“Nuna,” Skye whispered through my door. “Nuna…”
“Hmm?” I answered sleepily, I had just fallen asleep awhile ago.
“I need to talk to you,” he said.
“Come in,” I groaned as I sat up in my bed.
Skye tiptoed in and lay down beside me, like he always did when he wanted to have a heart to heart with me.
“So… what is it?” I asked him.
“Nothing…” he sighed.
“Nothing? You woke me up for nothing?”
“I just feel lost…”
“Is this about Hae Rin?” I asked him, and he just sighed. “It is, isn’t it?”
“So what’s wrong? I thought you guys are at it like rabbits,” I joked.
“Yah! We’re not doing anything of the sort,” he half-yelled.
“Araso… araso… don’t get your knickers in a twist,” I laughed.
“I just feel that sometimes, her heart is not with me,” he said.
“You think she still thinks of Jae Joong?” I asked him.
“I know I shouldn’t be telling you this and worrying you, but I have no one else to talk to.”
“Don’t worry about it. I was also wondering if she was over him.”
“Sometimes she just zones out, and I know it’s not about work, cos everything is mapped out for her. All she needs to do is show up for recordings and shoots.”
“Every time I ask her is something is bugging her, she never has a plausible excuse for me.”
“What can we do?”
“I don’t know,” he sighed and he pulled my blanket up to cover his face.
“What do you want to do about it?”
“I don’t know…” came his muffled reply.
“I can’t help you if you don’t know how you feel. Do you really love Hae Rin that much? Do you think you can change her mind?”
“I thought I could. I thought I did, but now I’m not sure.”
“Skye…” I sighed. I really felt sorry for him, and I felt worried for myself. If Hae Rin was still not over Jae Joong, what was she plotting to do?
The next morning, Skye and I were moody and defeated. Him because of Hae Rin and for me, it was because of Hae Rin and because I was missing Jae Joong. I’ve always felt like that when he goes back to Kwangju. Knowing that he is so far away always makes me feel lost. Jae Joong’s my rock.
“Are you going out with her today?” I asked Skye as I sipped my coffee and he nodded.
“I won’t be back for dinner.”
“No problem. Shoei will be home in the evening,” I replied, and Skye sighed again. “Just do your best, Skye. I have faith in you. For the both of us, you have to win Hae Rin’s heart,” I smiled weakly.
I don’t know how strong-willed Hae Rin is, but I sure hope Skye is persistent enough.
“I’ll do my best,” he said.
“Aja!” I said, and pumped my fists.
“Aja!” he replied, smiling.
I settled my bowl of ramen on my desk and turned on my laptop; looks like it’s just me and the World Wide Web this afternoon, until Shoei gets back from Japan. My messengers started popping up and logging themselves in, and I was bombarded with messages.
Danie: You cow! You’re on a break and you didn’t invite me to Korea?
That would be my sister. She’s always asking me to invite her over, but she didn’t have the time to come in the first place. She’s a sound engineer and part time events coordinator, working in Singapore.
Sierra: You can’t come anyway. Quit bugging me…
I replied and I hit the ‘Send’ key. She wasn’t online, so she’d probably see it when she comes online later tonight.
I logged into my email, and there was an email from my Dutch-Chinese friend, San San.
Hey Sierra onni!
How’s it going? School has been hell for me. =.= I want to come to Korea and visit you!!! Is Yoo Chun still single? Can you tell him to wait for me? =) I know you’re really busy, from pictures of the hundreds of events you attend all the time, but can you help me make sure he waits for me? =)
I heard you were in the hospital. Was that a rumour? Please tell me it’s a rumour. How horrible!!! =.=
Anyways… I hope you’re having fun! When I come to Korea, make sure I have a place to stay, araji? XD
I smiled as I read her mail. She was a sweet and perky girl. I’d met her on the Asteria forum and we’d remained friends ever since. I slurped up a mouthful of ramen, and I started to type my reply.
Work has been hell for me… haha! There aren’t that many events, just a few. Were there ugly photos of me?
I was in the hospital. But I’m fine now. Don’t worry about me. I have many people taking care of me and worrying for me. To the point where I actually feel guilty T_T
How are your singing and dancing lessons coming? I heard that the next SM Auditions are coming up soon. Be sure to send in your application and I might see you in Korea soon. But if you’re just coming for a holiday, you can bunk with me ^^
I clicked the ‘Send’ button and ate another mouthful of ramen while waiting for the page to load. About an hour later, I’d finally finished replying all the mails from friends and family, and answered the dozens of offline messages people have left for me. Just when I was about to sign off my messenger, a chat box popped up…
Sierra: What's up with your eyes?
Sierra: Then why’s your emoticon squinting?
JJ-Kim: Cos you’re dazzling… ^^;
Sierra: Has Yoo Chun been teaching you his lame pickup lines?
JJ-Kim: Ani… I came up with it on my own *^^*
Sierra: How clever… *pats you on the head*
JJ-Kim: o.O I’m not a puppy…
Sierra: Then what are you?
Sierra: Then you shall be a puppy…
JJ-Kim: Shirooooo… T_T
Sierra: I’m home alone…
JJ-Kim: Skye went out?
Sierra: As usual…
Sierra: Still flying in the sky…
JJ-Kim: Haha! Want me to come back?
