Chapter 23: Chapter 23
I… I was… I was unaware of it until that moment. It was that we had an argument, which turned into a big fight. I totally forgot the fact and was behaving as comfortably as I could with him the way I did before a month ago. People sure felt relaxed in their home. I knew for sure that it was true.
Yoo Chun Young also sat still and had his eyes on me. The silence between us grew so heavy that it started to feel harder to breathe.
As I tried to breathe in, the bathroom door opened abruptly and my dad came out to the living room with a towel wrapped on his head. That ended the silence between us. My dad took our situation in stride and muttered,
“Oh my god, look at the striking sparks between you two. You guys are lying to me about you two not dating, aren’t you?”
Oh, dad, please. Should I feel appreciated or embarrassed? Since I could not decide between the two, I just watched his back as he disappeared through the doorway of his room in silence. Yoo Chun Young also looked puzzled. We sat down without uttering a word and dropped our gazes at the floor awkwardly.
While I wriggled my toes under the couch, Yoo Chun Young continued to change the channel with a dumbfounded expression. Where he stopped was a rerun of a comedy show I missed yesterday. My favorite skit was on the screen and there burst hysteric laughter from the audience.
However, none of us felt like laughing. We just sat there in silence and watched the TV until my dad got ready for work and entreated Yoo Chun Young to beware of me on his way out of the front door.
Our silence remained undisturbed. Only the sound of the clock ticking rang noisily around the room where we were in. I thought of the clock, a gift from Woo Jooin, as it’s sound resonated all around us like the beating of a drum crazily inside my room. Yoo Chun Young was… Actually, I had no idea what was going on inside of Yoo Chun Young’s head.
Then he held the remote control back and turned off the TV all of a sudden. I stared at him with surprise. His light blue eyes were staring right back at me. He then opened his lips to say, “I… Today, this morning, I was so… no, never mind.”
He discontinued what he tried to articulate what he had in his mind. Instead, he disheveled his hair while wearing a self-deprecating smile. Yoo Chun Young used to bring up his thoughts carefully; therefore, he hardly needed to correct his words.
As I kept my gaze at him in surprise, he, again, opened his mouth.
“How could I believe you?”
“Your smile belied your words, which made me feel like I am mistaken in thinking that you still treat me as your friend. Maybe you might still be thinking of transfer to another school.”
When his blues eyes moved directly towards my direction, I felt the cold air within those beautiful blue pupils of his. In his eyes, there appeared a shivering and truculent mien like an edge of a blade.
“Sometimes when I’m with you… I feel silly like what I’m doing here.”
He then spat out his last words and stood up. His pace as he tried to retrace his thoughts was slow beyond all bounds. I felt like I could run after him and grab his arms right away if I put my mind to it. I, however, could not do that.
What could I say to him as he held himself back like this? I never thought of transferring to a different school? Could I, the one who started the morning with that in mind, do something like that?
Ha… I could not help myself but simper from bafflement at a loss of words. Yoo Chun Young was indeed outrageously sensitive.
Therefore, I could not hold his back from disappearing away from me. When the door slammed, it was then when I burst a feigned laugh out loud. I tottered back to the living room. With a smile, I buried my face on my hands and drew a long sigh. As I looked at the table, there were two slices of tiramisu left untasted. It made me smirk again and lie down on the couch.
Should I believe there was a little hope left since he did not ask me do whatever I wanted? I meant, he didn’t say anything whether I could see the internet now or not? I tilted my head back and stared at the complicated white patterns on the ceiling. I felt like I was about to suffocate. The reason we fought weeks ago could simply be articulated like this.
Yoo Chun Young considered me as his friend, and I thought of him as a character in a novel and my friend at the same time. That caused the problem.
A friend might want to spend much time together. Generally, people could barely imagine transferring to a different school and leaving their friends.
I considered Yoo Chung Young as my friend. If I was asked if it was good to be together, I would not hesitate to say yes; however, that did not help me to suffer from the urge to escape the clutches of this novel.
