It was cold. My hands seemed a little numb, my face felt stiff, and my body couldn’t move as I willed it. I just shivered. My body was trembling. I had no control.
There was a thick coat on me. A hot cup of coffee sat on my lap, and its hot mist danced warmly under my chin. It should’ve been warm, and maybe it was warm.
But strangely, I feel cold.
I was cold.
My vision blurred. I couldn’t make it focus. I couldn’t seem to hear anything anymore either. All I see are footsteps coming and going, but above their calves—nothing. The noises are indecipherable. Where am I again? I can’t seem to remember. Why am I losing my senses? Where am I?
“S-SeoHyun-ah…” TaeYeon Unnie’s voice broke through the haze. It was then that I realized what was going on again.
“W-w-what are you doing!? YongHwa?”
There was blood. Everywhere.
“Get a hold of yourself! Please don’t do this to me!”
He tried to… he… tried to… s-s… su…
“How are you… holding up?” TaeYeon Unnie asked but I couldn’t really form any thoughts. My mind couldn’t function somehow. I was just sitting there on the bench outside our apartment not knowing what I just witnessed. What did I just witness?
I don’t… want to remember.
It had been a while when I realized I hadn’t given her any answer. I wanted to give her an answer, but the pause lingered too long. So maybe it didn’t matter. Maybe it was best if we stayed in silence for a while. She didn’t press on, which was a relief. I didn’t want to talk about it. Not just yet.
When she was about to get up from the bench, I felt myself in a rush of panic. I didn’t want her to leave my side. I didn’t want to be alone. Not now.
I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. I didn’t say anything but I hoped she’d understand my needs. She seemed a bit shaken but understood me well. She sat back down and scooted closer to me. She took off her bonnet and gently fixed it on my head.
It felt warm.
She patted my head and continued to hold my hand.
She was warm.
She used to be that Unnie whom just jokes around and doesn’t take heed from all my nagging. But she also used to be one of the most broken people whom I have met in my lifetime. Now she’s taking care of me like I was her daughter.
You can never really fully grasp something about a person. One day they are like this. One day they are like that. Every person has its positive and negative ends.
But YongHwa crossed far beyond the negative end. It’s a hell of an end.
I was supposed to be his wife. I was supposed to be someone who’ll bear all hardships with him through thick and thin but now…
“There has to be a misunderstanding!” I heard Sulli shriek from feet away.
This time, I managed to look up and observe what was going on. Sulli was talking to her cousin Taemin, or I guess in this case, shouting at him. It seems it didn’t matter to her if their conversation was heard by the bystanders, the police, and the other civilians around.
“Do you expect me to believe that YongHwa Oppa tried committing suicide after all the great things that have happened to him? He was offered a job to be a song-writer to a popular entertainment, he won the lottery just a month ago, and he proposed and got engaged. He already bought a small apartment and was already moving in with his fiancée. He was about to plan a trip to America to surprise his sister. He was going to get married! Don’t tell me those are all just some kind joke if he was just going to end his life!”
What she was saying made my heart race. But I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to listen. I just wanted to shut my ears and sleep. Maybe this was all just some sick nightmare.
“Sulli, we don’t know what exactly happened,” Taemin said softly, as if all Sulli’s shouting didn’t affect him at all. “Through all of the things we know so far, we can only conclude it as suicide.”
“What kind of coroner are you!? You better look into this! Everything is not adding up!”
“Look, I understand what you’re saying but please be patient. It’s only been two hours. Besides, he’s not dead. He only lost a lot of blood. He’ll wake up in a few hours or a day and we’ll ask him then about what exactly was going on.”
“And what if he doesn’t wake up?” Sulli’s sentence cut through my heart. It couldn’t be possible, would it?
He will wake up. He has to. He can’t… leave me just yet. He promised to have a family with me. He promised to grow old with me. He promised to love me and never leave me…
“That is ridiculous, Sulli. He lost consciousness because of blood loss and they’re saying it wasn’t fatal. Don’t be too paranoid. He’ll wake up.”
I felt myself exhale heavily with relief. He will wake up.
The next morning, I was still blank. I had no appetite, no feelings, no thoughts—nothing. I haven’t even cried. I was dried up, hollow. Nothing seemed to stir my emotions. My heart was hurting, but my mind is shoving my emotions deep in the ground so that it won’t get out.
