"There is a Korean myth," she says. "I want to tell you it."
"Okay," I say.
"A bear and a tiger go to the Gods. They want to be human. The Gods say if you eat garlic everyday you will be human."
"Just for a week? A month?"
"No, like 300 days."
"Because it makes it more dramatic."
"So the tiger gives up after a while. He can't take it. The bear doesn't though. He keeps eating garlic. He becomes human."
"So that's where Koreans come from. We are the ancestors of bears."
I drink my coffee. It has things floating in it. They taste like jelly beans. I didn't ask for them. They were complimentary. I swirl them around. I stand up.
"It's time," I say.
"I have to go to my cave."
"You are going to write?"
"I am going to be a bear."
"You are Korean, Pirooz."
"Yes, could be."
I walk my friend to the bus. She gets on the 144. I wave. I walk across the street. I walk across the university campus. I don't say anything. I don't think anything. I get to my room. I turn off the lights. I lie on my bed. I wait.