Monsters

Saturday May 16 2015

안녕하세요 Journal,

It has started.

One less. Daesung is gone. Damn. I miss him already. The next four days will be hard L But we’ll meet again, I know it. Plus he left us with a smile on his face so it’s all good!

Something was telling me that this day wouldn’t be so sad anyway, especially since the boys and I were woken up by the sound of someone singing. I woke up alone and, when I went to the living-room still half-asleep, I saw the boys trying to wake up as well and Seunghyun preparing breakfast and singing like a bird. I can’t believe I’m writing this down. We woke up to the sight of TOP Seunghyun PREPARING BREAKFAST and SINGING out loud in the living-room!

Mum and Kwon were awake as well, with Mum taking a shower and Kwon arranging the couch while singing in Korean with Seunghyun. Turns out the boys slept on the floor and left them the couch when they came back and they had turned it into a bed for the night (how come we never found out how to do it? T_T).

When I asked Seunghyun if he felt alright, he turned to me and looked glad to see that I was awake, saying he never felt better and gave me a good morning kiss in front of Kwon O_O. Kwon bashfully looked away. Thank God Mum wasn’t there, she would have killed my dongsaeng! Or so I thought as, when she arrived and we settled around the table, I saw the boys and her exchange knowing glances and smiles, looking at the both of us from the corner of their eyes. When I stared at her to ask her silently what was going on, she winked at me and grinned, which made feel my face redden as they all giggled. Holy s#!t, they told her??! It didn’t seem to bother Seunghyun though, as he kept humming his song while he cleared his dishes to put them in the sink and took the occasion whenever he could to peck me on the cheeks. As I tried to ignore his sudden (although definitely agreeable ;) ) outburst of affection, I wasted no time to ask who wanted to see his orphanage first since Seunghyun’s was, well, kind of delayed for now.

I was very surprised to hear that Daesung wanted to go first. And here I thought he was the most afraid to say goodbye! When I asked him why, he said he wanted to get this over with as soon as possible so he wouldn’t have to see the others leave. Everybody around the table went silent for a moment, in awe of Daesung’s bravery. That is, until Seunghyun stood behind Daesung, brought his hands to his face and lifted the corners of his mouth with his index fingers, forcing a smile on Daesung’s face to the latter’s surprise who immediately pushed his hands away. The next second, his elder entrapped him in his arms to tickle him and, as he tried hard to escape, the blond couldn’t help but laugh harder and harder, which made us all laugh in the return at the ridiculous sounds of his laughter. What was wrong with Seughyun today? I couldn’t believe it could be the same boy who destroyed cars twelve hours ago!

“No pouting!” Seunghyun ordered and pressed his finger on the tip of Daesung’s nose like the command button on a machine. At these words, Daesung smiled again and even did his adorable eye smile :D

Whatever happened to TOP, it seemed he was gone and I definitely preferred the new one :P

So did the boys apparently. As we all got up from the table, Taeyang suddenly took me into a bear hug and said “Thank you for hyung”, followed by G-Dragon who did the same, and I laughed. I didn’t do anything, really! Actually, something’s telling me he’d always been like that all this time! The only one who looked a little annoyed by all this was Seungri. Not only had his hyung stolen his show but he was more successful at it than him! However, when his hyung took him into a back hug and squeezed him so hard his eyes seemed about to pop out of his skull, he in turn couldn’t help but be conquered by the new Choi Seunghyun.

“아이씨, 빙구 TOP 없다 !” *

The other boys laughed and Seunghyun looked suddenly upset. When I asked them what Seungri had said, they said “Bingu” meant “very stupid”. So, in spite of his protests, Seunghyun’s new nickname was Bingu TOP XD

* “Ugh, there is Bingu TOP!” (I’m so glad Seungri helped me spell it in my journal when Seunghyun wasn’t looking XP)

As a reward for their creativity, the boys were immediately chased by their elder throughout the apartment as he tried to aim at their heads with the cushions of the armchairs. Needless to say, it soon turned into a giant pillow fight between the five of them as if they were twelve again. Meanwhile, Kwon ran after them, trying to protect as much ornaments as he could while Mum and I just watched them with a smile plastered on our face.

