Just finished reading this. Love the way the numbered format allows the author to record seemingly banal, everyday moments. It is the portrait of a relationship, interesting, authentic, tender.
It starts like this:
1. I’ve just pitched the idea to Cathreen and she does not look happy about it.
“You think I’m funny character?” she says.
“I think we both are. Look at all the ridiculous things that have been happening to us,” I say. I tell her I’ll write the essay in real-time. “Give me money,” she insist. She calls her sister to complain.
Some more excerpts to help you decide if you want to bother with the rest of it (you do):
21. I pick up Cathreen. On the way back we make a U-turn I think is unnecessary. I am unreasonably angry about this. We both know who will win the next thousand fights.
31. …There are so many things girls can do to their faces. Things that look dangerous. She runs a pencil across her eye and I try not to make any sudden movements.
41. I think I can keep her happy.
52. …Here’s what happened on Christmas: We had a spat on the way to her sister’s house, but I figured the baby would cheer her up. “Uri Ji-hwan,” she calls him, “our Ji-hwan,” though he is only our nephew. She decorated a cake and made cookies and I tried to make eggnog but failed. After eating sweets we went to a Christian university high on an island mountain. Lights were strung up everywhere and people filled the streets and you could see the city below.
“Do you feel like it’s Christmas now?” Cathreen asked as we walked through a candy-cane forest. “Was it worth it?” I said it was. We walked to the car, and I felt my tenderness for her and hers for me like a thinning of air, making it hard to breathe. For dinner we ate raw fish and fried chicken and drank failed eggnog and soju and beer.
53. Cathreen says, “Describe me as wise and sweet and kind.” I promise I will. This is the truth: Cathreen is wise and sweet and kind.