Bilateral: Anemoia

nostalgia for a time you’ve never known

The 2000 Joint Declaration was hailed as a breakthrough in peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and had been given a ringing endorsement by the United Nations. So why was South Korea unhappy?

It was during a heavy silence, the kind that always hung in an empty room after these meetings, that China caught sadness in her eyes. She noticed this and adverted her gaze sheepishly. But something must have told her that speaking would be easier than saying nothing.

“This isn’t easy for me to talk about,” she said, voice soft.

China stayed focused on settling papers into his briefcase, allowing her privacy. “Reunification?”

“It’s not just that. It’s… my people. When they say they want reunification, I have to wonder if they mean it.” She grazed her tongue across chapped lips. “The older generations remember their families, they remember what life was before the chaos and the strife and the war.  But things changed. Young people have reservations, and it’s not just the economic burden they’re worried about. They see my brother as… undesirable. People who don’t agree with his actions and his ideals don’t want to–to make peace with a dictator.”

She went quiet and China clamped his briefcase shut. It was when he could hear the lump in her throat that he turned to her.

“I want to say that I miss my brother, but you can’t miss someone who was never really there, can you?” She swallowed whatever pain threatened to show itself and stared down at her lap. “There’s point in crying over what happened. It’s counterproductive.”

“Life will not always flow in your favor,” China told her after a moment. “But it will always demand that you adapt to the current.”

As he walked out, he saw South Korea hide her head in her hands.

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