(09) ♡ wasn't love
Almost immediately, I back away, trying to contain my embarassment. "What? I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about...this bear costume! So cute! Ha....ha..." My mouth breaks into a grin, in a sad attempt to convince him. His smile falters, but he shrugs, walking back inside to greet the customers. I sigh, placing my head back down. Never again will I ever talk to myself.
As more and more females enter the cafe, I sit down on a bench nearby, knowing that I can't do any more than stand there awkardly. I take my head off, and watch the birds flying over my head. Are they travelling for winter? It's only just begun, but I can feel my bottom getting soaked from the melted snow. Snow. It's not the first time I've ever seen it, and I'm never disappointed. The white substance is so clean and pure, so refreshing that it almost reminds me of L's house. Everything seems like a dream, dreams of frolicking in the snow, of a princess living in a tower.
Although the snow muffles the sound, I hear soft footsteps. I instantly whirl around, and a young boy is trying to catch snow flakes on his tongue. I smile at his innocence. Judgning by his height, he looks around six, a short and stubby boy with boots and a hat on. "Hi," I say, skooting over to the side for him to sit. His petite frame fits perfectly next to my giant bear suit.
"Hello, Noona," he says, smiling. "Why do you look sad?"
I puff out a breath of smoke, hugging my bear head tightly to my chest. Something has sprouted inside of me, something that I myself is unaware of. What is this feeling? Like flowers on a winter day, it's unusual and the feeling is so new. "I think I'm in love," I whisper, the sound of the word cold against my lips.
"Love? I've never been in love. Isn't that a good thing?" he says, his deep brown eyes looking up at me from under his lashes. The boy is a beauty, that as much is obvious. I only hope that one day he'll grow up looking like Myungsoo. I laugh, though the sound is humorless and odd. "He doesn't love me back."
"Well, does he know you love him?"
I shake my head, slowly. "I don't know. I don't think so. He's stuck on the image of a woman who won't come back," I confess, choking on my own breath. "For a minute I think he's looking at me, and then I realise it's all fake."
"Oh." The boy sticks his tongue out again, along with his mitten-covered hands. For a second, we're both captivated by the falling snow, the never ending flakes that fall from the heavens, blessing the earth, lacing it with white. Like the boy next to me, I stick my paw out, and even though I can't feel it, I watch it melt on my suit. Just like the snow falling to the ground, will L's icey persona melt? I look up to the heavens, where the symbolic sun is being covered by a herd of clouds. I see nothing but blinding white.
"Noona," the boy says, rising from his seat. He turns so that I face his back, his chubby frame obvious against the white ground. "Tell him." Before I can even ask for his name, the boy runs off, further away until the only thing I can see is a faint sihoulette, a dot.
I stand, prepared to walk back to the cafe. One last glance at the park tells me that the boy was right. I jog slightly to the Bear Cafe, huffing when I return. I look around, it's filled to the brim. The workers are busy serving, cooking, wiping tables down, but I don't see any sign of Myungsoo. I waddle into the staff room, where all of our belongings are. Myungsoo's bag is hanging loose all of his things pouring out onto the tiles. I sigh, laughing mentally to myself. He's so messy. I bend down low, trying to pick his things with my thick paws, when his wallet flips open. Curious, I take a peek at it. It's plain black leather, binded neatly with cards and money and...a picture. The woman looks familiar, and when everything clicks together, I stiffle a gasp.
Is this...could this be...Yunji?
The woman in the pictures, the girl he calls in his sleep, her. Before someone discovers me, I take a last moment to gaze her beautiful face. She's prettier than me by a landslide, with pale, flawless skin, a smile so dazzilng anyone would feel captured under her spell. Her hair lashes out in short waves, her chin resting on her hand. No wonder he's in love with her.
The pitter patter of footsteps running towards me snaps me awake, but my paws won't pick anything up. Myungsoo enters the room, huffing. "Hey, I've been looking everywhere for you...what are you doing?"
Rather than panick, emptiness enters me. "Your things fell out..." I look at my hands. "But I can't pick anything up.."
After a few seconds, he laughs, entering to help me. And as his careful fingers work quickly like magic over his belongings, placing them inside his bag, I realise that this boy could never be mine. He places a hand over my arm, smiling. "Come on, let's go back and entertain people."
I look at his face, willing him to look at me clearly. "Are you this nice to everyone?" I whisper.
His smile falters, and he cocks his head. "Not usually. Why? What's wrong?"
I laugh, but it's fake. "Tell me," I say, pulling his arm down to sit. "Tell me, please. Are you being polite?"
He nods, as if I was stating the obvious. "Yeah, it's mannerful...is something the matter?" he prompts, rising from the floor. I, however, remain seated, in an awkward mermaid position, a heap of disappoinment on the tiled floor.
"Nana, what's wrong?" he says, starting to get worried. "We're friends, tell me."
Friends. The word sizzles on my tongue. I stand up, placing a smile on my face. "Nothing," I say, giggling. "I just felt really tired. Come on, let's go!"
I'm not sure if my acting is really good, or he's just ignoring the obvious, but he goes along with my act. I leave the smile on my face the entire day, hoping it's been printed on, hoping it'll never leave.
I watch him as he works, being polite to customers, being mannerful. He plays each and every one of them with his dazzling smile, paying attention to the guests one at a time. Each girl believes that she's the one and only customer, believes he looks at her like something..special. But he's not. He repeats the same lines, jokes the same jokes and continuously plays them for the fools they are. Behind my bear head, I breathe shaky breaths, but my smile does not falter.
I look out to the windows, where a little boy with dazzling eyes and a perfect face walks past, holding onto his mother's hands. He's smiling up at her with such adoration, such blinding happiness that a pain in my heart strikes.
"It wasn't love," I whisper, almost inaudible against the falling snow.
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