“Aren’t you busy, Sayaka?” Sunghoon asked roughly.
Sayaka hastily nodded as she realized the change in Sunghoon’s tone, “Then I’ll go first, bye,” Sayaka bowed briefly to Jiwon.
“Nishikawa-san, I’d like to buy daifuku, is there another cake you recommend?”
“Dango and mochi are delicious, but sakuramochi is also delicious.”
Jiwon thought for a moment, “Okay, I’ll buy for take away.”
Jiwon turned back to the counter, leaving Sunghoon.
‘Why should Sayaka come at a time like this?’
He should have been able to predict the worst.
Jiwon glanced briefly to his right, towards Sunghoon, who was busy with his cell phone. Jiwon sighed, and decided to walk around the park by himself. Seeing the ring on Sunghoon’s finger made him sad.
Jiwon blinked his eyes and a tear fell on the camera he was holding. Jiwon hurriedly wiped his camera, and immediately focused his camera to some corner of the park that he felt quite interesting, then ran to a hidden spot. His last defenses collapsed, his tears wouldn’t stop. For the first time since Sunghoon left him, he cried.
Me : Sayaka. For the first time in my life I hate you so much. Sayaka : Eh? Sayaka : The survey failed because I hugged you in public?
Sunghoon sighed and resisted from throwing his cell phone. The incident at the cake shop wasn’t entirely Sayaka’s fault. It was his fault because he didn’t tell Sayaka and Yoonji about Jiwon. Sunghoon ruffled his hair in frustration and replied to Sayaka message.
Me: The representative from Clover who came here to survey my house was my first love, 15 years ago. The one who made me commit that I didn't want to marry anyone unless with him. Sayaka: WHY ARE YOU JUST TELLING ME NOW? Sayaka: WHERE HE IS NOW?
Sunghoon snorted. There’s no point in continuing the conversation with Sayaka right now. Especially if Eun Jiwon still doesn’t recognize him.
Park near Jiwon’s House, 1998
Sunghoon nodded his head sympathetically once Jiwon finished his story, “So basically, Jiwon hyung shouldn’t be an artist, right?”
Jiwon tried hard not to roll his eyes. Sometimes people who are a genius in one field, is usually stupid in other fields. Like Sunghoon for example, “It’s not like that, boy.”
“Eh? But that’s what hyung said…”
“I just don’t want to become a marketer, not just as an artist, football player, Geologist, Olympiad or chef.”
“Ah…I understand now.”
Jiwon sighed. He thought that it was useless to share his story with Sunghoon. Sunghoon doesn’t even understand where the problem lies. But strangely, Jiwon was relieved, feeling the burden he always carried since childhood lightened.
“But…isn’t what Jiwon hyung doing right now makes things more complicated?” Sunghoon asked as he tilted his head, trying to analyze Jiwon’s problem, “Hyung said, since childhood, hyung has been trained to become a professional marketer, and now hyung joined the Headmasters project, will it not make your father angry?”
“That’s my aunt’s business, I still don’t know what my aunt said about the project that my dad approved of my aunt’s decision to include me in her project.”
“At least, hyung has an aunt that understands hyung’s problem.” Sunghoon got up from the bench, “We have to hurry up, you need to make the rap parts of two songs.”
Jiwon smiled and patted Sunghoon on the shoulder, “Thank you for listening to me, boy. You are the first to listen to my complaints other than my aunt.”
“No problem.” Sunghoon said as he turned the other way, his face red when Jiwon smiled at him. “You can talk to me any time.”
It feels awkward.
Especially when Jiwon tapped him on the shoulder and smiled kindly at him when he finished his walk around the park. Jiwon tried to make conversation a few times, asking about tourist attractions in Saitama, but for some reason Sunghoon was too lazy to answer.
When they arrived at the shopping center, Sunghoon chose to wait for Jiwon at the cafe. So much memories of them together is playing like a movie in his head…walking with arms around each other after school, him listening to Jiwon complaining about his unreasonable house rules, when Sunghoon did not qualify as an Olympic participant…all these made his chest ache so much.
