Chapter 27: Chapter 27
I straightened up myself after sensing the surging tension within me. After an abrupt silence, there followed a sound of water dripping before I heard his voice once again. He continued in his serene tone.
“I was looking at my mom sitting next to the driver’s seat. Although it was hard to see from the rain and the woman sitting aside blocking my mom… But I could feel that she was smiling. I was young around that time, but I was sure she looked so happy.]
“My mom and the other lady became closer as they studied in the States together. They both went to schools abroad and got married to raise their own families, but they still met once a week. The lady married a very rich guy, so when I went to her place, I remember their garden and how vast it was or how endless it looked from either side. There I met a boy who had the same age as I. He and his mother looked remarkably alike.”
I slowly realized how my jaw had dropped after hearing what he had said. I was sure who the story was referring to without giving it much thought. Kwon Eun Hyung’s voice was still soft, but it was strangely sedated. While I was at a loss of words, he kept on.
“My parents got married when they were very young. I later got to know that they had me before their wedding. I was already inside my mom’s tummy during their honeymoon.”
He then giggled.
“When my mom went out for a trip, my dad was preparing for the bar exam while taking care of me and my sister. My sister was only two years old at that time; she was three years younger than me. My dad told me my mom was looking over here, so I should wave my hands to her. I could barely see her, but I did what my dad said anyway. As I waved my hands and watched the red car disappearing through the gray fog, I had some weird thoughts. I imagined scenarios like what if there’s a monster inside the fogs or something like that.]
“Then it happened.”
What he dropped with his usual composed voice held my breath. I opened my eyes wide and curled my legs up in anticipation. Then I realized what he was talking about in that tranquil tone. When he was five, it was the year when Eun Hyung’s mother passed away. He was telling me the story of what happened that day.
Although he was narrating the day of the accident, his voice and tone never changed. Eun Hyung continued his words as if winding up this story as placid as possible was his duty.
“A dump truck skidded in the rain. Later, when I saw the car, the driver’s seat was in good shape; it didn’t even have any scratches. The passenger seat, where my mom was sitting, was, however, outrageously crashed. Nothing was left from its original shape.]
“So I hate… a rainy day.”
As he finished his words, a heavy silence caved in between us. I remained silent with my legs curled up while listening to the sounds of rattling and people busily moving around through the phone. Then I had my head buried between my knees feeling upset. While I was like that, Eun Hyung asked a question carefully.
“Why…. why do you hate March 2?”
I bit my lips as his voice resonated around my ears. Kwon Eun Hyung was also aware that I would turn unusually sensitive around March 2. We were together for over 3 years, so there was no way for him to be unaware of this.
I just bit my lips for a while and gave a hollow smile. Then I mumbled within my head, ‘F**k it, whatever.’
“It is not that I hate March 2.”
“Even when it’s not March 2, I dream about… myself waking up on my bed. It’s a usual morning, but when I looked at my school uniform, I would find that it’s has changed. The wall clock also turned into an ordinary one. My parents and my house are all there except those two things. I eat my breakfast and get out of the house with my bag…”
I breathed in with a pause. Still, I could hardly ease myself from trembling. Closing my eyes tight slowly, I spat out my next words with a quivering voice.
“There is no Yeo Ryung Ban.”
“Not only her, but I also couldn’t find you guys; only then would I realize that none of you exist in that world.”
I grasped the phone with my hands convulsing the brows.
“I already went through that once.”
I couldn’t hear anything from the other side of the phone. No rattling of cups and dishes, no water sounds. Only a complete silence was occupying between us. March 2. My day was beginning dismally as well. Outside the window, the torrential shower persisted.
* * *
A year ago from now was Friday, March 2, 2009. It was also the day when I became a senior in middle school; in other words, the day I attended the opening ceremony.
That day, I rubbed my drowsy eyes and left the bed. When I found out that it was 9 in the morning, I ran helter-skelter all over the house. Then I later heard from Yeo Ryung Ban that the opening ceremony would be held at 10:30 am, so I rushed out of my house.
It was already 10 am, but outside, the early morning mist was still covering the concrete pathway and most of the area around the neighborhood were foggy. The skeletons-like thin branches were waving their hands through the fog. There were only Yeo Ryung Ban and I walking along the silent and lonesome street together.
As it had always been every year in my case during March 2, it was a gloomy morning; however, as I got closer to my school, I noticed that I was feeling better. When I met Yoo Chun Young and Kwon Eun Hyung, those who were attended different classes from us during our 2nd year, I exchanged greeting with a bright smile to them.
Yeo Ryung Ban also wrinkled her reddened nose and spoke with them about matters like telling them we should all be in the same class in our senior year. We all rushed straight to the hall as a big group.
The air inside the hall was particularly cold as if the heater was opened for less than a minute. Yeo Ryung Ban and I searched for the room where Class 2-5 was; we found it found within five seconds. It was simply because the class president of Class 2-5 was the fancy silver-haired Eun Jiho. Finding his hair among everyone in the school was a piece of cake.
Eun Jiho nodded apathetically with a purple scarf on his neck as he saw us, whereas Woo Jooin, who was sitting beside him while completely absorbed in the game he was playing, smiled brightly and glided toward us as usual.
The first thing he did when he found me was to throw both his arms around my neck. I hugged him tight with a delightful grin and Eun Jiho, who was gazing at us vacantly, opened his mouth.
We departed earlier so there was still 20 minutes left until the opening ceremony, and there were only a few kids in the hall. That was why Eun Jiho was making a sarcastic remark with his usual blasé attitude.
“Hey, Jooin, go easy on her. Ham Donnie’s joints crack so much these days if she moves around.”
Oh God, didn’t his bones cracked, too? I replied frowning my brows.
“Oh, they could get rigid if I sit too long.”
“Man, I was about to call 911. Are all your bones broken now? Do you think that your body’s just getting clunky? You should better go and have a check-up or something.”
While we were squabbling around, Yoo Chun Young was nodding off with his head on the backrest in front of him behind the dark curtained hall.
Eun Hyung waved his hand when our eyes met while flipping over the paper in his hand as if he was preparing a speech.
Since there were not many people yet, he yelled at his seat instead of coming closer to us.
“Hey! Eun Jiho!”
“Don’t tease Donnie and memorize your speech!”
Apparently, Eun Jiho also had to give a speech. Instead of appreciating Eun Hyung’s warm advice, Eun Jiho smirked and spoke like a jackass.
“I already did! You should have done it at home!”
Eun Hyung then quietly flipped off to him in the darkness. His handsome face was filled with a refreshing smile.
Good, I nodded. Regardless of his generous personality that gave off the tranquility of a deep blue ocean, it would be difficult to take what Eun Jiho said.
Eun Jiho then caught Kwon Eun Hyung’s gesture and dashed toward him to dishevel his hair in a roughhouse manner. Their silly games woke Yoo Chun Young from his deep sleep but continued sleeping once again after saying, “let me sleep,” with a threatening voice.
While Yeo Ryung Ban and I watched Woo Jooin playing a game with a portable device, other kids kept arriving at the hall. We all seemed to know each other’s face since we spent time together for 2 years. I found that all the seats in the hall were packed with other kids. As I turned my head around, I noticed that Kwon Eun Hyung and Eun Jiho were gone.