Reunion Chapter 10
Jang Yoonsung said as if he would call me even at dawn, however, he didn’t ring me up from the time we separated at the hospital. It felt complicated. I thought it would be better not to be involved with Jang Yoonsung anymore, yet it was uncomfortable.
The hospital said there would be no aftereffects of the accidents, however, I was worried about whether he was recovering smoothly and going through the dilly-dally of his usual life. It was more so because I knew how frustrating it was as I also had a bandage stuck on my hand. Seo Kijoon already had the circumstances handled, and with that sense, he came back as if he had a debt to fulfill.
Within a few days, Seo Kijoon came along with other real deals. It would be strange for Jang Yoonsung to come with his arm in that state.
After scanning my surroundings for a while, I saw Seo Kijoon standing up from his seat, I followed him to the back. As he exited the washroom, I held on to him and asked how Jang Yoonsung was doing.
“He must be uncomfortable. He even told me not to call him because it was annoying for him.”
“Did his arm get better?”
“I’m not sure. He didn’t say anything about it. He must be okay, I guess.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Jang Yoonsung did not seem to be the type of person to confide things to his close friends. It used to be like that even before. At first, he seemed to be the kind of person who had a loose mouth but Jang Yoonsung only asked questions, of which answers he really wanted to know. Among that, I realized the existence of silent words he preferred not to say in the meantime. I thought to ask more questions, but it was not as if I could do anything even if I heard the answers so I nodded my head. Rather, pretending not to recognize their favor and becoming shameless, so that we could never meet again might be a way to help Jang Yoonsung.
“Ah, Hakyung. Please wait.”
Seo Kijoon called me as if he had remembered something. As I returned, he took out something from his jacket pocket. It was a car key.
“It’s Jang Yoonsung’s car key, the car is here so it would be better to leave the keys here with you. Jang Yoonsung might send someone to look for it soon.”
I nodded and accepted the key. On the day of the accident, we drove to the hospital with Seo Kijoon’s car so Jang Yoonsung’s car was still standing in the parking lot. So after explaining the reason for receiving the car key to Seongwook hyung, I told him that just in case someone came in my absence, the car key should be saved under the storage box, but Seongwook hyung shook his head.
“Just take the car to him. There aren’t any spaces left in the parking lot, and since his car is hogging one space by itself, the other customers cannot park their car.”
The parking lot of the building was narrow. In addition, not everyone was rich just because they frequented such bars. The experience of scratching an expensive car after grabbing a simple drink would be unpleasant even if you have deep pockets. Thanks to that, most of the guests were unable to park next to Jang Yoonsung’s car without a second thought.
“Sir! I want to try driving that car!”
Kim Jungho raised his hand without hesitation. I was still mulling over that.
“Right. Jungho can go.”
I thought to put it off once, as Seongwook hyung brought out a whiskey that hadn’t been opened yet.
“You were saved by Jang Yoonsung. You could have not rewarded him because of your circumstances. Anyway, take this to him as a token of gratitude.”
Even if it wasn’t expensive, it was a limited item and it wasn’t up for sale anymore. Even if it wasn’t expensive for Jang Yoonsung and Seongwook hyung, it wasn’t applicable to me.
“It’s fine. Why would I reward him with your money?”
“It’s because I’m grateful. Thank you for saving our store’s reputation. Without you, we would have lost half of our female guests.”
Next to him, Jungho said, ‘Half of it is my share’. Seongwook hyung hugged me as he pitched the whiskey bottle in my hand and pretended to leave out Jungho. After all, the car keys were still in my hand. I sighed and scrolled through the call list. I didn’t save his number but I remembered how Jang Yoonsung called me at the hospital to confirm my number.
Still, I couldn’t drive someone else’s car without permission so I pressed the call button. It rang for a long time. It was not even 10 pm and I wondered if he had gone to sleep, but Jang Yoonsung received the call at that moment.
As if he were talking to his friend, I took the phone off my ear and checked the caller ID. Why was he answering the call like that? Still, I introduced myself, regaining my composure.
“Ah, yes, hello. This is Lee Hakyung.”
– I know. Lee Hakyung.
Even though he wasn’t saying much, his voice echoed with a light smile.
“You left your car here last time. I’d like to bring it to you.”
Jang Yoonsung asked if he had forgotten about it because immediately shouted “Ah!”. He was a man who had several cars parked in his house’s parking lot by color. He didn’t even know which one was missing. Rather, Sungwook hyung was more nervous about the car which occupied the parking lot.
“I think I have to come after the store is closed. It will be too late by then so I’ll come and just park the car so I was wondering if there was a place where I could leave the car keys. If you don’t, then I will send it tomorrow…”
Seongwook hyung asked me to go right away, but I felt uneasy. Just because Jang Yoonsung lost his memory didn’t mean that I could not remember it.
Plus, Jang Yoonsung’s attitude was questionable even though he said he completely lost his memory. At the mention of sending the keys through a quick delivery service, he cut my words saying there was no need to.
