Getting Intimate With Korea: The Land of the Morning Calm

Confucius once said in Analects, “Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you learned? Isn’t it also great when friends visit from distant places?” But what happens when people from all around the world have already visited you except for that very person near you? Because both of you are not allowed to enter each one’s country. For reasons you both know but do not understand, the line has been drawn.

There is a Military Demarcation Line which separates the South from the North Korea, or simply put the DMZ in 38th parallel. Within these zones, barbed wires and thousands of landmines are scattered all throughout. Only the trained military officials are allowed to enter near the area. On the South, approximately 2 million young military officers are in constant vigilance from the movement of the North, and vice versa; very well aware of the risky situation and conventional threats they are facing.

The thought of the Korean Peninsula being the only divided country in the whole world is heartbreaking. What made it all the more painful is the millions of families separated for almost half the century.

Who would have thought that the constant bickering, misunderstanding and disputes from the Noron (North) and Soron (South) during the reign of powerful kingdoms and dynasties more than two thousand years ago woud eventually lead to the division of the country? King Sejong would really disheartened if only he knew. The sacrifices, the crimes and conspiracies that were left unpunished in order to settle the Northern and Southern faction during those period had gone into naught.

The country had already been divided and neither of them knew when the war would end and be once again reunited as one family. There were no walls to break like that of the Berlin Wall in Germany during the Civil War. But the invisible wall between them is more difficult to break than that of the Berlin Wall.

The wall is called IDEOLOGY. The differences of ideals between the two are being tested through time and were proven to be a very strong reason of division. Personally, I don’t know which of the ideology is sound. The vision of the North Korea to unite with the South after World War II and their freedom from Japanese colonozation is ideal. But to unite the two under a Communist regime? That, I am not sure of. With my experiences and personal circumstances, I am completely partial, if not disagreeable, with the Authoritarian type of government/management. The South Korea, on the other hand, wanted to embrace their independence with a complete freedom; and be an anti-Communist Republican country which was supported by the United States of America during the United Nations General Assembly, formed after the Second World War. But the thing is, the South Korean government are leaning much too closely to the U.S. which made me question, yet again, its “independence”.

The North then invaded the South in an attempt to unify the Korean Peninsula by force, later on called – the Korean War. The US forces promptly came to assistance of the South but hundreds of thousand Chinese Communist intervened on the side of the North which made a military stalemate. An armistice agreement was eventually signed after three years of battle. A cease-fire line was drawn dividing the Korea near the 38th parallel with a four kilometer wide demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Up until now, the two countries continue to hold a working level talks and conferences and the longest cease-fire was recorded in the history.Certainly, it is the most sensitive issue which should be taken in caution for it can either bring the peace and unity everyone dreamed of; or it can bring about the impending war that will greatly result to the loss of many innocent people.

Sixty years, indeed, is such a long time. While the South continue to progress economically and is a renowned country from all around the world in Science and Technology, Entertainment Industry, Sports,  Culture and Arts; the North was being left behind not only in economic growth and stability but in every other aspects as well, for their government is mostly centered in the military.

The North Korea, being a Communist country and lead solely by one figure of authority, had all the news media being censored. These restrictions further hindered their growth and their knowledge about the ‘world’ behind that DMZ. Perhaps, most of them didn’t know that their country is only a small portion in the vast land of the world.

The North Korean’s primary source of livelihood is fishing and agriculture. Despite the technological advancement in every part of the world, it is disheartening to know that they still plow their land in a traditionally obsolete ways. Trading is also restricted and they rely only on their own crops and vegetations, and the help from China, being the only neighboring country that can send aid to them, which are still not enough to support its people and army. The suffering grows especially during the winter season.

The growing number of ailments and the increasing rate of mortality in the North due to poor economic management and deficit in medical aid are alarming. Either their leader is turning a blind eye on this pressing issue or simply doesn’t care enough for his people, and internationally claiming “self-reliance”, brought waves of sadness in my heart. It is a defining characteristics which the North korean leader instigates to the mind of his people, the isolation and resistance to the outside forces. Despite all these, the people still believed and abide their leader. Such is the obedience  that even a word or an act of disloyalty to their leader results to the death of not only the ‘doers’ family but each and everyone of his relatives. Whether their loyalty is because of fear or love to their leader, they are still needed to be rescued and saved.

There is a documentary I saw a few weeks ago in the National Geographic Channel about a North Korean military officer who have different ideals than his leader and thus, he voluntarily surrendered to the South Korea by intoxicating his fellow officers and risking his life by going through series of barbed wires and undetermined area of land minds in the DMZ. They were two of them who decided to leave but he is the only one who had managed to get out of the DMZ alive.

