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  • Virtual Tour
  • Kim Hyun (bio)
    Translated by Archana Madhavan (bio)

The Switch Service will begin shortly.

I am in Hong Kong now with Ch'ŏru. This incident took place when I was in Hong Kong with Yŏngsu (of course, this Hong Kong wasn't the same as past Hong Kong. Following the spread of the coronavirus variant, we were citizens of a country in lockdown).


Whenever we wanted to celebrate an occasion, Yŏngsu and I used the Virtual Tour service provided by Switch, Inc., to go on the vacation of our dreams, and every time, we got into fights—both big and little—with each other. It was enough to make me wonder if we went on vacation for the sole purpose of fighting. The reason for our fights was generally trivial and unfolded in tiresome detail, as follows.

One kind of Yŏngsu thought whatever day we were celebrating wasn't that special and wanted to stay at the hotel and do nothing. Another kind of Yŏngsu would stare pointedly at me, lying defenseless and docile in bed, and say, If you're just going to stay inside all day, why did we go on vacation? (You're telling me. …)

It's not even that Yŏngsu stayed in the hotel room and truly did nothing. He would grab his laptop, turn it on, and, shifting [End Page 123] between sitting on the bed and lying on it, he worked on his script. In my eyes, he wasn't writing or resting, but he also wasn't not writing or not resting. At this rate, he's going to start beating himself up, I'd think, and sure enough, Ugh, this time, I really screwed up, he'd say with a sigh, and then if I consoled him saying, You've never screwed up before, he'd quickly catch his second wind. On the other hand, if another kind of me bluntly retorted, Are you kidding me? We came all this way for you to work on your writing? Yŏngsu would keep his mouth shut for hours.

If I dragged a cheerful or sulky Yŏngsu out of the hotel room, saying, Let's go for a walk so we can feel like we're actually on vacation, Yŏngsu wanted to rush to the nearest cafe and stare at his phone to figure out where we should go next. Then he'd say, We should find a good place to eat and, after we were good and drunk and stuffed fit to burst and either singing the food blogger's praises or trash-talking them, we headed back to the hotel.

Once that happened, as one might expect, our fights took place in our room after we had washed up and were lying side by side on top of the double bed. What's wrong with you? What. You were like this all day long. You really don't know? Is it my fault? Some people never change, huh? If the conversation went on for too long, Yŏngsu was the one to end it first, kicking away the comforter and getting up; I would sit in bed, watching him as he stood there, completely naked and protesting. Then, when Yŏngsu said that he, too, had put up with everything he could put up with and that he had done the best he could do and that writing his script was stressful enough so why did I have to act the way I was acting? No one's perfect at everything but what's great about having a lover is that they can always read their partner's mood and are on their partner's side, they care for their partner and embrace their weaknesses and act with love, don't they, and I would usually punctuate (that is, play a role in) the conversation with this: Aren't you embarrassed? Look at you, [End Page 124] with your ugly junk hanging out like that. Then, as if he had been waiting for me to say just that, Yŏngsu would get into bed again and pull the covers over him with...