Every year, for four years now, I have been visiting the solitary tree near Heaven's Gate where I almost lost my life. Every autumn, when the cold of winter is almost upon this land, my feet bring me back to this place. Watching, waiting.
In the past four years I have believed. Believing that one day you will return to me. Believing that all the suffering, all the heart ache was worth it. Believing that one day I can call you Imja again. Believing that our separation between time and space would end.
The Woodalchi that accompany me always think about this as some sort of holiday, a respite from the duty at the Royal Palace but only a handful of them know of the real reason why I always come here. Here was the last time that I looked upon you, my love, my life, my very reason for living. Here, four years ago, I lost it all and I almost lost my life as well.
Watching the hills shrouded in mist, I think back to the day, think back to the moment where in crystal clarity I thought I was going to die. Paralyzed by Ki Cheol's freezing powers I wanted to tell you so many things, wanted to touch you, hug you, make love to you but I couldn't. It was terrifying and humbling to lay there in the dry grass and all I could do was watching silently as Ki Cheol dragged you away from me.
At that moment I surely wanted to die. But you had prepared me well, Imja. I knew that no matter what, you would try to return to my side. So I had to live on. I had to live and survive in order to see you again, not sure if it would be in this life time or the next or perhaps a life time so much removed from this one now, far into the future.
I had to live and continue believing. Believing that you would find a way back to me.
Now you are here. You came back.
I smile as I watch you laying by my side. Strange how familiar it feels even with four years of separation. When I brought you back to the inn, brought you here into this room, there was no hesitation, no awkwardness. The past four years became insubstantial as we cried in each other's arms and laughed at the same time when you started to search my body for new unfamiliar marks. Scolding me when you found two new wounds that had badly meshed and left unsightly scars.
I could not help but laugh and hug you tight, burying my face into your flaming hair. I wanted to tell you so much, wanted to hear all about your adventures on your way back to me. But all these things have to wait. For now, I'm content to watch you sleep, watch the gentle rise and fall of your chest as you lay beside me, exhausted from your travels and our love making and for the first time in four years, I feel at peace as I hug you tight and close my eyes.
Imja is home. WE are home, my love, my life, my faith.