Sunghoon sighed. Tonight is Jiwon’s last night at his house. He should make sure to explain the reason he left Korea and changed his identity.
“Eh?” Sunghoon said, “It’s finished, Jiwon-san?”
“Yep, lots of places I can recommend for prospective clients to visit” Jiwon said shortly, “Ah, I forgot to tell you. Today we will have karaage for dinner, so you don’t have to prepare dinner later.”
“Don’t worry, I bought a lot of karaage.” Jiwon said misunderstanding Sunghoon’s disappointed face.
“Actually I was planning to make you kimchi jjigae tonight, but if you already bought karaage, then tomorrow’s breakfast menu is kimchi jjigae.”
“You can cook kimchi jjigae?” Jiwon asked, his eyes lit up when Sunghoon said his favorite food, “That’s my favorite food.”
“Yeah, that’s the only Korean food I can cook. Are we going home now?”
Jiwon nodded. Sunghoon’s mind was blank on their way back to the Nishikawa house, he was unable to think at all. He managed to bring his car back to the house safely, although Jiwon had to remind him several times he was moving too slow.
“Nishikawa-san, do you mind if I start the interview process after dinner?” Jiwon asked when they arrived in front of Nishikawa’s house.
Sunghoon shook his head, “Eung, let me get the rice, and prepare the table first.”
Either Sunghoon felt it or time really went faster than usual. The form filling and interview process was completed within 30 minutes. Even as Jiwon tidied up the interview form and some files afterwards, Sunghoon still couldn’t believe that all Jiwon’s dealings with him was over. He just has tomorrow morning as a last chance to talk with Jiwon.
“Ah…Nishikawa-san, since the interview process is over, maybe I’ll leave earlier tomorrow.”
“I might leave after breakfast.”
“Aren’t you taking the 1 o’clock train to Haneda?”
“I need to meet someone while I have time.”
Sunghoon stumbled, “Ah…that’s fine.”
“Then good night Nishikawa-san.”
“Good night Jiwon-san.”
“Smells delicious.” Jiwon said suddenly, as he carried his suitcase down from the second floor towards the kitchen, “It smells like the one my aunt makes.”
“Ah…really?” Sunghoon replied uncomfortably, he was afraid Jiwon would notice he was absent mindedly stirring the pot. His mind was screwed up and he didn’t get any sleep at all. And he almost cut his finger because he was so scared this would be his last chance to see Jiwon.
“I’m serious, Nishikawa-san, do I sound like I’m lying?”
Jiwon chuckled and made Sunghoon’s heart hurt. His laugh reminded Sunghoon of the times he and Jiwon argued over Batman and Spiderman, and it always ends with Jiwon’s laughter because they’ve just wasted their time for nothing.
Sunghoon sighed before turning his body from stove to the table, and brought Jiwon breakfast.
He placed the tray of Jiwon’s breakfast carefully and then carried a tray for himself.
“Itadakimasu…” Sunghoon said softly. He glanced at Jiwon who had already started eating his kimchi jjigae. There’s no change of expression in Jiwon’s face. Sunghoon finally ate his kimchi jjigae, giving up since he still doesn’t remember him.
Jiwon muttered several times, ‘delicious’ in Korean and made Sunghoon work hard not to sigh loudly or take a deep breath. Seeing Jiwon like this made him loose his appetite. Sunghoon blinked his eyes several times but his eyes just couldn’t stop his tears from falling.
Sunghoon slammed his chopsticks on the table and said loudly in Korean, “Hyung, do you really not remember me?”
Seeing Jiwon’s reaction, Sunghoon finally understood. Jiwon was just pretending he forgot the happiness he once shared with a guy named Kang Sunghoon.
Sunghoon shifted his chair hard and hurriedly ran to his room, pulled a large box from under his bed, and returned to the dining room. Sunghoon abruptly placed the box on the table, right in front of Jiwon, and began to hastily take out the items.
“Hyung doesn’t remember me at all? Alright, I’ll make hyung remember me,” he said loudly, ignoring the tears flowing down his cheeks.