He was surprised to see the place called the South Korea. It is very different from his own country and the people in the South are actually living, living for their dreams. I completely agree with him for that statement. It is the only country which the past and the present, the traditional and the contemporary, coexist together. Being exposed to the society and cognizant of the reality, he felt even more remorse to his leader and deep pity for his countrymen. There is one question that sent shivers down my spine; he was asked if what he thought had happened to his family. He answered, with a lump on his throat, a single line: “I don’t even want to think about it.” With those words left unspoken, I understood. But he is determined to make his sacrifices worth while. He is now playing a great role to the South Korean’s Military Intelligence, giving the South and edge to the North.

Despite the North Korea’s decline in economy, it still continues to prove to be a powerful country. They have a strong and aggressive military troops and the most feared nuclear weapons. The number of the nuclear weapons possessed by the North Korea are still unknown, and even the US were thinking that it might number in thousands. Whether or not it contains Uranium, remains to be proven…and dreaded.

The unknown and uncertainties brought the South Korean government to prepare its people and be on guard constantly. All males who reached the right age are required to spend 21 months in military training irregardless of his financial or social status as long as he is medically fit. Just recently, the latest batch of the academy have graduated. One of these brave, young men is Kim Hyun Joong. A Korean actor who was well known for his fresh and serene look as a “flower boy” in Boys Over Flower and plays different musical instrument as one of the members of F4.

The military training is a big sacrifice for men like him in an Entertainment Industry; leaving the glamour and the popularity of his career, and facing the uncertainty of the future. After artists like him graduated from the training, will the industry still embrace him? Will his fans continue to wait for his comeback? If the time comes for Lee Min Ho to enter the academy, I will certainly wait for his return. Well, will you? These words are really daunting. Fortunately for Kim Hyun Joong, just days after his graduation, he has been offered a lead role for an action movie. It is a completely different and mature role, and what he learned from the training can make a really of good use. But when I first saw him in the news few days ago, I could not recognize him. Gone are the vibrant and happy look on his face, for his eyes lack luster in it and he somehow look sad in front of the camera. The training really took its toll on him or probably, it is just how they are trained, to paint a flat affect for a facade. And yesterday, during the press conference of the movie, he looked a lot better than I remembered. The excitement for his new project is evident on his face and he expressed his gratitude for the industry and his fans. Being his follower, I am happy for the outcome of the training and most importantly, for giving a great contribution and service to his country.

The different stories of love and loyalty to his country by these two young men are only a part of the greater and much larger scale. The young man from the North showed his love and loyalty to his country by stripping off his military title and surrender to the South in order to rescue his countrymen for the suffocating iron grip of their leader; while the popular young man of the South gave up his career as a rising star to be at service to his country. Most certainly, their sacrifices will not left unrewarded.

I sincerely hope that the reward would be of much greater good for a much greater purpose: the unification of the North Korea and the South Korea. I believed that it is just right around the corner. Since the event in 1999, when the South sent shipment of fertilizer to the North, it resulted to an agreement of tourism development, sponsor joint sporting team and events, open communication and economic links and most importantly, they have also set a timetable for separated families to be reunited. And last month, the North Korean Leader, Kim Jung-Un had given his interest of reconciliation with the South Korean President, Park Geum-Hye. And for the first time in history, the North Korea is starting to reach out to the world.

As a girl who loves the Korean history, culture and arts, there is no better joy than to see the two country reunite. I believed that the joining of the two countries will be a force to reckon with.

Peaceful Reunification.

A dream? Maybe. But a possibility, nevertheless.

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With You Beside Me Ch. 3

Chapter 3

My Star

Min Ho’s POV

I haven’t seen that call coming. I wasn’t expecting it at that moment. The very moment when I was nearly about to kiss her. Just the time when I thought I had the answers for the million questions I have been asking myself.

I adjusted the shower knob from warm to cold. The cold water hitting me instantly. I let the water run, placing both of my hands on the wall of the shower cubicle. I don’t know if for how long I have been standing there. I closed my eyes and suddenly an image appear in my mind.

I see her troubled eyes storming with different emotions as she forced herself to smile at me to make me feel better. She doesn’t know how hard it was for me all this time. But the most difficult part is watching her pretend that nothing ever happened between us and taking all the blame on herself. Feeling frustrated, I clenched my fist. If only I could tell her everything is not her fault.

She has no idea that she is constantly on my thoughts. Thinking only about her all these times. The little moments that we ended up spending together, I began to realize that I feel differently for her. That I actually started liking her. That crazy girl who doesn’t even know how I felt for her because I haven’t told her.

I can’t tell her. Because someone is waiting for me. She promised me that she will make it work between her and me.

This is not what I have planned for. How will I know that by a crazy twist of fate, I will meet her? But I can’t fall for her. I can’t let myself fall for her.

I finally walked out of the shower grabbing the towel. I quietly slipped into the bath robe and walked back into the room. I perched into the bed crossing my legs. I had kept my phone on the bedside table and it was ringing. I stared at it letting it ring for a while.

“Yoboseyo?” (Hello?)

I answered, finally picking it up.

“Sunbae?”, I said upon hearing the familiar voice on the other end.

“Can we talk? Should I call later?”, he asked me.

