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The inside of the car smells like vinegar.
“Where to?” the driver asks.
“Bong-sun-dong,” Jenna points. Straight ahead.
“Come home,” Ian said over the phone last night. “You’ve been gone long enough.”
Jenna wanted to tell him about the stands they have in winter.
“A little hut,” she would say. “A woman pours pancake batter into the griddle below. They come out in the shape of fish.”
“But, Jenna—” Ian would say.
“And they pour soup while you wait. Everyone drinks it together.”
“Come home,” he says.
“But don’t you want to know what it tastes like?”
In the summer, Mi-sun walks with a parasol. The foreigners wear low-cut shirts, the sleeves falling off their shoulders.
“They think we’re crazy,” Yeon-hwa once told him. “Wanting white skin when ours is so beautifully tan.”
The woman in the cab is American. She wants to sit in the front.
“Annyong haseyo,” she says, her voice like a child’s.
“Mi-guk saram?” he asks her.
“What color was her hair?” Mi-sun will want to know.
“Blonde,” he will tell her. “It was blonde.”
There are no seat belts in the cab. The driver smells like ginseng, an old man.
He creeps past the red light, pausing to see if anyone’s coming, accelerating through the intersection.
“Stop,” Jenna wants to tell the driver. “You’ll kill us both,” but the words don’t come fast enough.
Jenna watches as a motorbike speeds past them. The girl in the back is sitting sidesaddle in a skirt and high heels.
“No safety regulations,” she tells Ian. “People just do what they want.”
“Where should I stop?” Chan-woo wants to ask the foreigner. He forgets the words in English.
“Lotte Mart?” he says pointing out the window. “Big Mart?” Maybe she wants to go to the bank.
“You want to stop?” Chan-woo asks the woman in English. He points out the window.
“I don’t want to stop there,” Jenna tries to tell the driver. “Why do you keep asking me that?”
When she first arrived in Gwangju, Jenna tried to use a public phone outside an ice cream parlor.
“Do you speak English?” she asked the girls behind the counter. Two of them pointed to a girl in the center. They giggled.
“English?” she asked again.
The girls laughed.
Jenna took out a thousand won from her pocket.
“Phone?” Jenna said, holding up her hand to her face. “Coins,” she said, showing the girl the thousand won.
If Mi-sun were in the car, she would want to sit next to the foreigner.
“U.S.A?” she would ask the girl. “How many months in Korea?”
“I don’t know where to drop her off,” Chan-woo would say, looking at Mi-sun in the rearview mirror.
“Yobo, who cares,” Mi-sun would say. “You drive around the block.”
Chan-woo puts on his blinker and pulls to the side.
“Aniyo,” says the girl, pointing straight in front of her.
“Get out,” Chan-woo says, pointing to the curb, reaching his hand back to open the door.
Why is he letting me out here? Jenna thinks.
“Mollayo,” says the driver.
Jenna hands him two thousand won. She points farther down the road.
Before she came to Korea she read a guidebook. The Seoul of Korea, it was called. A Big Guide to a Small Country.
Do not wear sleeveless shirts in the summer, the book advised. Always take your shoes off before entering a home.
“Americans usually don’t fit into our clothes,” a representative from the school advised her. “Make sure you bring enough for all four seasons.”
Chan-woo drives farther down the road.
More crumpled bills, he thinks, looking down at the foreigner’s money. He digs his fingers into the coins beside him. After this, I will have to get rid of the dirty ones.
He wonders if the girl still has money from America.
“Quarter?” he could ask her. “Dime?”
But the girl is already confused.