TRACKSIDED

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TAE WON

“Live.”

Jane Austen killed me, but she also saved my life.

Meeting her that night was traumatic; the few words she pronounced made a tremendous impact on my psyche.

I didn’t seize what she meant by living, but now I see the possibilities.

Jane was a nuisance to me, someone who disturbed me. Now I think she’s heaven’s answer. If Jane didn’t appear, I would never have found out the truth about the driver.

The only questions I have now are:

Why didn’t the police say he died?

Why did the police say it was a hit and run when it wasn’t?

What do I do now?

On occasion, I’ll ask the officer who was in charge of the case. After giving it some thought, I want to try to apply what Jane said. I wish to talk to her, but Jane has turned off her phone, and she canceled all of the week’s lessons. Since the notice was short, the institute said they would pay me anyway.

To keep the good news coming, I passed the interview and got an internship. It’s like the currents have changed directions, and everything is going my way, or perhaps it’s me who has taken a 90° turn in my head. It’s all about your mindset, one of my coaches used to say.

I don’t know who to thank for this chance. I stop at almost every temple and church, it’s an overwhelming feeling, and I owe it to her. I wish I could share a bit of my happiness with her.

I wonder how Jane is?

It’s funny how a person who seems insignificant at first can take up so much space in your life.

When Jane told me about the driver, I felt empty, lost; I didn’t know what to do with the space left in my life. Now I no longer have a reason to seek vengeance; the feeling is bittersweet. Caught up in my torment, I believed in seeking a way for my family to rest in peace when, in fact, it’s my rest of mind I tried to find. Guilt was what drove me; I hated myself for being alive.

A week later, here I am with a new occupant in the vacant space of my brain or let’s say she has stolen a few more cavities of thoughts.

Jane.

I can’t get her out of my head, and I don’t mind. She can stay there and taunt me.

Na michin geogata! [I think I’m going crazy]

I sent her a message; I didn’t get a reply.

I hope she replies.

Despite how it might seem, I just want to repay her. My life changed when she walked into it, and if I can do anything for her, I’ll do it.

Now don’t get me wrong, the agony hasn’t whisked away, but something within me is appeased. The other day I even slept 6 hours straight without waking up in cold sweat, it might sound like nothing, but for me, it’s almost a miracle on its own. It’s like I got a visa to access the world of the living.

I’ve cleaned the apartment, painted the walls, and created a file with all the newspaper articles. I haven’t given up, there are still dark spots which have to get answers, and I’ll get them. It’s just I don’t have this desperate anguish driving me.

It’s a new beginning.

“What are you smiling about?” coach Gong asks.

I stop skipping, “am I smiling?”

“Like an idiot. What’s new?”

“Everything,” I reply, and the coach frowns. I didn’t expect this reaction.

“I guess you’ll be able to pay me now.”

My blank stare makes him laugh, and I join in.

“I never thought I’d live this scene. It’s good to see you smile; heard the news you got back with the Arrow Goddess,” the coach says.

Arrow Goddess, I wonder who came up with this nickname. News travels fast, and my appearance at Soo Ae’s competition made the gossip columns.

“Eh, not really.”

“Don’t let it pass it up, Kyeong Soo Ae is the type of girl you meet once in a lifetime. Her future is secure, and she’s crazy about you.”

It’s strange if it weren’t for the coach’s intervention, I wouldn’t have thought of her. What’s even more surprising is Soo Ae hasn’t called; neither have I, but that doesn’t change.

I’m a bad guy, and it’s not intentional. I swear, I’ve always been honest with her, and the fact the driver of the other car is dead doesn’t modify my resolve. Soo Ae and I are not going to pick up our relationship where we left it.

Why?

Because I love her, and she deserves better than me, I know it now.

I’m not out of the woods yet; there are still many things I need to figure out about myself. I’m like a wounded dog who has to learn to lick its wounds. Before I take care of someone else, I have to learn to take of myself, and I can’t hold Soo Ae back like a hostage when I’m not even sure if, in the end, it’s with her that I’ll want to be.

For now, I just need to concentrate on one goal.

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