Sunghoon pulled a photograph from the album and said, “This is our photo for the festival posters,” Sunghoon said, holding the photo tightly in front of Jiwon’s face before he threw it with the other photo albums on the floor.
“This,” Sunghoon said as he pulled at a keychain, “you gave it to me shortly after I sulked and didn’t want to talk to you because you prefer to play with Myeonghoon hyung at the arcade rather than accompanying me to class,” Sunghoon said as he threw keychain.
“Nishikawa-san, stop it, I don’t understand.” Jiwon said as he got up from his chair, trying to stop Sunghoon from throwing the objects from the box all over the room, but it was useless. Sunghoon was already clutching a jeans vest.
“This is the jeans vest that you wore when we performed. You hid this from your fans just because I said it was your best outfit.” Sunghoon threw the vest he held and took the monkey doll, “This, you give me as an apology because you can’t win a Pikachu doll at the school festival.”
“This,” Sunghoon said while he was holding a blue handkerchief, “You give me because I forgot to bring a towel during practice session.”
“This,” Sunghoon said, holding up a few books, “You give me so I can practice enough to prepare for my Olympic test.”
“This,” Jiwon realized the change in Sunghoon’s voice tone. The tone grew more and more quiet. His voice was shaking, a signal he was holding back tears. “You gave it to me because I didn’t have an umbrella when we got back from practice session.”
“This, this, this and this,” Sunghoon said, throwing items all at once, “You gave me just because I said I’m too lazy to buy new stationery.”
“This.” Sunghoon threw a bracelet.
“This.” Sunghoon threw a Batman figurine to the floor and hit Jiwon’s right foot, but Jiwon didn’t make a sound.
“This.” Sunghoon threw a replica of the Power Ranger’s sword and touched Jiwon’s hand, “You give it just because I said I never had a toy and accessories”
“And last,” Sunghoon stammered as he picked up a bottle of perfume, his hands was ready to throw the bottle, “The exact same perfume that you use, you gave it to me because you’re going to France.”
Jiwon managed to hold Sunghoon’s hand holding the perfume bottle, but Sunghoon tried to pull his hand and shouted, “Why are you stopping me? You don’t remembered me right? I’m still talking!”
Jiwon tightened his grip, and said softly, “Sunghoon-ah.”
Sunghoon was still trying to release himself from Jiwon’s grip as Jiwon softly said, “Sunghoon-ah.”
“Sunghoon-ah, stop it. I…I remember everything.” Jiwon said quietly as he took the bottle from Sunghoon’s hand and placed it on the table, “I remember everything Kang Sunghoon.”
Sunghoon stood still and cried loudly as Jiwon said he remembered him. Jiwon reached out his hand, was about to pull Sunghoon’s body in his arms, but Jiwon stopped. Hugging Sunghoon will make things more difficult.
Jiwon stood as close as possible to Sunghoon, until he can feel Sunghoon’s body heat. His shoulders were trembling, indicating that Sunghoon hasn’t stopped crying.
Sunghoon was aware Jiwon was standing right in front of him, approximately separated by 20 cm, and Sunghoon slowly reached out, and pulled Jiwon into his arms. Jiwon closed his eyes as Sunghoon hugged him and finally Jiwon’s defenses collapsed. Jiwon cried and returned Sunghoon’s hug.
They were crying and hugging in silence. No wounds in their hearts will be healed today, but for now a hug is enough.
Sunghoon and Jiwon sat next to each other. Neither one of them made a sound. Jiwon took a deep breath before saying, “I’m sorry.”
Sunghoon still looked down at his toes and Jiwon has no choice but to continue his words.
“I’m sorry, honestly I knew that Kang Sunghoon had changed his name with Nishikawa Yuu, just before I got here, but I chose to pretend that I didn’t know.”
“Why?” Sunghoon asked softly, he still didn’t dare to look at Jiwon.
“You must have a reason why you moved from Korea all of a sudden without informing us and then you changed your name and nationality so you couldn’t be tracked by us…especially me.” Jiwon said, “And I pretend not to know your new identity as a respect for your reasons.”
“What do you mean?”
