As the winds calm the ocean
My heart will always futile
I want to reach freedom ’til the very end
But as long the voice hasn’t come to reel
I’ll keep the shadow ’till its thin…
Even I’m not a social worker but I always acting like one of them. Especially if my friends or relatives need my support or just want me to blab about here and there.
But something just happen a months a go. My younger sibling — we’re not blood related sister and brother but because we were close to each other, so I adopted him as my younger brothers– I have to many younger sisters and brothers too, why? Because I’m a one and only child in my family…I want to have many siblings, but apparently my mom can’t have any children–medically.
That younger sibling is Keenan, he’s a Korean by birth but listed as Indonesian citizen because he was born and raised here in Indonesia, her mother was pregnant when she’s coming to work here. After struggle with hardship as a single mother…she met a wonderful guy who can accepted Keenan like his own blood and then both of them decide to get married, at that time Keenan was 3 month old.
He’s 16 now, born in 1994. He knew that he’s different from his other brother and decide to dig his own past from his mother and the secret spills out…he loves his family but decide to take a break from his school and went up to Korea to find his birth father…
“Mrs. Wijaya…Keenan went off just like that?”
“This is my fault…I shouldn’t tell him about his birth father at the first place. Now he’s gone to find him in Seoul…Keenan left only bring my High school graduation picture, even the guy faces is in the picture too. Keenan knows nothing about the address or road in Seoul. Nathania…can you help me find him right? He always brags about how good you are as his big sister to us. But, I can’t go to find him because I must respect my husband…how can I go to find someone who already deserted us from the moment I carry him on my stomach till gave birth his seeds. There’s no one else I trust except you, Nathania…please find him and bring him back to us?!”
That is the last thing I heard from his mother since I’ve been send out here to Seoul, Korea.
The building is great, the road are colorful and the food were awesome. Looking for people isn’t easy like it seems to be, since he had change his mobile number so I lost track. His mother told me that I can settled in one of her friend houses, but because her best friend are staying in USA, so their house filled by their son.
And here I am, almost 2 month living in Kim Hyun Seok house. His mother told him that a guest will stayed at the house for the time being because wants to find someone in Seoul, but she made my present as ambiguous person. So he thinks that I’m a man, it’s because she falsely said my name as a man’s name Nathan.
Hyun Seok open his door house to me in shock! There’s no Nathan, but Nathania– a girl. Since then we always clash to each others lives, but I survives from his erratic madness and we try to get along.
Hyun Seok is tall and handsome, if you look closer he seems a little bit resembles to a Korean actor Kim Dong-hee — but I never say that to him. If he knows I’m praising his ego…I don’t know how many hydrogen balloon would fits his weight to fly up to the sky. He’s that kind of person…that’s why I give him a nick name ‘Duryonim’, the young master. He work as a marketing director for a well-known shopping mall in apgu-jeong, and he offers me a job too in his colleague Italian restaurant at the food sections inside the mall.
Before work, I drive my bike to the nearest police station to report and getting feed back about Keenan whereabouts. But the result is the same…they hasn’t found him yet.
Hyun Seok watching me driving home from his car and make a u-turn to catch me before I park my bike near the parking lot basement.
“Ya, get in!” he speak from his car to me. I’m kinda shock you know, because I think the pullover car is a gangster or something bad like that. But it’s Duryonim. The way he talks to me like he’s not from this world, he’s the young master and I’m a peasant.
“Just get in or both of us late!”
“I’m taking the bus…”
“It’s late already…get in!”
I take a peek on my wrist watch, he’s right. I am late to catch the bus. So I’m riding his convertible car that I can’t dream to ride on, I always beg to him to drive me to work with his beauty but he hushed me down talking that foreign car isn’t for foreign cat just like me. Listen who talk big huh?
“What’s the catch, taking me with your car to work, duryonim?”
“My mom just call and tell me to be nice to you, how is that work finding Mrs. Wijaya son?”
“Still zero…” Sigh… “Every time I think about it, I want to go back and tell Mrs. Wijaya to start using specialist to find his son. But I’m in debt to her — not to mention I’m the one who adopted Keenan as my own little brother.” I let lose a scream, feel frustrated about the result. He’s annoyed by it.
