📢Try To Re-load or Re Log-in to Show Loves

    Loves Error

    What felt like a minute but was actually three hours later, I realized my phone was vibrating. In the dark room, the screen lit up brightly. I reached out and answered the call. I barely finished saying hello when Han Jae-yi spoke.

    -Damn meeting just ended. I saw your message and ran out right away. Sorry if I woke you up, but just let me hear your voice for a bit.

    I could hear the ambient noise of people and footsteps beyond the phone. I could picture him in a suit, walking to the parking lot. Soon, the highway would be congested.

    “Are you just getting off work now?”

    -Yeah. Alain didn’t bother you, did he?

    “No, he didn’t. He eventually went to a club. Just as you said, he’s good at having fun on his own.”

    -And you went straight home?

    “Yeah. I took a taxi straight home, stopped at a convenience store for cigarettes, and smoked one.”

    -You don’t like to smoke alone.

    I hesitated for a few seconds. I told him who I had met. I didn’t even tell him the specifics of the conversation, but his reaction was fierce.

    -I really don’t like that guy. His attitude towards you is unacceptable.

    “He’s just a colleague. It’s not up to you to like or dislike him.”

    I felt a bit guilty. It was unavoidable. If I told him what had happened, he’d likely book a ticket to Korea right away. It wouldn’t benefit either of us. Similarly, I didn’t want to know how he and Gisella were ending things. Some things in life are better left unknown.

    -What kind of colleague behaves like that? I’ve been holding back in Korea, but I don’t have to anymore. Can’t I be jealous of you? I quit my job today. I can’t just be friends with you anymore.

    I heard the sound of a car door opening, a bag being tossed onto the passenger seat, and the engine starting.

    -Are you listening? Let’s end our friendship.

    Han Jae-yi was speaking seriously, but I found myself laughing. I listened to him give a heated explanation of why Co-pilot Cho Min-woo was an asshole, a story that lasted until the car was out of the city center and onto the highway. It took me a while to calm Han Jae-yi down.

    -Anyway, I’d prefer if you didn’t get too close to him. I’m sorting things out as quickly as possible, but my parents are the problem. They call me almost every day, trying to persuade me. They think it’s just a fight with Gisella. I’m wondering if I should tell them about you.

    “That might be too much for them. Asking them to understand all at once would be too harsh.”

    -Don’t worry. My father already thinks I’m a disgrace.

    Han Jae-yi had a few things I didn’t. The duties of a child and the expectations of parents.

    My relationship with the Schmitz couple was more pragmatic. There was still a sense of obligation for the kindness they had shown me. I owed them, so I had to be a part of the family whenever they wanted. Attending Grandma Elsa’s birthday party was a good example..

    -What time did you say you were flying in on Tuesday?

    “Around noon.”

    -Why don’t you go to my house and wait for me, you have the keys to the apartment.

    “Okay.”

    -We’ll only have one day together.

    I could hear his blinkers ticking as he changed lanes. I resisted the urge to tell him not to speed. I knew he wouldn’t listen. His slightly embarrassing words left me momentarily speechless. I teased him, saying how he could say such things after knowing me for 15 years.

    -I told you, I’m not your friend anymore. Every day here is a struggle. If this were the old days, I would’ve ditched everything and run away with you by now.

    I laughed, because I’d had enough of that.

    -If you had said you were getting married, it would’ve really happened. I’d have shown up boldly, when they said ‘anyone against this marriage, raise your hand,’ and then stolen you away.

    “The groom, not the bride?”

    -Yes. It’s the 21st century.

    “Where would you run off to?”

    -I don’t know, maybe find a private airport, steal a small plane, and fly until we ran out of fuel and had to crash land somewhere. You’ve always wanted to try that, haven’t you? Somewhere like the desert would be perfect. Then I’d kiss you until we died.

    I applauded Han Jae-yi’s imagination. I found myself getting lost in the scenes he described. I imagined freely gliding in a propeller plane that ran out of fuel and crash-landed somewhere in the Sahara. One wing torn off and buried in the sandstorm, and us sharing our remaining water.

    There were two things in that scene that I would absolutely want to have if I were to die. That’s why I liked the image so much. I closed my eyes.

