Nowhere to Be Found
- onDecember 16, 2015
- Vol.30 Winter 2015
- byBae Suah
- Nowhere to Be Found
Tr. Sora Kim-Russell 2015108pp.
“We have this!”
I shuddered in horror.
“I hate chicken. Besides, that’s for you.”
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“It’s over there.”
Cheolsu pointed to the soldiers’ latrines at the end of the parade ground. I went inside and squatted down awkwardly, trying to keep my body from touching the latrine door, and peed for a long time. My thighs and bottom were ice cold. When I came out, Cheolsu was pouring a can of Coke into two paper cups. He was sitting on a bench beneath a tree overlooking the snowy parade ground. Cheolsu’s friends and their girlfriends, mothers, and little sisters were staring at us from across the way. They looked like they were waiting to see how much I would enjoy eating his chicken.
“Here, dig in.”
He tried to hand me some Coke. I shook my head.
“Eat! I bet you haven’t eaten anything all day,” he said, tearing up the chicken.
“Cheolsu, are there two Kim Cheolsus here?”
He put down the chicken and looked at me.
“Tell me. Is there another officer-in-training named Kim Cheolsu besides you?”
“I told you there isn’t. Someone made a mistake. Either you misheard them or some idiot private misunderstood you. Besides, what does it matter? You’re here now, and the Kim Cheolsu you were looking for is right in front of you. So who cares? Have some chicken.”
“It’s your chicken.” I pushed away his hand as he held out the carcass. “Cheolsu is a very common name. You know that.”
“What the hell are you getting at?”