The month my second ex boyfriend and I break up, the towels that will later furnish my YongKang-Dong apartment are made. Catching a glimpse of the tag as I’m drying my face and the immediate association that rises to mind makes me curious about other things in the house; I go on a hunt, looking for the “made on” dates on other items. The kettle, the freezer, the microwave. The slippers, trash bins, vacuum. Not because of any guiding tragic logic that I can see, but just because my own proclivities have caused my life to turn out this way, most months in my memory seemed marked by their own distinct sadness, many of them pivoting upon loss.
I lost that boyfriend and my childhood cat on the exact same day in November; I counted it a blessing at the time that I had one to distract me from the other; I remember this as I forage through the house now, turning things over I haven’t even properly used yet, in search of the year and month dates. Most things don’t have them, so I make them up–that was in January, the last month of my zodiac animal year, that was one year ago December, the month of the first fizzling out; and on, and on, in this way, until my alarm set for six PM that usually wakes me from my afternoon nap beats its shrill twitter into my bedroom’s cold spring evening air.
When a friend comes to see me and stay at my place for the first time, we walk from Mapo station to my house through Mapo Food and Culture street. There’s a statue of a fortune teller on one side of a large intersection; I tell her who he is and she says maybe he has good luck and that’s why you’ve been so lucky. I think, yeah, maybe he’s good luck, and I thank him from across the road, bowing deeply. I have a great school, good coworkers, good students, a big apartment, a lovely neighborhood. Enough to thank him for.
But maybe he’s unlucky in love, my friend says after a moment of thought, with a glance at me out of the side of her eye.
I often have dreams where I end up in England again, but without resources; either no money or no idea where to go, or how to get anywhere, or nowhere to stay. Last night I dream that I make my way to Scotland from London and find my Scottish friend there, and ask her to let me stay at her house. She makes some excuses, all of which I ignore, and park there. Later in the same dream I’m at home in California in March wearing hanbok, and everyone is asking me to change. There are airtight capsules lined up on my desk all full of clothes, but looking at their labels I see they all contain hanbok and I have no other options. My sister comes into my room to make sure I’m going to change out of my clothes. You know these are all hanbok too, I tell her about the other capsules, and she nods once at me, a suddenly conspiratorial look in her eyes. That’s not the right one, she says, gesturing with her chin to what I’m wearing now.