I heard Eun Jiho’s mother and Mr. Eun Han Soo were of the same age; however, she still emitted that lovely little girl ambiance. The lady, who had beautifully curved arch-like eyebrows, twinkling eyes, and a fairy-like smile, was wearing a gold dress embroidered with intricate brocade, which gave me the impression of a fairy in the forest despite its very colorful and fancy design.
It was my first time to see her after Eun Jiho’s birthday during middle school, but she seemed very kind and pleasant to meet me again. Leaning herself toward me, she whispered as if telling me a secret.
“Donnie, aren’t you already feeling exhausted? You would’ve not been able to sleep in the front row listening to my husband’s speech.”
Shaking my head sideways vigorously, I held my hands together and spoke to her.
“It was so amazing although there was some difficult part to understand…”
With a swiveling smile, she adjusted my hair, showing care and compassion. Mr. Eun Han Soo, who finished his conversation with Eun Jiho before I knew, came closer to her back. She then stretched out her hand to embrace her husband affectionately.
“Honey, Donnie must have loved your speech. You can be proud of yourself as it’s said from a sensitive seventeen-year-old girl.”
“Really? I’m glad to hear that.”
I was surprised that Mr. Eun Han Soo’s voice sounded as sweet as a spring day.
‘Is the man in front of me the same person who has been strict to his son, Eun Jiho?’
After a moment of hesitation, I was astonished by the voice coming from the front.
“But honey, you should lower the difficulty of the speech. Some parts have been hard to follow.”
“I see. Would you kindly tell me which parts they were?”
Instead of scolding me how dumb I was, Mr. Eun Han Soo asked me in a friendly tone like a tutor. My face was on fire.
Gosh, why did I say that there had been some parts hard to understand…
Rolling my eyes, I thought for a while, but the chairman looked as if he was waiting for my response. So was Eun Jiho who came back to us, throwing a glance at me. Adjusting my voice, I, at last, slowly opened my mouth.
“Um… the part about those that are invisible or do not last in form.”
“Oh, I see, yes, that part.”
“I was wondering what those would be.”
Blinking his eyes for a few times, Mr. Eun Han Soo then, unexpectedly, showed me a warm smile.
“Most simply, they’re around us,” he replied.
“For instance, right now, this time.”
I nodded my head. He continued with a grin.
“And the thing that only you and Jiho have.”
I flickered my eyes and slowly nodded.
What he said was true. Both youth and time are invisible and do not last in any physical form. Once we come to our senses, we find out that they are gone.
That was when I tried to say, “Thank you,” with a blush, feeling a little ashamed of not having thought of such obvious things.
“Take care of those that disappear quickly.”
Mr. Eun Han Soo continued with a soft smile.
“I also didn’t realize that when I was young, but what really matters is not whether it remains or not. There’s no reason to be sad in advance about the flowers fading after the full bloom. Be in the moment. The most important time is now.”
“Sometimes we live by that very moment as hope for tomorrow.”
His remark pierced sharply into my heart even amid the noisy banquet hall. Before I got to understand it with my head, something seemed to resonate around my chest loudly.
We live by that very moment as hope for tomorrow.
I repeated those words inside my mouth. It felt like I was consoled out of the blue in an unexpected place. Being hesitant for a second, I soon exchanged a smile with the chairman then fell into thought. ‘At some point, I’ve been living my life, seizing things that will soon disappear or vanish away someday. These include grades, friendship, and things about Ban Yeo Ryung and Eun Jiho too.’ Having those thoughts in mind, I glanced at Eun Jiho, approaching me past Mr. Eun Han Soo.
He then held out his hand to me. I hesitated for a second but soon reached out mine to grab that hand and thought, ‘Maybe it’s okay as it is– just appreciating and living this moment to the fullest rather than worrying about whether I may be able to remain in this world or not…’
In the distance, the chandelier was still emitting brilliant lights like a galaxy. The violin melodies then began to flow lightly and softly through the thousands of dazzling lights. Soon, dozens of sounds rose and merged with the music. The orchestra performance has started.
And that was the beginning of the real party. The audience scattered from the podium, leaving their seats. Meanwhile, Mr. Eun Han Soo and his wife bid farewell to me.
“Then see you later, Donnie.”
“If you have any problems, please let us know.”
The chairman couple spoke to me one after another then left the spot. I stared at where they had just left with a blush. It wasn’t after a long time now since I finished having a conversation with them after the speech; however, I was under the illusion that a long time had passed.
Anyway, there was a good thing. The time I was spending right now didn’t feel like a dream anymore. Everything in the banquet hall came into my sight clearly at last. Instead of having the thoughts of, ‘I’d be never attending parties like this anymore,’ or ‘Once the world changes again, I’d be only reminiscing this moment in my memory,’ I decided to enjoy and be fully present in the now. Like a kid who got a new toy, I would purely take delight at this moment.
That was when I turned my head as Eun Jiho, staring at me, blurted something.
“I didn’t quite get the speech.”
I turned my head to look at him with my eyes wide open.
What did it mean by Eun Jiho not understanding it? Did Eun Jiho, like me, also have a question about what were some things invisible and not left in form?
I mean, however, the look on Eun Jiho’s face, staring down at me, was too nonchalant. As he turned extremely anxious when not understanding things, he would never have that look on his face.
Besides, Eun Jiho didn’t use the term ‘understand’ like me. He, instead, put out the word, ‘get.’ I blinked my eyes. Having a lukewarm look, Eun Jiho continued his remark.
“It was my father who always taught me to never let the impulsive moments ruin the whole picture. He never emphasized me enough of keeping the future in my mind at all times. So, isn’t it ridiculous for that person to address the exact opposite at this point?”
“Oh… um… hmm…”
“What’s with that look?”
I turned my head away and responded like a murmur, “Nothing.”
I was actually consoled by the part of what you just pointed out, so if you were saying like that…
My brows met in the middle. In the first place, Eun Jiho’s world didn’t change like me; besides, his way of thinking, valuing the future rather than the present as well as considering only what will remain in the future, derived from his background. As an heir of the biggest conglomerate, so many things were loaded on him, which made him walk the path given without any other options.
I always envied Eun Jiho and sometimes felt sympathetic. Thus, it was absurd to say to him, ‘I decided to cherish this moment with you guys who will one day all disappear; therefore, I hope you also do the same.’ We had different burdens.
Just now, I felt that there appeared a huge foggy valley between me and Eun Jiho.
I slightly grimaced. Eun Jiho, observing the change of my facial expressions, tossed another question.
“Come one, what’s wrong?”
“Um, I… rather…”
Moving my eyes, I thought about other topics to switch the conversation, then when I found Mr. Eun Han Soo and his wife surrounded by a crowd of people, I almost shouted out loud.
“Wow, look at that! There are so many people.”
Turning his head to that direction apathetically, Eun Jiho said, “Of course, they are hosting this event.”
“Um, r… ight. True…”
As I stammered those words, Eun Jiho blurted, staring at me.
“Hey, Ham Donnie.”
The suspicious look he had in his eyes was all gone. He was now showing that usual, naughty glance at me. I became nervous somehow.
As I replied shortly, he spoke with a smile.
“I think you’re forgetting about something.”
“The hosts of this party aren’t just my parents.”
What is he talking about?
Asking him with a frown, he then responded, “Look behind you.”