    Han Jae-yi continued talking for a bit, but I couldn’t hold on. Imagining kisses hotter than the desert, I fell asleep with the phone in my hand.

    “Good night.”

    I heard his voice in a place where dreams and reality were blurred, and the words that followed were so sweet that I decided to keep them a secret forever.

    * * *

    The next day, I checked my phone and saw a message from Alain. He seemed regretful about parting ways with the woman he met yesterday and suggested meeting up in the afternoon. It was expected, but I left a playful message with a smile.

    [Traître (traitor)]

    I skipped breakfast and came in after a workout. I made a muesli and added blueberries. I won’t be drinking coffee for a while to reduce my caffeine intake. I couldn’t quit smoking, so I planned to cut down and bought lots of nuts at the market.

    I realized that I needed to get healthier. I didn’t have a big plan, it was just something I woke up with. I couldn’t deny that I’d been feeling unusually excited since returning from Rome.

    I left the house just past lunchtime. I headed to a subway station I’d never been to before. Alain, in his quirky manner, suggested we try riding the subway. I didn’t have any clear memories of taking the subway either, so I decided to use it to get to our meeting place as a practice run. My first impressions were that it was spacious and clean, and I was surprised at how quickly the doors closed..

    The subway was roaring and moving fast. Most people were looking at something on their cell phones, and there were many people who didn’t sit down even though there were seats available.

    I met Alain in one of the most crowded places in Seoul, and it took me a while to get out of the subway station. People of an age group that is now a bit awkward to mingle with were milling around in groups.

    “Why did you ask me to meet you here, it’s hot as hell.”

    I gave him a casual hug and greeted him.

    “Suzy said she could change trains here.”

    “And who is she?”

    “The cutie I met yesterday.”

    I nodded, recalling the woman from the photo he had sent me. We mingled with the crowd and entered a large shopping mall. I held the door open for the people coming in behind us, but no one took over for me. I ended up standing there for about a minute like a hotel doorman, holding the door for a dozen or so people streaming in. Alain chuckled beside me.

    After a while, a man pushing a stroller took over holding the door for a woman. Finally free from my temporary door attendant duty, I walked in with a relieved smile. It seemed I should have just let go of the door. We passed through the shopping mall and moved to another subway station.

    I stood for a moment looking at the map, not sure which direction to take the train.

    “Where are you going?”

    A woman suddenly approached us. She wasn’t a station employee, just someone offering help. After we told her our destination, she pointed to the left and said, “That way.” We thanked her and headed down to the platform. Alain’s blonde hair drew more stares.

    “Maybe it’s because I just came back from Tokyo, but people here seem taller. Especially you.”

    I nodded since he wasn’t wrong.

    “Is Jae-yi taller than you?”

    “Well, …by about 3-4 centimeters.”

    “Right, similar to me.”

    An announcement came on saying that the train was arriving soon. I warned him that it would be best to board quickly. Seeing the doors close almost immediately after we got in, Alain laughed.

    “That’s thrilling.”

    We stood by the door across from each other, holding onto the handles.

    “Why did you want to take the subway?” I asked Alain.

    “Because it’s fun. You can get a glimpse of the local culture. In Tokyo, everyone was super aware of each other. They stare at their phones but won’t talk on them to avoid making noise. It was packed, but all you could hear was the train noise. It was hilarious.”

    “What about Korea?”

    “Well, it’s more visually appealing here. Lots of cuties. I mean, you’re definitely raising the average score. You didn’t have surgery on your nose, did you?”

    “What nonsense.”

    “Anyway, I like it here. I think I’ll visit often. But are you two going to keep up this long-distance relationship? Do you think that’ll work?”

    “Jae-yi is moving to Korea.”

    “Quitting his job as a lawyer?”

    Since I wasn’t sure of his detailed plans either, I vaguely replied, “Probably.”

    “That’s crazy.”

    I couldn’t disagree, so I nodded.

    “He’s crazy, crazy about you.”

    I didn’t respond to his last comment and instead pretended to be engrossed in the route map. Only one more stop to go. I shoved my hands into my pockets.

    You can support the author on

    This content is protected.