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?"
"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.
March 1996 Daegu, South Korea "Where's your brother?" Mrs. Lee fixed her gaze on Naeun, who was seated across the table. She shrugged her shoulders in response, concentrating on her favorite pancake in her hand. Mrs. Lee surveyed the second floor, from the kitchen to the living room in one sweep, with her brown almond-shaped eyes, looking for the suspect. Marching in full force, her brown skirt trailing behind her, she unbolted the door to Suho's room, which was surprisingly empty and clean. No trace of a human being existed. "Where could he be?" crossing her arms, brows wrinkled. Suho, Mrs. Lee noticed, had been acting weird for the last few weeks. "Is he possessed? Should I bring him to a shaman?" Sprinting towards the antic cabinet in the living room looking for a pamphlet. "No. Maybe the gods have heard my plea." Mrs. Lee looked up, spread her arms to the heavens, clasping her hands in sincere gratitude. Heaven knows how long she'd prayed for her son to snap out
Unlike Suho and the other students, Hana would sit in silence and try to get the best seat in the house -- middle, in front of the teacher -- which kids avoid. During breaks, when students chatter, play or escape to a convenience store, the new girl buried herself in the books. Her voice is precious as a diamond, a rare commodity. Her effort to distance herself from others was futile. As boys would hover around her like bees trying to score nectar from the most beautiful flower in the garden. At night when the classes were over, she'd often walk the streets from the center to her house. Suho would pedal his bicycle tortoise-like, matching her pace. Sometimes she'd take the bus, and he'd follow the bus until the next bus stop. Days passed into weeks. The excitement and agitation crept through every vein in Suho's body. Downcasted at the thought of not seeing Hana every day to melodramatic anticipation of the new school year's promise. Suho wasn't after the academic com
"I am not fine. I know I said I was, but I'm not." Suho stared at the glass windowpane next to his study table. On his windowsill was an array of potted ornamental plants from his mom's garden. From Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, Lavender, and English Ivy, which Mrs. Lee explained how they cleansed the air he breathed. But none of those were creating any difference for him at that moment. All framed with a lace curtain, no one will guess the room was his. And no one could tell what he's going through either. That wasn't cool at all. Of all the people who could see me that day, why has it to be her? Cursing in between breaths. Across the street, he has a clear view of his neighbor's window, covered with a cerulean curtain. At night, the bright light in the room gave a silhouette of the enigmatic figure, dancing under the moonlight in the soothing song of The Swan Lake. In the morning, the curtains were drawn, and the owner grooved to the hit music of the 90s. Ace of Spade, MJ,
"Naeun, Naeun," he barked in between the door gap. "Come here for a second." “Look at these pictures, unnie! This was Oppa when he was my age.” Nauen giggled as they browsed through old albums in the living room. “Oh! This is in Luneta Park, I’ve been there multiple times.” “Really?” Mrs. Lee asked. “Suho liked going to that park.” “Look, imo! This is me!” showing the picture of a small behind their family picture, holding a toy plane. “So, you’re the little girl Suho was talking about when he was younger. He kept looking for you whenever we went there.” “Me too. Cause I wanted to give him back his toy. It seems precious to him.” “It is. His father gave that to him.” “What a small world.” Hana left around 10 in the evening, carrying several Tupperware of food that Mrs. Lee packed for her. Suho watched the window across his room lit up. That’s when he knew she was home safe and sound. Filled with inspiration, he took out his sketchbook and began drawing what transpired that evening. Sketching Hana in full details as she smiled, played with Naeun
Twin Flames Chapter 11 - A glimpse
“Look at these pictures, unnie! This was Oppa when he was my age.” Nauen giggled as they browsed through old albums in the living room. “Oh! This is in Luneta Park, I’ve been there multiple times.” “Really?” Mrs. Lee asked. “Suho liked going to that park.” “Look, imo! This is me!” showing the picture of a small behind their family picture, holding a toy plane. “So, you’re the little girl Suho was talking about when he was younger. He kept looking for you whenever we went there.” “Me too. Cause I wanted to give him back his toy. It seems precious to him.” “It is. His father gave that to him.” “What a small world.” Hana left around 10 in the evening, carrying several Tupperware of food that Mrs. Lee packed for her. Suho watched the window across his room lit up. That’s when he knew she was home safe and sound. Filled with inspiration, he took out his sketchbook and began drawing what transpired that evening. Sketching Hana in full details as she smiled, played with Naeun
Autumn of 1996 Daegu, South Korea Time had hastily changed from weeks to months, from one period to the next. Evenings have a nip in the air as summer took a back seat. The temperature plummeted to 14 degrees Celsius as September kicked in. From the green scenery, hues of browns and oranges sweep the landscape to some extent, preparing its days for those long cold nights. Suho Lee had his hands full, as one astray dog increased to 6 in the last six months. At that rate, the spot under the stairs can no longer put up with their growing tribe. Hana and Suho scoured the entire neighborhood searching for a suitable place until they chance upon an abandoned old shack near the park, two stops away from where they live. They have also enlisted a temporary little helper, Naeun, Suho’s sister. With the help of their newest member, they named their small animal sanctuary Wonder pets. The bungalow-type house was deserted a few years back. After inquiring around, Suho and Hana
“Ya! Let go of her,” the young woman’s cry reverberated in the narrow alleyway. Suho flinched.He recognized her voice. And he can’t turn away because he promised to protect her at all costs.Shaking his head, he swung his bike around, searching for the sound. In the middle of the narrow lane was a schoolgirl with long wavy hair falling below her shoulder.Her purple backpack stood out, he can easily see it from afar. A dreamcatcher dangling by its side.It was indeed Hana. Not again, he whispered. No one was in sight as the alleyway was situated in the midst of two abandoned buildings. It’s an ideal location for a felony. Suho couldn’t identify who she was screaming at.So, he pulled down his cap, hiding his face from possible onlookers.He glided to where Hana was.Even from afar, he realized the danger she’s in. The situation crushed at him like a raging bull. In the middle of the pathway were 4 people — 3 boys and 1 girl.The group was notorious in wreaking havoc to their
As the mist settled down in the crisp night, stars twinkled in the calmness of the evening. Suho wondered if he was the fog or star in Hana’s world. But one thing’s for sure, he could do everything for her. Protect her and make her happy no matter what. And that unsettling emotion Suho had been struggling to figure out has become clear. Yet, he doesn’t have the balls to even shout it out. He often pondered what had happened to Suho, the basketball charmer and chick magnet, as Kwanghee put it. But Hana was extraordinary, she’s special. They have this invisible string that connected them, pulling each other every single time. And he admired her more than any young woman he met. That’s besides his eomma and sister. Days passed by.It was down to five days before Hana’s surprise birthday party and three days before Chuseok. Suho didn’t have much time left to finish the gift he was prepping up for her. “Woah! This is very stressful. How can things be cropping up all at on