- The Goat Herding Woman
Tr. Sophie Bowman 2015338pp.
Though the tap in the kitchen was dripping, there was not a single speck of water on the gleaming sink, and not even a cup left out to dry. It felt like the kitchen of someone who was away on a long trip.
“It sure is quiet in the afternoon. What do you usually do? After you’ve done all the clearing up like this...”
“Not much… I don’t do anything at all. There’s nothing I can do.” Jeongyeon said, and heaved a deep sigh like a wilted vegetable. “Even the baby is sound asleep, so when I’m sitting here alone it’s as if I’m waiting for something. If only someone would show up… right now if someone could just come in and look around and just say, that’s enough now, give it up, and draw a full stop at the end of this repetition.”
My gaze was lowered to below her chin.
“I mean a complete, final finish,” she said.
“But that would be death. If it wasn’t that, what else would come along and say that’s enough now, time to stop.”
“Yeah, you’re right. But even so I wait. I don’t even feel like it would be death that came along. I’m just waiting.”
“There’s no way to be rid of it. All we can do is make the repetition something trivial. We need some other important task to do. We weren’t put in this world just to do nauseating housework two, three times a day, making our eyes grow wide and fraying away our fingers.