Saturday, 18 December 2010

MKR II: Chapter 3

“Stop that!” Shoei said as he smacked my hand away from my lips.

They had started drying up due to the cold and dry weather at this time of the year, and I was so engrossed in my habit of picking at them. I get yelled at very often at this time of the year whenever Ji Young nuna does my makeup.

“Aigoo…” she’d exclaim. “Do you not love your looks? Why would you do this to your lips? See how much work you’re giving me to cover up the wound?”

I’ve always had this habit. It’s a nervous reaction whenever I’m thinking, or stressed out. I’m just lucky I’ve never had an infected wound from doing this. On the days when we’re busy, especially when we had lots of dance practices and performances, I’d barely have time to bring my hands to my lips. It’s when we do a lot of sitting around and talking that I do it. But I don’t do it when I’m on a live show.

“It’s bleeding now,” Skye said as he passed me a tissue.

“Komawo,” I said as I took the tissue and dabbed away the blood before applying pressure on it to stop the bleeding.

Another day was ending. We had spent the whole week promoting our new album. The night was about to end with a mini-concert for a charitable organization. It was December and Christmas was coming. We thought it would reflect well on us to support a good cause during this time of the year.

We arrived at the hall that had been done up ready for the concert. Our team had been there ahead to prepare the dressing room and test the sound before we arrived for our sound check. We slipped into the hall through the back as there was already a crowd lined up outside the hall, waiting to be allowed in.

“Yo!” Ssamdi aka Simon D of Supreme Team greeted us as he walked into the hair and makeup area.

We’d gotten him and a few other friends to join in for this charity event. It was great to see that celebrities still had enough compassion to sacrifice time without payment, even when they were so busy.

Ssamdi was a true comedian. He can be so serious when recording, or working, but when he’s goofy, he totally cracks you up. We invited him and a few other rappers because S-Cube usually had other rappers to collaborate on a song. Since rap wasn’t exactly our forte, even though Skye and Shoei did have the basics, we decided to get a few other rappers to join us for the night. The only other singer who RSVP-ed was Kim Hyun Joong of SS501. He was super busy at this time of the year, of course, but I think he decided to come just because I was Jae Joong’s ex-girlfriend.

“Ssamdi!” I exclaimed and slapped him on the arm at the same time.

“Yah! That hurts!” he complained.

“You ready for tonight, hyung?” Skye asked him.

“Am I never?” he scoffed and brushed an imaginary lint off his shoulder.

We moved on to our makeup artistes and stylists to get ready while we chattered to each other from across the room. Skye and Ssamdi started to have a rap battle of their own. I think Skye secretly wanted to be a rapper just because it felt very cool and badass to be one. But so far he’s not complained whenever we brought in other rappers to put in the rap for our songs.

“Hey Sierra,” Hyun Joong greeted me as he came to stand beside me.

“Hey,” I smiled.

Hyun Joong spoke in that quiet, gentle and polite voice that Jae Joong did, but not quite as breathy. Of course he too was prone to exhibiting some craziness sometimes, but he can be quite proper like his persona on Boys Over Flowers or even when he was on We Got Married would suggest.

Hyun Joong and I had decided on a duet, but up till now, we have not decided on the song. Rather than choose one of S-Cube’s songs, we had narrowed down to a few done by other artistes. ‘She Is’ by Clazziquai, ‘If You Can Not’ by Jisun and SS501’s Jung Min and ‘Flowerpot’ by Loveholic. ‘Flowerpot’ wasn’t exactly a duet, but since there were 2 versions done before, one by Loveholic and one by Alex of Clazziquai, we thought we could do a duet.

“Which song have we decided on?” he asked me.

“I still can’t decide?” I laughed.

“How about we do ‘Insa’?” he said, smiling slyly.

‘Insa’ was a duet Jae Joong I did few years back. It was the song that brought us together as a couple. I knew he meant it as a joke, but hearing the name of the song really stirred something within me, especially when I had just seen him less than a week ago.

I marveled how I let a person come into my life in this way. We didn’t have all the time in the world for each other. We spend long hours together each day or even depended on each other for anything other than the minimal emotional support to get through our tough times during our very taxing career. Somehow I had let this person become a part of everything in my life. He had touched every single thing in my life that I am reminded wherever I go and whatever I do.

I saw most of Seoul and South Korea with Jae Joong by my side. I can’t seem to go anywhere without being reminded by my first or last outing at any particular place with him. If we hadn’t moved to a new place, I probably would have found it harder to move on because even my own room reminded me of him. Thanks to him now, I can’t forget how he was in my room the other day.

“Haha… funny,” I replied sarcastically.

“Changnan… changnan…” he said, patting me on my hand to reassure me he was just joking. “I think either ‘She Is’ or Jung Min’s song would be good.”

