Tokyo to Tijuana: Gabriele Departing America

Steven Sills

Tokyo to Tijuana: Gabriele Departing America

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by Steven Sills
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Title: Tokyo to Tijuana: Gabriele Departing America
Author: Steven Sills
Release Date: June 25, 2004 [eBook #12733]
Language: English
Character set encoding: Latin1
Copyright (C) 2004 by Steven Sills.

Tokyo To Tijuana: Gabriele Departing America By Steven Sills

Book One: Sang Huin
"It is probable, then, that if a man should arrive in our city, so clever as to be able to assume any character and imitate any object, and should propose to make a public display of his talents and his productions, we shall pay him reverence as a sacred, admirable, and charming personage, but we shall tell him that in our state there is no one like him, and that our law excludes such characters, and we shall send him away to another city after pouring perfumed oil upon his head and crowning him with woolen fillets; but for ourselves, we shall employ, for the sake of our real good, that more austere and less fascinating poet and legend-writer, who will imitate for us the style of the virtuous man." Plato (Republic)

Chapter One
At Toksugum Palace in Chongno of Seoul Sang Huin (known by his friends in the states as Shawn) felt an empathy as deep as the gods; and the reconstructed walls of ancient buildings that he could see into and imagine long deceased emperors in coronation ceremonies or reading their mandates became irrelevant. Yang Lin, parting from their movement toward the steps that led toward the Royal Museum, began to walk to a distant place where a woman in a western wedding dress stood at a pond posing for a picture with her groom. Near earlier buildings Sang Huin had noticed him looking at them questioningly. He had seen a sad and innocent yearning in Yang Lin as if, after a long search, that creature had found his alter ego in the woman and would not let it go.
After five minutes of waiting alone, sitting on those steps and letting a cigarette dangle limp in a frown, Sang Huin realized that this new friend of his was not just straying off briefly, so he gradually went over there in a circuitous and jaunty stroll as if other things had gained his attention and only by accident was he moving there. Yang Lin told Sang Huin that he longed for her: longed for himself within her beautiful clothes, within her commitment, and within her sex. He had been so sincere. Sang Huin felt a worse form of compassion for him. It was sorrow, the enlightening, sweet venom, and it sank into him. It was deep empathy. It was God. It was definitely something that was not wanted. It stayed with him on the bus.
On a ride from the Nambu Bus Terminal to Chongju, Sang Huin's sleep was spastic like a nervous twitch that would every now and then startle him into wakefulness and he would wonder where he was: Muguk, Chongju, Seoul, or "Miguk." Sometimes at the primary school in Muguk he would ask, "Where are you from?" Then once, in a coaching effort for the pitch of a complete sentence, he had made the mistake of "Miguk...Miguk" ("America...America") and the class was in an uproar. He thought of this in one of his startled awakenings. He looked from the window to flat patches of skimpy forest that most Koreans thought of as so beautiful. The way was straight, south and barren and made him almost yearn for the tortuous roads that appeared near Umsong to be rid of scenery so bland. Although the bus traveled down the highway as a solid, jitterless mass, he jittered into more drowsiness. The contents of his head shook and his mother's voice cried out to him like locusts from the branches of trees. There was a hot sticky childish oozing within him. Within dreams his fortitude was like marshmallows when pulled off of sticks after roasting in a bonfire. He heard voices of he and his sister counting 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock rock. 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, twelve o'clock rock - Ghosts won't find me. Ready or not we'll find you.
Then there were those macabre photographs, at the trial in Houston, of his grown sister's skeleton. The police had looked for his sister's body in the park but obviously not thoroughly in the ravine. In one year
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