Tuesday, July 28, 2009


“Welcome back to the world, Yong-jae.”

I opened my eyes slowly and saw T.I standing beside me, leaning against the wall, hands in the pocket. I was lying on a bed and everything was very white. This is…

“The hospital.”

This person can really read me.

“You faint suddenly after a whole lot of crying. It’s because of stress, and your body can’t hold the pressure. The doctor says this, of course. There’s no way I could come up with the explanation anyway.”

The clock on the wall in front of me shows 9PM. So I had been out of this world for about…5 hours?

“I called your home. I found the number in your wallet. Your mother sounds worried enough. She said she’ll come after work, around 10PM maybe. That’s an hour to go.”

And this person has been here for all this time?

“You got a good punch. I knew it from the very first look. The last one was the best though. It caught me by surprise. I really had underestimated your ability. It’s been a long time since I last felt so excited with a punch-only fight. That’s a great exercise. Thanks a whole lot, Yong-jae. Guess I owe you one then.”

This person…

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Who are you, really?”
“What? You lost your memory or something?”

“This…is the most feared student in this whole school or maybe this whole neighborhood.”
“This person is very, very dangerous.”
“Thus, we are all referring to the owner of this desk as a ‘person’. No he, she, or whatever. It’s ‘a person’ or the name, The-Invisible-Han, or T.I.Han or just T.I., got it?”
“No he, she, or whatever.”
“It’s ‘a person’”
“Stay away from this person.”

“Who are you, really?”
“I better go and call the doctor.”
“No, you don’t understand. I’m fine.”

“No he, she, or whatever.”
“It’s ‘a person’”

“Ok, I got it. I’ll just call the doctor, alright?”

This person…

“Just stay relax, ok? I’ll get the doctor.”

T.I starts to move.

“No he, she, or whatever.”

A person…

“What’s your name?”

T.I turned back.


“I said, what’s your name?”
“Why do you ask that?”
“You know mine.”
“It’s always good to know your opponent first.”

There was a grin.

“That’s my line.”
“What’s your name then?”
“Is it necessary?”
“It is.”
“And why the hell is that?”
“No reason.”
“No reason yet necessary?”
“You’re an interesting person, you know that?”
“I had no idea.”

This time, T.I laughed, a hand smacking the forehead. I wonder what was funny. Yet all I see now is a beautiful stranger, with a grin, looking at me straight in the eye.

“You know what, nobody ever asked me that. So it kind of caught me by surprise. In fact, I never expect that question from anybody. People don’t really want to care what it is anyway.”

This person…is just like me.

“I don’t think you get it. Just forget whatever I said just now.”
“I do.”
“You do?”
“It’s the same as me. Nobody ever asked me that either. I doubt it if anybody ever remember my name at first place. You’re the first to do so.”

There was a look on the face, indescribable.

“No way, what do they call you then?”
“Shrimp, new kid…whatever.”
“To me it’s T.I, a person, devil…whatever.”
“You’re not evil.”
“I said, ‘devil’”
“You’re a nice person.”
“You’re here. When I passed out, you’re here.”
“What, you expect me to leave you just like that? I’m not that heartless, you know.”

“I know. That’s why I’m saying you’re nice.”
“You’re weird.”
“I take that as a compliment. Thanks.”

T.I laughed again. This time it is harder than before, as if the head is going to bang against the door. This person can really laugh.

“You’re funny. Seriously, you are. I haven’t laugh like that for years. You’re making me all human again, for God’s sake.”

Turning back to face me, there is an expression on the face, sincere.


T.I faces the door again, ready to move out when suddenly the person stops, and said it.

“Seul-ri. Han Seul-ri.”

The voice sounds shaky enough. There, at the door, stands a person, nobody ever, ever wants to understand and I vow, right there and then, to not be one of them.

“That’s a nice name, Seul-ri. I’ll remember that.”

Seul-ri moves out, without even turning back to me, but I swear I could almost see tears from the eyes hidden under the cap.

I was isolated even more at school after that incident. Somebody must have saw me punching the guy and the presence of The-Invisible-Han must have freaked them all out. Yet it did not affect me as much as before. In fact, I felt at ease, for nobody ever tried to bully me. So I am quite happy with it. I did not see Seul-ri around though. After that last time in the hospital, I did not saw that person anymore. Being The-Invisible-Han, Seul-ri really knows how to disappear. It was not long almost when suddenly everybody at school was reminded again, the legend was never gone.

It was the third period of class that day, and the teacher was called sick, so it was free class for us. Everybody else was busy chatting and having fun. Well, that has nothing to do with me anyway. So I just sat on my desk, finishing the homework when the door opened, and the class fell silent. I looked up to see Seul-ri, standing at the back door; the appearance is just like the way we first met, though the expression is lighter, not really dangerous as before. Ignoring the eyes and everybody else in the class, Seul-ri moves on to me, a little tap on the shoulder, took the seat beside me, and the usual grin on the face, saying,

“Long time no see, Yong-jae.”

That’s just Seul-ri alright.

“Indeed, it’s been quite sometime now, Seul-ri.”

The grin widens.

“Got a plaster?”

I nodded. I found my friend already. No doubt about it. Somehow, I got the feeling that this person next to me also felt the same way.

“So where have you been all this time?”
“I’m doing a bit of exercise with a few guys from the next neighborhood.”
“No, no, that sounds bad enough. I’m exercising.”
“Yeah, whatever you say, Seul-ri.”

No comments:

Post a Comment