High school. Like every other kids out there we grew up. We grew up and went to high school. Another stage of our life. Another step to take. Another...another...another...
I turned my head to see a young lady runny towards me while waving her hands. "Mi Rae! Are you done for today?"
"Neh. Where are we going today?"she asked.
I chuckled while taking her backpack. "I discovered this shop. You'll see. It has everything."
And hand in hand, we left the school'd grounds and headed towards the bus station.
"You know, I broke up with Dongwoon,"I heard her saying as she sat in the bus. "And I think it's ok for you to be happy about it, Seung Ho."
I smiled widely as I looked out the window. "I will never be happy if you're hurt,"I caressed her hair. "I'm your best friend. I am beside you, Mi Rae. Just don't push me aside over again."
Now the silence was awkward. Even if we grew up and we were teenagers, we could still recall the fights we had when we were little. The things she did, casting me away for the sake of her boyfriend.
"C'mon,"I called, taking her hand. "The shop is this way. And I bet you'll love it!"
She just looked at me and followed my lead.
Just like that, Mi Rae...please do that in the future too. Let me lead you through this busy world. Or better said, let your heart lead your way to me once again...
I looked a the window. Her pale face was like a ray of light.
"What are you doing here, Choi Mi Rae? Shouldn't you be in class?"
"Hehehhee...let's skip today's classes, Seung Ho,"she whispered. "Let's go to the red tree. Or better, let's go to the fair!"
"Wait a minute!"I said, closing the window.
I grabbed my things and shoved them inside my bag. My classmates were watching me with curiosity. I know what they were thinking: Yang Seung Ho, the piano prodigy was skipping classes?! Anyway, I left the class room and ran across the school's hallway, ending up bumping into someone.
"Oh, Seung Ho! Where's the fire?"
"Yesung. Sorry! I'm kinda in a hurry right now,"I said, helping him to gather the books that fell on the floor.
"Skipping classes, hubae?"
I frowned. It was the first time he called me like that.
"Mi Rae,"I whispered.
"Is she ok? I heard she broke up with that idiot."
"She's fine. Sunbae, please cover up for me today! Please?"I begged.
His eyes sparkled. I should have know then...I should have...
"Go! I'll let the teacher know that you were not feeling well,"he said with a smile.
"Thanks! You rock!"I ran towards the exit. "Kaja!"I took her hand and began running towards the main gates.
We took the bus and got down at the end of the line. There was the fair. Lots of lights and crowded stands, people with children, laughter and surprises hidden under the linen of a magician.
"Look, Seung Ho! A fortune teller! Let's try it, ok?"she pointed towards a stand which was appearently avoided by the people.
"Ok, kiddo! Let's go!"
"Strangers, leave everything behind once you enter here. Leave you thoughts, your fears, your happiness, your questions, leave everything at the entrance. Be an open minded person and don't question the fortune teller's gift. That's what you need to do in order to find out the truth,"spoke a husky voice as soon as we stepped inside the tent.
Mi Rae loooked at me and squeezed my hand.
"Don't be a goose, Mi Rae!"I laughed.
"Yang Seung Ho, let go of her hand,"spoke someone. "And please, enter alone."
"She probably heard you calling me. I'll be right back! Don't go anywhere whitout me, arasso?"
She nodded and let go of my hand.
I went further inside the tent. The air was strange and warm. At a round table, an old hag was sitting with a crystal ball in front of her.
"Sit,"she demanded, thing which I did, whithout arguing.
"Let me tell you this: I don't believe in this kind of things,"I hurried to let her know.
She smiled. "I know, Seung Ho. I know. But please tell me, what would you like to know? The future? The feelings that she has for you? The thing which will happen once you leave this tent?"
"Very well then! I will tell you your future. It's your call if you believe what I'm going to tell you or not,"she continued, not minding my skepticism. "Hmmmm...the crystal ball refuses to tell me something about you. I'll lay the cards."
I watched her mixing the old pack of cards. They were long and worn-out. The pictures were looking like someone spilled water on them:erased.
