and took a chance calling it. 

I lived in Bong-gyu’s studio apartment for three years. Compared to how long I’d been there, there weren’t many possessions of mine. There were miscellaneous things, including books and only one box and one trunk. Nevertheless, it was because of the exercise bike that I had to call the moving van. It was bought last winter and eventually became a clothing hanger. In a cramped house, there was no place to put it, so I was always annoyed, but I had a strange feeling it would be useful somewhere else. 

The moving truck driver said he could carry it himself. How would it be if I lifted just the back, but even after asking many times, he refused. I pushed the exercise bike’s pedal firmly with my hand. The pedals made a sound like ddok, ddok, ddok. Just before the door closed, there seemed to be few items left in Bong-gyu’s house. Most of the furniture in this house wasn’t ours. Not only the refrigerator and air conditioner, but also the desk and bed were left behind by a former tenant or bought by the landlord. After looking at the furniture piece by piece, I thought this really wasn’t Bong-gyu’s house. The door closed with the same sound it did when Bong-gyu left for work. 

*

I sat next to the moving truck driver. The driver turned on trot music and hummed along. When going from city to city, I saw a blue road sign. “Now entering H Town” was written on it. Even though I’d just seen it, it felt like we arrived at a faraway place. 

*

I’d just moved from one house to another. Carrying an exercise bike. Nevertheless I was very tired. I put the exercise bike in the living room and opened the door to my room. The room was filled with a musty odor, but it was as I had arranged it. I opened the window and laid down on the bed. Ten years ago my parents spent all their money to buy this apartment in a small town in the middle of the mountains. This entry level, three person apartment was 112 square feet (34 pyeong) and the nearest bus stop was a twenty minute walk away. My parents anticipated spending their old age in this apartment, all interiors were renovated. It was decorated in a style popular at that time; now the overlaid accent wallpaper and cherry-colored molding gave everything a tacky feeling. Unlike when I came and went to Bong-gyu’s house, I just realized this apartment really was ten years old. And this was the sum of their entire lives.

Dumas contacted me after he heard of the move. 

“Did it go well?”

Dumas was the only friend both Bong-gyu and I knew. I was curious about what Bong-gyu had said to Dumas about my move, but he hadn’t asked anything. Dumas was a classmate of Bong-gyu’s at their all-boys high school. Later, Bong-gyu told me he and Dumas weren’t very close. One of his school friends brought Dumas, and all they did was eat rice together. After that, Dumas first contacted Bong-gyu, thus he became one of the few remaining friends among his classmates. I met Dumas when I started dating Bong-gyu. I was with Bong-gyu when Dumas returned from his trip and contacted him. The three of us met that evening. Dumas had a tall, tight body, while a beard reached from under his ears to his chin. He was opposite to the stubby Bong-gyu. And he knew a lot. He said his hobby was reading philosophy books or studying French. The only books Dumas talked about were ones I hadn’t heard of. While dining, Bong-gyu and I told Dumas white lies. For example, they were small things like my age and where I lived. I can’t remember why we started it. But I was very close to Bong-gyu at that time, I felt like it didn’t matter. The three of us drank coffee after eating. I asked Dumas where he’d traveled, he said he’d been where his budget permitted him. When I asked him to show us a picture he said he didn’t want to. When Bong-gyu went to the toilet for a while, things got awkward. He played with his glass for a bit and said:

“Bong-gyu was my first love.” 

It was a secret that Bong-gyu had hidden throughout his life. A bit more awkward time passed and Bong-gyu returned. I corrected the lies I’d told Dumas just a bit before. I was one year younger than Bong-gyu, my blood type is A, I have a younger brother and Bong-gyu and I are living together now. When Dumas left, he asked for my contact information, saying he would send a picture of his trip that he couldn’t show me today. From then on, we communicated without going through Bong-gyu. Dumas told me a lot about Bong-gyu that I didn’t know. He also sent pictures he’d taken during the trip. They were full of pictures taken with a foreign man who seemed to be Dumas’ lover. 

“You don’t have many things. Why did you hire a moving van?” 

 When I said I need it because of the exercise bike, Dumas laughed at me and asked why I hadn’t sold it.t. Instead of answering him, I said I quit my job and I didn’t know what to do. Then, without much effort,  Dumas said:

“Think about the order.” 

