( Dialogue key M – myself, H – herself, MJ – Mrs Joy)
I was shaking. I think I was in shock. It must have been shock. I felt freezing cold all of a sudden, and my arms were going numb. Maybe it was a stroke?
I walked around the apartment. No air conditioning unit was installed. The bathroom was fucking rank. Herself opened the fridge and a cock roach scuttled past her feet. The kitchen had no cooker, or any appliances for that matter. All it had was a sink and a few plastic cupboards.
I grabbed herself by the arm, told her to follow me, turned to Mrs Joy and said, “Give us a minute.”
I guided herself up a couple of flights of stairs to get out of Mrs Joy’s earshot.
M – Ok dude, we’re out of here. That’s all I can take.
H – Calm down. It’s bad, but just calm down. We’ll talk to her.
M – I’ll talk to her. We’re not staying here. The fucking state of the place! A bag of shit, like! A fucking bag of shit!!
H – Ok. Just take a breath before you do.
We went back down to the apartment. Mrs Joy wasn’t there. We waited for a few minutes and were about to leave when she arrived in the door with a large garment bag and a pair of hideous, white, women’s shoes.
MJ – This is your wedding dress. You can put it on now and see if it fits.
Herself jumped at Mrs Joy.
H – I will not be putting that dress on! Where the hell did you get that from?
MJ – It is my daughter-in-law’s. She is American. It is an American size.
I think that was supposed to be a reassuring comment, but it was delivered like a put down. I followed herself’s lead and got up in Mrs Joy’s grill.
M – Ok, this has gone too far. First of all, you can put that wedding dress back in your car. There will be no fucking wedding. Not on Monday, not the week after – never!
That’s right, I said fucking. I cursed at an old woman. I didn’t care. At that particular time, she represented every fucking mental thing that this school had done to us in the past week or so. I was letting out a few days of frustration. It felt good, man.
M – Here is what’s going to happen. We are going to leave until 2pm. In the meantime, there will be furniture delivered to this house. That means a bed, chairs, a table, and everything else that we need. You will have our contracts printed out for signature and on the table when we return. If you do not complete this, we will not be working for you. Do you understand?
Mrs Joy shook a cigarette out of her soft pack of Marlboro. She lit it, took a deep pull and said “Mm hmm” through squinted eyes. She turned on her heels and left myself and herself on our own.
H – Is she after leaving?
M – I think so.
I walked over to our balcony (oooh – luxury) and looked out on the road. I could see Mrs Joy’s Integra driving slowly in the direction of the school.
M – Yeah, she’s gone. We’ve a couple of hours. Let’s go find a PC bang.
H – Ok.
PC Bangs were 24 hour internet café’s. There was one in every street corner in Korea. Because we had no computer access (I broke my I-phone on week 2!) we relied heavily on the PC Bang to do our digital business.
We hadn’t openly said to each other that we were doing a runner, but at this stage we had each one foot out the door.
Next time: Doing a runner