I was walking around the neighborhood of my new home. I miss my hometown. I miss my friends. Everything! I miss everything about it! I just don’t understand why Mom and Dad suddenly decided to move to Seoul. Ugh.
The cold breeze brushed against my cheeks. It was almost wintertime. Hey, at least I get to experience winter now. That’s one positive way of looking at things.
I looked around and spotted a coffee shop across the street. What was it with Koreans and their coffee shops anyway? It seems impossible to count the coffee shops here in Seoul.
I was about to cross the street when someone pulled me back…just as a speeding car rushed by. I could feel his breath on my ear. I could feel my heart beating faster than normal. That. Was. Close. Stupid of me not to look left and right before crossing the street.
Suddenly, his tight grip on my arms loosened. He released me and I stood straight. I looked up at him, to thank him…and the world just stopped. I couldn’t find my tongue anymore. It seemed like I have forgotten how to speak.
Myung Soo: Are you okay? You should be careful next time.
Me: Y-Yeah. I’m okay. Thanks for…saving me.
Myung Soo: Well…you’re crossing, right? Let’s go.
He flashed me a smile, and I had to quickly look away because I could feel blood rushing to my cheeks and I don’t want him to notice it.
As we crossed, I couldn’t stop myself from glancing at him, but he just kept walking ahead of me. When we got to the end, he looked back at me and flashed a shy smile. He put his hands in his pocket.
Myung Soo: So…I guess we’ll part ways now?
Me: I-I think so.
Myung Soo: Annyeong!
Me: Uh… Goodbye.
He turned to walk away and I took one last look at him, and turned towards the coffee shop. I was about to push the door open when someone pushed it for me. I looked up and was shocked to see him again.
Me: Y-You’re back?
Myung Soo: I think so?
He pushed the door and we entered. I headed to the counter to see the menu. He stood behind me and leaned closer to my ears and whispered.
Myung Soo: You should try the vanilla. It’s their best latte.
Myung Soo: I often come here and drink that whenever I feel contented about something.
He pulled out a few bills from his pocket and said something to the cashier in Korean. The cashier gave him his change and a waiting number. Then he led me to an empty table by the window of the coffee shop.
Me: Why…are you doing this? You don’t even know me.
Myung Soo: Then…annyeong haseyo! I’m Kim Myung Soo. You are?
Myung Soo: Yeah, you. I’d be crazy if I’m talking to the table, right?
Me: Jae Sung. Han Jae Sung.
Myung Soo: Jae Sung. Hmm.
Me: Mwo? Something wrong with my name?
He smiled and lend out a hand. I stared at it, wondering what to do. Does he want to shake hands with me?
Myung Soo: Nice meeting you, Han Jae Sung-ssi.
He took my hand and shook it, just as the waiter appeared with our latte. At the sight of these, I immediately remembered I should pay him. I opened my bag and searched for my wallet.
Me: Uh…how much are these? I need to pay you.
Myung Soo: Ani. Don’t pay it. It’s my treat.
Me: No. Really. You don’t even know me.
Myung Soo: Then let me say I’m looking forward to seeing you again after this to get to know you more. I’m looking forward to being your friend.
I smiled, quite touched by what he had just said. I just moved here and I could start to see something good about moving. Maybe we can be friends. Maybe he can show me the reason why my parents decided to move here.
Myung Soo: I’m guessing you’re looking forward to those things, too?
Me: You know…I just moved here. Me and my parents. And at first…I kinda thought…
I stopped, not sure of how to explain to someone I barely even knew.
Myung Soo: You thought maybe you wouldn’t like it here?
I looked up at him, shocked. That was exactly what was on my mind. He suddenly looked interested in his latte. He took a sip and continued talking, looking outside the window.
Myung Soo: I also moved here seven years ago. That was what I felt.
Me: How did you manage?
Myung Soo: I did my best at trying to make friends. I had quite a lot, but then after something happened…I realized not all of them were true friends.
Me: W-What happened?
He looked quite uncomfortable, and I figured I’ve gone quite too far. He shouldn’t be sharing things like that with someone like me…a stranger.
Me: I’m guessing you can’t tell me right now?
He looked at me. Just. Looked. At. Me.
Me: Is…everything alright? I could leave if you want to be alone.
Myung Soo: No. Stay here. Please.
Myung Soo: I just want everything to be as simple as this. I think I’ve forgotten how it feels to be just…
He stopped mid-sentence, as if he was about to blurt out something he didn’t want me to know.
Myung Soo: Are you free tomorrow? Maybe you’d like a tour guide to show you around Seoul.
Me: I think I’m free.
Myung Soo: Let me take you home…so I’ll know where to pick you up tomorrow.
Me: You’re…picking me up?
Myung Soo: Uh…yeah?
Me: Can I…make a request? If it’s not too much for you.
Myung Soo: What is it?
Me: I…I really want to try taking a bus around here.
Myung Soo: Really?
Me: Is…that too much?
Myung Soo: No. No. It’s okay.
I smiled. We finished our lattes and got out. We crossed the same pedestrian. All the way back home, I was thinking I shouldn’t trust someone so easily. But there was just something about him that made me give him my trust. That’s an unusual thing, because it never happened to me before.
A few houses away from our house, I took a deep breath and asked him the question I’ve been longing to ask.
Me: Myung Soo?
Myung Soo: Yes?
Me: Why are you being so nice to me?
Myung Soo: I…
Then for a moment, he looked as if he doesn’t know the answer himself.
Myung Soo: I think I just do.
He smiled at me as I stopped in front of our fence.