*

I asked what I could do at home. A friend introduced me to studying shapes to learn how to draw cartoons. At first I drew only lines and dotted lines. After that, I drew a floor plan. The diameter and radius of a circle, a triangle and three dots, a rectangle and four dots. And after that, I drew a three-dimensional picture. Polyhedrons, rotating bodies and spheres. The three-dimensional figures were actually drawn on a flat surface, but were called “three-dimensional.” I tried not to see them as three-dimensional. I closed one eye and looked at it from a distance. However, in the end, I had no choice but to recognize them as three-dimensional figures. Even though they were things I’d drawn. I don’t know if I could say I drew them. In fact, it was all about entering input values or lines. 

It was simple, but it brought in the necessary pocket money. Work ended before spring. Shapes would exist throughout the students’ homes and schools. It was about that time when Bong-gyu contacted me again. He said he’d become very troubled. When I asked what kind of trouble he was in, he said he’d become bothered, to be precise. I asked if it was about that woman and Bong-gyu answered. 

“No, so to speak, it’s about the convenience store.”

First, the police contacted him. Another theft had occurred at the store. This time, when they saw the CCTV footage, the person resembled Bong-gyu. Of course Bong-gyu protested. It was the closest convenience store to his house, so he went often and he said the manager also knew him well. The police kindly told him he was the culprit the manager pointed out. Bong-gyu said he’d have a phone call with the manager directly, but of course that didn’t happen. The police said he just needed to tell them what he was doing that day, but Bong-gyu told them he had no memory of what happened that day. He added that his memory seemed to be getting worse, especially recently. 

Last time, he said he couldn’t remember one member of a four-member idol group. With work colleagues, he decided to talk to them one by one. Someone mentioned A and said her smile and voice were more attractive than what she appeared. Someone said the name of another member, B, and even the name of C with the pretty legs came out. After that, he couldn’t remember the other member’s name. And then Bong-gyuI said something. “Didn’t we miss A?” and everyone laughed. The name of person A was the same as mine. 

I had no choice but to laugh a bit. This is because Bong-gyu always knew the nitty gritty details, even when I didn’t. In return for laughing, I asked what happened at the convenience store. Bong-gyu said as soon as he left work that day, he went to the manager and questioned him. He told him he was a regular customer, but was really angry at him painting him as a criminal. Was evidence certain? What was gone? Then the manager spoke quietly. The barcode reader was gone. He could stand anything else. Cigarettes, lottery tickets or alcohol. But barcode readers are very expensive. He couldn’t forgive it. 

“Eventually, testimony from my colleagues helped me not be a suspect. There was a company dinner the day the barcode reader disappeared. But the person who was captured on the CCTV really looked like me.”

After the story, Bong-gyu added. 

“By the way, who is the woman you mentioned?”

*

Dumas stopped by H City and asked to meet for a while. He said he had something to say. After returning from my parents’ house, I met someone in H City for the first time. Dumas seemed to know the city better than I did. 

“Studying maps is one of my hobbies.”

He said he made a reservation at a well-known restaurant there because then he could drive to her parents’ house to pick her up. When I asked if there were any famous restaurants in this neighborhood, he answered that there is a famous restaurant in every neighborhood. Dumas, whom I met after such a long time, seemed to be losing hair on his forehead. 

The place Dumas booked was a raw fish restaurant near the lake. I was very surprised to learn there was a lake in this neighborhood. Shops were lined up around the lake. Dumas entered the store naturally, just like someone who’d been here before. When I entered the store, there were several benches on the side of the lake. We grabbed one of them. As Dumas sat, ripples broke out on a flat bridge partially submerged in the lake.

“The flatfish and maeuntang are good here.”

I entrusted Dumas with everything, even selecting the menu. The woman taking our order asked what type of alcohol we’d like, Dumas said we didn’t need it. As she left, Dumas wetted his lips with his tongue as if he had something to say. He put his face near me and said. 

“Actually, I recently had an enlarged prostate.”

Thinking “Why do people laugh when they hear about a disease?” I laughed. I was sorry. Dumas didn’t care. 

“The doctor gave many reasons for this disease, he said it’s a disease you can get even if you don’t masturbate too much. I was ashamed to admit his words. I hadn’t done it at all recently. Every time I watch that kind of video, my libido vanishes. The closer I look at a person’s body, the more disgusting it seems. So these days I solve it by watching cartoons.”

We ate maeuntang after the raw fish. Eating maeuntang after raw fish was an important step. But why this exact order? Does maeuntang warm the cool stomach of raw fish? Is it because I can’t taste the raw fish well after eating maeuntang? It seemed the surface of the water was getting warmer with the burning sun. The lake didn’t feel as refreshing as I expected. I could see several bags of snacks floating around. 

