At first, I couldn’t tell her I work on a vessel out at sea.

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“(남자) 제가 배 탄다는 이야기를 제일 처음엔 사정이 있어서 말을 못했어요.”
“여자분 속았다는 표정이신데요?”
“(여자) 그게 소개 시켜준 오빠가 처음에 ‘출장을 자주 다니는 직장인이다’ 라고만 했어요. 그래서 그냥 그러려니 하고 안 캐묻고 만났죠. 그런데 고백하는 날 다 말하더라구요. 자기가 사실 배 타는 일을 해서 자주 못 보는데 그래도 괜찮냐고. 사실 그때는 저도 멋모르고, 잘 할수 있겠지 했었어요.오빠가 배 한번 타면 오래 못 봐요. 연락을 이메일로 주고받았는데, 13개월 동안 매일보냈으니까 390통 정도 주고받았네요. 몸 멀어지면 마음도 멀어진다는데 이 오빠는 신기하게 안 그랬어요. 멀리 떨어져서 메일만 주고받는 게 힘들었지만 어느새 ‘해탈 해야지’ 하면서 점점 좋아졌어요. 어느새 그 힘듦도 무뎌지고 제 삶이 되었더라구요. 전 솔직히 오빠를 만나기 전에는 연인 사이의 사랑이라는 게 달콤하지만은 않을 거라고 생각했어요. 그게 그거지하는? 그런데 막상 좋은 사람 만나 연애를 하니까 다르더라고요. ”
“여자친구분께는 언제 반하셨나요?”
“(남자) 처음 만났을 때 손을 잡았어요. 제가 덥썩 잡은 건 아니고, 이 친구가 원래 하이힐을 안 신는데 소개팅이라고 신고 왔었어요. 많이 힘들어 보여서 손을 잡았는데 그 때… 느낌이 참 좋았어요.”
“(Man) At first, I couldn’t tell her I work on a vessel out at sea.”
“She looks like she’s been fooled.”
“(Woman) It’s because the person who introduced us told me that he is a businessman who just travels often for work, so I didn’t ask much about it. But the day he asked me to be his girlfriend, he confessed everything. He said that his job requires him to be out on the ocean, so we wouldn’t be able to see each other often, and he asked if that was okay with me. Honestly, at first I didn’t know what it would be like and thought that I should be fine. Once he is on board, we can’t see each other for a really long time. We contact each other by e-mail, but since he was gone for 13 months, that’s about 390 e-mails we’ve sent. People say ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but it was surprisingly not like that for him. It was difficult being so far apart and only conversing through e-mail, but later it became better and better as I just accepted the situation and got used to it. At some point, the suffering became less and became part of my life. To be honest, before I met him, I thought that the love between a dating couple wouldn’t always be so sweet. Like, it’s all just the same thing I guess? But since I met such an amazing person, it’s not like that at all.”
“What made you fall for the her?”
“(Man) When we first met, I held her hand. It’s not like I grabbed her hand, but she wore heels for our first date which she usually doesn’t wear. She looked like she was struggling, so I held her hand and… I had a really good feeling.”

“(여자) 오빠가 배타고 있을 때 제가 답답해서 이메일로 제 마음을 써서 보내도 그게 다 전해지지가 않아서 한계가 있어요. 쓰고 지우고 고민만 몇 시간씩 하고 ‘이건 그냥 빼자’ 하고 지우기도 하고, 그러다보면 나는 항상 잘 지낸다는 식으로 보내게 되더라구요. 마음은 그게 아닌데… 굳이 서로 힘들다는 말만 주고받고 싶진 않았거든요. 오빠도 똑같이 힘들테니까… 고생도 다 자기 삶으로 감수하는 게 사랑 아닌가 해요.”
“(Woman) While he is out at sea, putting all of my frustrations into words in an e-mail has some limitations. I would write and delete and rewrite and spend hours thinking and decide ‘let’s just remove this part,’ and eventually in the end, I ended up saying I am doing fine. Even though that is not really how I was doing… I didn’t want us to go back and forth about how much we were struggling because it was just as tough for him… When in love, shouldn’t you be able to accept and embrace all the difficulties that come with the relationship?”

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