“Sunbae, you know that you don’t have to ask me and you can call me anytime.”

I replied knowing him well. He is always like that. Him wanting to know if he had disturbed me. He is my personal bodyguard and assistant and has been working for me for quite a while now. After all these years, he is still trying to maintain that professional distance and respect, although it is not required at all.

“Well, alright then,” I could hear his voice relaxing a bit.

Both of us had a share of arguments and differences because he wanted to do his job effectively and I am unhappy with the restrictions imposed on me at times. But we shared a comfort level and understood each other well. He had seen me at my darkest and brightest days. He cares and considers me like a younger brother but he will never tell me that. It was typical of him. I momentarily smiled at the thought.

“So how are things with her?” He asked me interrupting my thoughts. For one split second, I thought he was asking me about Jas.

“She called me up today,” I replied upon realizing who he was talking about.

“Is everything fine? You sound sort of different.”

He really knew me well by just hearing my strained voice catching my mood. I ran my hand through my hair not knowing what to reply. I suddenly felt like confiding to him.

“Well actually, I have some good news for you that will make you really happy. I think I am the first one to break the news for you. The agency will be calling you up soon. They are confirming as we talk. We got the call today. The one you have been waiting for?”

I heard him telling me. I’m listening intently to him now, holding my breath.

“We got the call from Director Yoo Ha. They are offering you the lead role for Gangnam Blues. They will send the script here. It’s your call now. Chukahaeyo! (Congratulations!)”

He told me and an evident excitement in his voice. I was stunned hearing what he just told me. I was finally getting a chance to work with Director Yoo Ha. The one I had been looking forward to work with for a long time now.

“Min Ho, are you there?” He asked me not hearing any response from me.

“Yeah…” I replied still speechless.

“I understand how you are feeling. Your hardwork is paying off. This project is bigger and a much larger scale that Director Yoo Ha’s last movie. It seems that a North American movie studio is also backing up the project. Not to mention the list of distributors it has already found. And the movie is almost ready for pre-production.”

He added in an understanding tone. I just stood there holding my phone listening to him. The news is finally sinking in. It was a huge opportunity that came suddenly knocking on my door.

There was so much happening in my life at the moment and I didn’t have the time to pause and reflect.

With one more phone call, things become more complicated than it was before.

Jas’s POV

I am pacing back and forth in my hotel room not knowing what exactly I was doing. I was supposed to pack my luggage but I am just throwing everything haphazardly into the open bag.

‘What else?’ I thought. Fidgetting at each passing moment. I had been like this after returning back to my room. My flight was scheduled in a few hours and I had been quite unsuccessful in gathering my things because I was half-heartedly packing. My mind is drifting now and then no matter how I tried to concentrate.

I found my old comfortable pair of blue jeggings and a white tank top and slipped into it. Randomly picking up an open knit sweaters and wearing my flat pumps, I was ready.I sat down on the bed zipping shut the luggage and setting the dial of the lock. I suddenly felt exhausted.

Placing my head on the headboard, I sat on the bed for a few minute steadying myself enough to head down the hotel lobby. My hand suddenly find its way to the phone lying on the bed. A picture of a man is staring back at me. I immediately hold the phone close to my chest clutching it hard as a sudden wave of emotion hit on me. ‘I need to get out of here fast.’ I thought as I forced myself to get up.

Giving a last look at the room, I made my way to the elevator and pressed the button to both of them whichever will be faster to take me down the lobby. One of them opened on my floor as I stepped into it, pulling the suitcase with me.

After checking out at the reception, I went ahead to the front of the hotel waiting for a cab. I saw one of the hotel staff calling out for a cab for me.

“Thank you,” I said to the staff who is smiling back at me.

As I settled myself on the back seat of the car, I looked out of the window mumbling a silent sorry to someone for leaving without saying my godbye.

It was the best thing for both of us to avoid the uncomfortable silence that prevails between us. I am used to seeing his smiling face that has been missing for a while now because things have changed between us. I can’t stand it anymore watching him like that, struggling with himself. It hurts. It hurts so much that it was killing me. So please forgive me.

♪♪♪Smile brightly, don’t worry about me if I’m smiling like this right now. I won’t be able to forget, I’ll be the only one who remembers us. I won’t forget you so you can smile.

Smile brightly, I’m just thankful because I have memories with you. I can hide them and take them out when I’m alone. It will strengthen me when I miss you.

Only with my heart, I will steal you.

Only with my heart, I will hug you.

That’s enough for me so don’t get hurt because of me…♪♪♪

Min Ho’s POV

I checked my watch and decided to head down the lobby. I pressed the button of the elevator waiting for it to come down. I stepped out on the floor she was staying just as the adjoining lift is closing. I walked slowly towards the direction of her room all the way thinking of what I will be speaking to her when we meet.

Upon reaching her room, the houskeeping staff is already there. I hurriedly went down the reception where my suspicion was confirmed.  She was avoiding me for reasons we both know.

