Christina Heaston

Seoul Tower, metal locks, and being in love.

Posted in Uncategorized by christinaheaston on February 21, 2010

Seoul Tower, S. Korea

We walked up a hill. We walked up a mountain. There was snow on the steps and ice on the road. We touched shoulders with strangers in a cable car, in a ski lift, in a boat-in something. Korean writing on plastic hearts and metal locks. They were for the lovers. Throw away the key and just like that, you’re happily ever after.

My fingertips were freezing and being locked in love didn’t sound that romantic to me. I started imagining my husband-tall, thin, dark, and with black thick-rimmed glasses. What? That’s the only kind of man I’d seen for the past 13 days. Anyways, I imagined him: “Sweetheart, I love you because I have no choice-I’m locked into it.”  Maybe I was just cynical because I couldn’t feel my face. Or maybe because I didn’t have a lock on my own love life, which is non-existent, thank you. (But I don’t think that’s it-i think it’s because it was a dumb idea.) But it did serve a purpose, offering visual goodness to tourist like myself.

When we first got to Seoul, a man grabbed my luggage and carried it up 3 flights of stairs for me. He was young and attractive and probably married. Which was fine because he didn’t speak English. I was surprised and grateful and probably a little in love. Which was fine because I didn’t speak Korean. When we reached the top of the stairs, he lit a cigarette and handed me his phone. He had dialed a friend who spoke English. His friend gave me directions. I handed him his phone back and told him he was an angel. I immediately regretted my word choice…”angel”? really christina? I never say that. I pictured myself as a 64 year old aunt with bright pink lipstick about to pinch his cheeks.  He didn’t understand me anyways. We smiled and said our goodbyes and will never see each other again.

That night we tried to learn morse code and other important things five girls should know when staying in a hostel. There was a heated discussion about what exactly the letters “SOS” stand for and someone owes someone some cash. Some won, if you will. I wasn’t homesick but I had the thought of drinking sweet tea out of a mason jar more than four times that day.

It’s strange and overwhelming and  I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it. The idea that we are in contact-or we have the opportunity to be in contact with so many people every single day. Some of these people will simply walk in and out of our lives in the very same moment. But some of them could be as close as our very own soul the next day or week or month or year.  It’s kind of sad to think about all the people you could’ve been closer to but for some reason aren’t a part of your life. But that’s when we get fatalistic and convince ourselves it was only meant to be.

We were up so high and could see the whole city. It felt like an old postal service song. It felt like drinking Fanta in your black navajo on our way to listen to what we thought was ingenious pop music, but now, looking back-well, let’s not look back. We’re here. We’re now. We’re on top of Mt. Namsan.

We’re on Seoul Tower and love still exists.

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