It felt somehow embarrassing as if the reality I had forgotten appeared and smashed the back of my head.
I thought about the girl who scowled at me. What a horrifying eye she had on me while I was just by myself listening to music with his earphone.
Then, at last, I realized Yoo Chun Young’s role in this story. I had forgotten all about it while I was hanging around with him. He was one of the male protagonists in the web novel: handsome, rich, smart, and had a good voice. He would be the main character in the novel eventually. Not a minor role appearing randomly like me. I, however, quietly dropped my eyes.
When looking at his face, I indeed felt that it was unreal; however, the boy named Yoo Chun Young I encountered every day in a close distance was just a normal human being. I promised every day to keep myself aloof when I was with him, but it did not work the way it did in my head.
Why would a guy like him approach me? This unanswered question sometimes dominated my head even now.
Why would he be in such friendly terms with such a run-of-the-mill girl like me? There was no special reason to suddenly become close; however, we became good friends nonetheless.
Did he also feel comfortable with me? Was he ever relaxed in my company so he would sometimes not utter a single word when I’m with him and still derive pleasure from it?
My heart seemed to pound a little harder all of a sudden. This phenomenon strengthened when I wanted to hide my feelings by suppressing my feelings. To do this, I turned my head in the opposite direction from where I was initially looking at.
The noise of a chair scratching on the surface of the concrete floor started to draw near me. At the same time, Yoo Chun Young reached out his arms and took his wallet out of the drawer.
What? Why was he holding his wallet? As I raised my eyes toward him, our eyes met. He said with his tired blue eyes.
“Let’s go to the cafeteria.”
His suggestion seemed to change its meaning as if we would be dining in a fine cuisine when he spat out the word. I remained in my seat with a puzzled expression for a moment but sprang out of the chair as he turned himself to the door without another word. I then yelled at his back,
“Dude, my wallet! Hold on!”
“Let’s just go.”
After a short hassle, I finally took out my wallet from the bag and caught up with Yoo Chun Young.
There were not many people inside the cafeteria. While we ignored the attention drawn to Yoo Chun Young, we both bought chocolate milk and came outside with straws in our mouths.
As we went outside of the air-conditioned classroom, the heat made us sweat. Yoo Chun Young, however, had no interest of going back to our classroom, so we sat down on a bench under the trees at the corner of the schoolyard.
There were senior boys playing soccer near the track. Tang! The ball flew up to the clear sky after a kick. At the same time, there came a surging wave of roars as they exclaimed after the kick.
I had my eyes out there watching the scene. Then I looked at Yoo Chun Young sitting next to me. His profile under the shade of the tree came into my eyes: his jet-black hair, his forehead adorned with tiny beads of sweat, his gleaming nose, and his peculiar way of sipping the drop of water at the end of the milk carton he was drinking.
Although he did not say a word, I could see how exhausted he was. It would be definitely because of what happened earlier. Oh, what should I say to him? I decided to remain silent and had the straw back in my mouth.
What could I say to him? There was an enormous gap between us that would be left unfilled. If I was chosen as a keeper right now, just sitting quietly beside him seemed to be enough.
As I had that thought in my mind, I felt like a special person to him. Come on, stop feeling too excited about this. It was then when I shook my head.
“I like you.”
His silent voice rang above the breeze stirring up the dust in the schoolyard. It was at that moment when I could finally believe that time had really stopped to move for a brief second.
The dust was sweeping out there and the players were hailing acclamations among one another for a long while; however, I really believed I was frozen in time for a flash.
In the next moment, reality had finally sunk back to my head and the noises from all around had crawled into my ears again. In the meanwhile, I was staring at Yoo Chun Young’s blue eyes.
His eyes were, however, not on me. They were tightly closed. A blue light was at the tip of his long lashes. It was the gloomy light that would make a person indulge in deep thoughts as they set their eyes on museum exhibits.
His words did not convey any romantic connotations. I could figure that out. He spoke in a frank voice one might use towards their good friends
As he said the word ‘like’ in that context, Yoo Chun Young heaved a long sigh for a second. I did not feel good since he really looked exhausted. It was then when I was about to stretch out my hand and rub his back.
He opened his mouth and I halted the movements I initially thought I would do.
“It’s that… you seemed to have no interest in me.”
“That’s why I like you.”
Yoo Chun Young then kept his silence again. He looked at the schoolyard for a while with his shoulders bent down as if his fatigue had finally consumed him. I stared at him in surprise.
The way he talked right now was uncommon for the boy I knew.
I seemed to have no interest in him, he said. It sounded like everyone in the world was diverting their attention at him; however, I grasped what he meant. At least, I eventually did after a long deliberation with myself.
How could I not understand that, especially when I saw what had happened earlier? Besides, I was one of the people hovering around him despite being aware of the truth behind the man that is Yoo Chun Young, the main character of this novel. He continued his words.
“You were not relying on me at all… So I feel comfortable with you.”
I looked at him again. His eyes were still not on me.
As we came back to the classroom, a few kids had their mischievous glances directed towards us but that was it. They seemed to have thought that Yoo Chun Young and I would not be dating at all. Nothing changed between us except for Yoo Chun Young who now had a look of absolute exhaustion written all over his face.
He, however, looked much more relieved. Yoo Chun Young then fell back to sleep in less than a few minutes after we came back to class. His face was turned to me lying on the desk like before. He had his earphone shoved in one of his ears.
The other side was, of course, on my ear. What came out of it was, of all songs, Stan by Eminem. The sound of the drizzle overlay paired with the gloomy voice of the female vocal rang in my ears. I fixed my gaze at him then laid my head on the desk, facing him.
With my eyes closed shut, I recited his words quietly in my mouth. I didn’t rely on him at all. I had no interest in him.
I was… the only one who did not have any interest in him as a girl.
As I murmured that, the thought of ‘Oh, he meant this’ popped inside my head. The aura I saw when I first met these boys seemed to linger around again on his sleeping face.
Again, it was unbelievable for this boy to exist in this world. His blue-black hair falling onto his forehead and the way his long lashes intertwined among one another spoke in my behalf. I stopped gazing at him and turned towards the opposite side.
I sighed silently so he wouldn’t hear and buried my face within the confines of my arms.
It seemed so silly for me to think that I was frozen in time.
You seemed to have no interest in me.
That’s why I like you.
Those words slowly pierced my heart. Instead of yelling out the pain I was feeling, I clenched my fist quietly. I was stupid to think that he was just attracted to my personality making him enjoy my company as his friend. He said that he liked me because I had no interest in him.
Yeah, sure. All the girls except Yeo Ryung Ban were, to him, something tiresome to deal with–no more, no less. Therefore, he approached me among others, who had no interest in him as a girl.
I was the only girl among loads of people around him who knew his invisible borderline.
Then what would happen if I started to have a crush on him? I thought about this with my fist clenched; however, it did not break my heart that much.
While grabbing my throbbing chest, I mumbled, “Oh, it is a good thing that I do not like him as a guy.”
“I hope… for now and forever…”