“I always thought of you as a special person. I thought you’d share your burden with me. I thought you’re sad because you have to fight alone in Korea without me during your third grade. I thought you were sad so you planned your move to Japan quietly without talk to me. You even lived peacefully for 15 years without going crazy to meet me and without trying to contact me. Didn’t you ever think that I would be a regular marketer, moving from one company to another company just to find a person named Kang Sunghoon?”
Jiwon stared at the ceiling. He was trying to steady his heart before saying, “It took me 15 years to realize that now is the right time to give up.”
Jiwon sighed, “Thank you for being the one who made my youth a bit colorful.”
“Hyung, wait, I…I don’t understand.”
“Kang Sunghoon, there’s nothing I need to explain again, it’s all clear, I choose to stop loving you, Can’t you just forget me?”
“Hyung, please listen to my explanation.”
“There’s nothing I need to hear. You moved to Japan and you didn’t even look for me, that was enough proof that I’m the only one who’s always fighting for our love.”
There was a faint sound of cars arriving in front of Nishikawa’s house and Jiwon stood up, switching his sandals with shoes. Jiwon cleared his throat before saying, “Before I leave, let me congratulate you.”
Sunghoon finally looked away from his toes and stared at Jiwon, startled.
Jiwon pointed to Sunghoon’s left hand, “Congratulations, your fiancée is very beautiful. Don’t bother to invite me when you get married, because I certainly wouldn’t want to come.”
“Hyung, wait, it’s a misunderstanding!” Sunghoon said hastily as he got up and held onto Jiwon’s hand, “You must hear my explanation.”
“Sunghoon-ah, I have to go.”
“Hyung, please, listen to me.”
“Sunghoon, listen, you’ve chosen to be happy with your fiancée, so it’s your turn to see me happy by forgetting you.”
Jiwon removed Sunghoon’s hand and said, “The survey results will come out next week. Thank you for your attention.”
Jiwon went out and closed the door without even looking back. He could hear Sunghoon’s voice calling him through the door, and his sobs as he walked across the yard to the gate, but he tried not to look back. It’s time to look for his own happiness.
Jiwon opened his eyes suddenly. If previously he always woke up as they started the project, this time he always woke up because he hears Sunghoon’s voice calling to him.
When I was sleeping early in the morning The sunshine is smiling so brightly unlike my heart Even when everything outside of the window is moving busily My heart keeps on getting stiff
It’s been three days since he’s back in Korea. But he still choose to finish all his work at home. He hasn’t been able to answer any questions from Suwon and Jaejin about what happened in Saitama.
Jiwon grabbed his cell phone and checked some work emails. Once he finished checking it, he switched off his phone again. Trying to avoid Suwon, Jaejin, Jaeduck and even Jiyong who are constantly searching for him once he arrived back home. And for three days now, he returned to his parent’s home, emptying his apartment in Yeouido so that Suwon or Jaejin could not fetch him by force.
I heard about you from someone The sigh that stopped for a while was a deep again I keep falling in our memories like a habit I'm standing alone on the ground with my hand grabbing yours I will send you away but there is one thing left Everything is broken and only the wound remains The reason for life seems to have disappeared at the moment you threw me away If time can be played.
Jiwon sighed. The documents that Yuki gave had a big impact on him, unlike the rumors from Jaejin or Suwon. Documents about Sunghoon’s changed name and nationality application were promptly filed after he moved to Japan and a recommendation from YG Academy that Sunghoon used to enter Tokyo University, making him convinced that from the beginning Sunghoon only considered him a sunbae. Nothing else.
But why is it the longer he thought about it, the stronger the memory of his school life goes through his mind? As if to remind him that meeting Sunghoon was the biggest mistake of his life.
Let's not meet. Now let's not face each other. Again, never again
Jiwon steadied his heart once more. He got out of bed and opened the closet door. He took out the exact same box as Sunghoon showed him three days ago.
When the door of the closet is opened unintentionally Your scene from that season still remains there Your feet that touched everything remains like pictures The memories keep on haunting me.
Park, a week before Jiwon’s departure to France, 1999
“Hyung. What if we make a time capsule?”
