I remember the first day I met her, when she took me to orientation. I got in her car and she was all smiles, but I couldn't figure out her English ability. What better way to do that then to crack a few jokes about cheating on her husband, fuck me right?
“That's a nice ring. It looks heavy.”
“Yes, I have baby. She is twenty years – umm- months old.”
“Oh cool, so you have a husband.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
Her laughter sounds like the other shoe falling. I just made a joke that would make any GWS major go DEFCUNT 3 in a conservative city of a conservative country on my first day to the program coordinator. Fuck the 38th parallel, I'm now in No Man's Land.
“ㅋㅋㅋ ....I wish... I want many boyfriends.”
“Well yeah, you need one in Busan, one in Seoul, and one in Daegu, at least.”
I breathe a sigh of relief after taking an unnecessary risk. It feels too familiar.
The first month on the job goes by well- On most days, I show up to school with dark chocolate, pastries, or even a full blown cake. I even brought cabernet to work a few times. When did I get that bright idea?
It was at a staff social event, you know the type: Drunk ajeosshi blustering about, harassing females and lording their imagined superiority over anyone even a month younger, lots of hands touching lots of thighs, beer and liquor so foul it makes the sloppy piles of sliced raw flounder look good, a lack of chairs- in other words, Korean. She and I sat at the end of the table/floor and talked to each other while it was still quiet enough to so.
“What do you think about divorce?”
I was surprised she would ask that question to a subordinate five years her junior. But she asked so,
“Oh, divorce is awesome. Not only do you get your freedom back, but in America, you take half the guy's money and possessions. What's worse, being single, or being attached to someone you hate for the rest of your life?”
She'd brought up her husband before, and while she wasn't the type of woman that would put up with a violent rapist, he did sound like one of those lesser pieces of shit.
“When I was young, I didn't want to be hurt by men anymore..So I thought if I marry, then no more break up. But now, it is worse.”
If this sounds like a terrible reason to marry young, it's because it is.
Her husband is a Korean soldier which means they see each other once a week, he's poor, and it's terminal. The parents take care of the daughter, well hers do. His just demand things. It seems like they never had a chance to begin with. She's been working for 8 years, lives with her parents, and drives 45 minutes to a job where she makes less than me and does more work. How the fuck do you allow your life to get to that point? My CT is hot, and hot girls just don't fail like this. They get addicted to pills, get stuck in aspiring-actress limbo while waiting tables, or get dumped for hotter girls. But living at home, married to an absentee loser with child? That's an ugly-girl fate.
She texted me saying she cried all weekend, after talking to her parents about it. For her, it's a package deal- if she's going to get rid of the husband, she wants to export the baby like a .pdf and be rid of the whole thing. So I brought in cake and a bottle of red on Monday, just to see her smile. It was going well too, until her father-in-law showed up at our school, and they locked down my office for a full hour, arguing. When I come back from the playground, she's quivering in tears. I pour her a glass.
“My husband always wants sex. When I say no, he ignores me and the baby and sleeps the entire weekend, doesn't call me. He doesn't want to go to counseling, he blames me.”
There's still no unified theory on how a young Korean girl turns into an ajumma, but I know it has to have something to do with not getting enough vitamin D. Women need it to stay young and spry, it regulates mood and fights depression. I watched my last CT turn into a bitter old hag over the course of just one year and I know she's never gotten the D in her life, being a wacko bible thumper. When circumstances push a woman into a position where she is rejecting dick when she needs it the most, she's entered into a vicious spiral and on the fast track life as an ajumma. Once they cut their hair and get the perm, it's all over.