Jan 282014

오래전에 스크랩해놓았던 장영희 교수의 영문 에세이. 다시 읽어보아도 감동입니다. 돌아가신지 몇년 되었네요.

The Morning Song

By Chang Young-hee

Sometimes when I hear a song in the morning, the tune and the lyrics of the song echo in my head for the remainder of the day, making me hum the song wherever I go.

This morning I went to school to submit tests for the belated finals. Since it was still early, only one assistant was in the English office. While working, he was listening to his cassette player. The familiar tune made me linger for a moment after I gave him the test sheets. The song was “Perhaps Love” — a song Placido Domingo and John Denver sang during the rescue concert for the Mexican earthquake victims about two years ago.

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm.
However commonplace the lyrics may appear without the tune, I’ve always found the song enchanting with the combination of Domingo’s operatic voice and Denver’s folksy voice.

I left the office before the song was over, but it continued echoing with my head as I went to the school library.

And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home.
In the afternoon I had to go to Songsandong to visit my sister. I stood on the corner near my houses, but cabs were few and far between. Once in a while when a cab passed by, I shouted “Songsandong!” but to no avail. Even between the shouts, however, I was humming “Perhaps love is like window/ Perhaps an open door/ It invites you to come closer/ it wants to show you more…”

It was getting quite cold. My hands and feet began to feel numb, and I turned up the collar of my coat. After several more unsuccessful attempts of securing a cab, finally a green cab stopped in front of me.

“Where are you going?” said the driver, a wrinkled faced old man.
“To Songsandong!” I eagerly responded, but saw the cab was already fully occupied.
“Okay, I’m going to take these people to the rotary and I’ll be back in five minutes.”
“Thanks. I’ll be waiting.”
Heaving a sigh of relief, I saw the kind driver go around the corner, and began to hum the song again: “And even if you lose yourself and don’t know what to do/ The memory of love will see you thru…”

What an irony of life! Soon an unoccupied cab appeared and began to pull toward me. But I shook my head. The green cab will come back, I told myself hopefully.

I began to walk around to keep warm. Five minutes passed… then seven minutes… and then ten minutes… but the green cab still hadn’t returned.

Soon two boys, ten or eleven years old, walked in my direction. They were carrying their skate bags over their shoulders, so I figured they were on their way to or from an ice rink. In their big thick jackets and mittens, and with their unit hats practically over their eyes, they looked like two little snowmen.

They began to whisper to each other glancing at my crutches. When they reached me, one of the boys asked,
“Are you waiting for a cab?” From cold and shyness, his plump cheeks were red.
“Yes, I am,” I answered.
“Do you want us to go to the intersection and bring a cab for you?”
“No thanks.” I said, smiling at him. “A cab driver said he would pick me up soon.”
“Are you sure?” The other boy said, “We’re coming from there and we saw many empty cabs!”
Only after I reassured them that I would be all right, the boys left. But the green cab still didn’t come. I began to feel less hopeful. Perhaps he forgot about me. Or perhaps he found a passenger going to a more convenient place.

But even during my long wait I kept humming: “And even if you lose yourself and don’t know what to do/ The memory of love will see you thru..”

More than 20 minutes had passed. I began to seriously doubt that the green cab would come back. Small snowflakes began to fall. I should have asked the kids to find a cab for me, I thought to myself.

Finally I gave up and resumed my “Songsandong!” to the passing cabs. It was then that an occupied green cab stopped in front of me.
“My god, you’re here!” Rolling down the window, the driver said. “I was waiting at the next block for twenty minutes! I thought you had taken another cab, so I got these people. I’m sorry.”
Only too happy to see him, I said, “No, it’s all right.”
“You must be freezing. Why don’t you get in? I’ll take these folks to Yong-san and then I’ll take you to Songsandong.” The driver opened the door and helped me in.
Inside the warm cab, I felt my frozen body thawing out little by little. I momently dozed off hearing Placido Domingo and John Denver again in my mind: “If I should live forever/ And all my dreams come true,/ My memories of love will be of you.”

In my short and sweet dream I felt perhaps this year better things will happen to my family, my friends, and my country — because I’ve just found out that in this world there still may be more trust than mistrust, more hope than despair, and more love than hate.

— Note: Prof. Chang is currently teaching English at Sogang University. This text is quoted from her collection of essays, ‘Crazy Quilt.’


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