“Actually, I like Jung Min’s song,” I smiled.

“Then it’s settled,” he said. “I’ll go let them know.”

He walked off to let the producer know what song we would be singing so that they could prepare the music.

We were 5 minutes away from starting the performance. The emcee was warming up the crowd, ready for the first performance. S-Cube will be the first to perform, and we will be singing our new single.

“Are you ready?” the emcee yelled and the audience screamed back at him. “Then get ready for the come back of S-Cube!”

The emcee walked offstage and we walk out onto the stage as the opening notes of Words3 started playing.

S-Cube: Words, words, words
             They don’t mean a damn thing to you

Shoei:  Sorry was the only word that lingered on your lips
It’s like you’re not capable of saying anything else
Tears are the only things that linger on your face
It’s like you’re not capable of doing anything else

Sierra:  (Skye: I love you…) you keep saying these words
           (Skye: I’m so sorry…) you think these would cure the hurt
            If words meant anything, you’d turn them to actions
            It’s clear that they mean nothing to you

S-Cube: Words, words, words
             They don’t mean a damn thing to you
             Love, love, love
             These feelings don’t speak to you
             Stop wasting my time, stop wasting my love
             If you actually gave a damn,
             You’d make those words come true

Skye:     Remember (Sierra: you said), remember my face my love
             Surrender (Sierra: you said), surrender your heart to me
             I can see you smile through my tears
             Your laughter keeps ringing through my ears
             Every hour, every minute, you’re everywhere to me

S-Cube: Words, words, words
             They don’t mean a damn thing to you
             Love, love, love
             These feelings don’t speak to you
             Stop wasting my time, stop wasting my love
             If you actually gave a damn,
             You make those words come true

S-Cube: (Sierra: Words…) Words, words, words
             They don’t mean a damn thing to you 
             (Sierra: A damn thing to you)
  Love, love, love (Sierra: Love…)
             These feelings don’t speak to you 
             (Sierra: These feelings don’t speak to you)
             Stop wasting my time, stop wasting my love 
             (Sierra: my love…)
             If you actually gave a damn,
             You make those words come true

Skye:     Baby you’d makes those words come true
Sierra:    Baby stop wasting our time
Shoei:    Those words, words, words
S-Cube: Words…

The audience cheered as soon as we ended and we gave a few bows before we gave our welcome speech.

“Annyeong haseyo, uri S-Cube-imnida!” we greeted, and the audience cheered in response.

“Thank you for being here tonight,” Skye said. “As we all know, tonight’s concert is for a very good cause. We hope that everyone here tonight will continue to support this cause and of course, S-Cube.”

“Enjoy the rest of the night!” I said. “We have a line-up of talented friends ready to entertain you for the next 1 hour.”

“And we hope that you enjoyed the title song from our comeback album. Yeoreobun… kamsahamnida!” Shoei said, ending our speech as we waved and left the stage.

Everyone gave their more energetic performances tonight, as they always did. Simon D pumped up the crowd with his solo rap. The very busy Seo In Young made it just in time for her number and did a rousing performance of her new single ‘Into the Rhythm’ and her ballad ‘Love is Bitter, Pain is Calling’ from her previous album.

“I can’t get over that outfit!” I told her when I saw her backstage after her performance.

“What about it?” she said.

“The rose buds!” I laughed.

“Ah… keuge,” she said, motioning to the big rosebuds strategically placed over each boob on her shirt.

“But these colors of rosebuds make the outfit less suggestive than the ones on the all black outfit,” I laughed.

“Keurae?” she smiled. “Then the outfit has gotten the effect I wanted it to.”

The performances were almost over. Hyun Joong had done his solo act earlier. After the performance of a local school choir, it would be our duet.

“You look nervous,” Ssamdi said when he spotted me on his way to get a drink.

“I’m okay,” I smiled.

“You’ll be ok,” he said, playfully punching my shoulder.

“Araso,” I smiled back.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

MKR II: Chapter 2

“When did you get back?” I asked him.

I hadn’t seen him in months and he appeared just like that; in my room, on my bed.

“A few hours ago,” he said, stretching and yawning at the same time.

“So you finally have time to come see me?” I said as I continued moving about the room, picking up stuff and preparing for tomorrow’s day at work.

“Mian… it’s been crazy for the past few months, or even the past year if you’ll accept it,” he said.

“Can I not?” I replied.

“I guess not,” he laughed softly.

“I guess you’re the only one who finds it funny,” I remarked.

He sighed, and got off to bed to come towards me. He turned me around so that he could hug me face to face. I stiffened. My body had almost forgotten how it felt to have him so near. For the past 6 months, at least, I was learning to forget how much I needed him near, and here he was again, forcing my body to unlearn and to accept his touch again. It took less than a few seconds. I’d encased my heart in ice for the past year since we’d started falling apart, and now it was exposed and left open for him to conquer again.