As much as I wanted to be next to him, the more I desired to get out of this world, the more I wanted to put a distance between us.
I often spoke sincerely through the phone with my friend who moved to Gwangju when we were young. She told me there existed, of course, nothing like the Four Heavenly Kings or so. The top of the school was well-known for their hard work on studying and the second best was a bitchy genius. Both of them were neither that handsome nor pretty. No Four Heavenly Kings as well.
How much did I dream of that normal world? It was no wonder for me to transfer to that school with all my heart. As expected, this school was only a little strange.
Whenever our phone call was at the end, I repeated these same words in repeat: ‘I really wanted to move to another school.’ ‘It would be good to go to your place.’ ‘Please let me transfer.’ Alas, as it turned out, this conversation turned out to be the root of the problem.
One day, Yoo Chung Young, who came over to my house, happened to hear our conversation through the phone. His eavesdropping was not intentional since I used to roll on the bed and speak loudly when I enjoyed a phone call.
Fortunately, Yeo Ryung Ban and Woo Jooin, who were also at my house, did not hear what I said. I, however, had an incredibly hard time after that.
It was a moment that I would never ever want to go through again. The moment when Yoo Chun Young’s eyes were burning with the coldest anger, I was about to pass out confronting that scowl.
That was the level of seriousness it harbored, and it frightened me so. His face, with the look in his eyes, was asking, ‘Have you ever thought me as a friend?’ It was insanely horrifying.
It seemed that he did not hear anything else except ‘I really want to move to another school.’ Therefore, he first interrogated me with a concerned voice. Was there someone who made him feel this much distress? This cautious boy even jumped to conclusions if Baek Yeo Min was bullying me.
Since I was, however, at a loss of words for a certain moment, he asked me if there were other reasons. How could I tell him that the reason I wanted to leave the school was because of the existences of these guys and Yeo Ban Ryung? I kept my mouth shut
The next thing I saw was the burning in his eyes as he sensed betrayal in my silence. Even I would feel the same if a close friend of mine, whom I always had good times with, considered all kinds of options to transfer to another school. That would sure cause a problem.
I tried to confess all these: ‘The world I am living in made it seem as if I am inside a novel. Have you ever thought of how crazy it makes me when it felt as if I am a chess piece being played around in someone’s hand?’ However, would there be anyone who would understand me if I said so?
I, therefore, did not say anything at all. His face then turned icy cold as I continued to remain silent. His gaze first seemed like it was burning viciously and then going down to freezing temperatures as if everything inside him had burnt and only the ashes of his affections remained. In the end, his eyes were welled up with tears. He dropped that gaze at me and stomped out of the room at last.
Sometimes, I felt a sense of incompatibility with myself when I regarded them as my friends and, at the same time, characters inside a novel. I often felt guilty, too.
However, I relieved myself by saying it would be fine since I would not make it apparent. That belief led me to much complacency.
As it turned out, what I did was not okay at all. Especially to Yoo Chun Young. I closed my eyes tightly.
The sharp question he flung at me was still left unanswered, but it was also what I wanted to ask him back.
‘Have you ever thought of me like a true friend?”
I could not ask that question because I thought it was only available when we were not friends anymore. Yoo Chun Young, however, left my house, and I was here, sitting alone inside the stinging darkness. The situation urged me to ask him that burning question.
‘Have you ever thought of me like a true friend? For real?’
The words he spoke to me when we were laying our heads on the desk looking at each other were still inside my head even after three years, which was such a huge amount of time. It made me hate myself.
At that time, I tried to think that my heart was just slightly hurt from his words; however, what he said was still inside me, and it made me feel miserable.
“It’s that… you seemed to have no interest in me.”
“That’s why I like you.”
At this very moment, it was me who really wanted to ask a question back at him. No, I wanted to voice it out as loud as possible. ‘What would happen if I get interested in you?’