- Snow Falling on Leakage
Someone’s got to visit me. Your humble narrator is always imagining scenes where she’s meeting someone, and now, considering the hours and hours of Post-its I’ve used up, I deserve a visit. And so I waited. And just as I unwrapped a new block of Post-its, the doorbell chimed. Was it a story, was it a film, was it a song, was it a dream? No, it was for real.
I checked the intercom. And there in the square of the monitor, floating like a tiny island, was the white top of a head.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“I need to check the gas.”
I opened the door, and there on the threshold was the worn toe of a sneaker the color of sky. Followed by the right shoulder of a brown sweater. And then a right thigh clad in raggedy denim. And a small face with bangs half-covering her eyebrows. There were clumps of snow in her hair.
“This shouldn’t take long.”
Maybe she’d do for one of the main characters, a girl pretending to be an inspector from the gas company. She was shivering. I showed her to the kitchen, where she produced a small instrument, pulled it out to its full length, and brought the end of it to the gas valve. [End Page 269]
“No problem here. Can you show me the boiler?”
I led the way toward the utility room. To get there we had to go through the bedroom. The girl tagged along silently. I glanced back and noticed her looking at the red cardigan sweater I’d tossed on the bed.
“How much snow did we get?” I asked.
“Up to my ankles,” she said in a whispery voice.
I stood at the door to the utility room as she checked the boiler. The melting snow was trailing down the back of her slender neck. I had a sudden urge to bundle her up. Just then she turned to me.
“You’ve got a leak.”
For the first time I could see her full in the face.
“I’m freezing,” she said.
I fetched the red cardigan and slung it around her shoulders. It made her look bloated. Her narrow eyes grew wide and her upper lip twitched.
“You’ve got leakage, you know.”
“And we’ve got snow falling. It’s going to be all right.”
And that’s how my new story was revealed to me. She gave me a puzzled look. To see the present and the future of that story, I looked into her eyes. [End Page 270]
Han Yujoo was born in Seoul in 1982 and had already debuted as a creative writer (2003) by the time she graduated from Hongik University in Seoul with a degree in German literature. Her first volume of fiction, Tal lo (Moonward, 2006), was a Book of the Year selection in Korea. It was followed by Orum ui ch’aek (The book of ice, 2009), and Na ui oen son un wang, orun son un wang ui p’ilgyongsa (My left hand is the king, my right hand his scribe, 2011). Her first novel, Pulganunghan tonghwa (The impossible fairytale), appeared in 2013. Utilizing multiple narrative points of view and unsettling disjunctures, her metafictional writing embraces fantasy, evil, and the collision of cultures and languages. She is represented in translation in New Writing From Korea 2 and Azalea 6.