By In fiction

Stranger in a Familiar Land

“Even the air felt different. It whipped through the building crevasses and alleyways like they were the sails of Magellan, imbued with the bite of adventure. Tile patterns, architecture, bumpy cobblestones and municipal missteps wore a certain charm, a rush of new and different and exhilarating. He stretched his arms deeper into his coat pockets, an invitation for an embrace with the refreshingly chilly urban breeze.

Autumn was a poetic time. Christian never truly experienced it before he moved to Seoul. A San Diego Fall required little more than a long sleeve tee, maybe jeans and a hoodie at night or if you were close to the shore. Leaves stayed put, and the most colorful part of the city was still the pastel adobe-style Mexican restaurants. But Seoul was enchanting with the swing of the seasonal pendulum. And that’s exactly what Fall was, he was warned – a brief alignment of nature’s clock, the evening before winter’s midnight.

Christian had been in Seoul for three months. It was a reactive move to combat the doldrums of his everyday routine back home. Money was good here, and life was new every day. Each block he strolled along, every park he glided through, it all glimmered with a wide-eyed newness.

He walked slowly, eyes on a swivel, losing himself in the wonder of his surroundings. He noticed the trees, first. Of course, he had seen trees before, but none like this. They rested with a sense of ease, a zen-like calm, as if they were content with the rings of their life that lay patiently hidden beneath their barked skin. He took a right, moving forward into the unknown…”

 

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