Category: Chapter, Angst, NC-21
Main Cast: Kang Seulri & Cho Kyuhyun
Supporting Cast: Ok Taecyeon
Kyuhyun stares through the window in her ward, he leans his body onto the rim while his mind keep replaying all the facts he had missed about Seulri—something he gradually learnt from Taecyeon’s explanations.
So the girl was only a single little candle that tried to kept on showing its light in the harsh thunderstorm called life. Kyuhyun felt the need to stop Taecyeon in every story he told him about her life, he really couldn’t imagine she had to go through all those all alone, when she was so young and fragile. The more he knew about her misled past, the more the got the urge to hurt himself, simply to just make the pain he feels in his heart more tangible.
Seulri has been in her coma for two weeks now. Kyuhyun and Taecyeon take turn to watch for her, both of them had come to an agreement to let her fight this battle, to believe in her and believe in the mercy Heaven could give her. after all of those hardships, Kang Seulri deserves a happy ending, she deserves to be with the person she loves and she deserves to have a restart in her life. But the poor girl just keeps on closing her eyes, sleeping peacefully as if she’s having the best dream.
Kyuhyun comes closer to her, sits on the edge of her bed and takes out three books she given him. He promised her that he’d read it with her and that he will know her heart if he reads it. He doesn’t need to open the books to know her heart, he believes Seulri’s heart is the most sincere thing anyone could ever give him, but she asked him to do this and he’d do anything for her these days.
He always avoids talking to Seulri, because as a doctor he knows she is not able to hear him, otherwise her brain monitor would show different outcome. But Taecyeon always talk to her whenever he visits, saying that he didn’t care if medically she couldn’t hear him, he believes her soul could listen to his words—and with that new perspective, Cho Kyuhyun also starts to talk to her.
“Seul, I’ll read the book you gave me now.” He opens the wrapping, “We’ll read it together okay?”
A piece of rectangular paper falls from the wrapping and Kyuhyun reads what’s written in it.
“Oppa, Happy Birthday! This must be the silliest birthday present I could give you but I know you’re not a person that sees a gift from its price, yet from its value. These books are the things I went to whenever I miss you, some of the things written here expressed my heart perfectly and some just really beautiful to read to. If you notice, I put a lot of marks and numbers in the book. That’s supposed to be the order you read it, but you can just flip it open to any page you like if you want—as long as you read it. Please remember this forever: I love you, in every breath I take in, every step I made, even in every wrong or right turn I chose in life—I always put you first.”
Kyuhyun sniffs his runny nose, he’s not sure what the books contains but her letter alone is already painful for him to read.
“I’ll follow your order.” He put the card aside and take one book she marked with number 1, Lang Leav poems collection titled Lullabies.
He turns the pages to the first page she marked and begins reading it for her.
“I still search for you in crowds, in empty fields and soaring clouds.
In city lights and passing cars, on winding roads and wishing stars.
I wonder where you could be now, for years I’ve not said your name out loud.
And longer since I called you mine—time has passed for you and I.
But I have learnt to live without,
I do not mind—I still love you anyhow.”
He thinks he understands why she put it as her first mark, Seulri was telling him the time they were apart from each other. The time when she had to begin her endless fight to her life. Kyuhyun inhales to calm his racing heart. Deep inside he knows this will be a very painful book reading for him, yet he determined to finish what he promised her.
“There was someone I knew, a long time ago. I was so in love with him I couldn’t see straight. The saddest thing is, he felt the same way about me.
It was easy in the beginning. All we had to do was laugh at the same things and love took care of the rest. I had never felt so connected to another person.
He would always say it felt as though I was made for him. How glad he was to have met me. We were so sure of what we felt. We should have held tight, onto that certainty.
There is never one particular reason why two people are pulled apart. All these years later, I have stopped looking for answers. I know better now, that love is never a guarantee. Not when you have the rest of the world to contend with.
Sometimes you have to step back and look at these things from a philosophical standpoint. And I know loving him has taught me something about myself, it has broadened my understanding of the world. And if it has done the same for him, then it wasn’t all in vain.”