I hugged him back. Warm tears streamed down my cheeks, onto his shoulders. My fingers clutched his shirt. My entire being was engulfed in feelings of anger, yearning and relief. I was angry for being left behind. I yearned for him to come back. Now that he was back, I was relieved that he still felt the same. When I had went through those intense feelings, the final one to hit me was the most vivid; confusion. So what’s happening now? Was he back for good?

“Mianhae,” he whispered as we pulled apart.

His thumb came to sweep the tears from my face, and he kissed my forehead gently.

“Why have you come?” I finally asked him.

“I missed you,” he said. “I know I’ve been gone for so long, and I know you wouldn’t believe me, but I’ve missed you.”

“So? You just came by for a quickie?” I said.

I know it was possible the most crass thing to say at the moment, but I had to know his intentions. I wasn’t ready to go through what I’ve been through the past few months for the 2nd time.

“No,” he said, and even smiled in spite of my harsh words. “I just came to see you and to catch up.”

“Why now? Why not 2 months ago? Why not 4 months ago?” I asked.

“Come here,” he said and pulled me towards the bed so that we could sit on the edge.

He sat down, but I refused to. Seeing him again had invoked so many feelings within me and I will continue to feel unsettled until he gave me a final decision.

“I just want to get this clear before we move forward,” I said. “I can’t go on wondering when you would choose to reappear again.”

“Didn’t we agree on a break?” he asked.

“Yes, but you didn’t say till when,” I pointed out. “So are you back from your break now?”

“I know I didn’t say when. I’m still not sure if I’m ready to come back or be there for you the way I used to.”

“So you’re here today to mess up all my hard work?”

“Hard work?” he said, puzzled.

“Do you think it’s easy for me to try and forget and carry on without you in my life?” I asked him. “I know we’ve always been busy and we didn’t spend each and every day with each other, but knowing you were there all this time made a difference to me. For past year, I had to learn to stop depending on you for emotional support and for your physical presence.”

By now, the tears had reappeared again. I was already physically tired today and it really wasn’t the time to have to deal with this since I had a long day ahead tomorrow.

The past year had been tough for me. I had to learn to manage without him by my side. I couldn’t text him, I couldn’t send him messages on Cyworld and I hardly saw him on NateOn. I tried cutting myself off totally in the beginning, and I just felt it hurt too much. In the end, we just started communicating again on Twitter and via the occasional email.

The pain had ebbed to a dull ache, but now it was wreaking its pain within my chest again. I felt that any minute I would be gasping for air again and desperately clutching at straws. I had trained my heart to forget how it felt to see his face, and here he was again, bringing it back to life.

“Mianhae…” he said as he rubbed his hands on each of my arms and shoulders.

He pulled me towards him to hug me again. If there was one thing he knew best, it was how a hug never failed to reassure me. I wrapped my arms around him and started sobbing again.

“Sierra,” he whispered. “I’m sorry I have no decision yet. My schedule is still crazy for the next few months. I’ll be touring still and I can hardly be there for you.”

He let go of me and scooted up the bed, then motioned for me to join him. I was too tired to question or talk anymore, so I moved up and went under the covers. He too went under the covers and pulled me closer so that I could rest on his chest, with his arms around me.

“I came to check in on you. I had to see for myself if you were well, and I think you’re doing a great job,” he said as he stroked my hair.

“So you’ll be gone again tomorrow?” I murmured. I was getting sleepy, and being in his arms like this always made me feel calm and relaxed, even in the situation we were in at the moment.

I think my mind just wanted to pretend I was safe and happy at the moment. I just wanted to imagine that everything was fine for 1 night and carry on as if things had always been.

“I’ll be flying off tomorrow afternoon, but I’ll be back in a few weeks,” he said. “I’ll see you then, okay?”

“Mm…” I replied, closing my eyes.

I wasn’t going to argue anymore. I know that tomorrow, I’d probably feel like crap for letting him go without cutting him into tiny little pieces, but I just wanted to be with him tonight. I missed him too much.

“Go to sleep,” he said, as he pulled the stray hairs from my face to tuck them behind my ear.

“Kajima…” I mumbled, telling him to stay for the night.

“I’ll stay tonight,” he reassured me as he leaned over to turn off the lights and he adjusted himself so that we were sleeping in our usual cuddling position.

I fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake up until my alarm rang. I reached over to my bedside table to turn it off, and that’s when I realized he was gone. I felt like I had dreamt it all. How he was here, talking to me, holding me, and I woke up alone again. I reached for my bolster and hugged it tightly, trying to fill that empty hole that had suddenly started growing within me again. He probably had an earlier day than me today and having stayed the night at my place meant that he still had to rush home to get ready for his day since none of his stuff were at my place anymore. I’d sent them back to the apartment he shared with SS501’s Kim Hyun Joong on the day I moved to this new apartment.

I dragged myself out of bed after snoozing for another 5 to 10 minutes and started getting ready for my day. When I finally emerged from my room, I saw Skye and Shoei happily digging into a mini breakfast feast on the table.

“Nuna,” Skye said, his mouth full of rice. “Did you wake up to cook this?”

“Do you think I’m some kind of super human?” I asked him as I sat down in front of my bowl of rice.

“Then who did?” Skye asked.

“Who did you let into our house last night?” I asked him.

“Oh…” he said, realizing it was probably Jae Joong.

“Looks like he still really cares,” Shoei pointed out.

“Yea… he does. So what now?” I said and started eating too.

“Hmm…” was all Shoei could reply.

The day went on as scheduled. We were due at several radio shows start from 8am until lunch time. We managed to squeeze a meal before the lunch time show at the cafeteria of the radio station. As we walked in, the staff who knew us greeted us before continuing with their meals, those walking out gave us quick bows and greetings and we bowed and greeted in return.

“Sierra -shi!” a familiar voice called out to me.

I turned to it and my face broke into a huge smile. One of my greatest idols in the industry, Park Hyo Shin.

“Sonbae,” I waved back.

“See how he only calls out to her,” Skye whispered to Shoei. “It’s as if we were invisible.”

“Sonbae,” Shoei called out too, trying not to laugh at Skye’s comment.

We walked towards his table where he was already eating with several members of his staff.

“Pab mogosseo?” he asked us.

“Aniyo,” I smiled. “We just got here and we’re squeezing in a quick bite.”

“Sonbae,” Skye said. “Why did you only greet Sierra and not us?” he said, like a petulant child.

“Oh, keurae? I thought I greeted all of you,” Hyo Shin sonbae laughed. “Mianhae, Skye… Shoei,” he said as he made separate bows to them.

Shoei and Skye we close to being horrified by the show of respect and start bowing repeatedly at Hyo Shin sonbae. I couldn’t help but laugh at their antics.

“Anjayo,” Hyo Shin sonbae said, gesturing at the empty chairs at his table.

We sat down and it almost like magic, our team was back with food for us as well. While Skye and Shoei immediately dug in and took huge pieces of kimchi and slurped them up, I fished for the smaller pieces and mixed them in my rice together with kochujang to make my own bibimbap.

“Kimchi shireo?” Hyo Shin sonbae asked me.

“It took her almost 4 years to learn to like kimchi just a little bit,” Skye said.

“Chintcha?” Hyo Shin sonbae exclaimed.

“Mianhae,” I smiled through the mouthful of rice I just put in my mouth. “I’m not really in love with kimchi, but I do love bibimbap.”

“Her main staples are ramyeon and bibimbap,” Shoei said.

“And you’ve been living here for more than 5 years,” Hyo Shin sonbae said.

“Ne,” I replied. “I’m trying hard to adapt,” I added in my defense.

“But seriously,” he said. “Is it so hard to get used to the food here?”

“I’m alright with the food. I just don’t happen to love kimchi,” I laughed.

“Keurae…” he laughed. “Araso.”

Our conversations flowed easily throughout the meal. Thanks in no small part to Skye, who was always a catalyst, and also the fact that Hyo Shin sonbae was a very approachable person.

I don’t think I’ve explained how I got to know Hyo Shin sonbae. Sure… all singers and actors knew each other, but whether we just knew each others’ names or we’ve had the pleasure, or displeasure, of getting to know each other just a little bit made a difference.

I met Hyo Shin sonbae on a radio show when we both happened to be promoting our singles at the same time. We had a great time during our first up-close encounter on the show, and after that, we made it a point to say hello and have quick conversations whenever we bumped into each other. He has always been one of the artistes I respected and up till today I’m still hoping we would have a chance to collaborate or at least perform together.

“It’s time,” one of our assistants reminded us.

We quickly scoffed down the rest of our food and said our quick goodbyes before rushing off.

“I’ll give you a call next week,” Hyo Shin sonbae said to me.

“Ne,” I bowed and smiled at him before leaving the table.

“Why is he calling you?” Shoei asked. “Is he gonna ask you on a date?”

“Don’t be silly,” I said, ruffling his hair as I did and earning an annoyed face from him. Guys in this business are really too conscious about their hair, except the bald ones.

“You’ll never know…” Skye sang as we continued walking.

Honestly, I really don’t know why he would want to call me. Did we even exchange numbers before?