The bus stops and my eyes open. I can see that I am almost there. The terminal is only a few minutes away. At this stop, several people get on board. Among them, one catches my attention because it is as rare as an eclipse. Being unable to hide my emotion, I look like an idiot in front of her. Her gaze falls on me while her plump lips draw a slight smile. Is it addressed to me? Would she have noticed me? Sitting in this bus, I am everything that is most insignificant… everything she is not. My feet tremble because I feel my temples getting wet. Is it stress or heat? I feel really stupid, I hope she sees only fire. She walks towards the back of the bus while she doesn’t take her eyes off me. She destabilises me, I feel like her eyes are defying me. Her slow gait gives me time to stare at her and examine her body. I fucking like her! She wears heels that show a perfect pedicure. Around her left ankle is attached a gold jewel. Her long, muscular legs suggest an athletic figure. Her ebony skin is luminous due to the glitter that covers her body. She is dressed in a small black dress. Close enough to the body to make out her wide hips and her slim waist. Her blood-red lips make me want to steal a kiss from her. She is always staring at me, she provokes me with her gaze. That’s it, she understood. She knows I like her. She chooses to sit behind me. WHAT THE F**K? I sigh in frustration. My shoulders are drooping, I wonder how I’m going to keep looking at her. A wave of questions overwhelms me. If she was really interested in me, she would have chosen a seat from which our gaze could have been devoured, wouldn’t she? But instead, she chooses not to see me. My frustration gives way to doubt. The urge to say a few words to her burns my lips. Dejected and dead-eyed, I am jealous of her eyes because they see what I don’t see. What are you thinking about? What are you dwelling on? And that smile on your lips as you enter, was it meant for me? I want to turn around and ask her directly why she doesn’t pay more attention to me. But if I did, she would understand all too quickly what a passionate and temperamental boy I am.
The thing that pisses me off the most when I meet a girl is this question of timing. If I go too fast, they get scared. And when the relationship evolves slowly, they get bored… What can I do about it? She makes me want to play. And what will people say? A love in black and yellow, is it possible… ?
“TERMINAL » announces the driver. « Everybody out!”
I didn’t even have time to turn off my headphones and pick up my bag from the ground and she was already gone?
Seeing her get off that bus, walking away from me without me even having had time to…
I should have taken action and thought less about it. That’s what I’m all about, being paralysed by my doubts. I am so sorry but I quickly console myself by telling myself that if she hadn’t come down before me, I wouldn’t have been able to see her from behind? At least now I know what to expect. And how can I say it politely…? I hope she becomes mine!
It’s 3:52pm and I’m frustrated, not to change. I walk into the bloody café. God, I realise how much I missed this place. When I was little my mother and I used to come here a lot. We used to talk like two best friends. I sit nostalgically in our favourite spot. Who was she? And this smile, was it offered to me? I take off my jacket and my hat. Then I start thinking about that girl. I feel both excited and scared at the same time.
I’m afraid I’ll never see her again. I should have taken my chance while there was still time. I close my eyes so that I can see her better, I keep replaying this scene: that of our meeting. I develop different scenarios.
She gets on the bus and walks towards me. She smiles at me and engages in conversation. We chat until we get to the end of the bus and then we exchange phone numbers.
She gets on the bus and heads for the back. I get up from my seat to be at her side. At first surprised and then excited, she smiles at me and then we begin to chat. I tell her that I like her and that I would like to see her again. Flattered, she gives me her number. Before we leave, we plan a date.
She gets on the bus and kisses me.
Fuck, yeah, that’s how it should have been, actually. Of course she should have kissed me after she smiled at me. She should have thrown herself at me and given herself all to me. Yep, that’s clearly how she should have reacted. I would have let her… After all, I like adventurous women: those who dare. More seriously, thinking about her causes me more pain than joy.
Jaebeom was startled when he heard his mother’s voice. He had almost forgotten why he had gone to that café. Lost in thought, he had almost forgotten that he had to meet his mother, to see her again.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you. What were you thinking about?” she asked, intrigued. « It seemed intense.”
Jaebeom remains silent. In front of his mother, he is moved. He hadn’t seen her for thirteen years.
“I’m listening, you said on the phone that you had answers to my questions. I want to know everything in detail.”
“Don’t you want to order first?”
“You’re trying to buy time, aren’t you? So be it, WAITRESS » shouted Jaebeom.
A few seconds later, noises approached their table.
“Hello, may I take your order please? » asked the waitress.
“Good evening, I’ll take a..”
“Oh my God JB it’s you! Uh… Can I… can I… Ah! I can’t believe it… JB in my
coffee… Can I have a picture?”
“No, but you can take my order. I would like an Americano with lots of ice cubes and the same for my mother. Thank you, thank you very much.”
Jaebeom coldly hands the waitress the menu card of the café. His face is so expressive that the waitress quickly understands that she should not be noticed anymore. Offended, she leaves without a word.
“Jaebeomi, that’s not the way to address women, you know that.”
“I’ve already told you not to call me that anymore. We’ve ordered. I’m waiting for you to explain.”
