Jooin remembered that his cousin, Woo San, had come over to hang out with him. Being fallen asleep ahead of Woo San, Jooin thought that Woo San would, of course, leave and go back home. However, Woo San seemed to have slept over since it was winter break. That was probably why Jooin woke up out of the blue; he turned sensitive while sleeping together with someone in his room.
Things were now understandable. Nodding his head, Woo Jooin stepped out of his room to drink a cup of water. He could have just gotten back to sleep, but something felt still uncomfortable to do so.
Taking a cup of water from the dispenser, Woo Jooin swept back his hair that was stuck on his forehead. He thought, ‘Did I have a nightmare, or else there’s nothing to get sweaty like this for in the wintertime…’
Even though he drank up a glass of water, Jooin still wasn’t roused from sleep. Putting his yet dull brain to work, Woo Jooin dwelled on the nightmare he might have had just now. It would most likely be about his mother, not his real mother but his stepmother who was now imprisoned for fraud.
‘But no… wasn’t she released recently?’ he wondered with a frown. Jooin didn’t have poor memories; actually, his brain was able to retain so many amounts of information that the power of his memory was unrivaled. However, for some reason, Jooin could hardly recall even the obvious things in his head today. As if someone had rubbed an eraser on his brain, Jooin felt the absence of something in between his memories.
Standing still on the spot for a second, he soon put the cup down on the sink noisily then turned around.
“I guess I’ve become sensitive since the new semester is right around the corner,” murmured Jooin. No matter how good his memories were, there would be a limit as a human being. Woo Jooin tried to think lightly.
‘I don’t have to get anxious about myself that I would have lost forever the things I can’t recall immediately, right?’ he asked himself. As Jooin happened to easily find some things, which he believed that he had lost for years, from deep inside his drawer, tomorrow, all the memories including the things he couldn’t remember right now would be brought back to his head and distress himself. Even the ones he didn’t want to recall…
Shaking his head, Woo Jooin headed back to his room. However, something strange kept lingering in his mind. Woo Jooin counted today’s date while bending his steps. It was February 23rd. He wondered if something special was taking place today, but nothing seemed to come across his mind.
After comparing all the holidays, national anniversaries, family birthdays, and even his relatives’ birthdays, Woo Jooin could become satisfied. He was now able to sleep again while regarding that the strange feeling he had was due to his sensitivity.
However, when he returned to his room, the problem arose. The only lighting in his room was the blueish aquarium light on the fish tank, but that was enough to distinguish the overall surroundings.
Woo Jooin fastened his gaze on the wall for a while then quickly approached the switch as if he had seen a ghost all of a sudden. With a clicking noise, the entire room brightened like thunder, which made Woo San, who was sleeping on the sofa bed, perk his eyes up.
“Ah, what’s wrong…? What happened?” asked Woo San.
Regardless of his cousin flinging the question urgently while glancing around with his blurry eyes, Woo Jooin was just looking at the same place. Meanwhile, Woo San fully recovered his vision and opened his eyes round toward Woo Jooin.
“What’s up? Did you see someone suspicious at home? Is that the reason?” asked Woo San while putting away the comforter.
“Yeah, it’s me, San hyeong, your brother,” replied Woo San. He stretched out his hand toward Jooin while asking, ‘Why do you look so pale?’ but Jooin blocked his hand. Tilting his head in wonder, Woo San soon realized that Jooin had been fixing his gaze at some place for the whole time. He turned his head to look in the same direction.
“Oh…” exclaimed Woo San. A bunch of notepads on the wall had been catching Woo Jooin’s eyes until now. Those notes had lines running through them which, overall, looked like a military map.
In the middle, there was only one name on.
It was so impressive that Woo San also remembered that name.
Anyway, why was Jooin suddenly watching that in the middle of the night? The moment Woo San wondered about it, he heard Woo Jooin’s voice from beside him.
“Huh? Yeah, what’s up, Jooin?” replied Woo San.
Woo San was immediately aware of what ‘that thing’ meant. He just nodded his head and then couldn’t hide his bewildered feelings toward Jooin’s following words.
“Who on earth have done that thing in my room?” asked Woo Jooin as if he really didn’t know why.
With a grimace, Woo San stared at Jooin’s face for quite a while. He looked too serious to throw a joke that way.
Meanwhile, Woo Jooin flung a question yet with a severe expression while rubbing his chin.
“Hyeong… did you do that? When? That doesn’t seem to be an amount to write down in a day.”
Being unable to overcome his fear anymore, Woo San finally opened his mouth.
“It’s not me,” he replied while looking at Woo Jooin.
“Jooin, you did it.”
Time seemed to pause for a second. A heavy silence hung between the two. Soon after, Woo Jooin broke the ice. He asked lightly with a grin, “Hyeong, is there something going on today?”
“Do we have anything to celebrate in surprise?”
Regardless of Woo San looking at him like a ghost, Woo Jooin got closer to the dozens of notepads. The very first thing that drew his attention was the memo written, ‘HAM DONNIE,’ in the center of all the notes.
Diverting his gaze back onto Woo San, Woo Jooin uttered with a smile, “Hyeong, so who is Ham Donnie?”
Speaking that way, Woo Jooin already took the memo written, ‘HAM DONNIE,’ off the wall. Woo San couldn’t understand his attitude at all. He wondered if his little cousin had lost his memories within a short time, or else, how could Jooin speak that way with that look on his face?
Pouting his lips for quite some time, Woo San opened his mouth, at last.
“Huh?” replied Jooin while tilting his head nonchalantly.
Woo San responded with a hollow look on his face, “You said, she’s the only person you must work hard to remember…”
The signs of slight brightness Jooin was expressing were slowly being washed away. He looked down at the note in his hand for a while. Staring at it vacantly with his cold brown eyes, Jooin then lifted his head and exchanged eye contact with Woo San.
“Hyeong… I’m now…” His response sounded clear. “… I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
It was the first day of the strange week.
‘The only person I must work hard to remember…’ Woo Jooin read the meaning hiding in that sentence.
He usually didn’t have to work hard to remember something. All the information in this world never left his brain once they came into his head as if that was the place called home for them. Thus, ‘trying to remember something’ sounded very odd to Jooin.
So to speak, that thing was sort of a letter that the Jooin in the past was sending to himself in the future. It was like, ‘You’d probably forget this name, but please work hard to find who that person is.’
However, Woo Jooin honestly didn’t want to find that person. If himself in the past showed less urgency while writing down the memo, he would have not made that choice. But it was obvious from the amount of note and the desperate handwritings of the name, ‘HAM DONNIE,’ that the person was someone significant to him in the past.
Right now, he could instead give up finding that person without any lingering feelings. However, what if he got to recall something about that person while considering this search as an interesting puzzle to jump into? What if he couldn’t give up finding that person anymore?
Jooin wasn’t sure whether it was possible or impossible to find that person in the end. What if it was something impossible that would become an endurable pain to him?
Woo Jooin didn’t want to take the risk, therefore. Thus, he decided not to do anything, sincerely nothing about the person called Ham Donnie.