#Interview by Seoul National University Korean Literature Prof. Bang Min-ho
It doesn’t say in the story that the girl actually went out to bury the cat. Beautiful snow falls on the dead cat sprawled on the street. That’s an eerie contrast, a strange contradiction of this world we live in. The girl gets a sort of premonition about her life, a feeling that she would live on as a person who just observes what is on the other side of the window. This is a well-constructed, suggestive story.
It was already night when I opened my eyes swollen from falling asleep after crying for a while.
There was a round window above our house’s front door through which we can look outside. I was going to see if the dead cat was still left out in the alley before going outside.
At that moment I let out an involuntary cry. Fat snowflakes were falling outside the window. The feathery, soft snowflakes were coming down silently on the roof of the neighboring house painted in deep blue darkness, on the clay urns on the rooftop, on top of the trees down the hill.
I have never seen such a breathtaking scene before or after that. And I stood there for quite a while with my forehead pressed against the cold window.
I think that must have been a defining moment in my life.
한참을 울고 까무룩 잠이 들었다가
퉁퉁 부은 눈을 가까스로 떴을 때는 이미 캄캄한 밤이었다.
우리가 살 던 집의 현관문 윗부분에는 바깥을 내다볼 수 있도록
동그랗게 유리창이 나 있었다.
고양이 사체가 아직 골목에 버려져 있는지만 일단 살짝 확인하고 나갈 생각이었다.
“세상에” 그 순간 나도 모르게 탄성이 튀어나왔다.
창밖에는 커다란 눈송이가 떨어져 내리고 있었다.
깃털처럼 부드러운 눈송이가.
역청빛 어둠을 덧칠한 이웃집의 지붕위에도,
옥상 위의 장독대와
비탈 아래쪽의 나무초리 위에도, 고요하게
그토록 숨막히는 광경을
나는 그 전에도, 그 이후에도 본적이 없었다
그리고 나는 차가운 유리창에 이마를 댄 채 그렇게 한동안 서 있었다.
그것이 내 인생이 결정적인 한 장면은 아니었을까 하는 생각이 든다.
The snowy sight is beautiful, but underneath the snow lies the dead cat. It may look peaceful and quiet, but something that could shatter the peace can happen any moment, just like in Kandinsky’s painting “Mild Process.”
Baik Sou Linne: Was born in Incheon in 1982. Her writing career began when her novella “Lying Practice” won an award at the Kyunghyang Shinmun Annual Spring Literary Contest in 2011. “Mild Process” published in literary magazine AXT in 2016 is a sort of young adult fiction about the main character’s teenage years.