[VIEWPOINT]A modern-day soap opera

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[VIEWPOINT]A modern-day soap opera

He was Bill Clinton and Elvis, bright lights and Hollywood. She was a divorcee in a rough neighborhood who needed someone strong.

He changed her life for the better, shielding her from a psychotic ex-husband. She loved him and he knew it.

There were rumors. He was always surrounded by fans and despised by his enemies, who envied his sway and success. He would be gone for weeks, even months -- on business, he said. She waited patiently.

Sometimes he got angry, they fought and harsh words were exchanged. But he would seek her out, wine and dine her, whisper sweet words in her ear and promise to revise their SOFA Treaty.

Part of her wondered if he was only using her to woo her older sister, the busty China doll. She imagined that others whispered that she was blind to the way he used people. But they were not talking about her; the others talked only of him. She was peripheral to their interests.

When he stumbled, she comforted him, but secretly she was glad to see him taken down a notch. And every tragedy for him was an opportunity for her to show how much she loved and cared for him.

His every harsh word or slight hurt her deeply -- no more so than when he and that Aussie lackey of his humiliated her at the ice skating rink. She spat and swore and vowed never to care for him again. He insisted it was nothing important, that she should not be so angry. But she saw him laughing about it and even ridiculing her cooking when he appeared on the Tonight Show.

She knew he kept in contact with his ex-wife; "a special relationship," he called it, and she fumed. Was she not as beautiful as Britannia, as alluring as the China doll? Was she not as witty and gracious as his Aussie and Canadian drinking buddies?

Her ex-husband would stand the court-ordered distance away and shout warnings about him to her. She wondered if this new man were the reason their marriage had failed. The trials and tribulations of maintaining a relationship with a big star had erased the painful memories of her ex-husband's violence.

"At least he was always there next to me," she would say, and sigh.

She had a party and invited everyone. In her Dutch-tailored dress, she sashayed before the snobby European wives. Even in her moment of glory, she could not resist siding with her other guests against him at every opportunity. He once again fought bitterly with the German man and left.

His personality seemed to flip every four years, but his self-obsession grew. He would stare at himself in the mirror while she jumped up and down behind him, trying to get his attention.

She hated him, his every word and action. She hated his guts because she needed his attention, wanted his protection, and desired his dazzling stardom. She knew eventually he would tire of the other women and settle down with her. All she had to do was wait patiently, and keep jumping up and down in the background.

The writer is a copy editor at the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition.

by Burke Josslin

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