Unnie and I stayed at my (and YongHwa’s) new apartment for the night. We were forbidden to go back to our apartments for a while. A part of us didn’t want to go back there anyway. Here, there’s still boxes everywhere—bits and pieces of unpacked items for a new start. YongHwa and I were supposed to spend our first night here together as an engaged couple, but what is this start? I could barely sleep at night without him.
It felt… so cold.
“Minho just texted me. YongHwa is somewhat stable now. Do you want to go and visit him?” TaeYeon Unnie said. I didn’t really know what I wanted. A part of me didn’t want to see him just yet. No matter how much I loved him, I felt I just couldn’t see him for a while after he had mentally scared me with those cold eyes staring back at me… before he… well…
I turned my back on TaeYeon Unnie and said, “I’ll meet him when he wakes up.” It sounded rather harsh and stubborn when I said it, but I didn’t mean it to sound that way. I was just sleep deprived and internally frustrated.
TaeYeon Unnie didn’t turn to leave too quickly. She was rather hesitant in agreeing to what I said. She probably wanted to push me into visiting him in the hospital, or maybe just talk about it. We haven’t really talked about it.
I don’t want to talk about it.
A phone rang on the coffee table and I recognized the tone immediately. It was YongHwa’s phone. I couldn’t see who the caller was and neither did I care. TaeYeon Unnie, on the other hand, slowly walked closer to the phone and stared at it, letting it ring for a while. I thought she was going to let the caller end it, but strangely, she quickly answered it at the last second.
“Um, no… This is one of YongHwa’s friends.”
“N-no… he got into some accident, that’s all.”
“Krystal? Ah, SooJung? Oh, she’s doing fine. She’s staying with some friends.”
“You’re their eldest sister, right?”
Sister? Is she talking to the sister?
“The situation is kinda weird. We don’t really know what exactly happened. People say he tried committing suicide but I–”
“T-TaeYeon. My name is Kim TaeYeon.”
I wanted to ask about what they talked about, but TaeYeon Unnie just stood there staring down at YongHwa’s phone after it ended. She seemed deep in thought. From the way she clenched her fist tightly, she seemed angry. Or was she just uneasy and unsure about something? I don’t exactly know. Maybe I don’t want to know.
“SeoHyun,” she suddenly spoke. “Can you handle being by yourself for a while? I need to go check on SooJung after I visit YongHwa on the hospital.”
“Sure. It’s okay.”
Without a minute to lose, she grabbed her coat and dashed out of the apartment. I was instantly left alone. I felt numb again.
I dragged up the blanket and covered myself with it. Feeling like my eyes were about to drop any moment, I decided to close my eyes. I haven’t slept all night. Maybe it’s time I try to give it a rest.
But maybe I shouldn’t have.
“You know I love you, SeoHyun,” YongHwa smiled cheerfully as he held my delicate hand. He kissed it gently, sending a warm boiling feeling running beneath my veins. Without knowing, my plump cheeks turned pink and it made him giggle.
On a lazy afternoon after moving some boxes and furniture to our new home, we cuddled on the couch (the same one I had fallen asleep on) since there was nothing else but unpacked boxes all around the home. While I was lying down, I placed my legs on his lap since he was sitting upright.
“I love you too, Oppa,” I shyly said.
“Ah- no,” he said, waving his pointing finger in front of me out of disapproval. “How many times have I told you not to call me Oppa? We’ve been together for at least 7 years now.”
“Sorry,” I chuckled. “Sowy, Yoooong!” I said, my voice getting an octave higher when using aegyo on him. I’m pretty sure I made that man faint deep inside over the adorableness of my being. “Do you want me to change?”
“No, no,” he said. “Just stay there, just like this,” he said, not letting go of my hand. I became slightly baffled because he was turning extremely red and dreamy the whole time.
After searching his pockets, he quickly slid a ring on my finger and stared at me lovingly. I was shocked of course. I didn’t expect YongHwa to propose at all.
“Marry me?” YongHwa nervously said. “I know it’s not a fancy proposal and all that but I really—”
I tried my best to reach his lips, leaving him paralyzed. When I withdrew from it, tears of happiness started to fall. Then I nodded, “Y-yes. Yes, I will!”
