It’s 4/8 on the Korean lunar calendar, held as Buddha’s birthday. Soon, I’ll be married by some local community authority; at some time we’ll also register as such with the government.
After the hauntings of last summer — a ghost whose face I saw, coming around a corner at church one Sunday, her brother’s home-coming talk; her abdomen extended with another pregnancy, she looked me in the eyes for a moment as I tried to smile, but there was no sign of recognition nor hoped-for friendship — I quit this place and flew to Korea at the end of January to get a teaching job for at least a year. I went to Myeong-seon’s city, as our plans to work together and/or pursue a deepening relationship solidified.
Last fall, I started to meet Erin Baker, a friend of Ito Dan’s. Our ages were too different, but I immediately liked her and her family, and thought she was my last chance for a life on that side of the world, with my own people. My plan had already been set, and she would be serving a mission soon, but I tried, in our brief acquaintance, to see if there were any glimmer of mutuality worth waiting for… Finding none, I left unburdened.
Kim Hyun-joo and I happened not to meet, as we’d considered, and as I’d hoped. She got introduced to some Church brother anyway, and decided to marry him. Her wedding was in April, I think. I didn’t feel the pressing need to attend. I was just happy that I’d had the chance to turn down her suggestion of a date last year over Skype, undoing the emotional knot that had been tied years ago, when she (probably inadvertently) stood me up that day in Utah. Anyway, we hadn’t exactly hit it off well on Skype, though I’ve started to value her friendship in some small way.
I can’t remember the day; sometime in early March, it must’ve been, after one of our intense arguments, I thought regretfully about Myeong-seon, and realized, inexplicably, that we could be happy together. I suggested marriage the next day. We’d already talked about it last fall before backing out, and, like that time, she had no objections.
Our date got delayed a little. I invited my parents, who arrived yesterday and reached our city, Jeonju, last night. The wedding is in two hours, a traditional affair, as we foreigners are wont to have. We intentionally underplanned, but it still cost more than I hoped. We’ll be flying, the four of us, to Jeju tomorrow for a couple days. I haven’t yet told my parents, but Myeong-seon has agreed to be (re-)baptized after having met with the missionaries for a couple months; it will happen next Saturday.
It’s been a twisting road, but I think it will turn out well.