I stood there in the front of the hotel lobby feeling hopeless and lonely for the first time.

Jas’s POV

The distance I traveled from the cab to the terminal must have been the most difficult walk I had ever been taken in my life. Each step. Each passing moment was taking me away from him. I have mentally prepared myself for this but iit was turning out to be harder than I thought.

I stopped waiting for a while as I saw him walking towards me. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him in the eyes now.

He reached out his hand and took the phone from my hand. He remembered. The mobile chain of my phone had been broken when I pulled my phone from his hand trying to get it back away from him. He removed the old mobile chain and repaced it with another one.

I stared at it as he was placing it back on my palm. It was a star-shaped lavaliere studded with swarovski crystals on all the edges and it was hollow inside with a sterling silver chain.

“Thank you,” I said finally meeting his gaze that I have been avoiding.

He held out his arms as if he was about to embrace me but he suddenly  stopped and extended his right hand instead. I gingerly took it shaking his hand in return.  No words from him as he stood there holding my hand.

I slowly released the hold of his hand, gently slipping it away from mine. I was ready as I took a deep breath and met his gaze.

“Goodbye, Min Ho ssi. Please take care of yourself.” I finally told him, smiling.

“Goodbye, Jas…” He replied after a pause as he slowly turned and started walking away from me.

From then on, things became blurry. It was just the sight of him disappearing from the distance. There was something else I wanted to tell him. Something I had realised long time before but never got the chance to let him know. Standing there in the middle of the crowd, watching him walk away from me, I finally was able to speak those words that meant to me.

“Min Ho ssi.. Saranghaeyo.. Oppa..”

My voice was barely a whisper in the cacophony of sounds around me.

♪♪♪ Just locking eyes with you makes me shed tears but I will remember you being affectionate and the days when you hugged me.

If we run into each other like fate, please pass me by like you don’t know me. Even though my heart will cry like it has been torn into two. But I can still see you for a short moment while you pass by.

Only with my heart, I will want you.
Only with my heart, I will kiss you.

Don’t be sorry, this is my life whether you love me or feel sorry, I still feel the same way for you. ♪♪♪

Min Ho’s POV

She was watching me as I walk away from her. There was so many things I wanted to tell her. Although my heart seems to be telling me something else, I slowly made my way to the Departure area.

Then suddenly, I halt my steps because I felt someone had called my name. I quickly turned and frantically searched among hundreds of faces for that familiar face.

But she was gone.

One fine day, she walked into my life and now she was gone.

With You Beside Me Ch. 3

Chapter 3

My Star

Min Ho’s POV

I haven’t seen that call coming. I wasn’t expecting it at that moment. The very moment when I was nearly about to kiss her. Just the time when I thought I had the answers for the million questions I have been asking myself.

I adjusted the shower knob from warm to cold. The cold water hitting me instantly. I let the water run, placing both of my hands on the wall of the shower cubicle. I don’t know if for how long I have been standing there. I closed my eyes and suddenly an image appear in my mind.

I see her troubled eyes storming with different emotions as she forced herself to smile at me to make me feel better. She doesn’t know how hard it was for me all this time. But the most difficult part is watching her pretend that nothing ever happened between us and taking all the blame on herself. Feeling frustrated, I clenched my fist. If only I could tell her everything is not her fault.

She has no idea that she is constantly on my thoughts. Thinking only about her all these times. The little moments that we ended up spending together, I began to realize that I feel differently for her. That I actually started liking her. That crazy girl who doesn’t even know how I felt for her because I haven’t told her.

I can’t tell her. Because someone is waiting for me. She promised me that she will make it work between her and me.

This was not I have planned for. How will I know that by a crazy twist of fate, I will meet her? But I can’t fall for. I can’t let myself fall for her.

I finally walked out of the shower grabbing the towel. I quietly slipped into the bath robe and walked back into the room. I perched into the bed crossing my legs. I had kept my phone on the bedside table and it was ringing. I stared at it letting it ring for a while.

“Yoboseyo?” (Hello?)

I answered, finally picking it up.

“Sunbae?”, I said upon hearing the familiar voice on the other end.

“Can we talk? Should I call later?”, he asked me.

“Sunbae, you know that you don’t have to ask me and you can call me anytime.”

I replied knowing him well. He is always like that. Him wanting to know if he had disturbed me. He is my personal bodyguard and assistant and has been working for me for quite a while now. After all these years, he is still trying to maintain that professional distance and respect, although it is not required at all.

“Well, alright then,” I could hear his voice relaxing a bit.

Both of us had a share of arguments and differences because he wanted to do his job effectively and I am unhappy with the restrictions imposed on me at times. But we shared a comfort level and understood each other well. He had seen me at my darkest and brightest days. He cares and considers me like a younger brother but he will never tell me that. It was typical of him. I momentarily smiled at the thought.

“So how are things with her?” He asked me interrupting my thoughts. For one split second, I thought he was asking me about Jas.

