Autumn on the Peninsula

:

Fall comes late around here, at the bottom of the peninsula. Though we’re officially a month in, the trees are still green and the days are warm. Many of my students still wear shorts, and some of the girls have yet to hang up the miniskirts – not that I’m complaining. It has cooled down and the nights require a coat, but it’s not yet close to cold. Summer lingers here in Busan, though the threads that connect us to it are fraying by the second.

My girlfriend and I broke up almost three weeks ago, now. It was sudden and ugly – a demon exorcised during an otherwise ideal trip to the moutains with some friends. I felt it coming on as soon as I met her at the bus station (I was late), and it percolated throughout the weekend until it became a geyser that couldn’t be stopped. And like Old Faithful, there were plenty of people around to be awed by the spectacle.

Fall comes late around here, at the bottom of the peninsula. Though we’re officially a month in, the trees are still green and the days are warm. Many of my students still wear shorts, and some of the girls have yet to hang up the miniskirts – not that I’m complaining. It has cooled down and the nights require a coat, but it’s not yet close to cold. Summer lingers here in Busan, though the threads that connect us to it are fraying by the second.

My girlfriend and I broke up almost three weeks ago, now. It was sudden and ugly – a demon exorcised during an otherwise ideal trip to the moutains with some friends. I felt it coming on as soon as I met her at the bus station (I was late), and it percolated throughout the weekend until it became a geyser that couldn’t be stopped. And like Old Faithful, there were plenty of people around to be awed by the spectacle.

The truth is that our relationship was poisoned a long time ago by an event that I had nothing to do with. I accepted it, forgave, and moved on, but she never could, and eventually her anger and hostility was turned onto me personally. I was willing to try to work it out for a while, but I only could endure so many outbursts and attacks out of nowhere before I bit back.

I could go on and try to justify my actions and explain hers. I could condemn her for destroying something that I knew was good, but I know best to let it rest. I am angry, but I refuse to be a sad sack over a relationship that didn’t work out. I’ve been that chump before and never will again. I’ll never give someone that power over me.

We had three years, on and off, but despite our love for each other, our foundation was cracked, and it’s good we didn’t marry. We would have both been miserable. I’m choosing not to wallow in my loss, but rather roll up my sleeves and jump into my life even deeper.

I’ve gotten through this year by making myself so busy that I scarcely have time to really think about the awful things that have happened. My dad’s memory is warm, yet fading; to contemplate my mother’s final months of suffering and death makes my skull literally feel like it’s about to rupture. My chest wants to cave in and I gasp for air. ONE DAY I’ll have to come to terms with it, but I cope by doing as much as I can and then nightly blurring my thoughts with alcohol. I realize this is not healthy, but at least I’m being productive.

I have a music gig tonight, two big stand-up shows in Seoul this weekend, and another band thing next weekend. I’ve got four hours of Korean class each week. I have a big writing project on deck and work a pretty full teaching schedule. I’m also meeting my friends – who have helped to carry me through these last two sad, strange years – as well as flirting, dating, and hoping to find her, whoever she is.

I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the company and comfort of women, but despite that, I know what it is to be alone. I’ve spent long periods being just that. And though I do have good friends here, I am alone. I’m single. I have no kids, no parents. It’s just me in the end, and that really doesn’t frighten me as much as it should.

Even though it’s still warm here in Busan, we’re listening to summer’s death rattle. Soon it will be windy and cold, and we’ll have to hunker down for one more long, long winter.



Leave a Comment