Kyuhyun tears falls, feeling guiltier than he already is. His mind now wanders to the time when she was all alone doing things even aldults have difficulties to do. His heart aching just to the thought of her loneliness, of her fear, and her hatred towards herself.
He turns the pages again to her next marking, his cries break to the simple sentence written and he has to put down the book once he read the seven letters she always tells him,
“I love you more than love allowed.”
He’s seen a lot during his days as surgeon, especially in the emergency rooms. Nobody wanted to be dragged there, nor wanted to see any of their family members to be in it. But in one summer night, just when he finished his shift and got himself ready to leave the hospital, he saw someone he knew being rolled into the emergency room—and he felt like his breath just being taken away from the sight of Seulri’s father in the E.R.
Two doctors came over to take the first actions, doing all kind of traditional checking procedure to any new patients, searching for the cause of why the man on the gurney was there. Kyuhyun didn’t follow his collegue, instead he looked around to see if Seulri followed her father here to the hospital, but she’s nowhere in sight.
“Kyuhyun oppa?” Somebody called his name.
Kyuhyun turned around and felt slightly realieved to see Park Sora.
“Sora-ssi, what’s happening?”
“He collapse out of the sudden, having difficulty to breath and his skin got blueish.” She answered in a rush, “I’ve been calling Seulri oenni but her phone is off, I called her work place but they said she’s taking a sick leave.”
“She’s sick?” He came into alert. She lives above his place but Kyuhyun hasn’t seen Seulri at all for days—since the proposal he did to Jinae.
“According to her friends in the restaurant at least.” Sora nodded. “Have you seen her or talked to her lately?”
Kyuhyun shook his head and dialed Seulri’s number immediately, only to find that his call being diverted to voice mail—like Sora said. He didn’t stop there, he called his sister next, this should be the time when Ahra arrive from her campus.
“Ne oppa?” She answered.
“Where are you?”
“Bus stop, why? Do you want me to buy something from the store nearby?”
“No, I want you to run home.” He hustled her, “Go there and check if Seulri’s home.”
“I thought you broke up roughly with her.” She replied with thick sarcasm in her voice.
“Please don’t give me that attitude now,” He exhaled, knowing his sister was still in Seulri’s side over the break up. “Her father is here in the hospital, she needs to be informed Ahra and her phone turned off.”
Ahra then hang up the phone before she really ran ito their building. She climbed five stairs to reach into her rooftop house the bang on the door without a dab of politeness.
“Oenni, are you inside? Open up!” She shouted.
Nobody answered but she didn’t lost hope, Ahra rounded her house to peek to the window she knew didn’t have any lock in and spread it open and she finally saw Seulri.
Seulri was sleeping when Ahra climbed the window and she had to shook her quite hard to wake her up.
“Oenni, wake up!” She shook Seulri’s body still.
Seulri opened her eyes weakly and just by the look of it, Ahra bet she spent another day and night to cry.
“Oenni, I’m sorry I barged in from your window, but your phone is off and nobody could get a hold of you.” She began to explain, “Your dad, he’s in the hospital. Oppa just called me and told me to bring you there.”
Seulri came in alert at once, she lifted her body up and rushed into the bathroom just to wash her face. “When did that happen and why?” She asked as she grabbed her purse and phone with her, ready to leave her home in instant.
“Just now and I don’t know why he’s there. I’ll go with you oenni.” Ahra followed Seulri out of the house and run to the bus station.
Once they arrived in the hospital, Park Sora quickly wrapped her arms around Seulri and tried to explained why her father was there as fast as she could. Kyuhyun approached them also with an expression that’s hard to explain.
Ever sinced the night of his foolishness, Kyuhyun had been going back and forth with his own pride. He’s been questioning himself wheter he should knock on her door to apologize or to just let things slide as it happened. He wanted her to know that he was aware that he went too far with his vengeance, yet at the same time he didn’t want Seulri to get the wrong idea of his apology. Because no matter how guilty he felt, Kyuhyun still couldn’t make peace with all the truth he found out about her.
But he wanted to be there for her, he wanted to support her and he knew she needed him more than ever that night. Deep inside he admitted that he loved her still, he knew he’d always feel that way about her, he’d always be in love with the idea of Kang Seulri in his heart.