YongHwa blushed madly and laughed. He leaned back on his seat and shouted loudly, “ARGHH! Hahaha, I was so nervous… so nervous you wouldn’t say yes.”
“You don’t have anything to be nervous about,” I smiled. “And I don’t need anything fancy to know how much I love you, Yong… I love you.”
“I love you more,” he said as he caressed my cheeks. He wiped my tears away and pulled my lips to his.
He was in the kitchen standing very still. His messy hair didn’t give his eyes away. It was another afternoon, probably a few days after we got engaged. We were exhausted in moving the last of my things and decided to get an afternoon siesta in the old apartment.
I feared what might have happened to him since he wasn’t answering.
The moment I caught a glimpse inside the kitchen floor, I panicked. There was blood slowly crawling on the tiles. And there was him, barefooted with his hands trembling. He held a knife on his left hand and on his right hand was a huge open cut where all of the blood slowly oozed out.
“W-w-what are you doing!? YongHwa?”
There was no answer.
I was afraid to get close to him. He could harm me if I made a wrong move. But then I thought, why would he harm me? He loves me, doesn’t he?
I caught a glimpse of his eyes and they were bloodshot, but strangely, the whites of his eyes had a dark shade of gray. It was haunting and cold. There was something dark about his aura. There was something wrong. He wasn’t himself.
He suddenly lifted the knife and pressed it close to his neck. It looked effortless to him and that devastated me. I didn’t want him to end his life.
I sprung up and grabbed his arm to stop him from doing anything, and he stopped. Without a fight.
His arms dropped and his grip on the knife loosened.
Then he fell unconscious. I didn’t allow his head to hit the floor. I cradled his body on my arms and tried to slap him awake out of panic.
“YongHwa… YongHwa, please wake up. YongHwa.”
On and on, I tried, but there was no response. Then I noticed the blood on my hands—his blood. But they weren’t just on my hands.
There was blood. Everywhere.
“Get a hold of yourself! Please don’t do this to me!”
My heart started to pound out of trauma and panic. I trembled and sweated profusely. I couldn’t control my senses. “T-t-tae… U-UNNIE!”
Huh? Oh… It was only a nightmare. My heart still felt like it was about to burst.
No wait… that was a memory…
I shouldn’t be losing it. He’s not dead. I need to calm myself down.
I got up and helped myself for a glass of water.
The house was empty. There was really no one but me. I’m not used to being alone. It makes me feel rather uneasy.
When the tip of my lip touched the water from the glass, I heard someone’s footsteps. I quickly turned my head to look around but there was no one. Maybe it was only me being paranoid.
I calmed my heart down until I could feel someone heavily breathing behind me.
There was someone in the room with me. I held my breath out of fear and nervousness. I didn’t want to turn around.
I’m not hallucinating, am I? The sound of his breath was too familiar to my eardrums.
I’m just…. I’m just hearing things.
He can’t possibly be here. YongHwa can’t possibly be here. TaeYeon just went to visit him on the hospital before I dozed off and she’s not even back yet. What was happening?
A-And why is it so… cold?
No, “cold” isn’t the right word. It’s more of an invisible hollow in space behind me—like a black hole, sucking energy within its reach. I could feel it. I could feel my energy slowly draining. I could also feel electricity like static slowly creeping inside my veins…
“S-seohyun-ah! C-can you hear me? See me? Please… please answer!”
His panting was ragged and tired, and there was hostility in his voice.
I couldn’t trust what was going on. I closed my eyes and dared not to look.
But there was this urge in me to answer, and so I spoke, “Y-Yong…Hwa?”
“O-Oh!? Y-you can hear me? SeoHyun!? SeoHyun-ah!”
I couldn’t take hearing his voice so clearly. I turned around and confronted it—whatever he was. Imagination, hallucination, I didn’t want to lose my sanity over this.
When I opened my eyes, out of reflex I took a few steps back in fear. YongHwa was there… but out of my reach. He was… transparent.
He also had blood on his palm and on his pants, much like the last time I have seen him. In his eyes, I saw he was relieved or field with hope, but I couldn’t buy this. He… he’s not real… he’s…
“Hyun, please listen to me… I… I need your help. Please.”