Chapter 6 - One Fine Day

It was the first day of January 1996, the sky was brighter, and the nights were longer.   

The cloud loomed over the clear sky, and the sun was shining behind the clouds.  

Suho's feeling a different surge of energy he couldn't explain.  

Almost as if a dream is about to come true.  

He cycled, resembling a raging bull through the crowd of students, turning away from the deserted streets to the busy road. Cycling alone makes you a perfect target for onlookers waiting to beat the hell out of you.  

Finally, when the coast was clear, he slowed down.  

His bicycle screeched to a halt at the sight of a large moving van parked outside the house.  

Boxes were scattered on the road blocking any vehicle from passing through the one-way street.  

The men in the moving van's uniform carried the containers to the vacant house once occupied by Suho's friend, Joo ho.  

And he wondered if he could befriend the new occupants too. 

"Oppa, Oppa," a cute voice from a little girl cut through the stillness of the spring breeze.  

Suho looked up and saw Naeun peeking from their window on the second floor.  

He dismounted from his bicycle and walked next to the van, wheeling it to their house's entrance.  

"Mom, I am home," he called out while removing his shoes at the door's entrance.   

He stopped, looking at his sister, "Naeun, catch," he mused, throwing the ball to his direction.  

She instinctively caught the ball, giggling in a high-pitch tone, her long wavy hair all over her face.  

"I say you have the genes of a basketball legend."  

Mrs. Lee sighed, "Finally! You're here Bring this to Grandma Jung before you change your clothes," handing him a plate of tofu to share with their 80-year-old neighbor living across the street. She had been living on her own for almost 10 years. Her children have left one by one, leaving the second floor of their 2-story house as an apartment rental.  

"But mom," Suho moaned.  

"When you get older, you do this, ok?" he mouthed to his sister, who only giggled in response. "And also, mom, can you stop converting my room to a garden?" pointing at his bedroom where plants sprouted one day. 

"Grandma Jung, my mom wanted to bring you these, handing over the plate of tofu. 

"Oh! That's so nice of your mom. Please put it on the table," she answered. "And also, bring that basket of fruits with you." 

"Thank you, grandma," Suho replied, grabbing an apple, brushing it on his jacket and taking a bite.  

He stopped at the entrance, turned to his old neighbor, "By the way, who's moving to Joo Ho's house?" 

"The Kims are moving in from the Philippines. The father is Korean and works in Sansung. You know one of the biggest companies here in South Korea? I heard he was promoted to marketing something, so he decided to bring his daughter here. He told me his wife stayed in the Philippines with their son, so it's just him and Hana. I heard she enrolled in your school. Be nice to her, ok?" 

"Hana…" Beautiful name, Suho mused, "Of course, grandma," he grinned.  

Is she pretty? He murmured to himself. 

"Yes, she is. An apple doesn't fall from an orange. You should've seen her father. He is handsome," Grandma Jung answered. 

"Huh?" Suho blinked several times, wondering if he said it loud that grandma heard him. 

"I'm old, but I'm not blind or deaf. I know what's running in your mind," Grandma Jung retaliated, fixing her eyes on the bundle of the thread she's knitting.  

Suho gulped, his face crimson red, "I think mom is calling me now. I'll go ahead, grandma."  

Suho sauntered towards the moving van, looking for his new neighbors, but all he saw were uniformed men moving boxes inside the house.  

They must be inside the house, mumbling to themselves.  

"Mom, I'm home," Suho shouted. "Grandma gave us a basket of fruits."  

"Ok, put it here. Go wash up and play with your sister.  

"Mom, have you met our new neighbor?" 

"No. Why?" 


"Maybe they'll introduce themselves some time," she responded, going back to the kitchen.  

Suho knew what his mom was talking about as it's a custom for new neighbors to go around giving away rice cakes after they moved in. For the first time in ages, he was waiting for that time to come, curious at how beautiful Hana was." 

 "Oppa," Nauen shouted, holding a plastic tea set in her hands.  

It was Suho's great finds from the flea market, feeling bad for his sister that she didn't experience getting all the toys he had as a child. "Oppa, I am hungry," she whined. 

"Yeah, me too, Naeun. First, let's wash up, Eat, and play after. 

"Call!" Shrieking at the top of her lungs. 

The two giggled, teasing each other, running around and turning the house upside down. Naeun, at the age of five, was at the peak of her energy outburst, tiring off every muscle in Suho's body. He chased her to the washroom, waiting for her to come out and splashing her with cold water. His father used to this to him as a child. And Suho wanted her to experience the same thing as a child.  

"Here, have some fruits for a snack. Suho's mother came in with sliced apples. I'll leave you two here," His mother walked out, carrying a bundle of stuff in her hands.  

His mom was one of the busiest in the neighborhood, running errands for everyone.  

Often, he'd be left alone with his sister until their mom come home for dinner.  

For all those times, he discovered the best way to make her sit still -- playing "house" with her. He even created a makeshift tent for this purpose. 

"Ok, let's play, and watch basketball at the same time, ok?" Naeun jumped in response, throwing the remote control to Suho, who caught it and pretended to make a hoop.   

He sat on the soft velvety couch his mother salvaged from their old furniture. She refurbished it herself to make them look new.  

The people often praised him for getting his upcycling skills from her mom, turning old pieces to something new and unique. 

"Oppa here, have some tea."  

"Ok." He took the cup, pretending to drink with his pinky finger up in the air, making Nauen beam in delight.  

Then, he sat on the floor, folding a paper on the table. "You see this, Naeun?" Pointing the toy plane in the air, "It will bring you where your heart wants to go." 

"Hana, bring that inside," a deep voice was heard outside, across the street where they lived.  

"Ok, appa," a soft girl's voice replied.  

Suho stopped what he was doing and scurried to the window behind the couch.   

Snowflakes danced in the air as she moved around.  

Each speck that fell on her glistened under the light, making her glow like a snow angel on that one fine day. 

"Oppa, what are you doing? Oppa, let's play," Naeun nudged Suho's shoulder. "Look," she threw the paper plane outside the window.  

The paper plane zoomed in the air and landed next to Hana.  


The girl bent to pick up the plane and glanced at Suho's direction, making him pull Naeun and dock for cover.  

She stood next to the moving van, her eyes swiftly roving around the neighborhood, wondering where the plane came from.  

With no clue insight, she placed the aircraft in the box she was holding.  

Her long-padded jacket sliding on her shoulders, her long black hair all a mess.  

Struggling to keep her balance, she blew the fringe of hair on her face making Suho snort a bit loud.  

Hana turned around, looking for the person who laughs only to bump at their landlady, grandma Jung. She bowed and lips curled from ear to ear, her eyes sparkled in the gloomy afternoon. 

The day transformed from gloomy to bright as if a ray of light was fixed on her pos. The chirping bird welcomed her in harmony. Everything went on a standstill, and the new girl in town shined like the diamonds on a rock. It was as if a piece of music played in the background.  

"And I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky

I'll be there

I swear like a shadow that's by your side

I'll be there".

"Woah! She looks like an angel," Suho's jaw dropped, his heart beating like drums in the temple and froze as if a lightning struck him.  

Her long wavy brown hair bounced with the breeze, her almond eyes sparkled under the sun, and her small plump lips were the perfect piece on the majestic view. 

Suho scrooched down on the sofa, holding the remote control on his hands with a massive grin on his face. Was she the girl in my dream?


The word 아빠 (appa)has a similar meaning to 'dad' in English.

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