– Just come. I won’t be sleeping.
I wanted to visit as late as I could, but Seongwook hyung told me to get off work early and bring him the car as soon as possible. I purposely chose the long way around, but the road was free of traffic because it was past midnight.
I was at a loss. While I was curious about Jang Yoonsung’s state, I also wanted to live without bumping into him. Let’s break off the relationship once his arm healed, and if I compromised my greed towards it, I knew what kind of ending waited for me. Still, I eventually arrived in the neighborhood where Jang Yoonsung lived.
Jang Yoonsung’s address was a famous luxury villa in that neighborhood.. I didn’t know who he lived with, but I had to avoid encountering Jang Myeongsoo or his eldest son. Once the guard guided me inside, I pressed the call button with a nervous mind. I made up my mind to return if he didn’t receive my call at once. It would be enough to leave the car keys with the guard or Seo Kijoon.
It started to ring. One, two, three…
Was he sleeping? It was his moment of joy.
– You came?
It was a voice without a trace of drowsiness. When I mentioned that I was at the underground parking lot, Jang Yoonsung said he would come down soon and hung up the call. In the end, I had to spend a little more time in front of the car with the gift from Seongwook hyung.
Soon the door slid open and someone came out. Jang Yoonsund had a tall stature and an injured arm, so I could tell it was him without looking at his face.
Did he grow a few inches or were his shoulders becoming a bit stiffer? At that time, there was a heart-fluttering vibe about him but then he emitted a manly feeling.
“This, my boss wanted to give you as thanks…”
Jang Yoonsung stood stiffly as if he didn’t like it, and received it without a thank you.
“Then, I’ll take off from here. I’m very thankful about the last time.”
“You came all the way here, come and have a drink or something.”
“There’s no need, and it’s very late too.”
“I won’t keep you for long.”
At the same time, Jang Yoonsung held out his arm as if he was bragging about it. It was hard to say no at that point. It wouldn’t be difficult to head back home after a cup of tea, but I was worried that there was someone at Jang Yoonsung’s house. If I ran into Jang Yoonsung’s father or brother, it wouldn’t end in just a simple rendezvous.
“Wouldn’t I be a nuisance to your family?”
Jang Yoonsung smiled as he was asked if he was living with his family.
“I live by myself so don’t worry.”
As if Jang Yoonsung thought that I agreed to come with him, he took the lead with long strides. Fortunately, his legs looked fine.
We took the elevator to the highest floor. Even if it was for a brief moment, there was a distant silence.
I didn’t know how it was outside, but I knew it was a high-rise house. The house wasn’t that clean and it was empty enough to be chilly. There was some furniture but there weren’t many things except that.
Ah, it hadn’t been long since he came from the USA. One, two, I counted the years in my head. I wasn’t sure how long it had been since he had graduated. Again, I couldn’t help but be curious. How did he live during those years? In one corner of the living room, there was a piano that seemed to be played with. Come to think of it, what happened to the villa now that there was no one to live there?
“Sit, anywhere is fine.”
While I scanned the living room, Jang Yoonsung entered the kitchen and made some cacophony before coming out again. He was boiling water. As I sat on the sofa, Jang Yoonsung sat on the table and faced me. His glare was hot. I tried to turn a blind eye to his burning stare, which seemed to be filled with worry.
At first glance, Jang Yoonsung’s eyes seemed to be filled with questions yet impassive. It would be a problem if he regained his memory, if he tried to yield it back to him several times. Was memory something that would just fall off someone’s body? It was deep inside his consciousness and could come to him once it would have a chance.
Jang Yoonsung opened his mouth first, hoping that the water would boil fast.
“Do you have a sibling? Someone who looks just like you?”
For a moment, I wanted to bring Seo Kijoon and ask him, “Is it true that Jang Yoonsung doesn’t remember anything?”
“No. But I do have a younger brother. He doesn’t really look like me.”
With this, I answered to escape the captures of Jang Yoonsung’s memories even by a little. Jang Yoonsung smiled lightly without any reason.
“Really? That’s a pity.”
He glanced at the kitchen, as if to see if the water was boiling.
“Did you hear me talking with Kijoon last time? I have a gap in my memories.”
“Yeah, well, I did hear parts of it.”
I answered as if I didn’t pay attention to their conversation. The kettle seemed to make a sound indicating that the water was boiling.
Jang Yoonsung got up from the table and went to check if the water was on the stove. I couldn’t understand why a person with an injured arm had to offer hot tea. It seemed uncomfortable for him, so I offered to go instead and Jang Yoonsung told me to sit down, dissuading me from doing so.
Jang Yoonsung continued what he was saying as he entered the kitchen.
“I don’t know what happened back then, my preferences only became strange. If I see someone who looks like you…”
If you claimed that your preferences changed, then it changed, why did you have to say it became strange? Objectively, it was correct that his preferences were strange, however, I didn’t want to hear it from his mouth. When I complained to my heart’s content inside my head, I heard something falling and crashing to the ground, from the kitchen. As I heard the sound of hot water splashing on the floor, I sprung from my seat in surprise.
