I went to Suwon Station to catch the subway to Myong dong for my life drawing studio with Mike. I learned en route that Amber was there. I asked her to meet, once I arrived. She was enjoying her time alone. When I interpreted her tone as negative (only because I wanted to see her), I forgot my class and became boyish, asking why she didn’t want to see me for just a few minutes. I asked what she felt is wrong with me. I know I am not the only man prone to childishness when feeling disappointed, though I hate it. I read an E-mail from a great man and wonderful friend tonight. He told me how he would vacillate between good feelings and outbursts, in his current situation, dealing with the loss of a woman in his life; a woman who cheated on him and left him.

On to the good news. This would-be poet and artist (yours truly) whined for only a few seconds, and his beloved relented (though I was not trying to attain her company deliberately like that!) and she said, “Oh, all right, I’ll come.” I was on the bookstore floor and soon we were looking at one another across a long expanse, in the middle of which was the escalator, and all the Christmas cards.

We eventually smiled, and when we were standing just in front of one another, those smiles turned to wry, pleasure-betraying smirks that said ‘Aiyeegooo’, or, ‘Oh, you “divil”, ya!’ I felt quite stupid and very ashamed that I was not more deft in appealing to Amber, since it is obvious she still has a soft spot for me, and because I slightly aggravated her before she arrived. Sometimes I can be so smooth; why not all the time? Anyway, to my surprise, as I spoke of continuing on to Myong dong, trying to respect that she was heading to Seoul for a movie with her sister Hana, she said “Are you coming with me?’ I know I must have grinned enough for my teeth to have fallen out when I asked if she was in fact inviting me. She said ‘If you’d like to come?’ So I said, ‘sure, I would.’ And she replied, ‘I thought you were going to the drawing class.’ ‘I do want to draw, but you know I would rather be with you’, I sid, with another huge smile probably stretching the skin on my face past my ears.  And the dance went on: ‘But aren’t you going alone, or with your sister?’, I asked, and she said,  ‘She doesn’t want to go’.

So off we were on the bus to Gangnam, a second weekend in a row. And again, after a short time, her pretty head was on my shoulder, and I was astounded, happy, and feeling blessed.

I discovered the movie was in Shinsa. Amber picked up the tickets, having turned in the vouchers or whatever, and we went in search of eats. We settled on Sushi, and a big hot ceramic cup of nose-tantilizing sake. The waiter was funny. He complimented my Korean, but I had spoken English to him in the sentence he had heard. Then, when showing me to the liu, he told me in Korean that the urinal was fo small packages; the toilet fo large. I wondered if this was going to be pick on the foreigner night, and said a prayer to God, asking that it not be, because I didn’t want any stress for me or Amber.

We ate eel, odeng soup, and a few pieces of sashimi. It was all excellent.

The movie was fun, if really bloody, and Bruce Willis, John Malchovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Marin were pleasers. Amber was cute; seeming so serious as she payed attention during all the action.

On the way out she said she liked how Bruce Willis looked, with some betrayal of self-surprise in this affection,a nd then she topped things off by saying I looked a bit like him. I felt good. When I got home, though, and told Mike via text what Amber had said, he sent me this: “You know Bruno is pushing sixty, eh?” I still feel good.

On the way home, Amber and I had a nice talk as we discussed our personalities in our relationship. I told he how when in love, I feel like a vessel, through which the graces of love are poured, and that this is why I found myself doing things at times-like visiting her office with flowers, even after a break-up, meaning that it is more love’s momentum thn selfishness. Fairly, she wasn’t convinced, but the conversation was charming, not confrontational. I gently countered-but first agreed that of course there is some ego in it, I supposed, but that really, the desire to be with her and give to her in life was strong as wanting her, and most of all, that loves carries me; I don’t pull it-or something like that.

Somehow, I felt comfortable enough to say something about Bart Ehrman, because the book was sticking out of my jacket pocket, and the subject was related to what we were saying, so she asked about it, and I said I didn’t want to make mistakes tonight, and she agreed we shouldn’t talk about it. But then I said, ‘no, I can do this, don’t worry’, and kept my comments brief, and we moved on.

When we sat the conversation turned to religion again, just  a bit, because I wanted to say that all the things that I’d ever mentioned to her were not for naught, but in a way connected to my concerns for her. She became pensive and said she didn’t want to talk about that, and though she listened to the few comments I made, things remained very adult, calm, and pleasant.

Earlier she had said that things were calm as we gently discussed what could be considered delicate things, because I was not angry or arguing, and I said, ‘well, you are being very nice to me’. It was funny.

This is tedious, so I will end it here. The point is, I think Amber is slowly seeing changes in our interactions. Carl and Amber are maturing, like a fine wine. She did comment that ‘after forty, it is very hard to change one’s character’, and though I didn’t argue what I was thinking (that to change how one acts around one’s beloved, a change in character is not what’s necessary so much as a change in attitude), but I did say, ‘no, I think it is easier when you are older because you have matured, and you see how silly it was to be the way you were when younger’, and I meant it.

When I got home I sent her a voice clip saying what I have been saying a lot of these days:

It is easy to change for love; in love. That is what love is about, change and growth. In fact, I think that we only really do change when in love; for love~for someone we love, by focusing on someone other than ourselves. It’s accomplished not so much by “changing”, per se, but by appreciating what is; the way things are~seeing who your beloved is, and having a different attitude. This is what reduces disappointment

And whenI think about it, in some ways, this is called acceptance. You have to look at who you love and why you love her, and separate her from your expectational fantsies about her, and you have to see he prt from your fntasy-generated fears. Dave talked about this when he was in Korea. You have to love your beloved for whom she is. Not whom you want her to be, and her changes will come of their own accord.

That’s how you can be, a Die Hard, and make love last; even make it beautiful. But it is about change, too.  All in good measure. Now that’s a big leap up from childishness, isn’t it?

Your love is worth it, and so is your growth.

Carlo Atteniese

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Carl is a Tokyo-based Writer, Artist, Videographer and Voice Actor from New York interested in Japanese, Ukiyo-e, philosophy and aerospace. For more about him, see his About pages.

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