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Part 2 of “Older Sister” by Shim Ah-jin

2024-01-09

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저기, 정무운이 온다.
평소처럼 땅에 시선을 두고 어깨를 구부정하게 구부린 채 걸어 올라오고 있다.
우리는 아직 그의 눈에 띄지 않는다.
나는 다 집어치우고 그 자리를 떠나 시원하게 맥주라도 한잔 들이켜고픈 기분이다.
도대체 이 하찮은 청년이 뭐란 말인가?
어째서 언니와 나는 이 사람이 동요하기를 바라는가?
우리는 정무운이 우리를 의식하지 않음으로 인해 
모든 시간이 뒤틀려버릴까 봐 불안해하고 있다.
There he comes. As usual, he was walking with his eyes on the ground and his shoulders slumped. He hasn’t spotted us yet. I wanted to drop everything and leave this place to have a cold beer somewhere. 
Who is this insignificant young man? Why do my sister and I want to provoke him? We were anxious that his indifference toward us would distort time.


# Interview with literary critic Jeon So-yeong
This story features three goddesses. They were called three sisters in this world. The twins each oversaw luck and misfortune, and their youngest stepsister was the goddess of love. The two older sisters were apparently jealous of the goddess of love. In some ways, luck, misfortune, and love all have to do with fate. But, unlike luck and misfortune which operate toward clearly defined purposes, love can be either a misfortune or luck. Jeong Mu-wun is just a sad, tired human being. Even the goddesses cannot read anything in his eyes and cannot fathom what lies in his heart. Having lived a difficult life, Mu-wun became the kind of unresponsive person who doesn’t become overly delighted at lucky turns of event or overly sad at misfortunes. But he was desperate for love, which was why his heart reacted to the goddess of love. The youngest sister came out the winner of this battle over seniority. This is what author Shim Ah-jin wanted to say to us – What moves a person’s heart? It’s love.


“많이 다친 것 같지는 않은데... 힐 신고는 걸을 수 없을 것 같아요.
죄송하지만 무운씨 댁에서 편한 신발 좀 빌릴 수 있을까요?” 
“It doesn’t seem to hurt that much, but I don’t think I can walk in heels. I’m sorry but can you lend me some comfortable shoes?” 

뜻밖에 정무운이 고개를 끄덕인다.
충격적이다.
언니나 내게는 식당 계산대에서 집어 들 수도 집어 들지 않을 수도 있는
박하사탕처럼 대하던 정무운이 고개를 끄덕이다니.
언니와 나는 열패감에 휩싸인다.
Mu-wun surprised us by nodding his head. What a shocking sight.
He had treated my twin sister and me like some mint candies he could either take or leave at the cash register. But now he was reacting to my youngest sister. My older twin and I felt defeated.
 


Shim Ah-jin (Born in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do Prov., 1972~ )
Debuted with mid-length novel “Time for Tea” in 1999

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