While driving through Namhae on the city bus – that rural, hours-long city bus, more like a coach bus than urban transit, with its plush velour seats and bright yellow curtains – that bus empty but for a few tourists and those wrinkled, straw-hat-wearing locals with their plastic bags and dirty fingernails, we passed, far off the side of the road, a brick church. It was a square and non-descript building, as if someone with no imagination had simply stacked its bricks in the form of a larger, window-speckled brick.
The only thing identifying the squarely practical edifice as a church was the large brass cross, standing atop a red and white radio tower. Sending God through the airwaves, an absurd coalescence between the Ancient and Inscrutable, and “modern” technology. Even the technology was outdated. I bet God runs on AM.
Ever since that trip, I’ve had the image of a high school girl – riding her bike, texting on her phone, her nails painted in the trendiest colour, looking up at this church tower with apathy, or curiosity, cynicism or reverence – stuck in my head, and I just can’t get it out. So I got it out on paper.