I wish the bag in the picture would say “A Kick-Ass Woman.” But “Bad Girl” is good enough. People smile when it’s on my back. Maybe I look too good to be bad.
I walk into a beauty store, and a pink wand grabs my attention. “It’s a wrinkle-eraser concealer,” the salesperson says, “amazing for wrinkles between the eyebrows.” Which I don’t have. I think. “Even manly men buy this concealer,” she continues. All the customers turn to look at her. “You know what I mean when I say m-a-n-l-y m-e-n,” she slightly raises her voice. I don’t know, so I say nothing. “Not like the men in Tel-Aviv.” She looks triumphant.
Such a man apparently had walked into the store and sworn that he would NEVER use any makeup. “Obviously,” she adds empathetically. “But he bought this concealer.”
“Well, if a manly man bought this,” I say, “maybe I’m manly enough to buy it too. I’m sure I can find something to erase with it.”
“No,” she says firmly. “For you I’d recommend an eye-cream to erase your dark circles.” My dark circles are proof that I pretend to live in the U.S., at least time-zone-wise. No eye-cream can take that away from me.
I leave the store without the manly-man concealer but with the Bad Girl bag on my back, a message to myself to be tougher after the Gu-Eun fiasco.
When I first saw Gu-Eun, she reminded me of the woman whom I’d seen walking in the park in the middle of the night, sobbing.
“Do you need help?” I had asked, rushing towards her.
“No,” she replied and kept walking and sobbing, her summery dress swinging to and fro with each step.
But there she was again–or was it her?–sitting on a bench in the dark with two bags on each side. Two guys riding bicycles hovered around, checking her out. Two other guys were sitting on the closest bench, drinking beer. They didn’t seem ready to leave.
“Do you need help?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “I have nowhere to go. I’ll have to stay overnight in the park.”
“It’s not safe to stay here,” I said. “I must find you another place.”
A tourist from South Korea, she said she had broken her sternum in a bus accident in my country. Mentioning the accident, she closed her eyes in pain and touched her chest protectively. Since she had no money and looked about twenty-one years old, I suggested she call her parents.
“They have no money, either,” she said.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“First we feed you, then we will figure out what to do.”
I don’t have room for overnight guests in my current apartment. I paid for the night in a youth-hostel and gave her money for food. We met at Movieing café on Saturday, the following evening.
She was thirty-one and looked it. It hadn’t registered before.
I couldn’t prolong this financially, so I talked about finding another solution. But every time I brought it up, she closed her eyes in pain and touched her chest protectively. Her poor English deteriorated, and by Tuesday, we were communicating via google translate. I asked friends if they knew where she could stay for a couple of nights. Got nowhere with that.
On Thursday, Iris, a friend who is well-versed in medicine and law, said, “Nobody will help because they think she is a woman in prostitution and a pimp and drugs are involved. I’ve worked with street people. Bring her over.”
When we arrived there, Iris said, “I might be able to help with the accident.” Suddenly Go-Eun’s English was excellent, and she answered Iris’s questions eloquently. “You had left the scene before the police arrived,” Iris explained. “Two weeks later you went to a hospital in another country. That’s why the authorities won’t acknowledge your injury.”
But only when Iris told Go-Eun she was also a Christian, did Gu-Eun open up. “I’m looking for the bus driver. He wouldn’t acknowledge that I was on the bus that day. I won’t go home before I sue him. He is a sinner. He must pay.”
“So far, I’m paying,” I said.
Still, I didn’t want her on the streets. Iris explained she could hire a lawyer from home. Gu-Eun preferred to get the numbers of pro-bono local lawyers. She said she’d stay with Korean women outside of Tel-Aviv.
A bit further away from the bus-station.
But closer than home.
Sometimes, I wish that something extraordinary would happen–that the real would mix with the surreal. Like the spaceship I saw with my friend Harry. Anything that could relieve the suffering of people. Including Gu-Eun’s.
- Did you know that men used makeup in ancient Egypt? To find out more about that and other enlightening information, check out the wonderful post of Diane L. Major:
Writing about unexplained phenomena in my posts (there will be more), I’m inspired by Carolynn Pianta. Check out Carolynn’s fabulous posts.
Last but not least, Donna Davis Everhart, also wrote about unexplained phenomena. Sometimes The Twilight Zone is under our noses, and it doesn’t always smell great. 😉
But this week we celebrate Donna’s upcoming book. YAY! Such thrilling news!!!