AGE OF YOUTH
Sa-rang told him to stay away, but Ji-Seong could not.
The man had finally caught up to her after chasing her all his life.
Sa-rang was the only one, and no matter what, Ji-Seong desired to be with her to the very end.
Now in front of the open door of Sa-rang’s apartment, the man’s heart bleed.
“Excuse me, is the tenant moving out?”
“Oh, the woman left a while ago. We’re just moving her things out; the apartment is already sold.”
“Did the tenant say where she was going?”
“No, she just told us to throw everything away. Rich people are so weird, I mean, they could give them away and stuff, but now they prefer throwing them away.”
Ji-Seong no longer listened; his eyes scanned the apartment. The memories shared in the studio were disappearing with every object the men took.
Ji-Seong’s breath hitched and shortened; he was hyperventilating.
Nothing ever prepares one for heartbreak. Ji-Seong’s heart crumbled like his knees to the floor.
“Are you alright?” One of the movers asked.
The words came out in a hurry, but Ji-Seong was anything but fine.
“Sa rang,” Ji-Seong whispered as he gripped his chest where his heart crashed against his rib cage.
The sound of cracking glass grabbed Ji-Seong’s attention.
“Be careful,” send the old mover to the younger man who appeared to be his apprentice.
“Sorry, it’s just a photo. Besides, if she wanted it; she would have taken the photo with her,” the young man said as he bent down to pick up the print from the shattered glass. “whaaw, she was a beauty when she was young,” the man exclaimed.
Ji-Seong got up and rushed to the man’s side; there, Sa-rang was in the mover’s hands. Young Sa-rang posed in the photo as beautiful as always.
“Can I have it?” Ji-Seong asked.
The younger man looked at Ji-Seong; it was only now he wondered who he was, “are you a relative?”
The question took Ji-Seong of a guard; he did not know what to reply, “ㅡI’mㅡ.”
“He’s her lover.”
Everyone in the room turned to stare at the unbashful Soo Hae, who pushed up her round glasses before licking her lollipop.
The two movers stared at Ji-Seong.
It was a first. Never during their whole relationship had Ji-Seong affirmed their status. Yet, here in front of these strangers, he felt no shame; on the contrary, pride overwhelmed him. “Yes, I’m her lover.”
“Young enough to be her son,” the older mover said while shaking his head in disapproval, but Ji-Seong did not care. Instead, he snatched the photo from the younger man and headed to the door, where he grabbed Soo Hae by the arm.
“Omo, Ji-Seong, I didn’t know we were this intimate.”
The woman’s remark made Ji-Seong let go,” sorry, I don’t know where my head is these days.”
“You can say that again, where did the suave and sultry-voiced Ji-Seong go, the knight of all damsels?”
“You know as well as I do that there’s only one damsel I wish to save.”
The lift arrived, Ji-Seong stepped in while Soo Hae did a little bunny hop to join him.
Despite his angst, Ji-Seong noted it was cute. Everything about Soo Hae was adorable. In another world, perhaps, even in another life, no, he would always love Sa-rang, “what are you doing here?”
“Hyeon Ju, she’s worried about you,” Soo Hae answered as she finished off her lollipop by crushing the little round ball which was left.
Ji-Seong let out a nervous chuckle as the lift doors opened on the ground floor.
“Worried? Hyeon Ju concerns about no one; she just wants to know if I’m still on my leash.”
Ji-Seong did not need to ponder; his escort boy days ended on his first date with Sa rang, “tell her I won’t come back.
Soo Hae rolled her eyes, “I’m not a page boy; tell her yourself.”
Ji-Seong stopped to stare at Soo Hae, “why are you really here?”
The girl took off her glasses, rubbed her eyes with both hands, and shook her head,” I came for you. We’re all worried about you, Ji-Seong. Okay, my brother wishes the suffering will kill you softly, but still, he told me to tell him how you were.”
“It’s none of your business; it’s not like we’re friㅡ.”
“That’s what I told them, but ㅡanyway, I’m here, and you might want me to stay.”
Ji-Seong clicked the door of his car open, “why would I want that?”
Soo Hae beamed, “I know where she is.”
“I know where professor Lee is.”
Soo Hae shook her head, “nope.”
“Then get lost,” Ji-Seong said as he slid on his seat.
“Wha, you hide your game well. Everyone thinks your a gentleman.”
“Yeah, just like they think you’re a Saint.”
“I am, though. Don’t you see my halo?” Soo Hae said.
The smirk on Soo Hae’s face heightened Ji-Seong’s temper, but he needed her to be more accurate Ji-Seong needed the info she held.
“I’ll tell you where she is. All you have to do is be my knight for a day.”
“I’m not in the mood to mess about, Soo Hae.”
“I never mess around Ji-Seong, and my word is gold, so what do you want to do?”
The word made Ji-Seong cringe, but still, he turned to smile at Soo Hae. The woman held him; Ji-Seong had no other choice but to satisfy her desires.
“Where do you want to go?” Ji-Seong asked as he started the engine.
“You heard me, Nami island.”
“It’s that or nothing Ji-Seong, I mean, a little date shouldn’t scare knight Apollo.”
Soo Hae displayed a broad grin. Ji-Seong hated the idea because it was hers. The little woman was sweet in every way, but it was complicated for Ji-Seong to read Soo Hae’s mind.
Why did she want to spend time with him when she knew he had no time to spare. Ji-Seong only desired to give time to the woman who needed it the most. The man hoped to have more moments with Sa rang.
“Ji-Seong, it’s a small price to pay to know where she is.”
Ji-Seong started the engine and headed to Seoul station; public transportation was more practical to go there.
Nami Island or Namiseom was one of Korea’s most sought out tourist sights. 63km from Seoul, the place was famous for being one of the locations where Winter Sonata, the acclaimed drama, was filmed.
It was one of the rare places without any phone poles. One could just admire the landscape and let their mind drift.
For Ji-Seong, the trip was for lovers, and here Soo Hae blackmailed him into going there. Wringing Sa rang’s whereabouts from doctor Moore was impossible; the woman hated him now. Soo Hae’s proposal appeared to be the only option.
“Ji-Seong, I’m hungry. We should get some snacks at Kmart.”
Soo Hae was like a child, running about in every aisle and stopping in front of every food demonstration.
“Soo Hae, you know I can’t be doing this?”
“No, I don’t, because you’re here,” the woman said, putting down all her snacks on the cashier’s till carpet.
“30 000won, please.”
“Yeobo [honey],” Soo Hae hummed.
The little woman’s beating lashes prompt Ji-Seong, who proceeded to pay.
“Oh, you kids are too cute. What a beautiful couple you make,” the cashier said as she swiped each item.
“Oh, we’re notㅡ.”
“We just got engaged,” Soo Hae ended.
“Oh, gosh, what beautiful children you’ll have with your idol looks.”
Soo Hae smiled and carried on the conversation with the cashier while Ji-Seong packed her snacks in bags.
“Bye-bye, be happy,” the cashier said, waving them away.