I once stepped on a snail. I was walking on a mountain road in midsummer, when hot steam would rise from the armpits.
Crunch! I woke up from a nap at the sound that rang close to my ears. Around the nape of my neck I felt the sliminess of a snail crawling all over my body. Coincidentally, it was also Sunday.
달팽이를 밟은 적이 있다.
겨드랑이에서 뜨거운 김이 나던 한여름 산길을 걷던 중이었다.
바삭! 낮잠을 자다가 귀 가까이에서 들리는 그 소리에 눈을 떴다.
목덜미 부근에 온 몸을 문지르며 지나가는 달팽이의 축축한 질감이 느껴졌다.
공교롭게 그날도 일요일이었다.
“The Snail of Sunday” starts off with the main character waking up from the dream of stepping on a snail. She had fallen asleep while reading a book on the sofa one Sunday afternoon.
#Interview by Seoul National University’s Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho
It’s amusing, well-written, and describes in detail the inner world of a career woman living in today’s Korean society, a woman trying to live a lonely yet independent life. She also represents other women living in this age as someone who has a direct insight into her life and a resolve to live a more open life.
You felt different from the first day that I sat on the seat. The height, width, and size were a perfect fit, as if you were custom-made for me. Through you I learned that a bicycle can be this comfortable, that a machine too can understand the human body.
너는 첫 날 안장에 척 앉았을 때 느낌부터가 달랐다.
나한테 맞춘 것처럼 높이도 너비도 크기도 딱 들어맞았다.
기계가 사람의 몸을 이해할 수도 있다는 것을
나는 너를 통해 배웠다.
“The Snail of Sunday” continues in monologue style, with the main character talking to the bicycle.
Are you saying I’m blabbing too much? Okay, this exaggerated emotion is the symptom of Sunday. Completely messed up.
Why is my heart so bothered? Even when I lie down quietly, my heart seems to have jumped out of my body and wander about somewhere.
내가 너무 심하게 떠벌린다고?
그래, 이 과장된 감정이 바로 그 증세, 일요일의 징후다.
왜 이렇게 마음이 부대끼는 걸까.
가만히 누워있어도 심장이 몸 밖으로 뛰쳐나가
어딘가를 헤매고 있는 것 같다.
Choi Ok-jeong: Born in 1964 in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do province, debuted in 2001 by publishing “House of Memory” in literary magazine Korean Novels in 2001. Winner of the Heo Gyun Literary Writer Award and the Ku Sang Literary Awards’ Young Writer Prize. “The Snail of Sunday” was published in December 2017 as part of the short story collection titled “I Met an Old Woman.”