“It’s gonna be hard to separate them, won’t it?” she suddenly asked.

I nodded and sighed. It was heartbreaking to say the least. She understood and took me in her arms.

“You guys know you can come back anytime, yes?” she said

“Not too often though!” we heard Kwon protest and we laughed.

Mum then went after him and, as the six of us prepared to leave, dressed all nice and clean like good little boys and lady, I heard her scold him about why I got to get a good morning kiss and not her from him. When we said goodbye, as they thought we didn’t hear them, I heard her laugh as he kissed her and I managed to catch a glimpse of him looking lovingly at my mother. I hope I’ll end up growing old with someone like the both of them! If that “someone” could be TOP/Seunghyun, I’d be the happiest on Earth.

I HOPE THAT SOMEONE WILL BE ME TOO,

최승현

Sorry, I should have seen BINGU Seunghyun was still awake and reading behind my shoulder. Yes, I still see you, stop it! It doesn’t help me focusing >< J

So, now that I have my keyboard back for myself and bargained it with some more big wet smooches, as I was writing, we all headed towards Daesung’s native city, Incheon, in my mum’s car. I told the boys they could stay with Mum and Kwon but they insisted to all come. I think Daesung particularly appreciated the intention J

After hours of traffic jam (regular ones this time) and customs and parking (trust me, it’s much harder than it sounds ><), we finally managed to reach인천, 仁川.

HyangJin orphanage is in a modest district. Unlike what I thought, it looked more like a primary school than any of these gloomy buildings you see in stories about poor, miserable orphans. It looked rather clean, warm and welcoming! When we arrived in front of the building, Dae Sung stopped and stared, frozen. I saw we were all looking directly at him. We let him separate from our group, take small steps towards the main entrance and touch the green gate. It seemed the contact with the metallic handle had opened a door in his mind as his expression changed and he looked at us with a serious look.

“I remember.” was all he managed to say.

“What do you remember?” I asked.

He wasn’t able to answer. As I took his place at the gate, his leader put his hand on Dae Sung’s shoulder and pressed it warmly with a boyish smile. Feeling encouraged, Dae Sung shyly nodded and took a deep breath as I pressed the button of the interphone.

The lady at the reception was very warm and polite and, as I managed to introduce myself, I realized I didn’t know how to explain the situation to her. Shall I tell her that Dae Sung had been kidnapped? That he had been in a coma? That he had no job, no education, no identity except a name and an address?

However, when I explained to her that I wanted to talk to her about one of their former residents, as Dae Sung introduced himself in his turn, the lady, although hesitant, opened the gate to us.

I felt my heart pound in my chest. However, as I noticed from the corner of my eyes, Daesung’s knees were trembling. I took his hand in mine and squeezed it firmly, which he returned with a determined look.

Just as I thought, it was even harder to explain the situation face to face than it was at the gate. As I let the boys stand among the kids and look distractedly at small ads and recruitment requests for teachers/activity leaders on the walls, I tried my best to tell a credible story to the receptionist who kept listening to me with a bewildered look and glancing at Dae Sung from time to time as he kept staring at her pleadingly. When I was done, all she did was lightly shaking her head and she explained to me that it was not that easy to believe me or Dae Sung. I was mad but of course, it was pretty understandable now that I think about it: I had no documents to present, no ID, no birth certificate, no address, no viable trace (except maybe the file from the lab but I soon forgot about the idea. I knew Dae Sung didn’t want to be known as “the monster” anymore anyway), just two strangers with a face and mish-mashed words in a choppy Korean. How could she not mistrust us? The situation looked desperate. However, as the three of us stood silent and I was even weighing pros and cons about changing my mind about the unofficial documentary of the lab, I saw a young woman standing in a corner with her arms crossed on her chest, staring intensely at Dae Sung’s face. As we were thinking about a strategy to convince the receptionist to let us see the director, the young woman walked towards us, still looking at Dae Sung.

