updated on 21st feb, 2023💌
Hyunjin felt a sweet shiver travel up his spine when he saw Yeseul. She looked so close, it was suffocating. She looked so far away, that he yearned for her. Hyunjin couldn’t breathe.
“Hey.” The girl blinked at him, smiling hesitantly.
“Hey.” He let out the knot of his chest. This was not going as smoothly as he had thought it would. “Where were you?”
“Nowhere.” The reply was too sudden. As though prepared. Hyunjin couldn’t register it, since Yeseul just looked too darn pretty. What the hell is wrong with me? This question wasn’t answered back.
“Why didn’t you go inside?” Yeseul asked, eyes avoiding him at all costs. She walked closer to the door to enter the digits, but Hyunjin stopped her.
Yeseul looked up. She could breathe in his sweetness. He looked so ethereal. Yeseul almost felt lightheaded. “Why?”
“Let’s just take a stroll around.” Hyunjin’s hold shied away from her hand. He rested his hand on his neck, looking down at his shoes. “I can’t breathe here.” Not in your presence.
Yeseul could sense what he felt. For she did too. She smiled off the awkwardness, and dug her hands in her pocket to pull out two cans of soda. “How about the beach?”
The waves crashed into each other, forming the songs of deep sea life. Yeseul and Hyunjin didn’t feel the need to fill the air with words in this moment. The ambience was enough to put their hearts at ease. The rising tides, and the moonlight together serenaded the world, and all they had to do was to be a witness of it.
Yeseul hugged her legs closer, heels digging into the soft sand. She watched Hyunjin form circles in the sand as he swirled his open drink. “How are you?” Yeseul softly asked.
Hyunjin looked up with a start, but his eyes met the softness of her face. He felt at ease. He nodded. “Good.” He gave it a longer thought. “I’m glad we talked.”
“We barely did.” Yeseul chuckled, sipping on her soda.
“You know what I mean.” Hyunjin smiled. “It felt so long. Waiting for you.” The ending of his sentence was a bare whisper.
“I felt like you’d be mad at me.” Yeseul tore her eyes away from Hyunjin. The boy did the opposite. He felt a familiar ache inside.
“And I thought you’d hate me.” Yeseul was surprised by the heaviness of Hyunjin’s voice when he said this. She was worried that he might cry. She looked at him, her face speaking volumes.
“I will never. I can’t even imagine that. Hyunjin, you’ve been through enough, and the last thing I would want you to go through is the guilt that doesn’t belong to you. None of it was your fault. I promise.”
Hyunjin’s eyes burned in hers. He felt ever so grateful to live in this moment, beside the sea, beside her, listening to words that only if he had heard them earlier could have saved so much of hurt from blooming inside him. “Yeseul.”
The way he spoke her name felt like a fall on clouds. “Yes?”
“I’m such a fool.” Hyunjin let out a broken laugh. He looked away, at the sea and the dipping moon.
“Why do you say that?”
“I didn’t want you to find out. I wanted you to hold a pure image of mine. When I saw you for the first time, you were so vulnerable in the moment. My chest had ached through the whole day for you. When our glasses were exchanged, or when you showed me that secret fountain in your very cool maze. Gosh, you at the concert,” Hyunjin’s eyes turned into glossy crescents by the grin that flourished over his face. “In all those moments I was a fool for you. I put so much of you in my heart, that I started forgetting all the evil I had faced in life. But then when I realised my secret was out, I felt betrayed. And hurt. I could only see you running away from me. Suddenly I was sixteen again, plummeting in some unknown darkness. But,” Hyunjin swallowed hard before he looked at Yeseul, “but now you say all these kind words, and I’m only feeling like a bigger fool. Because all this time, it was me who pushed everyone out of my life instead of the other way round.”
Yeseul felt a film of tears cover her eyes. She looked down, hair covering up her face. She took in a shaky breath, unable to find the firm reality after hearing all this.
“I don’t blame you. You were young, and frightened. You needed someone to assure you that you weren’t the one who deserved the repercussions. In that moment you needed your sister to hold your hand, and pull you out of that shock, but the people were too cruel for pulling you both apart. I only blame the world.” She looked at Hyunjin. “Hell, I’d curse the world for you. Because I’m just as angry at them, as you need to me. You aren’t a fool. You’re just stupid.” Yeseul wiped her tears.
Hyunjin laughed through his sorrow. “That’s the same thing, you idiot.”
Yeseul could barely see it coming, because Hyunjin hugged her tight, so tight that the two fell back, him over her. It was her turn to forgetting breathing.
“This feels nostalgic.” Hyunjin was practically towering her, with that smug smile of his.
Yeseul glanced at him, eyes wide, knowing exactly what he was thinking of. He now had a very satisfied grin on his mouth. “You bastard.” She blushed further.
“Don’t say these words.” Yeseul saw how a side of his lips turned ever so slightly upwards. “I’ll have to kiss it away.”
“Get off of me.” She pushed him away, walking off to hide her embarrassment while the guy couldn’t stop his very cherry laughter. Yeseul was sure she could combust in that moment.