On the flight to Seoul, I'm seated next to the only American soldier on the plane. He's nice but he has a deep, emotionless, Midwestern way of speaking. He never looks at me. He starts talking about places called 'juicy bars' where you go to watch girls from southeast Asia drink juice out of cups and I realize that he's a pervert. He gets upset that our TVs aren't working and halfway through the flight he switches seats with a Korean girl who gives me bread filled with meat and onions, and I fall in love with her.
Jeong Bum picks me up from the airport, and as I was warned, he didn't speak English. He gives me a cigarette and leads me to the bus that would take us to Cheonan. I sit and watch the sun go down over the Yellow Sea, silhouetting small mountain-islands with hazy pink light. Birds with long, curved beaks fly in groups of five or six. I try to decide how absurd my current situation actually is, but can't, and fall asleep.