Park Wan-suh’s “For a Yearning” was the recipient of the 1st Hwang Sun-won Literary Award in 2001. The story is about how the narrator came to yearn for her cousin, who is 8 years younger than her.
An island in the South Sea that is cool in the summer and balmy in the winter. A place where yellow gingko leaves fall on the green grass.
An island where a sexy 70-year-old fisherman returns home to his pretty wife, proudly holding a pink snapper he had just caught in the sparkling sea.
Whenever I think about such an island, my heart fills up with yearning.
Yearning for something is a blessing. I never yearned for anything until now. I didn’t realize how dried up my heart was because I longed for nothing.
My children want to go on a vacation to the island where my cousin lives next summer, but I don’t. For the sake of my yearning.
Instead, I will wait for the day my cousin sends a pink snapper.
여름에는 시원하고 겨울에도 춥지 않은 남해의 섬.
노란 은행잎이 푸른 잔디 위로 지는 곳.
칠십에도 섹시한 어부가
방금 청정해역에서 낚아올린 분홍빛 도미를 자랑스럽게 들고
요리 잘하는 어여쁜 아내가 기다리는 집으로 돌아오는 풍경이 있는 섬.
그런 섬을 생각할 때마다
가슴에 그리움이 샘물처럼 고인다.
그립다는 느낌은 축복이다.
그동안 아무것도 그리워하지 않았다.
그릴 것 없이 살았음으로
내 마음이 얼마나 메말랐는지도 느끼지 못했다.
우리 아이들은 내년 여름엔
이모님이 시집간 섬으로 피서를 가지고
지금부터 벼르지만 난 안 가고 싶다.
나의 그리움을 위해.
그 대신 택배로 동생이 분홍빛 도미를 부쳐올 날을 기다리고 있다.
Interview by literature critic Jeon So-yeong
The narrator had lived her life without yearning for anything. Only when her sisterly relationship with her cousin was restored, she was able to feel that intense yearning for someone. It’s not like she didn’t want to see her cousin, but she wanted to preserve that yearning for a long time. The sentiment of yearning grows when one is far away from the object of that desire.
Park Wan-suh (Born in Gaepung, Gyeonggi-do Province, Oct. 20, 1931~Jan. 22, 2011)
: Debuted with full-length novel “Namok (The Naked Tree)” in 1970
Noted works include “Triangle” in 1970, “Warm Was the Winter That Year” in 1983, and “Who Ate Up All the Shinga?” in 1992
Awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 2011