-December 5, 2006-
"How long will you love me oppa?"
"I'll love you forever Sang-Mi-ah. You know that."
"Even in death?"
"Even in death."
"Do you promise?"
"Sang-Mi. Sang-Mi-ah!" the voice drove me out of my peaceful dream. Out of my only place of comfort. Away from my knight in shining armor.
"What is it Hyeok-Ju? What's wrong?" I asked in a tired voice.
"Appa is home. It's bad this time Sang-Mi. Really bad."
I don't see my younger brother get scared very often. As a matter of fact, I hardly ever see him show any emotion at all. He always said it was to protect himself. To keep his weaknesses hidden so HE didn't see them.
"Alright Hyeok-Ju-ah. Where is he?" I did my best to sound brave. I always did. I am the older sister, it's my job. I knew that if I didn't keep my composure, then my brother and I would be destined to meet a grim fate at an early age. Too early.
Each night was the same. My appa goes out to his usual bar and gets completely drunk, then he comes home and take his 'frustrations' out on the one thing he despised most - me. My brother was my only chance of survival. He would stay up in his room and look out the window for my appa's car. I should have a savior. A knight in shining armor to rescue me from this horrible nightmare of a life. A white knight just like in my dreams. But I know, those dreams are only fairytales and I don't believe in fairytales anymore.
I could hear Hyeok-Ju downstairs talking to appa. Trying to keep him distracted long enough for me to get out of the house. Away from the nightmares.
I took the sheet off my bed and hung it outside my window, then tied it to the end of my bedpost. I could hear the old man's voice getting closer. Please Hyeok-Ju; keep him away for just a bit longer. Please.
Alas, I was too late. Of course. If this was any other story, maybe I could have gotten away. But not my story. I'm not meant to have a happy ending. It'll just never happen.
The first place I felt the pain was in my left arm, where he grabbed me. I could feel him slapping my face, the curses, the screams, the protests and pleadings of my brother. It doesn't matter anyway. Why fight back? I've learned that fighting back only makes things worse. It only prolongs the pain and brings you that much closer to death. I'm beginning to wish for death. The sweet sleep that would end all of my sorrows and take me to a place far away.
The only solace I have in this time of crisis is when the blackout comes. I see the same man from my dreams, the white knight. Coming to rescue me as usual. The problem is, he never stays. No one ever stays.
"Are you alright?" the handsome knight smiles.
"Yeah, I'm ok. I'm always ok."
"Just sleep for a while. It'll be over soon, I promise."
How can he smile like that? There isn't anything to smile about anymore.
"Sang-Mi-ah! Wake up!"
Not now. Can't you see I'm sleeping?
"Sang-Mi! Yah! Sang-Mi-ah! The old man blacked out. I think you can get away now! Get up, get up, get upppppppppppppppppppppppp!"
I open my eyes enough to see the blurry figure of my brother hovering over me. I look to my right and see the body of my attacker sprawled on the floor in a heap of drunkenness.
I look back to my brother who is fidgeting nervously with the sleeves of his hoodie. His black nail polish shining in the moonlight.
"I'm going to KiMi's house. Hyeok-Ju-ah, come with me!" I mutter with a shaken voice. I don't want to leave him here with the aftermath. I don't want anything to happen to him. Hyeok-Ju is the only family I have left. Our umma died about 2 years ago from cancer. I promised her that I would take care of Hyeok-Ju. I intend to keep it.
"Are you stupid? If I leave with you it'll just make things worse when he wakes up. You go by yourself babo. It's better that way."
Is he kidding me? After all we've been through together and all he calls me is babo?
"Hyeok-Ju, it wouldn't kill you to call me 'NUNA'."
"Don't push it Sang-Mi. We're only 2 years apart. Besides, you're lucky I even call you by your own name."
"Ok, I'm leaving. Don't forget to call me or even come by if you need anything, ok?"
"Alright alright, I hear you. Now get goin' before the loser wakes up!" he says in a rushed voice as he pushes me out the front door.
I turn around to thank him only to find the door being shut in my face. Thanks a lot Hyeok-Ju, though I really do owe him a lot.
"Aish, Sang-Mi-ah! You look like death warmed over. Come in, come in!" KiMi said as she yanked me into her house. Thank God she lived just down the road from me. I don't think I could have carried myself much further.
I walked into the living room to see KiMi's brother, Ji-Hoon, watching TV. I swear, give that guy a television and a remote and he is set for life.
"Ah Sang-Mi, are you ok?" he asked standing from his chair. "Are you hungry? My friend is in the kitchen popping some popcorn if you'd like."
"No, thank you oppa. I'd just like to take a shower, if that's ok."
"Of course, of course it's ok. Go right ahead." He smiled as a slightly bowed in response. KiMi put a hand on my shoulder and led me towards the bathroom.
As I was walking down the hallway, I bumped into someone's chest. Leave it to me to do something so clumsy.
"Excuse me", I uttered in a small voice. I bet he didn't even hear me.
"Ah, it's ok. I should have been looking where I was going anyway." he said in a cheery voice.
I looked up to smile at him, but my smile turned into a look of utter disbelief when I looked into his eyes. It's him... it's the boy from my dreams!