“She called me up today,” I replied upon realizing who he was talking about.

“Is everything fine? You sound sort of different.”

He really knew me well by just hearing my strained voice catching my mood. I ran my hand through my hair not knowing what to reply. I suddenly felt like confiding to him.

“Well actually, I have some good news for you that will make you really happy. I think I am the first one to break the news for you. The agency will be calling you up soon. They are confirming as we talk. We got the call today. The one you have been waiting for?”

I heard him telling me. I’m listening intently to him now, holding my breath.

“We got the call from Director Yoo Ha. They are offering you the lead role for Gangnam Blues. They will send the script here. It’s your call now. Chukahaeyo! (Congratulations!)”

He told me and an evident excitement in his voice. I was stunned hearing what he just told me. I was finally getting a chance to work with Director Yoo Ha. The one I had been looking forward to work with for a long time now.

“Min Ho, are you there?” He asked me not hearing any response from me.

“Yeah…” I replied still speechless.

“I understand how you are feeling. Your hardwork is paying off. This project is bigger and a much larger scale that Director Yoo Ha’s last movie. It seems that a North American movie studio is also backing up the project. Not to mention the list of distributors it has already found. And the movie is almost ready for pre-production.”

He added in an understanding tone. I just stood there holding my phone listening to him. The news is finally sinking in. It was a huge opportunity that came suddenly knocking on my door.

There was so much happening in my life at the moment and I didn’t have the time to pause and reflect.

With one more phone call, things become more complicated than it was before.

Jas’s POV

I am facing back and forth in my hotel room not knowing what exactly I was doing. I was supposed to pack my luggage but I am just throwing everything haphazardly into the open bag.

‘What else?’ I thought. Fidgetting at each passing moment. I had been like this after returning back to my room. My flight was scheduled in a few hours and I had been quite unsuccessful in gatjering my things because I was half-heartedly packing. My mind is drifting now and then no matter how I tried to concentrate.

I found my old comfortable pair of blue jeggings and a white tank top and slipped into it. Randomly picking up an open knit sweaters and wearing my flat pumps, I was ready.I sat down on the bed zipping shut the luggage and setting the dial of the lock. I suddenly felt exhausted.

Placing my head the headboard, I sat on the bed for a few minutes steadying myself enough to head down the hotel lobby. My hand suddenly find its way to the phone lying on the bed. A picture of a man is staring back at me. I immediately hold the phone close to my chest clutchung it hard as a sudden wave of emotion hit on me. ‘I need to get out of here fast.’ I thought as I forced my self to get up.

Giving a last look at the room, I made my way to the elevator and pressed the button to both of them whichever will be faster to take me down the lobby. One of them opened on my floor as I stepped into it, pulling the trolley luggage with me.

After signing and checking out at the reception, I went ahead to the front of the hotel waiting for a cab. I saw one of the hotel staff calling out for a cab for me.

“Thank you,” I said to the staff smiling back at me.

As I settled myseld on the back seat of the car, I looked out of the window mumbling a silent sorry to someone for leaving without saying my godbye. It was the best thing for both of us to avoid the uncomfortable silence that prevails between us. I am used to seeing his smiling face that has been missing for a while now because things have changed between us. I can’t stand it anymore watching him like that, struggling with himself. It hurts. It hurts so much that it was killing me. So please forgive me.

♪♪♪Smile brightly, don’t worry about me if I’m smiling like this right now. I won’t be able to forget, I’ll be the only one who remembers us. I won’t forget you so you can smile.

Smile brightly, I’m just thankful because I have memories with you. I can hide them and take them out when I’m alone. It will strengthen me when I miss you.

Only with my heart, I will steal you.

Only with my heart, I will hug you.

That’s enough for me so don’t get hurt because of me…♪♪♪

Min Ho’s POV

I checked my watch and decided to head down the lobby. I pressed the button of the elevator waiting for it to come down. I stepped out on the floor she was staying just as the adjoining lift is closing. I walked slowly towards the direction of her room all the way thinking of what I will be speaking to her when we meet.

Upon reaching her room, the houskeeping staff is already there. I hurriedly went down the reception where my suspicion was confirmed.  She was avoiding me for reasons we both know.

I stood there in the front of the hotel lobby feeling hopeless and lonely for the first time.

Jas’s POV

The distance I taveled from the cab to the terminal must have been the most difficult walk I had ever been taken in my life. Each step. Each passing moment was taking me away from him. I have mentally prepared myself for this but iit was turning out to be harder than I thought.

I stopped waling for a while as I saw hin walking towards me. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him in the eyes now.

He reached out his hand and took the phone from my hand. He remembered. The mobile chain of my phone had been broken when I pulled my phone from his hand trying to get it back away from him. He removed the old mobile chain and repaced it with another one.

I stared at it as he was placing it back on my palm. It was a star-shaped lavaliere studded with swarovski crystals on all the edges and it was hollow inside with a sterling silver chain.

