09 October 2008

State of Mind

I am fairly sure that my co-teacher at 상암 is chronically unhappy. And it is damn sad to see.

She picks me up before work and drops me off after work in her car, a service for which the school pays her a small amount. She gets here in the morning an hour or half hour early as a matter of course, and I always find her sitting in the car.  The car is turned off, her hands are in her lap, and she is staring ahead in the silence, gazing at nothing with a blank expression.

During the ride and sometime during the day, she often asks what I plan on doing that evening. Regardless of what I answer (lately, variations on "moping"), when I ask her the same thing she smiles painfully and replies that she will clean, cook and finally sleep. She gives the all-too-familiar Korean cover-up laugh, the small chuckle and frozen grin supplied during discomfort, and then changes the subject. When she speaks of her family, she says wistfully that her marriage was an arranged one. But any criticism of her husband is immediately and conscientiously followed by a shallow compliment.

She never wants to go home.

It is very sad, and I wish I could do something for her.

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