Rebecca was missing, and Jill and I had taken it upon ourselves to find her. That's why we were sitting outside in the cold.
"I think I'd choose smaller feet," I said. We were discussing changes we'd like to request when we get our perfect bodies in heaven. "Then I can wear all kinds of cute, trendy shoes."
"You think there will be trendy shoes in heaven?" Jill asked.
"Of course, how could it be heaven without good shoes?"
Jill voiced doubts about spending an eternity wearing white, which she claims doesn't suit her, and expressed a preference for peacock blue. I tried to picture a chorus of heavenly host robed in peacock blue and decided I was okay with the change.
"If most of the people in the building are ESL teachers, chances are they're all hung over right now and no-one's coming out for a while." Jill shifted a little next to me. "How did you get in last night if you don't know the door code?"
"There was an old man that let me in."
Rebecca and I had planned to meet for sushi the day before. I underestimated Saturday afternoon traffic (again) and was late, but not so late that I'd have expected Rebecca to give up on me. I once bumped into her still waiting for a friend at Seoul Grand Park nearly two hours after they'd planned to meet. After it was clear that Rebecca wasn't turning up, I ate some sushi alone, did some shopping, then headed over to her building to find out what happened and see if she wanted to see a movie.
I was at her subway station when I realized that my recollections of my two previous visits to her house were vague, at best, and that my sense of direction offered little promise in the way of stumbling onto it. I searched my brain for any clues at all, the memory of any landmark. A gas station. Last time we'd been waiting at a crosswalk and had had a conversation about a nearby gas station. I started a slow spiral out from the subway station looking for any gas station.
The fact that I was standing in the lobby of Rebecca's building only an hour later was a miracle, especially taking into account the four or five other buildings I'd already stood in the lobby of trying to decide if they were Rebecca's. This was it though, I was sure of it. Characteristically, I had no idea which apartment was hers.
Well, I'd served a full-time mission for my church, hadn't I? Going door to door was nothing new to me. I was pretty sure I'd never taken the elevator in her building, so the apartment must be close to the ground floor. I started on the second level and worked my way up. It was a Saturday night and most of the apartments were empty. I apologized to a couple Korean men, but besides that I didn't hit anyone else until the fourth floor.
I knew the guy that opened number 403. He worked with Rebecca and he'd hung out with us for a couple of days during summer vacation. He didn't know where Rebecca lived, but he knew who would. The girl in 203. I'd already hit that door, of course, and knew that no-one was home. I tried it one more time before I gave up and went home.
"You know that if she's dead in there her cat's eating her right now." Jill's hands were wrapped in an alpaca fur coat she was supposed to be taking home to KaRyn. "When they lick you that's what they're doing. They're checking to see if they like the way you taste."
"Is it going to kill you if I eat some chocolate?" I knew Jill was fasting, but I wasn't and I was hungry. I had a couple pieces of candy left over from my primary lesson about tithing.
"No, go ahead."
"I'm sure she's fine," I said, though I wasn't sure if I believed it. When she hadn't shown up for church that morning or answered any of Jill's phone calls that afternoon we started to worry. Before we'd left the church building Jill asked A.J. how one goes about reporting a missing person in Korea, just in case.
"Korea is a relatively safe place," Jill said.
"Relatively." I wasn't ready to be calmed.
"Well, yeah, stuff can happen anywhere."
I started to wonder if I'd crossed the line yet where I'd be mad at Rebecca if she was perfectly fine. I thought about Benfold's Annie Waits and told Jill about the line "Maybe he's been seriously hurt. Would that be worse?"
"I think I'd choose your eyelashes." Jill was staring at me.
"For my heavenly body, I want eyelashes like yours. They aren't fake are they?"
Now I felt uncomfortable. "No, but I'm wearing a lot of mascara."
"Still, mascara can only do so much. Look at them, they're almost up to your eyebrows. They're like butterfly wings. I bet if you batted your eyes enough you'd fly away."
"This is silly."
"I don't think any one's opening that door." I could feel that Jill was leaning towards giving up.
I thought of trying a new approach. "I'm going to throw something at her window. Do you know which one it is?"
"You'll only end up cracking the window, with our luck."
"No, I'll throw this button." I pulled the half-dollar sized spare button out of my coat pocket. "It won't crack the window."
"No, it'll crack the button."
I shrugged, "I have another one at home. Which window is it?"
"I think it's the second from the bottom on the far left."
That's when I saw Rebecca, strolling down the street with her cat in tow as if it were a chilly Sunday afternoon and she hadn't a care in the world, which of course, was exactly the case.
Jill and I didn't stay for long, because we're both allergic to the cat. On the way back to the subway station I admitted that I was a little let down, after all the build up, that everything was perfectly alright.
"Yeah, but it's still good."
"I know," I conceded. "Hey, I'm going to be in town tomorrow evening, do you want to meet up for sushi?"
"Yeah, what time?"
I hope this doesn't mean I'll spend Tuesday evening sitting outside Jill's apartment.