“What’s happening Sora-ssi? Why is he here?” Seulri lifted her face to look into Kyuhyun, “He’s okay, right? He’ll be okay right? Please tell me he’ll be alright.”
“Appa was looking for you, he kept asking for you oenni.” Sora informed her. “Not me, he really asked to see you.”
Seulri clasped her mouth with her palm, “He remembers me again? Really?”
“Oppa, he’s okay right? Nothing serious from his condition right?” She looked into Kyuhyun that still stood awry on his place.
Her swollen eyes spoke to him louder than her words, his heart was broken one more time seeing her resigned manner, her helpless expression and her desperate wish. He contributed a lot to the pain she experienced that night, it was his plan to hurt her that way, but why he heted himself so much just with the hoarse voice she spoke to him with? Did she cry that much because of him? Has she got any proper food or at least sleep well?
He shrugged the melancholy thoughts from his head, Kang Sooha’s condition was more important than his regret and Seulri only asked him those question because he’s the only doctor among them.
“You’d better see the doctor that worked on him.” Kyuhyun replied, led her towards the curtained room where her father was. “He’s conscious at the moment, but still very weak.”
Seulri followed his steps from behind with Ahra and Sora followed him aswell. Kyuhyun took her into the vast emergency room that has many onoccupied beds with curtains in between. She took a right turn after he pointed her father’s place and a doctor already waited for her.
“Sunbae, this is the daughter of this man.” Kyuhyun introduced Seulri to the doctor.
She bowed politely and the doctor did the same before he began to explained.
“Your father rushed here because his social worker got complain from him about his shortness of breath.” He showed Seulri the chart containing informations of her father.
“Is he okay now?”
“We’ve done some procedures on him and he’s being in his stable state at the moment, however,” The doctor hesitated, “this never easy to explain,” He scrathed his head as he avoided looking into Seulri, “There’s not much we can do now, aggashi.”
Seulri felt like she’s been choked, “what are you saying?”
“I’m sure you’re aware of his dementia?”
“Did the doctor that first declared that to you told you the kind of difficulties he’d have throughout his life?” He continued.
“That he’d have difficulties to remember certain things?” She still flustered.
“Dementia is an abnormality in the brain caused by a broken cell, of course we understand that the brain controls every impulse in our bodies, including passive and active mussles.”
“Doctor, I’m not that smart, please explain it in Korean language as short as possible if you don’t mind.” She began to get impatient.
“Your father experiencing aspiration pneumea, it means the membrane that protects his lungs are attack with foreign substance, such as his food or drink that accidentally got into his respiration system caused by his lack of control of laring muscle. Some food entered his tracea and stayed in his lungs, got rotten and created infection.” He tried to explain to Seulri in the most non-medical way possible.
Seulri took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “So can you save him or not?”
“I’m sorry, we can only provide him this much because the infection had gone so bad, even a big operation wouldn’t make a difference. He’s still conscious now, agashii you can talk to him.” He lifted his hand to pointed the gurney her father was in.
She brought her hands to cover her face, felt more flustered that she was earlier. “So we just wait for his body to give up? Just watch him lie in there and die slowly?”
“I’m sorry.” He bowed to her.
“Leave me alone.” She uttered her shaky words, “All of you leave me alone!”
“Seul,” Kyuhyun tried to talk but Seulri quickly get into her father’s area and closed the curtained right in front of his face.
Kyuhyun, Sora and Ahra just looked into each other, not sure of what they should do for her so they just wait—and listened to her conversation with her father from behind the curtain.
Seulri approach his gurney, took her seat next to him and carefully placed her hand on top of his while her other hand caressed his grey hair.
“Appa, I’m here. You must be waiting for me, I’m sorry it took me a while to get here.” She whispered, tried her best not to cry while her heart was currently scorching in pain.
“My baby.” He whispered back, “how are you?”
“I’m great, never better.” She lied, “But do you know what will make my day even better? That you can quickly recovers and go home with me.”
“I’m sick Seul, you know that too.”
“They’re curing you, appa.” She sniffed her nose, “you’ll be fine.”