« Thirteen years ago, your father and I were going through a bad patch. He worked a lot and was under a lot of stress from his job. In the evenings, when he would come home, he was very irritable and tired. So he drank. Every night your father drank and paid almost no attention to me. I looked after you alone and I couldn’t stand feeling stuck in my role as a mother. Your father didn’t look at me and didn’t want me any more. I felt really lonely and even invisible. At first I was affected by his behaviour. The fact that he ignored me and didn’t give a damn about me broke my heart. I was in a lot of pain and cried after dark. I was no longer happy. Gradually my feelings for him started to turn into hatred. I had sacrificed my life for him, I gave him a son and this is how he treated me, thanked me. I was unhappy, I was beginning to lose my self-confidence. I lacked love and gratitude. Jaebeom, know that there is nothing worse for a woman than to be ignored and neglected. As the months went by, my hatred became more and more ingrained and settled in our relationship. Little by little I began to notice that men liked me and wanted me. So I understood that I wasn’t the problem but that it was your father. So I regained a taste for life. You know that I have always liked to make myself beautiful. But with your father I felt that I was letting myself go and becoming a shadow of my former self. Do you understand what I mean? I had to act, I had no choice. Seeing all those men chasing after me and courting me. Some ideas in my head came to life. Since I needed to feel like a woman again, I started to imagine myself in someone else’s arms. At first I didn’t think about cheating on your father. I just wanted to be courted and appreciated. I was only looking for validation from the male gender. So I had drinks with some men and then went to restaurants with some of the others. Among them, there was one I liked very much. His name was Sun-oh. He was handsome, tall and had a very good financial situation. He knew that I was the mother of a little boy. I often talked to him about you, and every time I would show him pictures of you. He knew that you meant everything to me. Sun-oh was a very jealous and possessive man. He made me feel like a woman, beautiful and wanted. I was excited by his masculinity, his voice and his financial standing. He made me travel, gave me time and listened to me. Together we were happy. Our romance intensified after several months. Unlike me, he didn’t have a child and wanted one. So I thought about divorcing your father so we could live together but Sun-oh refused. He didn’t want a blended family. That’s when the fights started….
“Here are your drinks”, interrupts the waitress before slipping out.
Kim, surprised by the waitress’s intervention, loses her story line. She clears her throat and starts again.
“As I was saying, that’s when the arguments started. He said he wanted a family, obviously I wanted him to be your stepfather. But he didn’t see it that way. He didn’t believe in blended families. Even though he was 45 years old, he was still in his mother’s grip. His mother was against this kind of practice. He promised to marry me and make me happy. And I wished for only one thing: your happiness. So I insisted that the three of us should live together because I was convinced, with a bit of determination, that he would eventually give in. But this was not the case. On the contrary, our relationship has clearly deteriorated. He too began to stop looking at me. He lost interest in me. When we were together I noticed that his phone was vibrating more than usual. When we talked, his eyes were empty and his answers evasive. That’s when my obsession for him was born. I couldn’t see myself suffering again as I had suffered for your father. I was finally happy and I didn’t want to take this lesser happiness. So, one evening, I took my courage in both hands. I asked him what I had to do to make him love me again like in the beginning. So he told me that I had to leave the city and move to Japan, where he was promoted to President of a big company.”
“For thirteen years you were in Japan?!”
“Don’t get me wrong, I had to think about myself. Your father had hurt me and I couldn’t stand being a mother anymore. This role was beginning to be a burden.”
« So I was a burden for you?” asks Jaebeom with tears in his eyes.
“That’s not what I mean, you distort everything. I’m just saying that being a mother should not rhyme with sacrifice, self-abandonment and misfortune. I needed to live.”
“You wanted to live on love and fresh water, didn’t you?”
“Exactly Jaebeomi. You’re my son, you are. You understand me, you’re not like your father. I needed to live on love and fresh water. Ah, I love this expression, it represents me so well. On a whim, I decided to give it all up. I wanted to make your father suffer. I wanted him to know and feel the pain he hadn’t suffered and endured all this time. Your father, I wanted him to suffer. I knew abandoning him the way he abandoned me would make him suffer.”
“What about me? Did you know that abandoning me would make me suffer?” he said with tears falling.
“It’s true that you were only thirteen years old. But already at that age you were a tough guy. I knew that no matter what happened, you would get over it. You were always brave and mentally strong. Remember at school, you were the first one to fight or stand up to your father at home. I knew you would get over it.”
“After telling your father that I was going to live in Japan with another man, I asked for a divorce but he never wanted to sign the papers. I didn’t care because I had already made up my mind. Once in Japan, Sun-oh kept his promise and married me.”
“Don’t tell me I have a half-brother.”
“No, not at all Jaebeom, you have half a sister. Her name is Somi.”
In a fit of a mad rage Jaebeom rose abruptly from his chair and spilled the two drinks brought by the waitress on the floor. He couldn’t believe that his mother could have acted so selfishly and cruelly towards him. He took his jacket and walked out of the café, smashing the front door against the wall. Kim was flabbergasted.
The waitress hadn’t missed a bit of their conversation. At that moment, neither Kim nor Jaebeom suspected that this exchange, in a public place would have unsuspected consequences.