Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not – True Love
It's hot. It's really hot. There's no difference though between today and yesterday. It's just hot. It makes a person wonder why anybody would be wearing a suit in this weather. The people back at home must be out of their minds.
Even more interesting, it's not summer, but fall. I haven't felt this heat since five years ago.
Doesn't it make you feel like eating ice cream?
I turned. I thought I heard someone say something. But all I saw was children laughing and two mothers talking to each other. I highly doubt they would be talking about ice cream though. Maybe some teenagers were passing by and I heard them complaining about the heat. It must be nice to be a student; you just sit in the classroom and learn. After that, you go home and do homework. Such a simple life. But I'm sure those kids are complaining and wishing they were adults already.
"Yeobo..." I turned back around to see my wife staring at me, her eyes shielded by her dark sunglasses from some expensive brand. "Why do you look so tense? Relax, we finally get a vacation and you're already stressing."
I just smile at her. She had been wanting to come here for a while now. I wasn't excited nor was I reluctant. Just came. There wasn't really must to do in my hometown. It was a small town that was not as advanced technology wise. A simple, boring town.
"Are you feeling okay?" She reached up to feel my forehead but I grabbed her hand and gently placed it down.
"Let's go visit your father." She smiled and nodded. As we walked down the street, things seemed different, almost strange. It was as if I was a tourist rather than a native. People were looking at us with curiosity. I understood it though, why they would do that and the thoughts that ran through their heads. Who were those people? They look rich. Are they celebrities? Look at all the jewelry that woman had on! I'm pretty sure they are new here!
We finally reached the house in front of us. Compared to the houses surrounding it, this was more modern and ostentatious.
"Why did my dad have to move to this place anyways? He should have stayed in Seoul." My wife complained and fanned herself before she rang the doorbell.
"Who is it?" A deep voice asked.
"Appa, it's me."
The door gate clicked open and we entered the house. It was a very beautiful on though it seemed out of place in the surroundings it was placed in. It would have looked better in Seoul, but I couldn't say that to my father-in-law.
"So what are you two here for?" The old man sipped his tea and leaned back on his single leather seat. "Are you pregnant?"
"No appa." My wife blushed. "We just can't visit you for no reason?!"
"You two haven't visited me in a while and now you suddenly come."
"Yi Jung finally got a break from work! Appa, I think Yi Jung's exhausted from work. He's always getting headaches."
"Headaches." Abeonim was alarmed. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." I reassured him. "These headaches are common."
"I see." The old man glanced over at my wife. "Anyways, it's going to get hotter tomorrow so you and Yi Jung should go get some mosquito repellant after dinner."
"Okay." Eun Jae obeyed. "Dear, would you like to go on a date with me?"
"Of course." I smiled.
"Yah, are you two teenagers? What date?" Abeonim scoffed at the absurdity of it all. He heard the door open and an ahjumma appeared with groceries in tow.
"You're here." The man acknowledged. "Get dinner prepared for three, my daughter and son-in-law are here to visit."
"Yes, sir." The middle aged woman bowed and started to lift the heavy groceries again. Being the polite person that I am, I walked over and picked up the groceries for her despite her protests.
"Thank you." She said when we walked into the kitchen. Her salt and pepper hair was short and curly, her wrinkled face showed that she had been through a lot and have experienced lots of things. I hadn't noticed that she was staring back at me either.
"Do you know who I am?" The woman asked.
"No." I said slowly for the fear of disrespecting the elderly. "This is the first time I met you."
"Oh, I guess you still don't remember." She said with a hint of sadness that one displayed for a person who was familiar to them, but I don't know her. Before I could ask who she was, I was called back into the room again. Abeonim told me I should go upstairs and rest before I came down for dinner. We went up the stairs and opened a bedroom which looked like no one had stepped into except for the day this room was decorated. Not a dust had settled into any surface and the balcony window was closed shut and sealed off with blue curtains.
"I honestly don't understand why he buys a house with so many rooms when he's the only one living here." My wife fussed as she opened the window. "Wow, Seoul really is different from here."
I was lying on the bed and looking up at the ceiling. It was nice not doing anything. I'm not sure how long I was looking until I dozed off. I dreamt of a beautiful river and then I heard that voice again.
The stars are really pretty! Ah, look, there's a Little Dipper and Big Dipper...
My eyes opened immediately and I was back in the room again. It felt oddly comforting.
"Did I wake you up?" I turned to see my wife still by the balcony window with her head turned towards me, waiting for an answer.
"How long was I out?"
"Fifteen minutes, I think." She replied and turned back to the sky which had become darker. "Oh, I can see the stars...sort of."
I joined her by the window and held her close. I could smell the fragrance on her neck, the usual rose smell with a mix of berries.
"I wish I knew how to look at stars."
As if out of instinct, I pointed at a few stars. "There's Little Dipper and Big Dipper."
"Dear, you know astronomy? Since when?"
"I don't know."
Dinner looked exquisite. It was the usual Korean food Eun Jae and I had, but it looked better, almost like a delicacy.
"Where's the ahjumma?" I asked. I wanted to ask her what she meant by me not remembering.
"She left." Abeonim tried the soup. "She only cooks and then she goes home."
"She probably has family at home." Eun Jae said.
"I don't know, she never mentioned any."
I ate some of the food. It tasted familiar as if I had eaten it before. When?
"Appa, are you going to move back in with us?"
"When you have kids. Hurry up, I want a grandchild."
"Appa!" Eun Jae protested.
"Go, get the mosquito repellent if you're done eating." Abeonim shooed us away.
"Okay, okay. We're going." Eun Jae grabbed my hand and we left the house.
"The air's so refreshing." She commented. I nodded. It was cleaner than city air. The street lamps were already turned on and the whole place looked deserted aside from the few houses which were lit. I remembered how it used to be filled with teenagers hanging out in those stalls or bars where everyone knew each other so a fake ID was futile. But now all the teenagers moved into the city and had families there, they probably visited a lot before but it became less frequent and visits became letters every month...slowly dwindling to occasional postcards on special occasions. This town became an oasis for the elderly instead.
As we walked, we found the nearest market. I told Eun Jae to go in first and I would follow later.
In a split second, I saw blinding lights.
"Yi Jung." A faint voice called my name.
"Huh?" I opened my eyes and found myself lying in the grass. It was dark out and I got up to see a girl looking angrily at me.
"You fell asleep again." The girl pouted. "This is your second time!"
"Sorry Ga Eul."
"Anyways, what did you dream about? You looked like this while you were sleeping." She furrowed her eyebrows to mimic the expression I had. I laughed and hit her lightly on the forehead.
"Ow!" She touched the spot I hit. "What was your dream about?"
I paused and tried to remember, but I couldn't. "It was a really weird dream." And that's all I knew.