“Yes, mother?” I asked.
“Are you a virgin?”
I gave her a disgruntled look. “Wae na hante geugeol mul-eobolgeoya?” (Why would you ask me that?)
She chuckled as she put her arm in mine. “Why not? We never have conversations like this.”
“Conversations between mother and daughter. We’re either not talking to each other because we’re so busy doing other stuff, or we’re bickering because you’re never home.”
I shrugged. “Because I’m training.”
“Exactly.” She stopped and turned me around to face her. “And for what? The Ollimpig?” (Olympics?)
I rolled my eyes because she didn't understand.
“Tell me why you’re doing all this training, and I’ll never question you about it again.”
How could I answer that truthfully when I didn’t even know myself what I was training for? All I knew was that for this month, my father wanted me to focus on my fitness. Next month, it could be something entirely different. I was just doing what I was being told to do.
I groaned in frustration. “We’ve had this conversation more than once.”
“And not once have you given me a straight answer, Maggie.”
“Because I don’t know!” I yelled.
My mother looked taken aback by my outburst. “There’s no need to shout. I was just asking.”
I lowered my voice. “I’m sorry, Eomma. (Mother) You know I don’t like talking about it because we always end up arguing.”
She sighed. “This is the only thing we talk about. If it’s not about training, it’s about your father and that doesn’t go down well either. “
“I know.” I mutter.
“If you want us to stop arguing, then what do you suggest we talk about?” She asks.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this.
“How I lost my virginity?” I suggested even though I’d rather not share such personal details with my mother.
Her face lit up at my suggestion. “Really? You don’t mind telling me?”
I shrugged. “Why not?”
She shrieked. “So, what was it like?” She grabbed my arm again and let me further along the pier. “Candles, romantic music playing in the background and a bed covered with roses?”
I snorted. “A bed of roses?”
She nodded. “I lost my virginity on a bed of roses. It was so romantic.”
I chuckled and shook my head.
My mother frowns. “Wasn't your first time romantic, Maggie?”
When I was sixteen, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So, during lunchtime, I decided, why wait and snuck behind the bike shed with the boy I liked and had sex. That was it.
"Sorry to disappoint you mother, but no. No bed of roses for me.”
She looked at me in horror. “What? Not even candles?”
She made a sound of disgust. “What is wrong with boys these days? They’ve got no class at all.”
Neither did I.
“Well, because they’re exactly that, mother. They’re boys.”
She nodded in agreement. “Well, as long as you didn’t rush into it, did it with someone you cared about and was safe, that’s all that matters.”
I tilted my head and grinned at her. “And what if I did rush into it, did it with a stranger and didn’t use a condom? What would you do? Nal beolyeo?” (Disown me?)
She chuckled. “Disown you? Of course, I wouldn’t do that. You’re my daughter.”
“That I am. So, do you really want to know what my experience was like?”
Please say no.
She thought for a moment then smiled and nodded enthusiastically. “But before you do, I’ll buy us a coffee each and then you can tell me all about it, okay?”
“Okay.” I pointed to the far end of the pier. “I’ll be down at the end.”
She smiled at me and made her way to one of the coffee shops, leaving me to walk along the pier alone. Even now, people sat on the benches and gazed out to see beyond the horizon. Children ran up and down while some rode on their bicycles with little stabilizing wheels on each side.
As I reached the very end, I heard the rhythmic pounding of the waves and felt the air moving gently over my sensitive skin. The ocean breeze tousled my long blue hair. When training got too hard, I came here. Something about listening to the waves crashing against the rocks soothed me.
I noticed a telescope placed right next to me. I walk behind the telescope to see the view beyond the horizon, when I hear voices coming from beneath me.
What was that?
I took a look behind me to see if the voices came from that direction, but nobody was around me. I was alone. I turned around to my original position when I heard the voices again.
With my curiosity getting the better of me, I carefully placed my foot on the lowest railing, leant my body right over the edge, where I saw three tall figures standing on the beach shore, their faces covered with face masks.
“What the fu..?”
I squinted my eyes for a clearer look only to see the three figures pull something from the trunk of the car. Whatever they’d pulled out of the car was wrapped up in a white sheet and had a big red stain around its midsection.
I watched as the tallest figure hurled whatever it was they were carrying into the ocean.
I gasped as both of my legs shook uncontrollably on the railing as it dawned on me what had been thrown into the ocean.
Even as the cold air caressed my skin, waves of heat coursed through my blood. The more I looked in their direction and processed what I’d just witnessed, I got more nauseous.
Who were those people and whose body was that?
“Oh my God.” I whispered.
What the fuck was I supposed to do now?
Go to the cops?
No. Telling the cops would be useless because by the time I would’ve told them about what I saw, the three figures would be long gone. The idea was a waste of time.
I took a look down where they were, battling with myself whether or not to confront them, but thought better of it. I climbed back down, when I noticed one of the figures pointing their finger straight at me.
They’d seen me and I’d seen them.
If I stayed any longer, I'd end up in the water just like the person who was wrapped up in that sheet.
I was a fast runner. Surely I could outrun them.
So, I ran for it. Like a fucking coward.