after Ling Ma
Imo clucks her tongue at a group of white-shirt black-slack uniformed high school boys huddled so closely together it looks like they are smoking, dirty dambae nyeoseokdeul, but they are only reveling in their ice cream cones. Jiwon is too American for her own good and footlooses her way into the street. A passerby ajusshi is the one who nudges her back to the curb before she is run over by a car. I don’t move, but just like my sister I too have trouble keeping still: my mind is everywhere all of the time, it thinks it smells sadness, but I am only thirteen? fourteen? at the time and adults love to remind me, you’re not depressed, it’s just hormones, what could you possibly know of sadness?
If sadness were a smell I think it would be the smoky musk of charred barbecue dampened by hot and muggy rain. But then you bring it to your lips and it would taste a cool spike, an icicle of cola. I hate Coke but for some reason I will drink cola. I don’t know what that proves if anything. We leave the gogijib and my shirt reeks of gluttony. Sadness is the wind on the street along the hairs of my arms. I cry from existing.