The Korean War Baby should have left earlier! It was almost 11 pm, would there be one last subway train to his destination? Just as he reached the platform at the transfer station at ISU he saw a train pulling out. Nuts!! Missed it by that much…wait…many people still here, that meant the train was only going to Sadang then reversing direction back north. There must be another one going to Oido or Ansan, which are both past his station, whew, made it.
Groups of commuters filled the platform; high school girls in their uniforms (stop looking); businessmen in disheveled suits after socializing with their peers; university students joking with one another; sleepy ‘Ahjumas’ and ‘Ahjohshis’ (Older women-over 35’ish and older men); It was just another Saturday Night in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
It had been good to see some old expat friends at 3 Alley Pub, his favorite ‘watering hole’ with the most beers on draft in the whole city. San Miguel beer from the Philippines, ON DRAFT? This was living! And the sirloin steak was perfect tonight, the touch of Western culture that he always missed, (even though the meat was from Australia). Stayed away from the Dice Game, too many shots of Jagermeister in that game, win or lose. The KWB had early classes tomorrow, yes on Sunday, no rest for the blessed.
“Hey, you handsome bastard, have a shot of Jager with me!” Albert, one of the owners of 3 Alley Pub, called out to the KWB. “Of course, one more for the road with you”, the KWB replied, "Jagermeister IS good for the body and soul." Yes, it was always great to see all the other Victims of Korean Wives (VKW), with over 200 ex-pat members who are married to Korean women. We get discounts on draft beer when we wear our VKW shirts on Saturday Nights. (Nicholas Cage is an honorary member and has visited the 3 Alley.)
“Aiiiiyaaaahh! Uggghh, ugggh, aaaaahh!” Piercing screams suddenly shattered his thoughts- “My God, what is THAT?” Down the platform, people were reacting to the creening wailing animal-like screams, scattering like frightened birds from the source of the plaintive howls. Yelling that sent chills down one’s back, like the howls of wolves.
It had to be from near the elevator, out of sight, but the direction of the stares gave the KWB the place, and without much thought, the KWB moved towards the elevator. The high-pitched wails sounded like, what? Yes, a ‘frightened child, separated from it’s mother’.
The Korean War Baby KNEW those cries, deep in his own spirit, cries of despair…desperation…Abandonment. At five years old he was suddenly separated from his Korean mother, who had no recourse to raise two mixed-blood children. Yes, that was it, someone was screaming out in total despair and agony. At full volume, continuously screaming, not in Korean words, but in groans from deep in the psyche, torn by pain and a shattered spirit. Yes, he knew the “Kibun”, a Korean word that means ‘spirit, emotions, feelings’, of those cries within himself. He must respond, for nobody else was going to help.
Several people were calling on their cell phones, looking in disgust or derision, nervously laughing now that danger seemed unlikely. The high school girls looked towards the source of the screaming, almost giggling not in meanness but with no understanding. As the KWB rounded the corner cautiously he saw a young Korean man. There, crouched down on the floor clutching his knees and leaning against the wall was a slightly built man, twenty-something, eyes tightly shut, banging his head firmly into the wall. He wore a backpack that was very full, clutching a stack of paper coke cups, a water bottle, and a subway map.
To be continued…
Be very careful when you see such public displays of violence. Persons under the influence of drugs, alcohol, psychosis, etc do not distinguish friend from foe. The KWB has much experience in such matters…on both sides of the fence.
Warning Signs of Violent Behavior