“Thank you,” I said finally meeting his gaze that I have been avoiding.

He held out his arms as if he was about to embrace me but he suddenly  stopped and extended his right hand instead. I gingerly took it shaking his hand in return.  No words from him as he stood there holding my hand.

I slowly released the hold of his hand, gently slipping it away from mine. I was ready as I took a deep breath and met his gaze.

“Goodbye, Min Ho ssi. Please take care of yourself.” I finally told him, smiling.

“Goodbye, Jas…” He replied after a pause as he slowly turned and started walking away from me.

From then on, things became blurry. It was just the sight of hi disappearing from the distance. There was something else I wanted to tell him. Something I had realised long time before but never got the chance to let him know. Standing there in the middle of the crowd, watching him walk away from me, I finally was able to speak those words that meant to me.

“Min Ho ssi.. Saranghaeyo.. Oppa..”

My voice was barely a whisper in the cacophony of sounds around me.

♪♪♪ Just locking eyes with you makes me shed tears but I will remember you being affectionate and the days when you hugged me.

If we run into each other like fate, please pass me by like you don’t know me. Even though my heart will cry like it has been torn into two. But I can still see you for a short moment while you pass by.

Only with my heart, I will want you.
Only with my heart, I will kiss you.

Don’t be sorry, this is my life whether you love me or feel sorry, I still feel the same way for you. ♪♪♪

Min Ho’s POV

She was watching me as I walk away from her. There was so many things I wanted to tell her. Although my heart seems to be telling me something else, I slowly made my way to the Departure area.

Then suddenly, I halt my steps because I felt someone had called my name. I quickly turned and frantically searched among hundreds of faces for that familiar face.

But she was gone.

One fine day, she walked into my life and now she was gone.

With You Beside Me Ch. 2

Lee Min Ho Fan Fiction

Chapter 2

Follow Your Heart: A Promise (Yakssu)

Jas’s POV

Everytime the wind picks up a speed, I can see his hair dancing with the wind hitting his temple and the upper part of his brows. We have been sitting quietly as none of us have spoken a word to each other. I think he is giving me a space I needed to collect my thoughts.

I smiled to myself seeing him so peaceful. Suddenly, a thought occured to me.

“Min Ho ssi…” I whispered. Not exactly sure if he heard me.

He turned towards me, meeting my gaze. “Ne? Mueoseulyo?” (Yes? What is it?)

“Would you mind if I take a photo of you?” I said to him as my eyes are darting from side to side.

“Jinjja? At last, you are acting like a fan to me.” He said laughing.

I sensed my face turning into beet red.

“Hey.. I’m being serious. I.. I mean.. This place is really beautiful. I think it will look really good. And you can always remember that you visited this place.” I replied managing to save myself from further humiliation.

He looked at me and seeing my troubled face, his eyes suddenly soften.

“Uhm. Just this once, okay?”

He is now standing in the middle of the field.

“Min Ho ssi, a little bit to the left please. Anio. (No.) Come back a few steps to the right.” I shouted at him as I tried to find a good angle to click the photo using his phone.

“Aish. Jinjja. You are acting like a professional photographer now.”

I can hear him shouting back at me.

“Wait until you meet my friend, Jacq. She’s the professional one. Maybe she will even asked you to lie on the grass just to make it perfect.” I chuckled.

“Nukayo? (Who?) Is she also beautiful like you?” He said. Laughing playfully now.

“Aish! Really.” I acted irritated to fight myself from blushing.

The wind blows and he spread his arms wide open and closed his eyes. Still laughing.

Clicked. Perfect. I managed to capture him looking really good and happy.

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“Is it good?” I heard him asking me as he is getting closer.

“It’s perfect! You are looking so handsome.” I gushed. Unaware that I have blurted out what I had in mind.

“Really? Do I really look that good? He asked me. His eyes are dancing with amusement.

“I mean the backdrop is really good.” I lowered my eyes trying to correct myself as I handed back his phone.

He is smiling at me as he checks the photo himself. I can see him totally engrossed to the few shots I made. I noticed him biting his lips pressing them together making his dimples prominent. A habit that really looks adorable on him.

“You can post this photo to your Facebook. I am sure your fans will love to to see your newest picture. You can even make a response to some of your fans! You know, for years I have sent you messages everyday asking how you are doing and sending you wishes. Although, I very well know that there’s no chance for you reading…” Stopping, I clasped my hand to my mouth. I wanted to bite my tongue until it bleeds to punish it from my incessant chatter. It did not happen. Please tell me I haven’t said those things.

He was staring at me, surprised. Then a smile lit up his beautiful face. “You did? What else did you wrote? Hmm. Saranghae?”

My eyes widened at his words. He couldn’t be anymore accurate. I bit my lip, not wanting to speak again and gave myself another humiliation. I am glad he didn’t pressed me any further question.

“I think it is a good idea. I will post the picture now.” I watched him tapping on his phone. A smile lingering on his face.

“Oh look! I got a lot of responses.”

