After unpacking, Nicole wanted to explore. She only had one box left, the box that she took from her mother's room. She had found it sitting in the closet and decided to take it along without looking at what was inside. She knew her mother packed it before-hand for her. Nicole just didn't have the courage to open it. Not yet. So, Nicole told Hero she wanted to explore the new world she was going to live in. She got out of the house and managed to find her way to the park. She had already walked three rounds around the path overlooking a beautiful pond. It was an interesting place.
After her fourth round, Nicole's legs were tired. She found a white bench in the lawn. The bench sat underneath a big oak tree, which shaded her from the burning sun. The bench was positioned under the tree perfectly so that Nicole could see the pond without leaves in her way. It also provided a clear view of the sky.
"It's a good place to see the stars at night." Nicole heard a male voice say from her right. She turned to realize that a handsome young man was sitting next to her. He was looking at the sky, as Nicole was. He turned towards Nicole and smiled. "Hey!"
"Hi." Nicole greeted the kind young man with a cheerful smile.
"You new around here?" the boy asked. Though she was asked the question earlier, Nicole was still struck with surprise. The city was big, how was it possible that people would know whether she was new or not?
"I'm only asking because you seem astonished by everything you see. If you weren't new here, everything would have seemed old and boring." the boy explained himself, as if he could read Nicole's mind.
"Oh." Nicole nodded, thinking about it. Did she really seem astonished? Did she make it obvious she was new?
"So, you are new here?" the boy continued.
Nicole smiled and nodded. "I'm moving in with my brother."
"That's cool." the boy nodded. 'That's cool'. That was exactly what the other boy at the pool said. Nicole sat there, finding her thoughts wander back to the boy at the pool. There was something about him. He seemed to be alot like her. He went to the pool when something troubled him. Just like her. He seemed to enjoy swimming. Just like her. He seemed to be experincing a sort of pain. Just like her. Though by now, Nicole was sure it wasn't the same kind of pain.
"Hey, you know your way around here yet?" the boy's questioned pulled Nicole out of her thoughts.
Nicole shook her head.
The boy jumped up and grabbed Nicole's wrist. "Come on!" the boy urged. "I'll show you my favorite places."
As much as Nicole was curious, she knew better than to follow a stranger around. As the boy pulled her towards the street, Nicole rushed through her head for an excuse.
"I'm sorry. I should get going." Nicole said. "I'm sure my brother has something planned and I don't want to spoil his surprise by knowing about the stuff around here beforehand."
"Oh, you got a point don't you." the boy nodded. He let go of Nicole's wrist. "I should let you go then." the boy said. He smiled. "See you around new girl!" he said, waved, then skipped off in the direction he was pulling Nicole.
"See you around." Nicole said a moment to late. She smiled to herself. The guy was pretty cute. He had something about him that made Nicole smile. He reminded Nicole of one of her childhood friends.
Back then, when she was 6, when her parents were still around, Nicole lived in a small town near Seoul together with her grandmother. There were four boys her age. Nicole remembered each one perfectly. One always had his hair pulled up into a ponytail and always made her laugh. Another one loved ddeokbokki to the point he would beg strangers for it. The other one loved to cook, even if it was just mud pies at the point. The last one loved music and was easily scared. All four boys, one day, came up to Nicole while she was reading and presented her with yellow daisies. They were best friends from that day on. Then, her life fell down in spirals the day of her 7th birthday. Since that day, Nicole had dreaded her birthday, hoping that the day would pass by quickly, or better yet, never come. That day, as things went down hill in her life, she moved away from the small town with her mother and never met the four boys again.
Just the thought of the past almost brought tears to Nicole's eyes. She composed herself fast enough to blink back the tears. No way was she going to break her own promise to herself. Nicole had to stay strong.
Oh, but how much she longed to go back to the days when there was nothing in life but running around in the field with her four friends, picking daisies and catching dragonflies and watching butterflies and laughing. How much she longed to go back to the days when her mother would sit on the chair on their porch, watching her play while knitting a scarf for the up-coming winter. How much she longed to go back to the days when her father pushed her on the swing that he made and tied to the big oak tree in their yard. How much she longed for the love of her parents. The smiles, the care. The joy that they gave her.
"Hey! Watch out!" a voice shouted. Instinctively, Nicole looked up. The sun was blocked by something black. Wierd, it was only 2PM when she left the house, why was it dark? Then, the sun's ray formed a halo around the black thing. A thought struck her. The thing was moving. Towards her.
Nicole let out a short scream as she threw her hands up to shield her head. After a while, Nicole peeked out from under her arms. The black thing should've hit her by now. But instead, in front of her was a tall black sillouette. She could see the sillouette throw something. He turned back around to Nicole, who quickly stood up. Too quickly, in fact, because she hit her head against a pole that she didn't even know was there.
"Ow," she excalimed. She had crouched back down and was rubbing her head.
The tall sillouette was also crouched down beside her. "You ok?" the sillouette asked. Male. "You hit your head hard there. I heard it." the voice said again.
Still rubbing her head, Nicole stood up slowly, making sure nothing else was in her way. Once she managed to stand up straight, she looked back at the sillouette. She was up to his upper chest. "I'm ok." she said. She really was. She stopped rubbing her head and used her hand to shield her eyes from the sun. Now she could actually see the boy's face clearly. He was handsome too, like the other two she met today.
The boy smiled, and Nicole smile back.
"You new?" he asked after a few seconds of silience.
Oh great. Again. Was it really that obvious? "Yea, moving in with my brother." Nicole said.
"That's cool." he nodded. Again. The same response as the other two. There was something about the boys in Seoul. Or maybe Nicole was just imagining things. She must've hit her head too hard.
"I'm gonna go." Nicole said.
"Weren't you headed that way?" the boy said, seeming a little worried. Nicole looked in the direction the boy was pointing and realized that that was the direction she was heading to.
"Yeah, right. That way." Nicole nodded and began to walk the direction the boy had pointed.
"You sure you ok?" the boy asked from behind her.
Nicole turned around and gave the boy a thumbs up. "I'm great!" she smiled. She turned around and hurried away.
That was embarrasing. Nicole thought to herself. She looked up, watching where she was going this time.
As she walked, she saw a now hiring sign on the window of a restraunt close by her house. Nicole figured it would be smart to get a job so she could help Hero out. Nicole walked into the restruant, planning to ask questions about the job. A young man was standing at the cash register. He spotted Nicole and smiled. Nicole approached the stand and smiled as well.
"Can I help you?" the boy said.
"I want to ask about getting a job here." Nicole said.
"Oh, you want to get a job here? Oh that's great! I could use some help." the boy smiled. "Hold on." he ran to the back and grabbed some papers. He brought them up to the cashier stand and handed them to Nicole. "There's information on here. You just have to fill out the questions on the last page." he showed Nicole where to sign and what questions to answer. Nicole listened carefully.
"Ok, I got it." Nicole said after he finished.
"Alright. You don't have to fill it all out here. Bring it back whenever you're done." he boy smiled.
"Ok, thanks!" Nicole smiled. She grabbed the papers and made her way out.
"Oh, wait." the boy caled after her.
Nicole turned around. "Yeah?" she said.
"Are you new around here?" the boy asked.
Oh wow. It must have been really obvious. "Yeah, I'm moving in with my brother." Nicole answered for the fourth time today.
"That's cool." was his response. Nicole smiled. That was also the fourth time today Nicole heard that. City boys weren't very creative.
Nicole walked out the door. Tonight, she was going to talk to Hero about getting a job. She also figured she should talk about school too. She had one year left before she could head off to college. With that plan set in mind, Nicole headed home.