“This is why I never want to bring you in my fancy car!” He push his car audio system, playing his favorite song from The Rembrandt ‘Ill Be There For You’.
Song Eun-jin, a joyous waitress waiting for me outside the restaurant. She’s the first friend that I encountered here in Korea. She’s nice and bubbly…I’m one of rookie chef in Magnolia, Italian restaurant that I work for about a month now.
“Who’s that good looking guy?”
“Don’t bother…he’s tied off to a gorgeous looking girl who work as a kindergarten teacher. So, what’s wrong with you standing here waiting for me?”
Eun-jin give me a bird-origami paper fold in my palm, I watch it carefully on my right hand like it will move by its own. But Eun-jin start snap my shoulder lightly yelling.
“Ya…stupid girl! It’s a note okay….some costumer gives me that for you.” Like a hungry puppy, Eun-jin start wiggle in full ‘aegyo’ mode to me…”Open it, open it! Is he one of your secret admirer?”
“Admirer my ass…” So I open the note…
“Chef, can I date you?
“Aigoooo…so cute! Just date the guy okay…I knew his face, a little bit like a nerd but he’s a cute nerd.”
“You know him?”
“Of course I knew him, I’m a waitress…my job is to loooooooked at heir face when they order their meals. Are you interested?”
I put a coy smile to her, “Should I?” but the bad thought start coming to my head….how can I be busy with some guy while Keenan still hasn’t been found yet?! I brush it aside.
“I want to kill myself!!!!” I make a little shout-out about my feeling today.
Kim Hyun Seok start his daily work as usual. Making several call to other divisions, taking his schedules from his secretary, and of course between break he secretly sending multiples short messages to his beloved girlfriend.
Since I was around, he carefully taking care Ji-young feelings. Well what kind of girl who is gladly welcoming another girl to lived under one roof with her long time boyfriend, I do too feel guilty and wants to moved out from Hyun Seok house but to go where? I don’t know.
Like I said, we always clash but we accustomed to each other now– still far from platonic, but it seems like that to me.
And I’m working with my fried pan making ravioli, pasta and substitutes the other chef when too busy handling too many menus. After costumers lunch break are over, it’s now for us to take a break from the hazardous kitchen. Like usual, I take my lunch break outside…heading to my usual place, the police stations.
I knew some police detective ajusshi there, he said he’ll gladly help me finding Keenan in his spare time, so I’m a little bit relief by his offers.
That nice police ajussi is detective Han Jung-soo, middle aged ajussi. He even treat me to eat Jjajangmyun at the police stations while asking me a few things about why the boy running away miles away from home. I tell him all about his motives, but suddenly a nice looking guy wearing a nice suit makes a small talk with Mr. ajusshi. Both talking about some case of bribery that Mr. Han handling right now. Because I don’t want to interfere, so I eat my Jjajangmyun quietly, turning my face from them.
“You are one of the chef at Magnolia right? Hello, I’m Lee Seung-hyun.”
I though he was still talking to Mr.Ajusshi, but apparently he was talking to me now — Mr. Ajusshi give me a sign by his hand to stop eating.
“He’s talking to you, agashi…”
With a lots of spot of Jjajangmyun sauce in my mouth, I lifted my face up looking at him. He smiled when he saw the stain on my freakin face and he feel happy to fetch a tissue and wipe my mouth–my dad used to do that when I was a kid. I’m helpless….
“So you guys know each other huh?” Ask Mr. Ajusshi to both of us. He nod while I’m shaking my head because I really don’t know who he is?
“I gave you the origami…” He smiled sweetly, I’m still baffled with what he said to me. Stupid Eun-jin…the origami guy isn’t nerdy!! This one is sophisticated! Is she blind? Or I’m the one who’s missing the missing link here?
“Are you a cop?” I’m asking a different questions when I can’t make up something that I feel I’m not connected at something was up in front of me.
“I’m a lawyer…so, what are you doing in here?”