"Listen well, Seung Ho. Can you hear it?"
I looked at the old hag. Was she crazy?
"What should I hear?"
"The cards, Seung Ho. The cards! They are speaking. Can't you leave your shell and become more open minded?"she replied with a mocking smile. "Well, not everyone can hear the cards. It's a gift you see. I will tell you what they say. You two, you and that girl, have a strong line. That means you are tied together by fate. Nothing can break that connection you share. It's unique...or at least, that's how it's supposed to be. Only death can break your relationship with her and you know it. She knows it. The cards show it. And Seung Ho, this will occur sooner than you expected. Yes, it's a warning! The cards are warning you. Don't do anything hasty! Let things follow their flow. Seung Ho, she will die."
I think that was one of the few moments when my heart stopped, only to resume her beating in a faster rhythm.
"You're crazy! Mi Rae is doing very well. She's young and healty! I won't believe this foolish things you brag! Here's your payment, razy womna,"I continued putting a bill on her table.
"Very well, Seung Ho. Do what you think it's the best. But you'll see. She will leave you forever alone..."
Her voice became weaker as the crowd surrounded me.
"Mi Rae!"I called.
"Seung Ho, do you want some cotton candy?"
I watched her eating the cotton candy happily. I think that was the most paceful moment the world could ever see. No one in Heaven could have that expression on their faces...That fortune teller must have been crazy, that's what I said to myself.
But then again, no one should ever deny that there are people that just know more than you do.
"What are you doing tonight, Seung Ho?"she asked while we sat from the table.
I thought about it for a sec. "The guys from the band said that they want to practice tonight for tomorrow's festival. And I need to practice the piano or else I'm dead at the exam. Why? Anything planned?"
She smiled. "Just. I thought we could go stargazing tonight. But it's alright if you're busy."
I shut my eyes, trying to ignore the painful memory of her violent rejection last time I invited her to stargaze together.
"Wait for me till 1 o'clock. I'll knock at your window, ok?"
"You're the best, Seung Ho!"she exclaimed, giving me a peck on my cheek.
"No prob, kiddo!"
The best...I no longer can hear her saying that. I wish I could turn back time and stop it there. Those moments...I treasure them more than I treasure anything else in this grey world.
"Neh, Seung Ho, do you remember what we promised to each other when we were little?"she asked me that night as I covered her with a brown blanket.
"Of course I remember! Why?"
"Remember that we both promised that we would never leave each other's side? And that we'll grow old together? That we'll say each other's name if we ever get on a big stage?"
I frowned. Something was off.
"I-I might have to break one promise,"she whispered. "I don't want to, but...eomma said I can become a great ballerina if..."
She stopped and took a deep breath. "...if I go to Juilliard."
"Juilliard? Bu-but that's all across the globe, in USA!"I exclaimed, sensing that my lungs could no longer take in the oxygen.
"I know. It's in New York. But Seung Ho, I need to be a great ballerina!"she continued, watching the starry sky.
A great ballerina, huh? And then it hit me! The fortune teller's words...
"Don't go. Please, Mi Rae! Don't go over the ocean! We have great dancing schools here as well! Don't go..."I begged, betraying my fear.
"Seung Ho...I can't. Mom bought the tickets."
"NO! Mi Rae, listen to me! Don't go! Don't go to America. Something will happen to you if you do!"
"Yang Seung Ho! I understand you don't want me to leave, but saying such hateful words...!"she stood with her fists clenched. "My decision is final! I'm going to Juilliard!"
And I stood there, watching her go down the hill. And I couldn't do a thing to prevent the future occur.
That day was marked with a big black X on my wall calendar. It was a black day itself. I had no energy left in my body. From my room, I could hear them putting the baggage inside the car. Their cheerful words. My parents replies. Their laughter...I could hear them all. And still, I could not move my body off the bed and down the stairs. I could not bare to see her face, knowing that the distance she was putting between us was greater than I could ever overcome.