I told Dumas about the incident Bong-gyu and I’d witnessed. And I added that sometimes I dream of that woman and it’s mostly nightmares in which the woman dies or gets into trouble. I said that I was uncomfortable for not reporting it. Dumas spoke ill of Bong-gyu with me. But on the one hand, he said he understood Bong-gyu. After he stretched out his arms a little, he went through his coat and pulled out an envelope. When I opened the envelope I saw Dumas and Dumas’ parents’ names. And the name of a stranger and the names of her parents were each written. It was a regular wedding invitation. 

The woman who had taken our order earlier reappeared and said the desserts were shikhye and sujeonggwa. Dumas ordered sujeonggwa and I ordered shikhye, respectively. I asked him why he’d decided to marry. Dumas looked at me as if the world had such stupid questions. 

“Humans have always evolved in a settled way. Why did the Neolithic Revolution take place? If going on adventures to hunt and meeting anyone were better off, they would have lived that way.  So, perhaps the marriage system be considered an entry into an agricultural society? You’re also tired when you think about moving.” 

That’s right. As Dumas said, the tiredness of moving and the tragedy of love were similar. Naturally, I had no choice but to think of the faces of the people I dated before Bong-gyu. One of them was a bright-minded man with a lot of people around him. It was his habit to tell people to always live positively. Inwardly, I used to consider him a little stupid. Nevertheless, he liked me a lot. Knowing that I had broken up with the person I was meeting at the time, he hugged me for comfort. At that time, I was surprised to feel that he had a very different texture and thickness than the body of my boyfriend I’d been hugging. Naturally, I had no choice but to imagine how many more arms I’d be held by or how many hands I’d hold with different touches. I remembered getting tired because everything seemed dark. 

I agreed deeply with Dumas’ words, they gave enlightenment. So I really wanted to say something that made Dumas happy. But those sayings were always obvious. Those were cliched compliments Dumas could hear from anyone besides me, words that could burn the speaker’s face. Nevertheless, all I could say was that. He listened to me and gave me a look I’d never seen before. It was like he was smelling gasoline. 

“Her family is going to buy a house for us. She only hoped for one thing. She had hoped to bring the nine dogs and cats she took care of. Can you imagine how crowded that house would be? I can’t forget the smell of the animals’ urine when I walked into her house. Even when I meet her outside, I smell it faintly.”

Dumas paid the bill for the raw fish and maeuntang. And he didn’t forget to give me a piece of candy. I felt the saliva come up from inside my throat.  While putting Dumas’ wedding invitation in my pocket, suddenly I wondered,for the first time,what I actually had in my pocket. The things I put in after knowing how to use my pocket. Something may have been in my pocket for a while? Why didn’t I write these things down? How many things will be put in there and lost in the future? I didn’t even know that I had left those things when I had stayed with Bong-gyu. 

*

On the way home in Dumas’ car I once again saw the sign. A blue sign said “H City from this point.”  I told Dumas we weren’t in H City. After turning on the blinker, Dumas muttered, “would I ever sleep with a woman?” When I got home I put a little razor on the shelf in the bathroom. 

*

The last contact from Bong-gyu was just when the monsoons came. I woke up from a nap and was trying to remember where I was. A blue light, I didn’t know from which appliance it came, was blinking quickly. Of course it was my parents’ house, my room. I had no dreams, but I felt relief as if I’d just woken up from a long nightmare. Raindrops formed on the window. The message from Bong-gyu was unexpected. 

“In this exact weather the transformer exploded over the reservoir in front of the house.”

It was a story I also knew. Bong-gyu told me many times in college that he could see the reservoir from his room. There was a power pole across the reservoir, and there was a goat attached to the pole. Bongyu said the goat was called “devil’s cow.” There was never a reason for Bong-gyu to name it. Therefore, I figured it was a one-dimensional nickname for the ways goats’ udders look. 

Anyways, it started to rain. Seeing the storm forecast, Bong-gyu didn’t go to school and leaned against the window, staring at the reservoir. Bong-gyu once fed grass to the devil’s cow. He couldn’t forget the horizontal eyes staring at him. He said he was looking across the reservoir even on the day the transformer burst because he was worried about the devil’s cow. I imagined Bong-gyu in his early 20s while listening to the story. It was just after his discharge from military service, so I imagined Bong-gyu with short spiky hair. I liked imagining Bong-gyu who loves goats.

“Was that the day the goat tied to the pole was crushed and died?”

I didn’t have anything to say to Bongyu, so I asked despite knowing the answer. I entered  the living room with my phone and turned on the television. It was reported that a trot singer, who was a headliner at many events, was involved in a billion-won fraud. His stage performance came on and the melody was very familiar. When I searched my memory, it was the tune the moving van driver was humming. My memory seemed to be getting better. 