“I’m looking for my runaway relatives, but the police still hasn’t found him yet…”
“He’ll be fine, agashi…since your sibling knows how to speak Korea just like you. My men are looking for the person in your aunt graduation photos too, that high school is still down there in Kang-nam. Don’t worry…Well, I got to go…you two can talk!”
“Good bye, sir.” I said.
“Can I treat you an ice cream, agashi?”
I’m the type who cannot refuse food from others…I nod. He take me to a nice park, buy me ice cream cone, one for me and one for himself. We sit on the bench looking at a bunch of guys playing basketball, couple’s riding bike…and father and son playing baseball.
I dig the ice cream like there will be no tomorrow. “Why are you giving me that notes? And asking me to go out on a date with you?”
“Because I like you…It’s obvious right?”
“But Eun-jin told me that you are a nerd? I’m not expecting a prince.”
“Haha…I’m not a prince?”
“With what you wear right now, define ‘prince’?”
“This is what I usually wear when I go to work, like you too wearing the chef uniform when cooking.”
I’m pouting, “Well its uniform after all…we supposed to be united, not like you wearing branded stuff like…” I checked his shirt brand…it’s Armani. I gave him a ‘tsk’ sound when I notice his brand, he’s a little bit awkward when I pulled the back of his shirt. But the lawyer think I’m funny.
“You don’t like guys wearing branded stuff huh?”
“Not at all in the beginning, but some guy ruining the image.”
“No..he’s my…” should I blurted out that–that guy I was talking is my housemate?
“Friend.” pheww…that was a close call.
“Oh…I see. I’m relief then…”
I’m still awkward with him being so nice…I like nice people, but he still have ulterior motives — some sort hidden agenda.
But well, I had a nice lunch break before I’m heading back to Magnolia. And he offer to drive me back to my work…
His car is not bad, and I guess the quality is the same from Hyun Seok’s car. He’s not too neat like Hyun Seok, because I saw thunder stick from a baseball game in the back seat.
“Sorry, I haven’t had the chance to clean my car…”
“So you like baseball?”
“I’m a Doosan fans. And you?”
“I like Invincible Baseball Team.”
“You know…that celebs baseball team that aired in some tv station.”
“Oh..that team! I saw it too…it’s a little bit shamed that they never win a single game since that singer dropping out coaching them. If you like baseball that much, how about coming with me on this Friday game?”
This guy is weird….asking me too much of this and that in one day? But he stop talking when I said, “Just drive the car please…”
He insist to park the car in the basement and unfortunately the lawyer park his car beside Kim Hyun Seok car. I feel happy because not only him who had a fancy car, and today I’m sitting on it — take that you filthy duryonim!Haha.
Both of us getting out from the car, but my feet are itchy and start to kick Hyun Seok tires. But I get caught red handed.
“What the heck are you doing kicking my car just like that?”
I never saw this coming? He deactivated his alarm. Shoot!
“Haha…just kidding Hyun Seok-ssi. Well, nice tires you have down there…” I tried to defense myself.
“But if you decide to sue me…just talk to this lawyer!” I presented Lee Seung-hyun-ssi to him.
“Annyeonghasaeyo…” Lee Seung-hyun greet him in advance.
“Nae, annyeonghasaeyo.” Hyun Seok greets him back with a nod.
“Are you going somewhere?”
“It’s not your concern…”
“Meet with your Ji-young-ssi? Say hi for her, and if she had time I’ll cook for her at our…” Before I start saying a lot of weird things, Hyun Seok grab my hand and push me aside, so he can talk with Seung-hyun. He tried to save his face and of course save the dense girl life from ruining his own life.
“So, you are a lawyer?”
“Yes…and you are miss chef friend?”
“We’re not that close…are you both dating?”
“Well…kind of…” He’s a little bit shy.
Hyun Seok glance at me for a while, asking to himself what does this lawyer sees in her? She’s not pretty, she dress herself unfitting, too honest when she start to talk, and her perspective on the world is too strange– she’s not even a pacifist.
“Well, I better going now…thanks for our short date, chef!”
“Ahh…me too.” Before he enters the car, I shout. “About the baseball game…can I think it over?”
“Sure….” He smile.
