50/49

Fifty days in the land of the morning calm. Forty nine nights in a city that breathes like a dragon. Forty eight days drinking cold coffee from cans. Forty seven nights without an Australian radio station. Forty six days stepping over puddles of spittle in the street. Forty five nights with a mosquito and a ceiling fan buzzing in my ears. Forty four days crossing roads and counting seconds till the lights change. Forty three nights eating dinner alone in a city where everyone else eats in large and noisy groups. Forty two days staring up at a sky of a different blue. Forty one nights staring at holes in the bottom of empty soju glasses. Forty days in which the season is on the verge of turning. Thirty nine nights where old men sit in the park on newspapers. Thirty eight days as humid as bowls of bubbling soup. Thirty seven nights watching Koreans dreaming on the subway. Thirty six days thinking about my faraway family. Thirty five nights like revenue stamps from the immigration department. Thirty four days smiling at girls who hold hands. Thirty three nights passing the ajumma out the front of her seafood restaurant. Thirty two days without a breeze from the sea. Thirty one nights without seeing stars. Thirty days to meet travellers who may be gone by nightfall. Twenty nine nights looking at leaves as if they were maps. Twenty eight days in a row I heard the dogs outside barking. Twenty seven nights waking up to the same sound of drilling. Twenty six days waiting for a phone call. Twenty five nights later I realised I was halfway through my journey. Twenty four days ago I couldn’t remember my own name. Twenty three nights wearing t-shirts. Twenty two days meeting twenty two artists in twenty two bars drinking twenty two bottles of soju. Twenty one nights when the traffic was silent. Twenty days in a dream. Nineteen nights of washing piling up in my room. Eighteen days when I didn’t need a candle. Seventeen nights showering under a cold hose. Sixteen days that took my breath away. Fifteen nights in fifteen markets. Fourteen days layered like a small plate of kim chi. Thirteen nights of overwhelming grief. Twelve days when a phone call made all the difference. Eleven nights listening to the trills of old ladies at the sweet stalls. Ten days when my wallet bulged in my pocket. Nine nights standing in line. Eight days catching pigeons with a net. Seven nights poring over hangul script. Six days wasted on checking emails. Five nights fishing for hope in a stream. Four days I can no longer recall. Three nights that were really days. Two days of utter confusion. One night until I see you again.

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