“Did I say dead? There were many goats nearby. All of these were nicknamed Devil’s Cows.” 

Reading Bong-gyu’s message, I felt very disappointed. Was it due to the fact that the devil’s cow wasn’t the only one? Perhaps because of the fact that it is different from the landscape of the reservoir that I have been thinking about? I couldn’t tell if I felt that way because Bong-gyu’s memory was getting worse and worse. Suddenly everything felt bleak. Every object seemed further away from me. 

I remembered when I went to a motel with Bong-gyu. It was the day Bong-gyu’s father came to Seoul in a hurry. He had some business to sort out in Seoul that morning and he asked if he could sleep over. 

It was difficult because we were already living together. It was a secret to one another’s parents that we were living together, so we were in twice the trouble. I told Bong-gyu I would go to my parents’ house in H City. Bong-gyu came up with a way not to go to H City and to accept his father’s request. We booked a motel near our place. We hadn’t been to motels very much. You could count the times on one hand and when we traveled in the countryside, just once or twice. Even those were day trips. Bong-gyu said the motel was uncomfortable. It was so quiet he couldn’t concentrate. It had been a long time since I’d been to a motel, so I was nervous at the front desk. I have even met someone at motels only while dating. The man at the counter tossed out the card key and toiletries with a bored gesture of over-familiarity. 

The size of the room Bong-gyu had reserved was the same or bigger than our studio apartment. But it had everything we didn’t. A queen-sized bed with white sheets, a neatly laid tea table and chairs, a 50 inch TV, a desktop computer and a bathtub. It even had robes and slippers on hangers. We put on the robes and sat at the tea table and waited for the bathtub to fill with water. Bong-gyu suddenly opened the window and looked outside and told me it was raining. We looked out the window standing side by side and remembered the laundry hanging outside our house. Bong-gyu took a snack out of his bag. 

“You know in the movies there are scenes where you wear robes over your clothes. When I was young I thought it was weird. Why put a bathrobe over clothes….”

I’m not sure it was me or Bong-gyu who said that because I was thinking about that too as soon as I wore the robe. I also thought we were like a married couple at that moment. The feeling was much more intense than having to go shopping together at a large supermarket, eat food, wash dishes, hang up the laundry and sleep in one bed. There was so much we didn’t have in our room. The bed was only a mattress. At least it was a single. The table had to be opened and folded at every meal, and of course the dishes in the cupboards weren’t sets. 

After a while Bong-gyu went into the bathroom to turn on the hot and cold water to set the temperature. Then he called for me. We took off our gowns, washed our feet and went into the bathtub. It was a single bath, so we had to close our knees and face each other. 

“The bathroom is very bright. There is nothing like a bubble here.” 

“Yeah.”

The hairs hanging from Bong-gyu’s body shook like seaweed. The water temperature was so high our bodies were reddish near the water’s surface. Each time we moved our bodies, our belly fat folded differently. As I saw some water droplets rising from Bong-gyu’s belly button, I remembered the bathtub in my childhood. 

The bathtub didn’t function as a bathtub and was used as a laundry tub. Everyone in the family threw off their clothes there. One day I got scolded when I insisted to my mother that I wanted to swim in the tub. It was a hot summer and there was no air conditioning in the house. Instead of filling the tub, my mom poured water on my back and said, “when you grow up you’ll know why you don’t use the bathtub.”

We washed each other’s back and arms with a foam sponge. 

The water in the bathtub quickly became dirty. Whenever I moved my body, bubbles moved here and there like industrial wastewater. As we drained the water from the bathtub we took care of the rest of our bodies and washed them. The sound of the water escaping the bathtub whispered as if caught someplace. I was thinking about how to look pretty, so I took one leg on the tub and lathered it up. But Bong-gyu said:

“Going in the bathtub is very hot.”

And he rinsed his body with cold water and went out. I sat there for a while until the bathwater drained and then I noticed that the hair on my legs was growing. There were neatly packaged toiletries in the sink. Among them was a razor. When I opened the package, the razor came out with a small piece of hair stuck to it. It was obvious someone had used that razor and it was recycled, I shaved my leg hair. I thought about how many couples had stayed here. 

Like I’d seen the movies, I came out with a bath towel wrapped around my chest. Bong-gyu was looking for movies on the desktop computer. Bong-gyu, who’d been searching for a while on the computer, found and played a video on the desktop. The place in the video was surprisingly the room we were in. It seemed the camera was on a console next to the bed. The woman in the video was tenaciously repositioning the camera while receiving and giving oral sex. “Honey, the camera needs to be above us to make my face look more beautiful.” After saying that, she made a couple of exaggerated groans, then changed the camera position again. The woman told the man what to do and what expression to make. And she checked often to see if the camera was still there. 