“Then…annyeong hi gyeseyo!” I sending him off half bowing. He drove his car away, leaving me with Hyun Seok.
“Why are you pushing me aside?”
“Because I’m worry that you going to spill it out — that WE are currently living together to that guy. Is he your boyfriend?”
“He asking me out…but I don’t know. I must taking care of Keenan first…I’m not feeling well if I’m dating someone right now.”
“At least you got conscience!”
“Nae..nae…nae…Duryonim! Annyeong hi gyesaeyo.” I mock him a little bit and went back inside.
I’m looking for Eun-jin in the waitress restroom…she’s sitting and browsing internet.
“Song Eun-jin! Are you blind?”
Eun-jin appeared very surprised when I shout at her from behind.
“Aigooo…gapjagiyaaaa!! Do you wanna die?! Eissshhh…”Because she’s too surprised, so she began massaging her chest.
“The guy that you mention is a nerd actually isn’t a nerd.” I pulled the chair next to her to sit on.
“You meet him? Well, he’s some sort of nerd…the clothes, the hair, and the black frame eye-glasses…”
“He’s a prince okay? And he’s a lawyer too.” I took a deep breath.”And he said to me clearly that he is interested to date me.”
“And…you pulled that unreasonable cliche stuff ‘I-should-find-my-brother-first- then-I-can-date-who-ever-I want-to-date’ reason?…with that guy by your side, Keenan will be found before you blink an eyes.”
“You’re right!” I clap my hand. “He’s a lawyer right? He must know someone who can find lost people…damn it! Eun-jin…Do you know how to play baseball?”
Eun-jin was confused by my questions, what is the link to find missing person with baseball?
After I finished my work, I went home. When I would go in, I heard Ji-young and Hyun Seok was chatting intimately on the inside. Because I do not want to disturb them, so I chose to leave.
Luckily the shop I frequently visit if the hungry strikes are still open at 11, I took the dried squid and also 2 can of beer. I sat on the patio, looking up at the house, all lights were on except my room.
Dating? Should I try that too?
When I was getting bored, the stall owner son came. The boy still in his Junior high school, he comes home with his baseball uniform and a bat on his hand. Why kids nowadays getting late to go home?
“Hey, kid!” I call.
The boy stop walking and turned to me.
“Teach me some baseball, I don’t want to embarrass myself at the game.”
“Nuna, are you drunk?”
“I’m not drunk…just tell me what do I have to know about baseball?”
The boy’s father came to me, he patted his little shoulder, beckoned him into the house. The boy half running inside. The boy’s father took himself a drink and sat beside me.
“What I learn watching the game was…they designated to pitch, to hit, to run and to catch the ball. You can picked up the meaning later…”
“Should I ajusshi?”
“Yeah, you should. Do you think that my boy knows about inside-the-park home run? Agashi…don’t try to hard understanding what’s hard for you. It would be appear fake to others.” He take a sip from the can.
Fake? “Yeahhh…with this stupid brain like mine less understanding is good.”
“So what are you doing outside like this?”
“My roommate has a visitor, I don’t want to be the third wheels.”
“It’s a good thing that today wasn’t so cold…” He rose from his seat and continue watching the store. “You should go inside or at least barged in and pretend you don’t see the guess.”
I guess nice weather is a bliss.
At the house, Ji young and Hyun Seok having their dinner with wine. They talk about everything, but actually Hyun Seok worried about Nathania, it’s almost mid night but she’s not home yet.
Ji young aware of this discomfort, she looking at the clock on the wall.
“Can you give me a ride?”
They were out from the house, Hyun Seok takes his car out and take Ji-young to her house. From his rearview mirror, he cursory look at Nathania buying something at the store that they usually shopped–he some sort feel relief for that girl.
After he send Ji-young home, he drove his car back full speed.
I’m leaning against the big refrigerator out side. I’m not drunk yet, but it seems the beer getting trough on my systems, I snort because the weather gets chills.
And then I saw someone walking to me. I smile at him — it’s Hyun Seok, my young master!!
“Are you stupid? Since when you’re staying out side like this? huh?!Is this a suicide attempt from getting frozen out side!”
