we drank soju (on me) due to his shyness. we spoke in simple, broken english to one other between moments of me pointing at places for him to stand so I could take his photo. afterwards we walked back from the han river, towards the station. he showed me his middle school and we briefly talked about his exes. “it was only 3 months? does that even count?!” I exclaim, as he laughs. “I’m 20!” oh yeah, I forgot.
we gazed up at tall buildings rumored to be filled with korean celebrities I wouldn’t know. our shoulders were magnets, we stuck to each other as we dodged the onslaught of hurried pedestrians on the uneven sidewalk. his phone kept ringing, because he had plans that night.
his eyes unfocused to the bright lights around him, he spoke smoothly into his phone. his voice was deeper in his native language. I don’t think he noticed when I playfully held his empty sleeve, lifelessly hanging from his coat draped across his shoulders. if only a hand was sticking out of it, as sleeves are sometimes known to produce.
I arrived at the station, and for a moment we hugged goodbye. after unlocking the embrace, he pulled my hand and I tripped forward, into him. maybe he was moving me out of someone’s way, maybe it was an accident. I briefly re-imagined it was because someone just wanted me closer to them (but then shooed that silly thought away). it was the first time I felt connected in a moment of real interaction with someone in Korea. we don’t need to speak the same language to communicate, if the desire to interact is there. it was a nice moment.
it was a nice night.