[Chap. 2] World is Big.. and Small, at the Same Time

“You hear me no wrong, Red.” You dragged your luggage to the check-in counter queue. On the other line, your younger brother cussed some incoherent words but you ignored it.

“Don’t try to cuss me when all of your allowance was coming from me. Do it when you can earn money by yourself,” you stated coldly, stopped his cursed.

“Sorry for that, I’ll make sure to pay you back,” he said in low tone. You move forward, there are 5 people in front of you now.

“So, tell me again… Are you coming here soon? To South Korea?” he asked in disbelief.

“Maybe you have problem hearing? Yes, I’m going to South Korea now. You’ll see me in front of your door, a few hours from now. So, don’t forget to clean your room for me. I expect to have a hot shower after a long hour’s flight.”

“Really? What are you doing here? Vacation? Mom didn’t tell me anything about you coming. How long you will stay? Why don’t you stay at hotel?”

“Mom is busy with her restaurant, you know? And yes, this is so sudden but I will go there for job. So stop questioning and starts to clean your room,” There are 4 people in front of you now.

“What kind of job? How long you’ll stay? You know, summer is coming and…” you cut his words, “Red, I have a project with SK Company and most likely I will be there for 6 months at the longest. I will explain later and yes, I know summer is coming so I’ll make sure to give you extra allowance to Jeju Island. Now, shut up your mouth and clean your room!” you hang up at the last word in annoyance. There are 2 people in front of you now. Suddenly your phone vibrated again, without seeing the caller ID, you snapped again,

“What else? You know I’m germ phobic, so clean y-“you stopped at a simple cough from the other line; you took a glance at your phone. ‘Big Boss’, the caller ID stated. You regret your action to not see the caller phone ID before answer it.

“Yes, Boss. Sorry I thought it was my brother, hehe,” you let out a small grin; even though you know he couldn’t see you.

“I hope I didn’t interrupt you. Just final words before you go. I believe you know the reason why I call,” he said in firm tone. Here we go with long speech, you said in heart.

“I know all of this is so sudden. We won the pitch, handle SK Company and you lead the launching project. I believe you know the importances of this launching not only for SK but also for our company, to prove them that we are the right agency to handle their brand. You know, this is not only about money but also pride of company. That’s why we agree to send you, our creative strategic planner, to SK company head quarter to lead this regional project for almost 6 months. You know this is hard for us too, but this is the best for you. Don’t ever forget that we will never forget you. So, please go with brave heart, do your best and achieve great results like you always do here. Our company counts on you. Remember, you never alone,” he sobbed in his last words.

You surprised to his kind words, “Boss, you acted too much, as if I will never go back. We’ll have regular meeting over Skype, right? And most likely I will go back here several times to check on the project. Your words like send me into the funeral, you know?” you laughed at your boss. Even though he is your boss, he reminds you a lot to your father so you’ll never get to hate him.

“Okay, I got it. Good luck.” He hangs up. You move forward to check in counter and put the luggage and give the officer, your passport and e-ticket. Your phone vibrated again, this time you make sure to check the caller. Unknown number. Hesitate; you’re picked up the call.

“Hi —, are you in South Korea yet?” that’s Allan Tan’s voices, the marketing director of SK company.

“Not yet, my flight in 1 hours. Anything I can help, Sir?” you sounded worry, he usually call you only if something is wrong. If not, he will whatsapp you instead.

“Ah okay. Just want to inform you that company driver couldn’t pick you up at the airport later, so you can take a cab and put it on our bills, are you fine with that?”

“That’s okay. My brother will pick me up.” You assured him.

“Another thing is.. I have to go to Japan for next three days, so you will have extra 3days off before I came back to South Korea. No need to worry, your works will starts when I go back, okay?”

“Sure, I’m happy to get extra day off.”

“I know I always can count on you. Why don’t you move to our company as creative director? I think SK will be more than happy to have brilliant employee like you,” he stated in playful tone.

“Mr. Tan, you already know my answer. If SK wants me, they need to walks off my boss’ dead body first,” you smiled at confused officer on the check in counter.

“Ah ya, I forgot about your possessive boss. Anyway, see you on next three days!” He hangs up and you slipped your phone into your pocket. The officer gave you the boarding pass and informs you the entrance gate. Since you have nothing to do, you walked directly to the waiting room. On your way, you tried to text your brother to pick you up at the airport,

 

To: Red

Message: Pick me up at 3pm at incheon airport. Clean your room.

 

Before you press the ‘send’ button, someone bumped into you, make your phone flew few meters away from your hand. Surprised, you didn’t say anything but only saw your phone scattered on the floor. The battery was out of its place, along with your phone soft case. In short, your phone was broken.