“Excuse me,” she asked me in perfect fluent English. “does this young man’s name by any chance be Kang Dae Sung?”

I said “Yes” and instinctively brought him closer to me. Though she was probably just an English teacher who recognized my American accent, I didn’t trust anybody who talked English aside from Mum and Kwon. I thought she was a lady from the lab Joseph had sent to intercept us and pretend she was an agent from the “special program”. However, she then grinned and looked at Dae Sung face to face who just stared at her, confused.

“Don’t you recognize me?” she asked him in Korean.

Dae Sung then took a closer look at her and his face suddenly lit up.

“이채린!” he exclaimed and shook her hands, which I thought was pretty cold O_O*

“It’s been so long Dae Sung oppa!” Lee Chae Rin (I think that’s how you spell it in Romanization) exclaimed as they both laughed with joy.

Ten years was a heck of a long time, indeed…

*I learned that in Korea, hugs and kisses are not as well seen as in America, even between close friends and especially when they are of the opposite sex. That explains why we are often seen as perverts out there -_-

“We used to be best friends!” Dae Sung explained at us as we looked at them, both happy and puzzled. “We grew up together before…”

He didn’t finish his sentence. The pretty young lady nodded and finished:

“…before they took you away.”

They both stood silent and then smiled at each other again.

“Look at you!” she said and looked at him from top to bottom. “It’s so weird to see you all grown up! You’re so tall now! But I’d recognize that smile even with my eyes closed!”

“Same to you! You’ve become so pretty!”

“Thank you!” she said and smiled proudly. “And that’s nothing. Look!” she said and showed her hand on which a white ring with a little pink stone was shining.

Dae Sung’s eyes widened and he put his hands on his hips in an exaggerated manner.

“You can’t be engaged, CL-Dongsaeng! You’re seven!”

Chae Rin laughed and took him by the hand.

“Come on! We’ve got to tell the others you’re here! Most of us are teachers here now! There’s Bom-unnie and Suho-oppa and Dong-wook-sunbae and Byun-sonsaengnim… I mean,” she said as she turned towards us, bowed deeply at me and went back to English, “if you don’t mind of course, Miss…”

“Just call me Joan.” I said with a smile. “And I’m 27, in case you’re wondering. I know now how important honorifics are in this country.”

CL smiled and nodded respectfully.

“Thank you, Joan-unnie!”

Her eye smile was as adorable as Daesung’s.

And indeed, as soon as she introduced Dae Sung to all her colleagues, he immediately recognized them and they all welcomed him with open arms. The oldest, a couple of their former common teachers, even shed a tear at the sight of the clique reunited. They were maybe 5 or 6 but, listening to Mr. Byun and CL-Dongsaeng, they were maybe 10 to 20 to have stayed in the neighborhood and they were all still talking about Dae Sung! It seemed he was a very popular kid, even back then. The latter couldn’t look any happier. In a couple of hours, he could already remember all their names, all the places and even share a couple stories about their gang’s secret activities between classes! It felt like he had been only gone for months!

When I explained his situation to them, the staff members seemed to understand. We introduced him to the president, Lee Bohyung-Sajangnim. She too remembered Dae Sung and, as we all pleaded his case, she listened to us attentively, nodding and frowning from time to time. She then explained to us that when the agents came to take Dae Sung, she had no idea that they were crooks. She then had no news of the kid except a short neutral call once a week during the first months. Then, no sign of him for a whole decade. But since the papers had been signed, there was nothing she could have done and she felt bad about it. She then explained to us that of course, the establishment couldn’t nurse him since he was now an adult. However, if he wanted to, they could still find him a job there to take care of the children, teach them to read and count, play with them and things like that. Turns they were looking for staff!

