“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?