A white hand took all of the pieces and brought that back to you, “So…sorry, I don’t know…” He said with small voice and handed all of the pieces to you. He smiled in sadness and you just stare blankly at your broken phone.

“Minseokkie hyung, let’s go. Boarding in 10 minutes,” someone yelled in Korean to the man in front of you. The man in front of you got panicked then suddenly he pulled out several bills from his wallet. He put the money on your free hand, bows deeply to you and mouthed ‘sorry’ several times while walking backwards to his friend. They went to the boarding room, left you within a minute.

Shocked with what happened, you slowly try to process everything. So that boy bumped into you and try to make it by give you some money. You counted the bills on your hands. There are 20.000 Won, it’s about $20. That’s even not enough to buy your soft case phone. You were angry but feels too tired to yell at anyone. Just my bad luck, that’s what you think of.

You let out a deep sigh and go to the restroom to wash your hand. As a germ phobic, it’s your habit to wash your hand after you touched anything. Usually you brought your hand sanitizer, but you left it on your luggage, not in your small bag. So, you find the nearest restroom and take your time to wash your hand.

**

You ran to the entrance gate on time to catch your flight. Your seat usually in economy class but your boss kind enough to buy you an executive class ticket for this flight. Maybe because he was very happy to see you manage to lead this awesome project.

You stroll to look at your seat number, 8A. You went through some teenagers on executive class area with same red color tone on their clothes. You think it was funny, because it’s like a study trip where pupil will use same uniform and sit together.

You found your seat on the window side, your favorite. There’s no one on seat number 8B. You put your small bag under the seat in front of you and fasten your seatbelt. You look out to the window before realizing some commotion near the front door. A man with red shirt ran and tried to catch his breath. Some other men in red, which previously sit in front of you, patted him and motion him to sit.

“I’m okay. I found my phone at restroom,” he talked to other men in Korean. In fact, you only understand some conversation in Korean, but not confidence enough to talk in Korean. Honestly, what do you expect from short language course in less than one month?

The other men back to their sit and the red shirt man walked to his seat, which surprisingly is on your side. He put his bag on the cabin above you and sits beside you. You just looked at his face, wondering where you have seen his face. He looks familiar, after all.

In another second, he noticed your presence through your deep stare. He let out a sigh and turn around to his back, “Hyung, there’s a fan girl beside-“but his words stopped with pilot announcement that the flight will be take off in a minute so all passenger need to fasten their seatbelt.

You didn’t heard his words and mumble by yourself, “weirdo.”

The plane took off in a minute and after reached stable height, the ‘seatbelt’ light was off. You pull a table in front of you and put all pieces of your phone on it. You tried to collect each pieces and put it on the right place. You switched it on, still no respond.

Click. You heard a click on your left side, and that man holding his phone towards you. Feel offensive, you asked in firm tone, “Are you taking a picture of me?”

“Sorry?” he replied blankly.

“Never mind, I don’t think you understand English, creeper.” You waved your hand and continue to stare on your phone. A silence for a second before that man touched your shoulder to turn you around and faced him.

“For your information, I understand and can speak English fluently. And I’m not a creeper because I took a selca of me, not your picture.”

“Okay.” You answered in short and back your focus to your dead phone. When you were too focused on something, nothing can distract you in instant. You know, that kind of 4D personality you have.

“What’s going on with your phone?”

“Broken.”

“I know,” he sighed, “I mean, how?”

“A steamed bun bumped into me.” Another short answer from you. His eyes were getting bigger with your weird answer. What in the earth? a steamed bun can bump into a human?

“Ah, that’s it. I will buy again later.” You shoved your dead phone to your bag then decided to work on some worksheet. You put on your glasses and correct some story board on your worksheet.

“Kris, are you okay? Is she bothering you? You can exchange seats with me,” a man in his middle age called him from behind, in Chinese.

“I’m okay. I think she is not a fan.” He answered in Chinese, something you didn’t understand.

You work on your sheet silently; he looks interest with your draw and stares on it. Too close, actually.

“You know, Kris. It’s impolite to stare on other people’s work when in fact, you are in front of them.” You broke the silence. He gasped and accuses you.

“You know me?”

“No.”

“How do you know my name?”

“Just guess, I guess. I hear that man called you like that, even though I don’t understand Chinese. Problem?” you closed your work sheet and put it back to your bag.

“Not really. But are you really don’t know who I am?”

“Unfortunately, I don’t know.” You take a blanket and try to sleep. Kris looked at you in disbelief.

“Do you really didn’t know me? Maybe you remember to see me once? In a television?” he asked with full of hope again. You tried to think of it again.

“Ah! You!”

 

 

 

***

Note: Korean will be in blue. Chinese in red. While English conversation will be in black.

Hope you wouldnt get confused 🙂

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