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I Went My Way, with Someone Beside Me

  • Provider
    LTI Korea
  • Issued Date
    VOL.27 SPRING 2015
  • Running Time



Sometimes I get the feeling that Ae-ran thinks with her eyes. Big, dark eyes turned mischievously on the world, taking a good, long, deep, lingering look, before turning inwards to herself. Storing up what they had just seen, no doubt. Only then does she put words to the objects of that good, long, deep, lingering gaze, taking her own sweet time producing each sentence.

Sometimes it feels like that when she’s talking, too. If you ever catch Ae-ran suddenly falling silent in mid-sentence, blinking slowly and seemingly staring off into space, rest assured that what you are witnessing is nothing more than a mental warm-up of sorts. Flexing the muscles of her thoughts, Ae-ran leaps up and usually lands on a joke. We’ll burst out laughing or nod understandingly before more jokes and more laughs follow, or sometimes tease her a bit before joining in the laughter.

Ae-ran’s jokes are often ways of brushing off trivial but bothersome worries, unpredictable coincidences, and unspecified stretches of time, but what she is actually thinking is beyond the realm of jokes, the invisible gap between jokes, their pale and fragile texture. And while she does not try to erase the stain of things that happen to her, she thinks about them for a long time, watches them, and embraces them. She does not plough over what is difficult to say or explain, or try to turn it into a joke, or tie a neat narrative bow around it—that she leaves up to those deep, dark eyes that gaze upon the world and herself at the same time.

She doesn’t jump to conclusions about people or things, preferring to guess and surmise with an “I suppose so.” She thinks the good thing about writing is “those instants when I get to feel awed by the world and its people, without having any religion,” and that writing fiction comes down to a kind of attitude, of facing the world and treating people the best way she can. She knows that if you give one hand to joy, you always take sadness in the other.


by Pyun Hye-young



*This is an excerpt from “I Went My Way, with Someone Beside Me,” Yi Sang Literary Award Anthology (Seoul: Munhaksasang, 2013).

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