Your shop was smaller than our kitchen but better stocked, the shelves on both sides of its entrance packed to the ceiling with shrimp chips and kimchi, dried cuttlefish, ramen noodles, and vacuum-sealed chicken drumsticks.
It had no name, the shop—it was just that faded orange awning in front—so we called it “Orange Awning,” until one day when we’d run out of maekju or soju or oo-yu, or butter or cigarettes or change for the bus, and someone in our apartment suggested to someone else that they run across the alley to Orange Awning.
“Who’s Old Johnny?” a friend asked, misunderstanding.
So that became your name. You: the ancient man, stony and bony, who squatted day and night on a flimsy plastic orange stool inches from the cement, paying us no special attention when we charged through the door five, six times a week, our heads bobbing in greeting, all smiles and a sing-song anyonghashimnika.
OZZY IS GIVING ME ATTITUDE—bumping against my pack, nosing ahead, blowing his semisweet-fermented breath in my face. I nudge him on the chest to keep him behind me as I inch down the steep sandstone, but he clearly has personal-space issues. I chose Ozzy . . .
We’d been in the air about five minutes when our pilot, Cameron, pointed out the rainbow. It could be viewed, he said, from the right side of the helicopter — my side. I turned my head, knowing just what to expect. Since arriving on Maui a week before . . .
Growing up, I was The One Who Could Not Sing. My older sister and brother, on the other hand, were routinely cast in musicals and chosen for high school Madrigals (the “Glee”-like choir reserved for the cream of the teen vocal crop). At Christmas, my . . .
My best friend and I rarely call each other. Not because we don’t enjoy talking; we just prefer to catch up in person, ideally over frosty drinks in a foreign land. But before our recent trip to Nicaragua, I texted her, “Are we taking backpacks or rolling . . .
Our lives don’t really belong to us, you see–they belong to the world, and in spite of our efforts to make sense of it, the world is a place beyond our understanding.” –Paul Auster