Sierra: By the time you get to Seoul, Shoei would be home with me, eating dinner.
JJ-Kim: Fine… I won’t come back.
Sierra: But I miss you.
JJ-Kim: Then you want me to come back today?
Sierra: Just come back as you have planned. I’ll be fine.
JJ-Kim: I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, okay? *hugs*
JJ-Kim: I gtg now… taking my nephews and nieces shopping.
Sierra: Okay, ajeoshi…
JJ-Kim: Yah! Who’re you calling ‘ajeoshi’?
Sierra: Oops… ^^
Sierra: I love you…
JJ-Kim has signed off
I shut off my messengers and turned up the music after Jae Joong had logged off. I picked up a fashion magazine I’d bought from the airport on the day we landed back in Korea and started flipping through it. As I did, my eyelids started to feel heavy. This is the first time I’ve had such a restful break. I wanted to sleep every moment I had nothing to do. I tossed the magazine aside, snuggled down my bed with my bolster and drifted off to sleep.
I opened the front door and held it open with my huge suitcase, then I turned around and started lugging in the rest of my bags. My mother had gotten a little carried away this time. She’d bought a truckload of snacks and souvenirs for me to bring back with me to Korea.
I shut the door and turned around, taking in the familiarity of the apartment. I’d actually missed this place. Going back home… it made me feel a little suffocated. The constant visits from friends, relatives, friends of my family, distant relatives; they all wanted to see me just because I was now in a famous band in Korea. A few years back, some of these people had never even showed up on our doorstep, not even on important occasions, like my grandmother’s funeral. I was in New York when my grandmother passed on. It still upset me when I thought of it. She loved me dearly, and she supported my dream, knowing that it would take me away from her.
“Shoei... make us proud,” she’d said on the day I was leaving for Korea to join SM as a trainee. “I know you are going to be a star.”
She was gone now, but my memories of her are forever imprinted in my mind. I wiped the single tear that had escaped my eye and looked down the corridor where our rooms were. The apartment seemed empty. Skye was definitely not home, as usual. Since he started dating, he spends most of his free time with Hae Rin. I could hear faint strains of music coming from nuna’s room. I smiled to myself; at least nuna was home. I walked to her door and knocked softly. She didn’t reply. She must be sleeping. I opened the door quietly, and saw that I was right. She was lying on her side and hugging her bolster tightly, like she always does when she’s sleeping.
I sat down on the bed beside her and watched her sleep. I spotted a little pimple forming on her forehead; the stress must be getting to her. At least we got a week off this time. I can’t remember how long it has been since we had such a long holiday. I wonder if she enjoyed Prague. I tiptoed out of her room and walked into the kitchen. I decided to make dinner since she was asleep.
Halfway through, nuna appeared behind me in the kitchen.
“When did you get in?” she asked me.
“What are you cooking?” she asked me as she stood beside me to look into the pot.
“Just some chicken stew. The rice is done. Why don’t you scoop it out? The chicken is almost ready.”
“Okay,” she said and she walked off to get the rice.
When the stew was ready, I set it down on the dining table and sat down in the chair opposite nuna.
“Looks good!” she smiled as she picked up her spoon.
Another thing I’ll need to get used to now that I’m back. In Japan, we used our chopsticks for everything, but here in Korea, we use the spoon for everything. My mother laughed at me when I asked for a spoon on the first day I got home.
“You eat like a Korean now, don’t you?” she said. “Well, now that you’re home, in Japan, you should eat like a Japanese.” So that’s what I had to do. I had to learn to eat my rice with chopsticks.
“How was home?” nuna asked me as she bit into a piece of chicken.
“It was alright. How was Prague?”
“Not too bad. I’d have preferred to go there in the summer, but with our schedules in such a state, I have no choice.”
“This chicken is good,” she smiled.
“You missed my cooking, didn’t you?” I teased.
“I think not as much as you miss mine.”
“Yea… I’m so used to eating Chinese and Korean now. I’ve almost forgotten how to eat sashimi,” I laughed.
“How are your parents?”
“They’re fine,” I said, as I swallowed my rice. “Don’t you miss home, nuna?”
The one thing that puzzled me about nuna, was that she always talked about Malaysia, but she never asked to go home. Did she miss home? Did something happen before she came? Why didn’t she ever ask for permission to go home? She always seemed content to stay in Korea and muck around with us, or spend time with Jae Joong, even when she had the chance to home for awhile.
“Are you sure?”
“If I go back, I’ll only miss it more when I leave. So I prefer to stay away. I’ll go back someday, when I don’t need to be here anymore,” she smiled.
I wondered if that was her honest opinion. To all, nuna seemed like a trouble-free soul; someone who didn’t go through much unhappiness, and someone who was strong and dedicated. She was always smiling, no matter how tired our schedule made her. She was truly our leader, in the way she inspires Skye and I to keep trudging on. She’d been through so many mishaps; her breakup with Yun Ho, the assault, getting admitted into the hospital for internal bleeding. Whatever had happened in the past 2 years, it always seemed like she took them in stride and just carried on with her job.
“Sometimes, I wonder if you're telling the truth,” I said as I looked up at her. That’s when I noticed that she had an odd expression on her face.