i was 14 and i put you in your basket. you wandered from it. you always wandered. you were gypsy.
gypsy. gyppy. gyp. remembering a runt. you got grass seeds that made your face swell up like small balloon; the vet had to stick his pincers straight in there and i was amazed at how something so small could affect you so much. you had a droopy eye that clouded over in green puss; we had to spray blue stuff straight into it and it made you look a little like a punk. your ears dangled in your drinking bowl and never seemed to dry out in their matted tips. you spun circles in the air when you wanted food and often crashed into the furniture. your breath would smell like you had been eating dead sheep; sometimes you had been eating dead sheep. you lay on your back and spread your legs like a slutty bitch when a cuddle was on hand. you wimpered and scratched outside my bedroom door when i was selfishly sleeping in. i learned what it meant to be responsible for something. you became hard of hearing and tore chunks from our toes when we accidentally kicked you under the dinner table.
and now you are gone. i knew that last cuddle would be the last cuddle. gypsy, i hope we did ok by you. i love you.
it took 7 hours, maybe less, on 2 nights, that were technically mornings, over 3 days, of the long weekend, to convince her that i was not any other drunken foreigner trying to pick up any other korean bargirl.
i sat. i was drunk. alex and i and others had been dancing to peter hook's ego-ridden bed stain for a dj set at a bad club around the corner. i saw her and the stool next to me was unoccupied, so i tapped it. i shouldn't have tapped it. she ran away behind the bar but i wasn't deterred. do you know english? was amongst the first things i said. do you know wolf parade? was the first thing she said that set my heart on fire.
i stole glimpses while my memory made glitches. belt buckle hoisted to view.... ill comment about her looking good in her jeans ... scrawled introductions on bar paper ... a film maker of broken love ... any reason to come to the bar.
then it landed like an air raid siren in the sahara. some korean man, next to me, saying something, like, she is my wife. i didn't move. where could i go? i didn't want to. i stayed there next to him at the bar, and apologised to her. but i scrawled my number down on another piece of bar paper and handed it to her as i left.
that was thursday night. by saturday night i had been dreaming all weekend of a married girl named hasisi. something wasn't quite right. true to habit we had been at another bad dance club and come 3 a.m. it felt only natural to retreat to the comfort of 'the amplifier of seoul'. i certainly wasn't going to throw the proverbial spanner at a plan that might let me see her again.
i saw her again. i saw her for what felt like eternity but was in fact about 3 minutes as the other bargirl neglected to serve me, knowing full well whose attention i wanted. hasisi turned from rinsing plastic cups and her face lit up. she exclaimed my name and gave me two beers on the house. something definitely wasn't right. i seized the all important minutes of sobriety to apologise for thursday and tell her she was beautiful.
then things started getting glitchy again. ... elope with me to montreal ... is your husband here tonight? ... murder the dance floor ... you dance cute ... do you like your life here? ... wonder where he is and wonder why he hasn't told me off yet ... come dance with me. just one song. come on ... her body twitched, motor programms running every stage except execution, and she smiled. alex knew it as i did, man, she's really taken with you.
suddenly, the rosy glasses of my brain turned a little less opaque, and a husband died in a land he never existed in. the husband was in fact a protective boss, trying to see his staff work more than chat and making fair enough judgements about another drunk waygook in his bar. she was willing to go along with it, for fear or loyalty, yet not far enough to propogate the lies, bless her button nose.
i didn't want the night to end, and as the small numbers of the small hours climbed the number of people dancing around me plummeted. it was getting very late in this dingy basement. come back to alex's house with us. i would love (love!) to but i have a promise to breakfast with FF people. you can go to breakfast any time. etc. desperation. a lets-go clap from alex. the final decision, a shake of the head. the final action, a kiss on her cheek. her voiced registered desire and her eyes popped open like cheap bubblegum wrappers. i left with half my stomach in the squat toilet and the biggest smile all over my smitten-ridden face.
we all saw it. alex, alicia, the cab driver i am sure. the sky was blue. blue! in seoul. and then my phone rumbled in my pocket. it was si si.
what is your name?
no, just jackson. what is your name?
i don't know.
yes you do.
no. i forgot. ...ok. chen. c. h. e. n. chen.
nice to meet you chen.
have a nice wet dream tonight. w. e. t. dream.