“Seulri-ya,” He lifted his hand to caressed her face, “Stop crying, baby. You’re ugly when you cry, what if Kyuhyun saw it? he’ll run far away from you seeing this face.”
Her tears fell freely to his words, “I don’t care. I just want you now appa, you and me just the two of us. I can take you away from this city if you want, we can live in our old village before we came to Seoul. I can leave everything behind me, my job, my school, even Kyuhyun oppa. As long as you’re here with me.”
Her father chuckled lightly, “How could you leave him behind? He’s the one that will take care of you when I’m gone.”
“Appa, don’t talk like that.” She plead.
“My baby is in a good hand,” he smiled and grimaced to his pain at the same time, “I can go peacefully if I know you’re with him, he’ll keep you safe.”
Seulri bit her lips, tried not to shriek her pain out loud, if only her father knew what happened.
“I’m tired Seul, I’m sorry.”
“You heard the doctor.” He reasoned with her, “please allow me to rest, I just really want to sleep now.”
She whimpered and sobbed continuously, she was heart broken seeing her father’s condition. He hadn’t been able to move around as he pleased, he lived in his own shell and his limited world that she could barely came to touch anymore, he suffered more sickness and Seulri could understand that why he’s tired. But she couldn’t let him sleep, what about her? what would she do if she lost her remaining porpose of life?
“Appa, I’ll be very lonely if you sleep.” Her voice began to raised up.
Her father lifted his hand to caressed her hair, “Your man will keep you company, I know he will.”
“Please Seul, I’m very sleepy. I’ll talk to you later, okay?” He patted her head. “I love you, my baby.”
“I love you too appa.” She gave up. “Please sleep peacefully. I’ll be here when you open your eyes again.”
Her father closed his eyes and Seulri moved her seat even closer to him, crossed her arms next to him then placed her head on top—silently cried her heart out.
She spent the first hour like that, until she couldn’t feel her arms and she changed her position, stood up to fixed the blanket on her father’s body and caressed his hair for some more. She noticed how old he’s gotten, his grey hair, the traces of lines on his face that became more vivid, how much thinner he gotten since he got sick and how peaceful he looked like while he was sleeping.
“Appa, it’s okay.” She braced herself to say something she dreaded, “I’ll be okay, you can rest easy.” She lened in closer to him to give a kiss on his forehead, his cheeks and his hand.
She stayed beside him for the next half an hour, leaned on his shoulders to listen to the sound of his weak heartbeats that gradualy got slower. Kyuhyun finally entered his curtain chamber after the long flat sound that came from the device connected to his heart. He had to be there for her, he had to support Seulri for now she lost the only family she had left.
“Oppa, can you turn that off, please? I hate its sound.” She sniffed her nose and quickly wipe another tears that fell from her eyes.
Kyuhyun approached the machine next to her and turned off the machine she mentioned, he placed his stetoscope in his ears to check her father’s vital and when he couldn’t find any beat remaining, he lifted his left arm to look into his watch then with his eyes that’s flodded with tears, he declared his time of death.
Seulri breathing got faster the more she tried to suppress her feeling. Kyuhyun looked at her, she’s still tried to stand properly despite the shock she just got and Seulri never looked so fragile in his eyes. He stepped into her, took her arm and pulled her closer to him before he wrapped her in his embrace.
“I’m sorry for your lost, Seul.” He whispered in between his own tears.
She didn’t reply, she just gave all of her remaining streght to braced herself for this goodbye. If Kyuhyun didn’t hold her as tight, she knew she’d be sitting on the floor, patheticly cried for the cruel life she could never avoid from.
Ahra came into the chamber not long after, she approached both of them and joined them to cry for what Seulri just lost. She round her arms widely to hug Seulri and Kyuhyun together and placed her chin on Seulri’s shoulder as the three of them cried together.
“Mianhae oenni, I’m sorry for your lost.” She muttered in between her hiccups, “You still have us, okay? we’re your family, okay?”
Seulri didn’t reply, she just took in the strenght both of the people that’s holding her tried to give fore her. silently still grateful that she didn’t have to do it all alone and secretly wished what Ahra said was true, that she still matters to Kyuhyun and Ahra like a family in their eyes.