What Loneliness and Galaga Have in Common

Posted by 희씨
2019. 10. 3. 19:56 EDITORIAL/문예 :: Literature

What Loneliness and Galaga Have in Common


Loneliness drowns you. Washes you away. Lashes at you like a cat hiding underneath the bed; pouncing out when it so pleases.


Choice doesn’t belong to you. Loneliness comes and goes as it pleases; sometimes with elegance, other times like the you that chased the cute girl with short black hair back in middle school - the girl you reminisce whenever her profile changes on Facebook, only with long brown hair now.


Jji-jil (찌질1)is a precious emotion.

An emotion you can only experience freely while not measuring love & success,  age & experience.

Hardening you to face the harsh realities of love, life, and time.

Each crooked towards the end

Each coming to a stop.





Next day.


New start.

Or so you thought.

Only before checking the message you sent to the girl with long brown hair.




Next day.

New start.


Life is an inescapable cycle of loneliness - drinking, forgetting, and starting over.





Next day.


No, not “New Start.” Start over.

Bew-bew-bew. Like the old Atari Galaga game.

Take control of the joystick to your life. Spaceships & asteroids fly your way. Hit you.

Game over. Add credit (1).


Rummage for a couple of coins in your pocket.

Cling-clang. Cling-clang.

You have just enough to play one last round.

Sit back down.

Insert coins.

Stretch hands.




Hear shouting on the other side of the arcade.

Block it out.

Feel the feet tapping by the rhythm section.

Block it out.

Smell the faint mix of nicotine and sweat.

Block it out.

Immerse yourself.



Lose as anticipated on stage 6.

Stomach growls.

Stand up and slide open the shutter doors.

Cool air cuts your face.

Drift home alone.

Phone vibrates.

The black… no, brown-haired girl texted back.

Decide to text back in five… no, ten minutes.

Note to self. Message blandly.

Don’t want to seem needy.


You reach the bus station.

Take out earphones & phone.

Stare into the screen as if you’re busy.

Don’t want to seem listless.


… From whom?


Reach home.

Open door.

Crash into bed.

Loneliness pounces as if a greeting.

Turn on the show you were watching earlier.

Not for fun. Just to kill time.


10 minutes. An hour. Two hours.

Your eyes follow listlessly the blinking lights of blue, red, and white.


Your phone vibrates.

You check the number.



Nebraska, Omaha


Where the fuck is that.

You don’t know.

You answer anyway.



“Good afternoon sir, this is Hilton Hotel. You’re family won a special 2 day all-accommodated trip to a location of your…”


You mutter curses under your breath and close the call.

You check the time.

5 AM.

Probably should go to sleep.

Turn the screen off.

Go to your medicine cabinet.

Hold a bottle with “Ambien (sleeping pills)” written over it.


Open bottle.

Stop for a second.

Or two.

Just a bit longer.

You finally decide to take out just 1 pill.

Close bottle.

This time you leave the bottle by your bed.



Lie down.

Eyes half closed your mind begins to wander.

You start going back in time.

Think about the brown… no, black-haired girl.

Think about beating stage 6 of Galaga.

Think about how you should’ve saved that last round’s credit of Galaga for tomorrow.

Wish that you would stop adding credits.

To Galaga.

To tomorrow.

No tomorrow.

One day.



  1. Korean word expressing characteristics of a loser or dork

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