I hate you and your childish ways
I hate how you giggle at everything
I hate how you act before you think
I hate how you’re so talkative
Your smile, it’s infatuating
Your laughter, it’s infectious
Your eyes, shining so brightly
They’re a burden to look at.
But most of all, I hate you for making my heart flutter.
“Myungsoo-oppa, did you know that when winter comes, all the animals are already prepared?”
“Of course, and so are you.”
“But we have a calendar, and they don’t. Or do they?”
“No, of course they don’t.”
“Then how do they know?”
“The days get colder.”
I sighed. When would her questions stop? They didn’t even make sense. She was just like a three-year-old child in a seventeen-year-old body.
We were sitting in our old treehouse, built in the enormous tree between our two houses. It was just the beginning of winter, and the spacious treehouse felt slightly smaller because we were wearing thicker clothes. I was leaning against a wall, my legs stretched out before me. She sat beside me, cross-legged, playing with her hair as we talked. We’d been friends since she moved here when I was seven – that was twelve years ago. She grew up beautifully, but her mindset never seemed to change. She was an innocent girl, sometimes so innocent that my patience wore thin.
“Ah, it’s getting dark already.” She stuck her head out the glass-less window, watching the sun move behind the city skyline.
“Let’s go back, then.” I sat up and stretched a little. The treehouse was low and wide, so I stretched my arms outwards instead of upwards. The ceiling was so low that if you stood, you’d have to bend double. “Dinner’s at your place tonight, right?”
“Yep,” she said, getting up from her seated position and hitting her head on the ceiling. I cringed.
“Ouch…” she rubbed her head.
“Aish, did you forget that we have to crawl out?”
She giggled. “Oops.”
I sat her back down and climbed out before her to make sure she didn’t fall while trying to get down. Once she was safely on the ground, I lightly rubbed the sore spot on her head before we retreated to her house as darkness started to fall.
Our room windows were within a metre or two of each other. If I wanted to, I could climb over, but of course, I never did. That night was cold, so I sat by the closed window and wrote messages on paper, held up towards the window for her to read. She did the same to reply. Sometimes, she wanted to write so much that the words were squashed together on the paper and became too difficult to read. I’d laugh and write, “Too many words.” She’d giggle again, her gummy smile showing and her eyes forming a crescent shape so perfect that I always wondered how they could be real.
The next day, we went to the shopping district to help our mothers buy groceries.
“If you want, I can do it all. There’s not much to buy anyway,” I offered, noticing that she was busy admiring all the trinkets and little things that the shops were selling.
I was disappointed that she’d take up the offer, but I nodded.
“Haha no, I’ll go with you.” She stuck out her tongue. “You won’t get rid of me that easily.”
I smiled and stuck out my tongue back at her.
We walked along the street, and I examined the shopping list. Flour, sugar, and milk. I scoffed. What a short list.
Taking out my phone, I dialled a familiar number.
“Dongwoo-hyung, could you do me a favour?”
“… I think I know what it is.”
“Flour, sugar, and milk - double. Delivery. Can you manage that? I’ll return the money to you tomorrow.”
“Why do I always have to do this for you?”
“It’s for a very good reason this time, okay? I’m not being lazy.”
“Fine, see you later.”
I hung up and turned to her. “Hey, wanna go shopping?”
“Huh?” She asked, but didn’t even take her eyes off the toys in a display window.
I sighed and dragged her into the store.
Once she stepped in, she looked around the humbly decorated place in amazement. “Wow, it’s so pretty!”
I smiled as I followed her around the shop. She was amused by the littlest things, and every few minutes she’d find something she liked, show it to me, then put it back down. We visited different places, from gift shops to boutiques. We never spent too long in one shop, and soon it was she who dragged me from one to the next.
“Wait here, alright? I’ll be right back,” I said as she admired yet another trinket.
“I need to go to the toilet,” I lied.
I left the store and wandered up the street in search of one of the other stores we had visited earlier. Aish, which one was it?
Finally, I found the store I was looking for. There was a beautiful bracelet on display; simple, but beautiful. It was made up of baby pink and blue painted squares, linked together by plain metal ones. There was a single charm on it, in the shape of a heart. She had seemed to like it very much, and when she showed it to me her eyes were smiling.
I bought the bracelet, and got the cashier to place it in a decorative gift bag for me. Keeping it in my jacket pocket, I returned to where I had left her.
“There you are,” she said, relieved and somewhat impatient.
“Sorry,” I said scratching my head as I tried to hide a smile.
“Oh! The groceries!” She exclaimed, suddenly remembering.
I laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ve already taken care of it.”
We entered yet another gift shop (there were always so many when Christmas neared) and I could see that her enthusiasm was wearing out. “Oppa, are you tired of this?” She asked me, as she put down another of those little toys that were merely for decorative purposes.
“You’re bored already, aren’t you?”
“Well…” she laughed. “Yeah.”
“Want to have some hot chocolate?”
“Okay!” She answered excitedly, clapping her hands together.