Excitement was written all over his face as he moved closer so I can read the responses from his fans. I suddenly saw a familiar name.

“Min Ho-ssi, I know her. She is a very good friend of mine from Egypt and a big fan of yours. She will be really happy if you reply to her comment.” I told him as I pointed my finger to the name Mega Graphico.

“Really? They knew about me even in Egypt?” He said while typing in a response.

“Of course. You are well-known all over the world.” I smiled at him in assurance. “She’ll be surprised when she reads your comment.”

Life, indeed can spring pleasant surprises. Yinyin. The sweetest surprise in my life. She is like a sister to me. I really miss her a lot.

Then I heard him saying something to me.

“Mianae. (Sorry) I didn’t catch you there.” I cast my eyes down as I realized that I was staring at him all this time.

“I asked you to give me your phone so I can beam one of the photo to your phone.” He sat down on the ground motioning me to join him.

I gave him my phone as I sat next to him.

“I am also like that. You know?” He told me smiling.

My brows furrowed silently asking him to go on and explain.

“I am lost in my thoughts sometimes. Especially when I encounter something to highten those memories. It’s probably a part of my artistic side. I guess.” He said as he brought our phone together placing it back to back and tap the screen of his phone and then mine.

I looked at him and I can see a different side of him. He looks vulnerable.

“Yeah.. I was just missing someone. My eonnie. (My sister.) Yinyin. She is like a best friend and a sister at the same time.” I replied.

“Yinyin. An interesting name. Do you know that Yin is a word for Eum (heart)? He told me grinning.

‘Playful Min Ho is back.’ I thought. Smiling back at him.

“Jinjja? (Really?) Well that explains it. She really has a beautiful heart. Like you. I’m pretty sure that you will like her, too.”

He nods his head to agree with me, smiling.

“I have a best friend, too. I met him before I entered the entertainment industry. We both ended being an actor and the bond between us become even stronger. And there is Kim Bum. We became really close during Boys Over Flower and after the series, we are always hanging out together. I don’t have any brother and I considered both of them as my real brothers.”

I can see the tender look on his face as he is reminiscing the fond memories he had with them.

“Omo! I think I pressed the button to the mainscreen by mistake.” He said as he was about to give me back my phone.

“Wait a second. Is that my picture on your homescreen? You had my picture as your phone wallpaper?”

He explained giving me a surprised look. That’s when it suddenly occured to me that he had seen one of the downloaded pictures of him I had kept as my wallpaper on the phone.

“Min Ho ssi. Can you please give me back my phone? Chaebal..” I cried alarmed.

“Wait! I just want to check how many pictures you have of me.”

He is laughing now. A picture of complete mischief is painted all over his face.

‘Oh no!’ I thought. I had downloaded more than a hundred of his picture and I even have a separate folder for them. If he opened it, I will not be able to look at him in his eyes. It will really be embarassing. I shouldn’t have given him my phone. I mentally slapped myself.

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Min Ho’s POV

As I am about to finished sending files to her phone via S Beam, I accidentally tapped a button to her mainscreen. I’m so surprised as I recognized the wallpaper on her home screen. It was a photo of me taken four years ago. A CF for a  brand of beauty products taken in Singapore. I remember that it was taken after my TV series, Personal Taste.

“Min Ho ssi. Can you please give me back my phone? Chaebal..” Her voice quivered as she said the last word. ‘Please’.

‘Omo! Is she about to cry now?’ I felt alarmed.

“Wait! I just want to check how many pictures you have of me.” I replied laughing and flashing my Jun Pyo/Tan’s mischievous grin, trying to fight my feeling as I was about to give in to her plea. I have a really soft spot to a girl crying.

I saw a flicker of panic in her eyes. Then just like before, she stared blankly at me again. ‘My Wandergirl.’ I chuckled. Her thoughts are wandering somewhere again.

Does she really believed me saying that I will open her files and see for myself if how many photos of me that she have on her phone? Although, the idea is tempting but I will not betray her like that. Based on her reaction, I think it has already confirmed my doubt without her admitting it. She is really transparent. That’s one thing I admire about her. Not like some of the girls I met who are very superficial. Skin deep.

Well, I just wanted to tease her for a while and see if her face can turn any redder. It amazes me how her face turned into the darkest shade of pink everytime she feels embarassed.

Then, she suddenly reached out for my hand at my back. She managed to catch a hold of the mobile chain of her phone. But in an attempt to do so she lost her balance and both of us ended up lying on the grass.

“Ouch!” I exclaimed as her forehead hit mine.

“I’m so sorry, Min Ho ssi. Did I hurt you?”

She asked me. A startled and worried look on her face. I didn’t realised that I am lying flat on the grass with her on top of me as she rubbed my forehead.

I know I should get up now. But something is holding me back as I find myself drowning in her beautiful eyes. She is looking so innocent and delicate right now. She is smelling faintly of fresh flowers and mint.

