39/100 Now I know.

Whee! A place to be all by myself. I am on my own, paying for everything and although the room is small, it’s my place!

A few moments later.

The guy behind the curtain in the living room is chewing chips and watching some show on his phone with the volumes fully turned up.

There are zippers of the suitcase of people checking in late at night.

Footsteps upstairs.

The blanket is too heavy and the bathroom is too far.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

I wake up from the same chip guy calling everyone there could possibly be. Maybe he’s venting, too. But can you vent silently?

I hear conversations in a very familiar mother tongue. Korean. For a moment, I felt home. It’s how I would always wake up as a little kid. My mom’s voice talking in Korean outside the door.

Next morning, time to shower…or not. There are four people in front. Their hair is..there….

How can I even go in peace if I have to think about people waiting in line?

I thought I bought a bunch of groceries last night, but when I open up the fridge, there is nothing to eat. The only pot that seems to be clean-ish with a greasy handle is left on the stove. I need to make tea, because the kettle is gross. Inside the kettle is some rust, which I don’t think would help me in any way except increase my chances of getting cancer.

The water has been..heating..but it won’t boil. I stand awkwardly away from the table with a stranger sitting and just sip my partially heated cold soup from a cracked bowl. Maybe I should start a conversation, but he could be one of those people who talks to you about all of his relatives and then becomes creepy.

I just assume that water has boiled after 15 minutes and pick up the pot…

ouch

The handle is all metal and hot.

I now understand why the pot had a mitten next to it. The things connect now. Someone else’s wisdom from their own mistake.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I come back to the room. The chair and desk and falling apart, what a perfect pair. I search medium.com in the browser as the table wobbles.

No connection.

Oh, for God’s sake.

I panic.

Maybe I should go to the gym now.

I have to work.

I search the libraries nearby, and end up not gaining much except the fact that they are all closed.

I might just leave this place…should I leave a bad review?

__________________________________________________

Now from the curtain guy’s perspective:

I have left my family and friends to make a living in America. Everyone gets a room, except me. All I can afford to lose is the price I pay to stay behind the curtain.

Today was a long day. No one talks to me and I don’t understand anyone. Without anyone offering me a meal, these bags of chips will do. I want to laugh and not think. What’s a funny video that I can watch?

Oh, there’s an angry girl in front of me. She’s complaining, I don’t understand. Oh, she can’t sleep. I see.

I lower the volume, but you know at night, sound waves tend to travel easier. And I don’t even have a wall, for God’s sake.

It’s 9AM. People are washing up. They are going somewhere. I don’t have anywhere to go, since I am still job searching. That girl’s alarm is ringing since the past 3 minutes, and she’s still in the bathroom. Hmm..

She comes out of the bathroom. She doesn’t make eye contact. She doesn’t like me. Nobody likes me. I don’t even like myself. Life is lonely here. I miss mom. Home.

___________________________________________

The airbnb host:

I don’t want to have so many strangers at home and deal with them. Do they not see the sign that says to clean up after themselves? To keep the quiet hours? Is it not their problem to save some water? Ah, but it’s a long time until my kids can go to college. California is not cheap at all.

It’s 11:40, and I should be headed to bed. Maybe check one last time for any notifications…

Another complaint. Apparently the guy is too loud. I know it’s not ideal, but I wish she could just work it out herself. I should call that guy.

Next day.

I have to go clean the rooms, drop the kids off, get groceries, pay the bills, fix the light, and what else…

Oh another complaint. The wifi doesn't work.

Well, it’s working for me, I don’t understand.

Will I get a bad review? I really need this business.

Ha…

_____________________________________

We can all choose to keep our doors shut and get angry, or make the most out of it. One smile will do.

Everyone is fighting their own battle, and as we head forward, let’s not build walls and drag the other person down. After all, it’s about getting to where you need to go, and some people may be on a horse, and some may not have a leg. If you can walk together, that’s great. Yelling at the other person will not help you get somewhere any faster.

We are all tired, yes. Life only gets harder.

Although I left the comfort of home, I am grateful to have a means to search for a new home.

City life is rough. For every man and woman for his/her/their/zeir own. People make life much better, or for worse. But if we try to be better ourselves, we make the life of other better. It’s a choice.

_____________________________

See your life through with your own eyes, but don’t forget to see with others.

Oh, there goes the smoke alarm.

Life is wonderful.

Ha

ha

ha

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Ahyeon Cho

Ahyeon Cho

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