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“A Stork Will Come to You Tonight” by Lee Kyung

#Books on Demand l 2023-11-07

Books on Demand

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I suddenly broke down in tears. Didn’t they say mothers are great? But I became the world’s biggest idiot in just 14 months of pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare. I let the tears and snot run down my face and wet my hair and the pillows before picking up my smartphone. When the screen lit up, the bedroom enveloped in the deep darkness became a little brighter. In one corner of the phone, two laurel branches embracing an icon of an orange stroller came into view. I sniffled loudly and opened the Stork Baby Sendoff app. 

“우리와 연결된 센서를 통해 불쾌감이나 통증 같은 신체적 원인은 
 비교적 정확히 인식하고 해결할 수 있어요.
 기저귀를 갈아주고 수유를 하거나,
 반짝거리고 소리 나는 것으로 주의를 끌고
 여러 놀 것과 볼 것을 흥미가 당길 때까지 바꿔 보여주기도 하죠.
 유모차와 유사한 진동을 전해 줄 수도 있고요.” 
“Through the sensors connected to us, we can accurately identify and solve physical problems such as bodily discomfort or pain. We can change their diapers, feed them baby formula, draw their attention with shiny and noisy things, and give them several things to play with until they’re satisfied. We can even provide them with vibration resembling that from a stroller.”

조용조용하고 또박또박한 목소리와 상냥한 어조,
귀를 살짝 덮은 길이로 다듬은 하얗게 센 머리카락, 탄력있는 피부,
섬세한 이목구비, 눈가와 입가를 따라 자연스럽게 자리 잡은 깊거나 얕은 주름들.
직원의 얼굴은 놀랍게도 일찍 돌아가신
나의 외할머니와 많이 닮아 보였다.
주름이 표시하는 나이와 어긋난 매끈한 피부나,
작은 쌍둥이 행성처럼 발광하고 있는 오렌지색 눈이 아니라면 말이다.
A quiet and clear voice, gentle tone, well-trimmed silvery hair that slightly covered her ears, firm skin, delicate features, natural-looking wrinkles around her eyes and lips. The employee’s face looked amazingly like my grandmother who had passed away many years ago. That is, if not for the smooth skin that didn’t match the age represented by the wrinkles or the orange-colored eyes blinking like twin stars. 

# Interview with literary critic Jeon So-yeong
In the west, there is a myth that storks deliver babies from the sea of creation. This story features an imaginary infant transport service based on that western myth. This imagination is intriguing since it is inspired by the sad reality of difficult childrearing conditions of today. The main character, Hye-in, is a working mom who is afraid to take time off from work to take care of her new baby. She takes on the responsibility of raising the baby practically by herself, a task that should be shared by both the mother and father. Her plight reminds us of the predicament many parents face today. With the coming of the age of artificial intelligence, childcare has become another area where AI can make a difference. Clearly, AI that caters to the traits of individual babies and helps raise them can be a great help to parents and teachers. Hye-in didn’t like using the AI service at first, but we can see that she is gradually growing comfortable with the Stork service.

  “영유아의 편안하고 안전한 이동을 도와드리는 <황새>에 이어
 내년에는 가정에서의 안전하고 즐거운 영유아 육아를 도와드리는
 <펭귄> 서비스가 출시될 예정이에요.
 저희가 마침 어제부터 베타서비스 체험자를 모집 중인데,
 혜인님도 관심이 있으시다면 신청해 보시겠어요?
 물론 베타서비스 기간 동안 이용요금은 발생하지 않습니다.” 
“Following Stork that provides comfortable and safe transport for babies, we plan to release next year Penguin that provides safe and enjoyable home childcare service. We started looking for beta testers yesterday. Would you like to check out this service by any chance? You don’t need to pay anything during the duration of the beta test.” 

브로슈어의 앙증맞은 펭귄 일러스트는
조심성 없이 꾹 말아 쥔 내 손 안에서도 웃음을 잃지않고
조그만 오렌지색 부리를 빠끔대며 낭랑하게 지저귀었다.
The cute penguin illustration on the brochure still had a smile on its face even as it got crumpled in my hand. The penguin even seemed to move its small orange beak and chirp brightly.

Lee Kyung (Born in Gangneung, Gangwon-do Prov., 1984~ )
Debuted with short story “About the Appearance of Alexander Skarsgård in the Middle of the Living Room in the Middle of the Night” in 2022

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