We left the shop, and it was much colder. The sun had gone behind some clouds, and looking up, I saw that it was probably going to snow. She blew on her hands, trying to keep warm. I hesitated a moment before taking her hand in mine. My hands were always pretty warm, so I held onto her hand as we walked towards the café. I felt my face burn up, and quickly used my other hand to fix my scarf so that she couldn’t see. I held her hand gently yet firmly, and I felt her slowly wrapping her fingers around mine.
We arrived at the café, and after finding a seat, I told her to stay seated as I went to buy us our drinks.
“Good morning, what can I get you?”
“Two hot chocolates, please.”
I returned to our seat with our drinks.
“3,500 won, right?” She asked, taking out her wallet.
“Nah, don’t bother.” I sat down and gently pushed the cup towards her. “My treat.”
We sipped our hot chocolates in a comfortable yet slightly awkward silence. She wasn’t usually this quiet. I copied her posture, leaning forward and resting my elbows on the table, keeping my eyes on her. Our faces were close, but not too close. Normally, if our faces were close, she’d push me away, or start a staring contest, but this time she didn’t move. Our eyes met, but she looked away, taking another sip. I smiled.
“Why? Not up for a staring contest?”
She laughed a little.
I finished up my drink and set it down. “I have something to show you.”
“What is it?” She asked, setting down her cup as well as she looked at me with curious eyes.
I took the little gift bag out from my jacket pocket and placed it on the table, sliding it over to her. She picked it up gently, and I couldn’t help but grin as I felt the excitement in me build up. Her reaction when she opened it was priceless.
“Oh!!” She cried, admiring the bracelet. She was beaming. “When did you buy this?”
“I lied, I didn’t actually go to the toilet,” I answered, laughing embarrassedly. “Sorry.”
She really was like a child, so delighted by the surprise. She thanked me, her crescent-shaped eyes gleaming as she put it on immediately.
“Finish up your hot chocolate, we’re going somewhere.”
She quickly obeyed and soon, we were out on the street again.
“Where are we going?”
She pouted and folded her arms. I laughed.
“So where are we going?”
“You really won’t tell me? Tell me-e!” She said, shaking my arm.
“Secret~” I winked, catching hold of her arm and holding her hand. My heart was pounding in my ears, and I hoped I didn’t look as nervous as I felt.
Honestly, I hadn’t planned everything out. The errand that morning, and her interest in the shops just gave me the opportunity and the idea to spend the day with her. I was following my gut half the time, and so far she seemed to be enjoying it.
It wasn’t cold enough to go ice skating yet, and she was already cold so something indoors would be good. Just then, I spotted a pet shop up ahead. “Detour,” I said to her, pointing at the sign. I saw her eyes light up.
The pet shop had several puppies, and she was delighted. We squatted down before the pen, and the puppies came tumbling over to us. She giggled.
“Hey puppy, what are you thinking?” I whispered, looking into the eyes of a golden-coloured one. It was calmer than the other puppies and had deep brown eyes that seemed to contain a lot of thought. It looked back at me, and we had a mini staring contest before the other excited puppies pushed it away.
“They’re so cute,” she mumbled, allowing one to sniff her finger.
I watched her play with them for a while before getting up. Looking outside, I saw that the snow was beginning to fall. Taking off my scarf, I put it around her neck instead. “Shall we go?” I asked, and as we left I placed an arm around her shoulders to keep her close to me, sharing the warmth.
As we approached a corner, I could hear music being played. There was a guitarist, standing in the shelter and performing, just like that. He was playing a song that sounded familiar. Suddenly, I had an idea.
Letting go of her shoulders, I went right up to the guitarist and whispered in his ear, hoping she couldn’t hear. The guitarist nodded, and started playing the song. I smiled and turned to face her, holding her hands gently. Taking a deep breath, I sang for her.
“골목길을 돌아 들어가면When you make a turn in the alley and enter
혹시라도 그 애가 나타나That kid might come out
다시 또 놀래킬지 몰라요and surprise you
I can fly & fly again
까만 밤에 하얗게 빛나던You who was glowing white in the dark night
흰 눈 속에 유난히 빛나던And sparkled in the white snow
어쩌면 난 어쩌면 난 아직도 널Maybe I, maybe I still
흩날리는 바램을, 예 The fluttering wishes, yeah
못 전해진 고백을, 예 The confession that I never made, yeah
하얀 눈과 함께 찾아가서 I will visit with the white snow and tell you
말할게, 예 I will tell you, yeah
니 눈 보고 말할게, 예 While looking into your eyes, I will tell you, yeah
내게 남은 사랑을, 예 The love that remains in me, yeah
이제라도 네게 건네고 싶어 I want to give it to you now”
I sang my best, and though it was admittedly a rather impulsive move, I didn’t regret it. I made her blush, and smile, and I saw her crescent-shaped eyes once more.
“I love you,” I said, moving closer to her until our foreheads touched. “Will you be mine?”
Oh, you and your childish ways
When you giggle, it makes me smile
Even if you don’t think, your mistakes are cute
You talk so much, but it keeps me company
Your smile, it’s infatuating
Your laughter, it’s infectious
Your eyes, shining so brightly
They light up my world.
I think I’ve fallen in love.
Tagged as: Bittersweet,
Posted On: Sun, Dec. 11, 2011