There’s another white person that lives in my Korean neighborhood, somewhere among the old, crumbling houses and the new high rises. I saw him twice at Paris Baguette. I was ordering patbingsu, and he was ordering a mango smoothie. He stood next to a tall Korean girl, and she linked her arm in his. They laughed and joked in English, but he ordered in Korean. So did I. We both secretly acknowledged this and wondered whose was better. The young cashier with perfectly combed bangs knew, but we didn’t ask.
I saw him again today. We passed each other on the street in front of Beer Cabin. I was taking a photo of a door leading up to a shaman’s office, with a traditional Korean tri-colored symbol and a phrase intended to beckon visitors in. I snapped the photo and my phone clicked loudly. I glanced up to see if anyone was watching, and I saw him. He was wearing a flannel shirt and smoking a cigarette. He brushed his moppy blonde hair out of his eyes, exhaled, and we briefly made eye contact before continuing to walk in opposite directions. We didn’t say hi, and we didn’t say, “Oh hey, I saw you in Paris Baguette a month ago.” Why should we? He’s just another person in my neighborhood, even if he happens to be white.
There’s another white person that lives in my neighborhood.
-Text and photography by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com. All rights reserved.