“Well, this is a bit hard to get into.”

Bong-gyu laughed and giggled by himself, then turned off the video and turned the TV on. There was a local ad. A muscular man was riding an exercise bike. I laid in bed and watched it and said to buy it. The bed in the motel was harder than I thought and the blanket crumbled like sand. Lifting it, a few strands of pubic hair fell off the blanket. I wiped them with the bottom of my hand before Bong-gyu saw them. 

When we went home the next day, all the laundry we’d left out had been cleaned up. At the top of the pile of Bong-gyu and I’s clothing were my panties rolled up and neatly laid out. 

*

The screen went dark for a moment after the reports of the billion won scandal singer ended. At that moment my parents’ house and I were trapped inside the screen and then released. The room flashed and thunder roared a few seconds later. It was a moment that needed a razor blade. When I ran to the bathroom, I sat on the toilet while searching for the blade because of a sudden urge to pee. Tears shed while I was peeing. Even if there is nothing to be sad about, tears are meant to flow. Even if someone doesn’t think of death, they are meant to need a razor. I held a roll of toilet paper. Tears flowed out. Snot fell stickily on my thigh. Would actresses cry so ugly like this when they’re really sad? Why is life so different from movies? Why am I looking at myself from a distance at all times? 

While thinking about that, I wiped my tears in tissue soaked in urine. My face was pissed on, but it smelled better than I imagined. As Dumas said, the order was important. I realized that suicide also has an order. If I die now, people will associate my death with my break up with Bong-gyu or unemployment. So instead of dying I decided to go to the convenience store. 

I saw two students in uniform  standing on the other side of the crosswalk waiting for the light to change. The boy was holding an umbrella and the girl was holding a cup of ramen noodles in her left hand and using chopsticks in her right hand to eat. It was the first time I’d seen someone eating ramen on the street- it wasn’t even a hot bar. When I got close to the two students, I could hear their conversation. They were talking about human nature . 

I felt hungry. The convenience store I entered was bright. It also seemed there would be no cases of theft in this store. Only cigarette ads were posted on the counter. After paying for the cup of ramen noodles, I carefully placed them on the green plastic top and removed the packaging. I removed half of the paper lid, poured in the water and closed the lid again. Then I grabbed my chopsticks and raised them. I thought it would be nice if everything was orderly and in a manual this way. 

During the three minutes the ramen was cooking, I wondered when I could die. Of course it should be when there was neither unemployment nor a broken heart. So I should be on a socially stable track. Thinking that maybe I’ll live forever, I slurped ramen noodles. My body became warm and I was able to leave the convenience store forgetting about the razor. On the way home, the light of the convenience store repeatedly appeared and disappeared each time I turned a corner. 

I arrived home drenched. I briskly wiped my body with a towel. The veranda’s window was covered in water droplets. The apartment complex was wet all over. As I watched the pouring rain, I suddenly realized I was also in too safe of a place. Even if a storm strikes on the outside, the inside would remain dry in this 34 pyeong apartment. A spacious living room and kitchen, three rooms attached. A home theater and television, even a sofa. My parents’ house was so comfortable that it couldn’t be compared to a motel room or Bong-gyu’s room. I was a bit surprised. For the first time, I felt like I could objectively see what they had accomplished. Why hadn’t I ever admired something like this before? 

I wondered what sayings would be posted on the building next to Bong-gyu’s this week. I thought I should send a message to Bong-gyu, but in the end I couldn’t, I kept thinking about the exercise bike. I got on the seat and put my feet on the pedals. A cooking documentary came on the TV. The program host was a woman. The woman seemed to resemble the woman I saw in the video at the motel. No, maybe it was the woman Bong-gyu had left on the cold floor. Wreathed in smiles, she said that the paleolithic diet without carbohydrates is in vogue. As I watched the video of chopping radishes as a substitute for noodles, I thought of Dumas. I pushed the bike’s pedals. It was a bit weird being on a bike that didn’t go anywhere. But these are the things that are helpful in life. I pushed the pedals in order, one by one. It was a feeling of evolving. 

END


Song Ji Hyun debuted with the short story A Study on Punk-Rock Style Straw Design which won the 2013 Dong-a Ilbo New Writer’s Contest. She has authored the short-story collection Like an Epilogue, So to Speak and the essay collection East Sea Life.

Featured image is licensed under Creative Commons

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