“Good idea, but unfortunately I don’t know where to bury the time capsule, and I’m afraid the time capsule will be broken.”
“But I want to share something special with you before you leave for Paris.”
“Sunghoon-ah, what if we buy two identical boxes, then you can fill them with items that make you remember me, and I’ll fill them with items that make me remember you. We won’t bury the boxes, just keep the box on a safe place and when we meet again, we’ll bring the box and you must explain to me why you picked those things.”
Sunghoon pouted his lips then nodded in agreement, “Okay!”
When I opened my eyes because the alarm is heard I heard your voice when I was half asleep When I draw you who is far from my side Your familiar face is still bury
“Sunghoon-ah, Stop it I…I remember everything.”
Sunghoon opened his eyes slowly. Jiwon’s words has been ringing in his ears for the last 3 days. His guilt was adding up because he hasn’t had time to explain why he moved to Japan and change his name and nationality, plus Jiwon misunderstood the ring that he was wearing with Sayaka.
Sunghoon grabbed his cell phone, sent out some instructions for his co-workers. It has been three days since he decided to take a break because his heart wasn’t at ease when he heard that Eun Jiwon had disappeared.
Sunghoon was still half-disbelieving because the night after Jiwon returned to Korea, he got a message from Jaejin that Jiwon can’t be reached, and his apartment is empty. Even so, his work was done on time, including sending Sunghoon’s survey form to Jaejin.
Me: Still no word hyung? JJ: Yep. Aish...but he just sent me an email! He asked if I could survey a pension in Belgium. Bastard! Suwon: He gave you permission to leave, but he still disappears? It's really amazing that Eun Jiwon! I'll ask him to pay me three times as soon as he gets back to the office! Jaeduck: Have you tried to ask his aunt or his parents? JJ: Suwon and I call his mom every 6 hours. His mother also hasn't been able to contact Jiwon. Jiyong: Her aunt doesn't know anything. Since Jiwon worked at Clover, he rarely contacted his aunt. Me: So…what can I do? JJ: Suwon and I can't look for him today. I have a lot of work to do before I go to Belgium. Jiyong: I can look for him after 9 pm. There is a meeting with the auditors today. Jaeduck: Looks like I'm the only one who can look for him today. Don't worry about it Sunghoon. I'm sure I will find him.
“Eomma, I will go out for a while.”
“I don’t know. If Jaejin and Suwon call or come here, please tell them that I’m not here.”
“Eomma, seriously, I’m okay, I just want to be alone for a while, okay?”
Jiwon’s mother sighed and let her youngest son walk out of the house, carrying a large box of which she doesn’t know the contents.
Jiwon closed the door of the house, and opened the door to his car, put the box in the passenger seat before entering the driver’s door, and ran his car slowly. He went around the places where he and Sunghoon often spend time together, and he wants to feel nostalgic before he threw the box away as well as all his memories with Sunghoon, forever.
I want to go back to that time. Even if I do not have anything to say I'll forget it. Even if you hold onto my heart again We can not be in love. We should not love too much Let's not meet, now let's not face each other Again, never again Let's not face each other even in dreams Again, never again
Jaeduck recognized the figure who sat on the swing, a large box lying on the ground not far from the swing. Jaeduck walked as quietly as possible, trying not to make a sound, until he finally sat on the empty swing and said, “Hisashiburi, Jiwon-kun.”
Jiwon quickly turned his head towards Jaeduck as he greeted Jiwon and laughed heartily when he saw Jaeduck next to him, “Yokshi, uri Dukchael.”
“Next time if you want to forbid someone from fetching you by force, please say it specifically.” Jaeduck said with a smile, “Since you told your mother to tell a lie to Jaejin and Suwon, then your mother would tell the truth to me or Jiyong.”
Jiwon snorted and moved his swing in silence. Jaeduck glanced at Jiwon and said, “When will you go back to work? Jaejin will go to Belgium on Friday afternoon, he can’t cover up your task if he is to leave on Friday.”
“I’ll back on Friday.”