“Hehe…I came in, okay! But I saw Ji-young-ssi shoes and you guys talking from outside. So I don’t want to interrupt both of you, since I already a lump on both side!”
“So you choose staying late outside like this?”
“Hey…don’t mad at her, will you?! She’s freezing. Don’t you see that?” The store ajussi helping me up so he can’t chew on me no more.
“Hyun Seok-ssi…give me your money!”
“I must pay for the food and the drinks to him. Quickly…give me your damn money!”
“Aigoo…aigoo…the stray cat has stab her claws on some fish.” He walks to the store owner and ask how much he must pay all of my food. After he pays up, both of us walks up to our house.
“Next time…just knock, if I can bear with you living in my house…so you must sucked up your boring time when Ji-young came to visit me!”
“I will…but I might get busy with my own. I’m going to date too, you know. I’m going to date that lawyer!”
“You said that you’ll gonna find Keenan first and then dating?”
“Screw with Keenan!” I think I’m drunk.
“That kid don’t know nothing about life…what’s the matter if you know that you have another father? Huh?Why bother to find someone who abandon you?!..like me. I don’t give a damned about my god damned parents who’s banging and then threw me out into this world. I love my adopted parents…I know all from them about my biological parents. But is it makes any difference if I start looking for them…if…if I meet them, what I supposed to do? ” I laugh at myself. Hyun Seok looks like he at loss.
“See…that’s the different between him and me, duryonim. I don’t like this set up? It’s feel that I’m the one who’s finding the truth about my life…”
“You’re drunk! Want me to carry you?”
“No…I’m fine.” We heading to the door. This is the first time Hyun Seok heard something deep and hurting voice from Nathania about Keenan matters, he surely thinks that her character ambiguity developed because she can’t talk about what she felt when she’s hurt, she only gives people around her the happy feeling…Just like now, if ordinary human– they probably knock the door for who ever the guess is?…she can stay at her room rather than stranded outside just to make him comfortable.
“Ya…wiguk goyangi! You sure have that kind of resistance…”
Hyun Seok get inside the house and I’m following him like a dog from behind. He put down his jacket and walk to the kitchen…he makes warm honey water while I drop my body on the couch. I stare at the table in front of me…there’s cake and also Italian wine.
“Moscato D’Asti 2003…I know this wine. A very aromatic-sweeter white wine…” I held the bottle on my hand when Hyun Seok came with warm honey water in a cup, he gave it to me to drink.
“You know everything about Italian food and wine huh?”
“It’s not that I like Italy…duryonim. Today…can at least today be a mute person and don’t talk back, just listen to me while I’m spitting nonsense?”
“Huh?” He sat on the couch in front of me.
“Since I came here to Korea…I don’t know what to do if I had troubled mind like this. In Indonesia, I have a big teddy bear in my room…one of my relatives bought it for me, its cute and had a recording system inside his belly. When I think too much and feel that my head is going to explode…I talk to him, after crying or cussing…I feel so much better, and then I push the heart button and he’ll say, ‘Va tutto bene…mia figlia’…” I started to cry. “The voice inside the teddy bear belly was my biological father, I do once what’s now Keenan trying to do”. I try to find my mother and my father…my adopted mom telling me the whole story that my biological mom is a stubborn girl who always said that one day she’s going to conquer Himalaya mountain by herself, and my biological dad is a young missionary priest from Italy…even it a sin to love each other but both of them are so stupid because they follow their heart not their head.
She died after giving me birth, and he doesn’t know that the stubborn girl keep her stubbornness until the day she died to having his child, 9 month 3 weeks after he being sent again to work in Irian Jaya now Papua, and then sent out again to Vietnam and Bangladesh and after that…no one knows what he’s been up too. I keep that to myself…Hyun Seok still waiting to hear something from me who is crying right now.
I raised from my couch and sit on the table…I push my imaginary button on his chest. Waiting him to say something in my silence, he saw my face…
“Gweanchana…jal dwilkkoya!It’s gonna be alright” I suddenly hug him, I want to cry as hard as I want too today because what’s happen tonight it will not going to happen by tomorrow.