“That’s why I said I would do it. Hey, it’s fine…”
As I rushed inside the kitchen, it was a state of mess. Spilled and still steaming kettle, broken glass, scattered teaspoon…
However, Jang Yoonsung was standing only a step away from that mess, looking fine. As if he was waiting for me to rush in there.
“Lee Hakyung talks either informally or beats around the bush. That day, you did the same too.”
I must have let my guard down again. The time we didn’t meet wasn’t a day or two but seven years and I spent countless times looking back at those times, during which Jang Yoonsung didn’t have much of a difficult time. So I couldn’t act aloof in the face of danger. Jang Yoonsung was looking at my reaction and asked with a confident face.
“You know me right?”
What would happen if you knew the truth? There was a moment of curiosity but I was not considerate enough to put it into action.
I stood with my back straight and my fists clenched. As if I wasn’t agitated.
“I don’t know why you are doing this, but I do know you. You are a close friend of S group’s Seo Kijoon and the second son of Taewon Group. I’m sure all the other employees know the same. The reason why I spoke to you informally was that I cursed to myself, inside. You didn’t even ask me how old I was. Maybe the situation was so revolting to me that I spoke informally.”
I deliberately started talking informally again. Jang Yoonsung laughed as if he didn’t believe me.
“You speak well. As if you have rehearsed it all.”
They said that I was suspicious of the way I spoke, if I avoided saying anything, they would have said I was suspicious because I avoided speaking so there was nothing else I could do. Jang Yoonsung turned around and took out two normal cups. I stared at the spilled water on the floor. From the beginning, he made the decision to lure me out so he put the water on the boil. The warm water we would be drinking was in an electric pot anyway.
“Is green tea okay?”
Jang Yoonsung asked as he pulled out a tea bag.
“Your hospitality is terrible.”
“Come again next time. I’ll be nice to you once my arm gets better.”
As I pondered whether it would happen again, Jang Yoonsung held out a cup to me. As I reluctantly received the cup, he took the other one and led me to the living room. I was on the sofa and Jang Yoonsung was on the table. We sat face to face like before. It was a strange scene. The man who lost his memory and wanted to regain his past and a man who had those memories and wanted to cover the same past.
“Now, tell me again. How do you know me?”
“As I said earlier, I don’t know anything except what I’ve said earlier. You say you don’t remember those memories, so I don’t know why you think I do. There is no reason for me to hide it if I knew it.”
“You must have done something wrong to me. If you say it to me now, I’ll forgive you.”
Jang Yoonsung smiled generously as if he meant it. There was a meaningless chuckle. The word that he would forgive me felt sweet for a moment.
However, Jang Yoonsung’s forgiveness was not required now. To forgive, to be forgiven would be something meaningful if a relationship existed there. I thought about continuing living like I did for the past 7 years, not knowing Jang Yoonsung at all.
“Doesn’t memory fade over time anyway? It wouldn’t have been something meaningless if you had lived well without it. If you want to find your actual memories, don’t ask just anyone and visit the hospital…”
“It’s because I’m not fine.”
As Jang Yoonsung quietly pressed the cup to his mouth, pulled it back, and cut off my words. I took a look at his face, body, and legs again. Except for the arm that was injured, there was no part of him that wasn’t normal. Jang Yoonsung placed the cup next to him and opened and folded his empty hands again. It was an earnest gesture as if he was trying to hold onto something that could not be held.
“I feel nervous as if I’ve lost something important.”
I felt frustrated. That was nothing. It was also difficult for someone who had those memories for the last 7 years. Emotions dissipated like scents and those montages faded away like flowers that were left to dry. Jang Yoonsung would be calm if he had those memories. Of whatever we did then. Jang Yoonsung continued in a slightly dry voice.
“That day, I think I remembered something while I held on to you, as you were almost hit by a car.”
Eyes and fingers, leaves, sunlight, lake../Jang Yoonsung stammered as he listed what he remembered. Following his voice, the scene from seven years ago unfolded before my eyes. I closed my eyes tightly and tried to shake off the afterimage. Jang Yoonsung’s voice stopped as if he was able to remember that much. After a moment of silence, he opened his mouth again.
“Help me, I want to find my memories.”
As he spoke in such a desperate voice, I almost forgot my stance and nodded. If I wasn’t a part of that memory, I would have sincerely pitied the man in front of me and tried to do anything to help him. I swallowed my dry saliva, slowly closed my eyes, and opened them. I opened my mouth, hoping there was no trace of emotion on my face.
“The way to help you, is it by ‘trying it out’ like you mentioned last time?”
Jang Yoonsung’s face sank coldly. He looked disappointed.
“I don’t know how many people you’ve seduced like this before.”
I put down the cup on the table and stood up. I thought I shouldn’t sit for too long.
“But I think you chose the wrong person this time.”
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