Needless to say, we immediately said YES! As for the accommodations, when she explained that he would need to find a temporary flat by himself, all of his friends fought to convince him that their home was the best :D ! The kids seemed to love him too, as, when we went to the playroom and they introduced him as a teacher on probation a few hours later, the kids immediately went to him in curiosity and, when he smiled at them, some of them did not hesitate to hug him and lend him their toys :3

It looked like he was already at home and gone. Watching him having fun among them, I couldn’t help but feel a tug at my heart strings, which was allayed when Seunghyun hugged me from behind and tucked his chin on my shoulder.

“It’s time to go.” he whispered in my ear.

I nodded. The road had been long and I told Mum we would arrive in time for dinner. When I told the boys, they looked at each other and reluctantly said goodbye to their member, hugging him profusely as he grinned in their arms. Seunghyun was the longest to hug him, up to the point it became awkward to even Dae Sung at some point (and God knows how tactile he is) :P When my turn came, I just smiled proudly at him and respected the Korean tradition as I just held his hands in mine.

“Well,” I said and tried to sound serious. “remember what I said. This is not farewell. We’ll see each other again so don’t mope when we leave, okay? Be a grown up and take care of yourself because this is not the end and-”

“I can see you’re trying hard not to cry, noona.” he told me with a grin.

At his words, the others stared at me and smiled.

“Oh my God, she is!”

“Are you crying, noona?”

“No, I’m not! No, I’m not! Shut up!”

However, as I said that, I felt tears roll down my eyes and smiled through them as I felt Dae Sung hold me in a bear hug and the others whooped at me.

“Damn it! Even now, you manage to make me smile against my will, idiot!”

“No pouting!” he said and pressed my nose, which made me chuckle. “I’ll miss you too, noona. Goodbye and very much thank you.” he told me in English this time with his strong Korean accent.

I hugged him back, then glanced at Chaerin and pointed at him.

“Please teach him proper English. People like me can’t do anything with a manipulative pabo like him.”

Chaering laughed and Dae Sung and I finally parted with the same incontrollable grin plastered on our faces.

When we finally left the district, honking happily at the crew, after we left sight of them and were back on the road, there was definitely a bittersweet feeling. It suddenly felt uncomfortable to have enough space for everyone in Mum’s small car. Smiles slowly faded and we all soon went back to silence. Then suddenly, after an hour of awkward muteness, we were all startled by Seunghyun’s sudden burst of singing as he sang Michael Jackson’s tune at the top of his lungs.

“Yah, hyung! Cut it out! You’re so out of key!” G-Dragon complained.

“Yeah, my poor eardrums beg you to stop!” Seungri added with a whiny pout and plugged his ears.

Even when Taeyang sitting behind him tried to forcefully shut him up by putting his hands on his mouth, Seunghyun didn’t stop and kept singing through his gag. As he then managed to pull them away, he sang even louder and even more off key just to annoy his dongsaengs who grunted and grimaced in response. However, I laughed out loud at it and sang along with him as they looked at me in disbelief, disappointed, then went along and joined our horrible band of forcefully joyful singers; first Seungri, then Taeyang, and finally GD who at first mumbled the lyrics, embarrassed, then happily gave in and sang his heart out. Turns out it wasn’t so bad! You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them ;P

And so our journey ended. My first special mission is done. Four more to go. Am I sad? A little, yes. But I’m also happy for Daedae. He found his place and soon, he’s gonna be independent like the rest of his peers. So I’m not worried about him. Besides, he’s gonna be paid to do what he likes and what he’s the best at: bringing joy to people. His noona trusts him with all her might! Hwaiting!

Mission 1 done, four more to go.

Good night, Seunghyun-dongseang.

GOOD NIGHT, JAGIYA-NOONA. BY THE WAY, YOU MISSEPELLED “FIGHTING”.

Oh yeah? Well, you misspelled “misspelled” Pabo-jagiya ;p

E> Joan AND 최승현 <3


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