That week just passed like that. I still remember how it felt that night. I was upset at him being so nice and considerate; too much, overdosed. The image of him driving away from the lobby. The back image of his through the rear window of his car. No matter how buried I am in my work, that night continued to hunt me for the week. I had the Sunday alone, worming up myself under the blanklet. Jiji ignored me for the first time. Maybe he knew what happened between Jae and me. That bothers me.

Monday. Monday blues. I sat at my work desk feeling that I just came back from a war, like I haven’t rested at all the previous day. I sat there and the clock hitted 9am. I had a meeting scheduled at 10am. I had no mood for any work today. So bad, I wished I could call in sick. So bad,  I had guilt washed over me for what I’ve said to him that night. I stared at my phone left on the left side of my desk. It didn’t vibrate. I checked to ensure that it had signal. There was nothing wrong with the phone. No phone calls. No text messages. Sunken, I made myself a cup of coffee and settled back at my desk. 9.15am, I checked the phone again; nothing still. I ignored whatever I was feeling and took a sip at my coffee and started flipping my notes for the meeting. Nothing went into my head obvious. I couldn’t concentrate. I opened up my inbox and there was a flood of new messages. I started reading through and clearing them up one by one. I saw an advertisement on Maldives resorts. We had said before that we should visit while it is still around. I let out a sigh as I hit the delete key.

“What’s wrong? You look bad.” A colleague who had walked passed asked.

“ung? Nothing much.” I smiled, signaling that she shouldn’t probe more.

9.55am, I gave my phone a last check. Nothing still. It laid there like it’s dead. Getting ready, I picked up all my documents, laptop, notepads and pens and head off to the board room. The meeting went on for longer than expected. I wasn’t keeping track of time. I didn’t want to stare at the time only to realize that the day has still not passed and time is not ticking away.

12.35pm, I came out of the meeting room, saw the clock as I strolled down the corridor to my seat. First thing I remember I did as soon as I sat on my desk was to check the phone. It was dead. It was still dead. I picked up my wallet and phone and head out. I needed a walk. A walk to cool my head. A walk that can allow my thoughts to settle somewhere else. I walked along the riverside for the last 30 minutes only to settle down on a bench. I stared at the clear waters ahead and wished my mind is like how peaceful the currents of the water are. Angry at myself, I headed back to the office. That night, I knocked off late on purpose and alighted a station earlier so I could take a walk. Thinking back, I must be insane, walking on a hot summer night when I hated the heat. There were many times when the headlights of cars shone so brightly behind me, I would and take a look, wishing that it was him.

That day, I didn’t had a single meal. That day, he didn’t call or sent any text messages.

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Tuesday morning, my alarm clock rang for so long so loud and I couldn’t hear it. I forced myself up and my head felt heavy. I ignored it thinking the possibility since I had a bad night. I headed off to bath and prepare for work. Again, I had no appetite for breakfast. There was no scheduled meeting that day and I felt relieved. I wasn’t in the state to attend any meetings at all. I made my work to work, dragging my feet and feeling heavy. Couple of hours passed and it was almost time for lunch. My colleagues came round my table and suggested we lunch at a Japanese restaurant near-by. The name of that restaurant reminded me of the lunch that Jae had brought me a week before. I could almost cry out at the very spot but I didn’t. My head was too heavy.

“Hey woman. Are you alright? You look so sick.”

“Sick? No, I think I’m fine. I just feel that my head is slightly heavy. And…” Because I can finish my sentence, I felt her palm on my forehead.

“My dear girl, do you realize that you’re having a fever?

“Really? Maybe I am.”

“I think you better go to the doctor or something. And go back earlier and have a rest. There’s no schedule meeting today or tomorrow.”

“ung…”

Heeding the advice of my colleague, I went to the doctor’s and was give 2 days of sick leave. I took a taxi home and was too frail to greet Jiji when I reached home. I fed him his food, ate somethings, popped my medicine into my mouth and headed for the bed. It was dark when I woke again. Still, there was no calls from him. 3 days in a row, for the first time. I made myself some simple dinner and went to sleep again right after eating.

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************

I woke up to realize that it was 8am in the morning. I moved my hand to the small table on the left side of my bed and took my phone. Refusing to open my eyes, I pressed the phone so it’d light up. “2 new missed calls” it read. I unlocked my phone and it read, Caller Woori Jagi” I was about to hit the redial button and a new call came in. It was him. I cleared my throat and picked up the call.

“Hello.” I broke my voice and I knew I failed.

“What’s wrong with your voice?”

“ung? No, it’s just morning and…”

“Aren’t you going to work?”

“Work?”

“ung… You’re going to be late if you stil don’t come down.”

I moved the phone in front of me so I could check the time. It reads 8.25am.

“ung… work… I’m not going to work today.”

“Not going? Why? Are you sick?”

“ung? No, I just wanted to rest and…” Before I could finish what I wanted to say, I heard someone at the door. “Oppa, hold on a moment.”

I walked towards the door and it flew open right in front of my face and he was standing right in front of me.

“Oppa?”

“What happened to you? You look pale, you know.” He sounded worried. I feel him bending down and putting both of his hands on my shoulder and moving his right hand to touch my forehead. “You’re having fever. How long has it been?”

“I went to the doctor yesterday. And he said I was too stressed and I didn’t have enough rest. I am to go back if I still don’t recover by today.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

I couldn’t answer that question. There was no way to answer it nor avoid it. And I refused to look at him. Seeing that, he turned me around and pushed me from behind to my bedroom and tugged me under the blanket.

“Our princess, have a rest here.”

“But I just woke up.” I protested.

“Don’t you dare argue.” He said, trying to sound angry. I obeyed.

It didn’t make sense to fall asleep right after I just woke up like some 15 minutes ago. But I did fall asleep. It was the medication. I awoke at the sound of the TV. And I slipped on my indoor slippers that he had neatly placed beside my bed. Perhaps he heard the sound of my footsteps, he turned around as I approached.

“You’re awake? Are you any better?” He stood up and placed his palm against my forehead. “Seems like the fever has gone down slightly.”

Pointing at the bowl of ice beside my bed, I asked “You put ice on my forehead?”

“I did. It worked and reduced your body temperature.”

“Thanks.”

He ushered me to seat at the couch while he stood up. Jiji was sitting at the couch right beside him and I settled down over his left side. Jae went to the kitchen to scoop up what smelled like fish porridge. I stared up at the clock only to realized I had slept for 3 hours. I make my way to the kitchen. Looking at his back, I had the urge to hug him from behind.

“Oppa, I’m sorry. That night, I didn’t mean to…”

“shhh….. I know…”

Satisfied, I moved away from him as he turned around with 2 bowls of porridge. 1 was half filled and the other was filled to the brim. He settled the bowl that was filled  to the brim in front of me and put the other bowl opposite me while he settled down. Without him saying, I know that he expected me to finish the porridge. I obeyed, but not without saying nothing.

“If I ever grow fat, it’s all your fault!”

“You? fat?” he smirked. “If you ever do, you’ll still be able to get married. Because a man by the name of Kim Jae Joong would still want to marry you.”

I smiled, feeling the satisafaction.

—THE END—

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