There is this acute realization of the reasons I have been questioning myself all this time. It was like a veil lifted from my mind and things became clearer to me. Like seeing the silver lining beneath those dark clouds. I could feeling my heartbeat getting faster.

I like her more than I imagined. ‘Is she scared?’ Because I am. After my relationship with Min-a ended, I always put my heart on guard. I never allow anyone to get close to me. I don’t know if I still have feelings for Min-a or I was just afraid of feeling the pain again.

And this strange unfamiliar feeling harboring inside me as I looked into her eyes scared me. Right then and there, it doesn’t matter to me if I have just met her or I haven’t known her well enough. It was like this feeling is enough for me to keep me satiated. The thought is driving me insane. I took a deep breath steadying myself.

I can see strands of long hair on her face as the breeze blows gently. I suddenly find my hand move on its own as I carefully lifted the strands of hair and tugged it behind her ear. I slowly leaned towards her. I can see tat she is holding her breath and looking at me intently questioning me.

Jas’s POV

I saw him studying my face carefully and suddenly his delicate long fingers lifted the strands of hair from my face and gently placed it behind my ear making me feel like I was going to loose myself completely. With his brief and tender touch on my skin, he has taken my heart with him.

I felt him leaning closer to me, his breath on my face. At that moment, I just stop thinking.

The phone was ringing. It took a moment for both of us to realize his phone was ringing. The sound piercing the silence and interrupting what could have happened if it didn’t ring at the right moment. Both of us quickly get up at the same and straightened ourselves.

I was still numb from what just happened but I somehow managed to get a grip of myself as I awkwardly brushed off my dress in an attempt to appear normal.

I saw him pick up the phone.

“Yoboseyo?” (Hello?)

He paused as he answered the call.

“Min-a… Is that you?”

I heard him speak her name. At that exact moment, I felt my whole world crashing down. Hearing him take her name was just like a sudden jolt back to reality. More like someone has removed the dreamcatcher hanging on your window and abruptly waking you up from a beautiful dream making you finally realised that it was too good to be true.

I quietly walked away from him and found a spot near the bank of the river. I watched the water catch the reflection of the afternoon sun. Even the stillness of the pristinely clear water couldn’t calm me down.  Just like the wind causing cascades of ripples on the surface of the water, I was gripped in a whirlwind of emotions.

I can’t blame the call for what for what I was feeling right now. How can I forget the fact that we belong to a completely different worlds.

Somehow along the way of life, our paths had collided accidentally. I have read somewhere that each of us have these thin, invisible threads connecting to another being. The amount of time you get to spend to this person depends on the length of the thread between the two of you. Some of the threads are long with interloping strokes like a cobweb. While some are like a nylon thread: strong but short and most likely to give a big impact in our life.

In the end, I am just a fan who was lucky enough to spend some of my life’s precious moments with this man. But for some unknown reason, why did it feel so right? Like for some fleeting moment, I thought we connected. Or did I just imagine it seeing in his eyes that maybe… Just maybe he felt the same way I have been feeling for him all this time. How can I be so naive and dream with my eyes open?

I closed my eyes running my hand over my arm. The thoughts are consuming me. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I remember my favorite quote, “Follow your heart”. A stray tear trickled down my face. I quickly wiped it away. My heart… My heart wants nothing more than his happiness. Nothing else matter to me. There will be no regret. I promised myself that I will not let him feel awkward because of me. I have to act normal like nothing ever happened. ‘Yakssu, Min Ho sii.’

I sensed him coming behind me. ‘Jas, this is it. Be strong.’ I told myself as I take a deep breath and opened my eyes. I turned to face him. But before I can take the epic 180° turn of my life and bring everything back together at its rightful place, I felt strong arms wrap around me in a comfortable hug. I felt warm and comforted. I find it ironic to feel protected and comforted by the very same person who caused these waves of emotion.

“Jas..”

I heard him called my name. Hearing him struggled with words, I know he was going to broach the topic about what happened between us before the call. I can feel him taking deep emotional breaths which made me even more resolved that it is up to me to make everything right.

I gathered every ounce of my courage to pull away from him gently and turned to face him. Our eyes met suddenly and something exchanged between us. A silent, unspoken understanding.

“Min Ho ssi, I’m so sorry for what happeneed earlier. I can be very clumsy at times.” I told him carefully avoiding his gaze and I nervously flipped my hair back nervously giving him an apologetic smile.

I saw him look at me, studying my face.

“Uhm.. I even tripped face down during my college years. I was..  I was walking without even looking where I was heading. Apparently, I was lost in my thoughts again and I didn’t saw the large root  protruding from a tree.”

A verbal diarrhea. ‘Oh great, Jas. Try to humiliate yourself even more.’

I stifled a nervous laugh.

He softly nodded his head placing both his hands inside his pockets.

“I think we should go back now. It’s getting late. We both have a flight to catch.” I said as I checked my watch.

Thankfully, he didn’t pressed me more as I walked away and he followed behind me at a distance.