Jaeduck nodded as a sign he agreed with Jiwon’s words. He paused for a moment before saying cautiously, “What will you do with the time capsule?”
“I want to throw it away.”
“I don’t know.” Jiwon said, “Just…throwing away something that I can’t keep anymore.”
“Jiwon-ah, something happened when you and Sunghoon met, right?”
“Nothing serious, I just…I just…I’m not predicting that the thing I’m afraid of comes true.”
“Did you hear Sunghoon’s explanation?”
Jiwon shook his head, “I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore, I want Sunghoon to be happy as well as me.”
“Jiwon-ah, please don’t think that you’re the only one who was sad with all of this, that’s selfish.”
Jiwon looked down, “I’m not selfish.”
“You think you’re the one sad because Sunghoon disappeared? Don’t you think me and Jaejin are sad? You think Suwon and Jiyong aren’t feeling sad? You think Sunghoon is really happy to leave us just like that?”
“Jiwon-ah, we all are annoyed and sad that Sunghoon chose to keep his move to Japan a secret and disappear for 15 years. We also understand that you are feeling more upset and sad because Sunghoon is a special person for you. But please, don’t forget that you are also a special person for Sunghoon.“
“Jiwon-ah, please stop loving yourself too much. Sunghoon did all of this because he knows that you love yourself more than you love him. He was afraid that you will be hurt more if you know the real problem, and Sunghoon has no other way than to explain everything to you now, after 15 years for all these misunderstandings to end.”
Jaeduck took a breath, “Please learn to listen to your heart, it may be painful to hear the truth, but I guarantee 100%, you won’t regret it if you listen.”
Jiwon looked at Jaeduck and said, “Maybe it’s true that I’m selfish and I love myself too much so I went back to Korea without hearing his explanation. I’m afraid that he was really engaged with that woman and I’m afraid that he really forgot about me after he moved to Japan.”
“Jiwon-ah, if he forgot you, why would he still have the time capsule? If he really wants to forget you, he should have throw away his time capsule once he moved to Japan.”
“The time capsule is a proof that he still hopes to see you again and explain it all. I’m sure he has a good reason why he’s still living in Japan and chose to disappear for 15 years.”
Jaeduck stared at a silent Jiwon as the sunset, “Jiwon-ah, Sunghoon deserves to have a second chance. Give Sunghoon a chance to fix everything.”
Jiwon smiled, looking at Jaeduck who continued his sentence, “Also a second chance for yourself, you should have a chance to listen to all of Sunghoon’s explanations.”
“I will try.”
“When do you want to try it? I don’t want to hear your regret because you kept on putting it off.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s been three days since Sunghoon took time off because he wasn’t at ease to hear the news that his Jiwonnie hyung has disappeared.” Jaeduck said calmly, “Instead of telling Suwon, Jiyong and Jaejin that you’re okay, you better call Sunghoon first. He must be the first person to know that you’re all right.”
Jaeduck searched for his cell phone in his pocket and handed it to Jiwon, “Please use my phone.”
“I’ll call him later.”
“And then I’ll hear the news that Sunghoon still doesn’t know about your situation? No, Jiwon-ah, you must contact him now.”
Jiwon grabbed Jaeduck’s phone and got up from the swing.
“Where are you going Jiwon? You should call him here, in front of me.”
Jiwon sniffed and chuckled, “Ne, uri Dukchael,” Jiwon pressed the green button on Jaeduck’s cellphone screen, and waited until Sunghoon picked up his phone.
“Hyung? You found him? Is he all right?” Sunghoon asked frantically.
“Sunghoon-ah, it’s me. Your only one Jiwon hyung.”
Sunghoon paused for a moment, before answering, “Thank God, you are okay,” then Sunghoon was crying.
Jiwon waited until Sunghoon stopped crying and said, “Sunghoon-ah, let’s make a new beginning, a new start for us. I lied to you back then. I didn’t give up on our feelings and I won’t give up.”
The burst of happiness swelled in Sunghoon’s chest, Sunghoon cried again silently and sobbed softly. Jiwon waited for a little reply from Sunghoon before continuing, “Sunghoon-ah Saranghae.”