In the mornings, han-gugo seeps through her sleep like a radio alarm. Blink, blink, go her eyes as the local butcher sounds words through her window.

O-channon. O-channon. Mulk-kogi. O-channon.

Sleep is the same here. So are windows and floors. In the kitchen, there is running water, a refrigerator, a sink.

Chan-woo cleans his change with baking soda and vinegar each night. He keeps jars by his bed and drops the coins in, watching them fizz.

Jenna lies on her back. Sometimes she crawls onto the heated floor and listens:

“Want to rent a movie?” Ian is saying. “How about some Chinese?”

She remembers the words but not the sounds. His voice is Korean. Solid and guttural. A song.

Annyong haseyo, he is saying. Annyongghi kyeseyo. “Want to go to the store? How about a trip to the Met?”

Even in his sleep, Chan-woo is always driving. He is shifting gears, inching past red lights, watching the world pass in his rearview mirror.

Yobo. Yobo.” His wife shakes him from sleep. “Wake up. Wake up. You’re driving my arm, again. Please.”

“Sorry. Sorry. I didn’t know.”

“Close your eyes and dream of something else,” she tells him. “There are no limits.”

But soon, he is driving again. He is pulling away from traffic, clicking on the meter.

“Where to?” he asks.

Bae-gun-dong. Bong-sun-dong. Sang-moo-gee-goo.

In the bathroom, Jenna wears sandals. She washes her hair and watches the suds sink past her feet.

It is springtime, and the dust is yellow. It sticks to car windows, to office doors. Jenna imagines it floating above her like seed from a dandelion. She has yet to see it on her skin. In the shower, she imagines washing the dust away.

“What does it feel like?” Ian wants to know.

“Feel like?” Jenna asks when he calls.

If Ian could watch from the sky, he might know. “Oh, I see. It’s like that,” he would say, the dust falling on the town below.

Chan-woo dresses in suits. If he sold fish like Mi-sun, he would dress in trousers and a white undershirt. The seats inside his cab are made of leather. There is a color TV.

Chan-woo cleans his change with baking soda and vinegar each night. He keeps jars by his bed and drops the coins in, watching them fizz.

“Why do you do that?” Mi-sun asks as she brushes her hair.

“It is dignity,” Chan-woo wants to tell his wife. “Dignity.”

When they go to bed, he can smell the fish on her skin.

At the street corner, an ah-joo-ma sells hapless pears. The skin on the fruit is the skin on the woman, wrinkled and brown. Short hair crumples across her face.

On her first day here, Jenna bit into a loaf of bread. The inside was filled with a sweet red paste.

“Why would you do that?” she asked Ian on the phone later. “Ruin a perfectly good piece of bread?”

“Don’t worry about the bread,” he told her. “Just come home,” he said.

Jenna can hear her voice echoing through the line: “But, why?” she says. “Why?”

“My daughter is a surgeon,” Chan-woo tells his cousins when Yeon-hwa visits from overseas.

Aboji. Please,” she tells him. She stuffs her face with kimchi and fried rice. “I work for an orthodontist.”

“Tell me. In what way have you changed the world today?” he asks her over lunch.

“It’s not like that,” says his daughter. “I clean other people’s teeth.”

After lunch, Yeon-hwa pays the bill. “So you don’t have to work so hard,” she tells him.

His daughter uses all of the correct words. Aboji, hap-se-da, mullonimnida. She saves him the last roll of kim-bap before getting up to leave.

Jenna waits on the corner by the Kook-min Bank. She steps off the sidewalk, holds out her hand, and waits for a cab.

Mi-guk. Mi-guk saram,” a group of schoolgirls point as they pass her on the street.

Jenna’s hair is blonde. At the school, the students want to touch it.

“Ehhh. Like silk,” they say, when she lets them.

“Good,” says Jenna. “Can I touch your hair now?”

Chan-woo passes an old woman selling fruit on the street corner. “Ah-joo-ma,” he calls out, passing her a coin for a pear.

Up ahead, Chan-woo stops and picks up a passenger. He looks down at his coins. There’s a dirty one now, mixed in with the newly washed ones. He sees the crumpled bills his daughter gave him.

He sent Yeon-hwa overseas and she came back a foreigner, handing him money as if he were a peasant.

“Look at your mother,” he tells his daughter each time she visits. “All that work. Her back will never be straight. Kiss her and tell her you are grateful.”

“Why won’t you kiss me?” Mi-sun asks at night when he turns out the light.

Because you have scales. You smell like the ocean.

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