An excerpt from “The Faces They Wore”, my part of “Nothing Too Familiar”

I’d like to share an excerpt from my work in Nothing Too Familiar – Vignettes of Korea.

More about this book can be found at the Busan Writing Group website.

This book can be bought in digital form at Smashwords or Amazon Kindle, or you can get a print copy from me or any other member of the Busan Writing Group.

The Faces They Wore explores the collision of two very different worlds within Korea – that of a Korean woman whose circumstances have forced her into prostitution, and the comparatively privileged life of a foreign English teacher.

I was supposed to read this part of the story at Wordz Only on February 28, but my wife and kids were sick that night. Instead, I present it here:


An Excerpt from The Faces They Wore, by TCC Edwards

Daniel zipped up his jacket as he shivered in the mountain air. Felix sighed, his eyes drifting across the vista.

“You weren’t having fun at that wedding,” he said, “I know she was at the school before I arrived – you two dated or something?”

“I wish. I was crazy about her. She wanted to be friends.”

“Fuck, that’s rough. But hey, you know what you can do…”

“Yeah, yeah – you told me already.”

“It’s no biggie, mate. Just go to the streets around the love motels near the beach. Show your cash, get some lady in the sack. No different than a one-night stand, right?”

Daniel rolled his eyes as he looked away from Felix.

“You’re kidding. You’ve never had a one-nighter?”

“No.”

“Wait. No way – you’ve never done it, have you?”

“No.”

“Huh. That is rough. High school must have been hell.”

Daniel snorted. “University was worse.”

“Why? You’re not hideous or anything.”

“Studied hard, like everyone told me. Didn’t really ask anyone out until second year. Awkward every time, let me tell ya.”

“Huh. Well, never let the ladies know you’re … you know, inexperienced.”

“Thanks, but I had figured that out.”

“Just making sure. And hey, you think about my little suggestion.”

“Seriously, dude?”

Felix threw up his arms, conceding defeat.

They stood a minute longer, looking out over the stone wall, taking in the tree–lined mountainside.

“I gotta go. There’s that one bartender in Hollywood Star – you remember her?”

“I think so. Orange hair, really short, …”

“Huge boobs, exactly! I’m helping her set up the Valentine’s stuff tonight. We got a thing going – just bunkmates for a bit, you know?”

“Just like that, huh?” Daniel faked a smile, “Keep it safe, I guess?”

“Don’t worry; I never tell them my real name. See you Monday!”

Daniel stifled his polite chuckle as Felix turned away. As he watched Felix turn to the path down the mountain, he wondered if Felix had really been joking. Why does someone like Felix get all the girls?

Daniel walked along the stony path before the temple. The doors of the main shrine were open as he passed before them, allowing a glimpse of a golden Buddha with colorful paper lanterns hung above his head. Daniel stepped on the low stone stair just outside the frame, a sharp sandalwood scent filling his lungs as he examined a bowl with sticks of incense set just before the Buddha. No different than a one–night stand?No. Of course I won’t do it. Shaking his head, he turned away from the Buddha, walking around the small pond set into the center of the stony ground before the temple. He allowed himself a last look at the peaceful place before descending the tree–lined path down the mountain.

 {Later, Daniel has been out with Felix at a bar, having no better option for Valentine’s night. Overwhelmed by loneliness and torn by Felix’s suggestion, Daniel escapes into the alleys of the night.}

He stumbled down the filthy street, fumbling with the zipper on his jacket in the chill breeze. The subway had cleared some of the haze in his head, but his steps were still slow, carefully measured. On this first trek down the first alley, he barely noticed the women smiling coyly through neon–lined windows. Instead, he checked every corner and shadow, fearing that someone he knew might see him. It’s not too late, he thought. I took a wrong turn; I wanted to see this place for myself. He could still escape from this foolishness.

Sighing, he turned and followed an alley back the way he had come. Time to go I’ve had my look. He strode back, fixing his eyes on the street at the end of the alley and avoiding the neon haze at the edges of his vision.

He was almost free of the alley when there was a wide, welcoming smile ahead of him. Daniel returned it, despite the sudden tension gripping his insides. The girl was standing inside one of the many glass doors, holding it open as he walked toward her. 

“Hey,” she whispered, “Come in?”

{Does he go in? Does he find what he seeks, or discover that he really wants something deeper? Read the rest to find out!}

2 comments on “An excerpt from “The Faces They Wore”, my part of “Nothing Too Familiar”

  1. […] An excerpt from “The Faces They Wore”, my part of “Nothing Too Familiar”. […]

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