Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Both of us just walked with our heads low.
While walking in silence, a colorful head caught my eyes from far away. I opened my eyes narrowly and watched them. Everyone in the subway seemed to be drawn in them. It made sense. How could someone refuse to look at those who look like models wherein each of them has a fancy hair color such as silver, black, gold brown, and red wine hair?
At least wear a hat like Yoo Chun Young. I clicked my tongue and ran to them without a break.
Woo Jooin, who had an unbelievable caramel-like light brown hair for Koreans, laughed at us. He spoke with his usual cheerful tone.
“Wow, you guys came together? You look like a spy.”
Yoo Chun Young responded with a low voice, pulling his mask up again. He did not know how to take jokes, so he might have taken it seriously.
As I giggled at them, Woo Jooin hugged me with a bright smile.
He said, “Mom! I missed you.”
“Coochie coochie coo, my Jooin.”
I replied tickling his chin and croaked as he hugged me again strongly. He released me after I hit his arms to let me go. I laughed rubbing his light brown hair.
Whatever they say, the one I liked the most was Woo Jooin. He was cute. Sometimes, Jooin was too ahead of us that it seemed hard to understand what he said, however, he was still adorable. He even called me a mom once and ever since then I became his fond mother.
While rubbing his hair, I raised my head as I heard Eun Hyung calling me. He bent his soft gray-green eyes and said,
“The train’s about to leave. Let’s go.”
I rubbed his nose and let Jooin go. We all got on the train together.
Ban Yeo Ryung let my hand go, so she sat beside me on my right side. The other side was taken by the chuckling Woo Jooin. Eun Jiho and Yoo Chun Young sat next to him talking about some video games.
Kwon Eun Hyung frowned his forehead and said, “Dudes, do you know what happens when you play video games every day?”
As Eun Jiho responded, Eun Hyung lifted his finger at Jiho and spoke something on his back. A few moments later, I found not only Eun Jiho but also Yoo Chun Young’s face turning blue.
What’s going on? I gave a suspicious glance to Eun Hyung.
He was laughing but when we met our eyes, he asked, “Why?”
I smiled at him and turned my head back. It was because Woo Jooin, sitting next to me, was whining for not playing with him. Eun Hyung was the only guy whose name I call without his last name. I also called Woo Jooin as Jooin, but he never was a guy to me, so let’s just disregard him.
I thought of Eun Hyung as a sweet guy who knew how to make fair decisions. That might be why he served consecutive terms as a class president for the last three years.
People loved him. However, sometimes, I could not resist thinking of him as the secret villain. I don’t get why I’m feeling that way. Oh, maybe my imaginations are being developed as I thread along with this novel’s story and writing essays every day. I scratched my arms.
As the light on the subway screen came on, the train left at last. Outside the window, there were skyscrapers towering over us. Along with them are the figures of telephone poles and the shadows of the mountain between them.
The air became transparent along with the colors of the dawn. The sceneries were seen far in the distance. Traveling early in the morning made people quite emotional anyway.
The sentiments I had, however, did not last for a moment. Usually, when traveling with friends, there should be card games, boiled eggs, fried chickens, packed meals, and some ongoing conversations, but nothing belonged to us.
I mean, would a card game available on public transportation where people sit and sleep in a row?
The first one who fell asleep was Yoo Chun Young. He had his head on Eun Jiho’s shoulder, so Jiho was annoyed for the whole subway ride. Then he slowly tilted his head to Yoo Chun Young while listening to the music coming out of his headphone.
The two boys with their heads on each other looked great. I watched them with sneering eyes and got surprised as I also found Eun Hyung leaning his head to the subway pole next to him. Then I became sleepy as well. Oh, no. Not me, I should not.
Something fell on my shoulder. As I turned my head to it, Ban Yeo Ryung’s jet-black hair right under my chin came into sight. Woo Jooin was dozing off with his hands on me.
Gosh. I kept an empty gaze at them and closed my eyes quietly. Travel excitement my ass.
* * *
Someone has said that the feelings of winter beach and the summer beach are especially different. I read about that in a book, but I couldn’t remember exactly. I scratched my head and looked at the cool sky above my head leaning over the railing.
The air seemed fresh since early in the morning, but the bright sky was dazzling white. Under the splendor, there were the dotted shadows of the land and the wavy ocean with a sea breeze.
While looking at the dark ocean, I thought it would not be so shocking to see a monster coming out from it.
As I looked down the railing in silence, someone tapped my shoulder. I turned back with surprise. When I looked back, I was greeted with the gorgeous smile of Ban Yeo Ryung. She looked a little embarrassed since I was not as surprised as she expected.
She then bent her beautiful black eyes. With that, she went beside me and leaned at the railing. She also looked down the dark swirling waters under our feet.
To be honest, it was not that delightful of a view. Above the water that broke into white waves on the gray cement wall, trashes like plastic bottles, cans, and inflatables were floating. However, Ban Yeo Ryung remained unfazed and still had her gorgeous smile at them.
She seemed to value all of us spending time together than the actual getaway. It was true as she took away her gaze from the sea.
“I feel so good.”
As she spoke, the breeze blew and sparkled her pitch-black hair. The tip of her nose turned red as she simpered. I responded with a big smile. I had always thought that people rarely saw her silly little smiles.
It was not even a year since I first met Ban Yeo Ryung with the acknowledgment that we are standing toe to toe, human-to-human, instead of viewing her as just a female protagonist. How many things have happened between us to face each other like this? Something came into life inside me. I stared at her beautiful black eyes with that emotion in mind.
Her hands that swept her hair back with the breeze were delicate and soft like an instrument. Then, she looked at me and smiled.
I was stunned by her for a moment and shook my head. Then I saw her keeping the lips tight.
I asked, “Are you cold?”
“Yeah, a little bit.”
She replied with a grin. I thought for a while, looking down and took out the scarf on my neck. Then I came towards Ban Yeo Ryung with a smile and wrapped her with my scarf up to her nose.
When I stepped back and smiled again as soon as I finished doing it, I saw the gorgeous reaction of Ban Yeo Ryung as she remained astounded by my actions. Maybe because all her neck, lips and nose were covered with the scarf all of a sudden. However, it was me who encountered something unexpected afterward. She dashed towards me and gave me a big hug.
My eyes burst in my surprise. I grinned and slowly tapped her back.
When thinking of how much she had been through heartaches, there was plenty of reasons for her to react like that to me.
Looking at her eyes filled with tears, I asked, “Hey, but where are the Four Heavenly Kings?”
A muffled sound seemed to come out from the lips hidden beneath the scarf. It was not that hard to understand though. I tried to explain but my grimace didn’t seem at all convincing.
When I talked about the Four Heavenly Kings, I thought she would definitely get that they were Eun Jiho, Yoo Chun Young, Kwon Eun Hyung, and Woo Jooin. It was because everyone in our middle school had that in mind.
No way, I thought. Ban Yeo Ryung would have misunderstood what I said. She has ears, so why would she miss it? Doesn’t she have conversations with other people?
I braced myself and told her again clearly.
“Where are the Four, Heavenly, Kings?”
“… What… is that?”