Their first meeting
"Yoomi ah! Stop lingering in your room! We've got to go now!" Mrs Shin hollered.
Yoomi wiped her tears and went down the stairs. They were going to move, AGAIN. It was the third time they were moving this year, and Mrs Shin promised that this was the last time they were going to move again.
"Umma," Yoomi tugged on her mother's sleeve. "This is the last time we're going to move again right? Then I'll be able to make friends for real?"
Mrs Shin softened and she bent down such that she was eye-level with Yoomi. Her heart ached at that innocent question. "Yes." she promised. "You can make friends for real, Yoomi. You'll not need to leave your friends just when you got to know them again. I promise."
Yoomi's face lit up. She smiled a little and pulled Mrs Shin along. "I can't wait to get to our new house! If only Appa is with us too." she commented innocently.
Mrs Shin cringed. Mr Shin had run off a year ago, taking away all their money in the house. Mrs Shin's friends had already warned her of her husband cheating, but she didn't think much of it. Only till he left for good did it really sink in.
He wasn't coming back.
"Come on. Let's go." Mrs Shin ushered Yoomi.
Woohyun peered out of his window. The large truck drove into the driveway next door, and soon, workers were unloading stuff into the house. His curiosity peaked and he rushed down.
"Umma! There are people moving into the house next to ours!" Woohyun shrieked. "We're going to have neighbours!"
Mrs Nam laughed. "You can't expect that house to remain empty forever, Woohyun ah." she patted her adorable son's head. "That's ridiculous. Aren't you happy that you'll be able to have new neighbours?"
"Of course I am!" Woohyun announced. He beamed at his mother with a large sunny smile. "I'm going to make friends with them umma!"
He waited with his mother insistence, till the new family has settled into their new residence. His eyes were large with curiosity as he jumped up and down by the window, wanting to see more of his new neighbours.
After what seemed like eternity to him, his mother went over to greet the new neighbours, and he tagged along. A friendly, warm looking woman opened the door. "Annyeonghaseyo." Mrs Nam bowed. "We're your neighbours, the Nam family and we noticed you moving in today. I hope you'll settle in comfortably and don't hesitate to ask us for help if you need it." she offered.
Mrs Shin smiled in gratitude. "Thank you so much." she beamed. "I'm glad you offered. Me and my daughter, we'll need a little help in adapting."
"You have a daughter?" Mrs Nam asked in interest. She pushed Woohyun who was hiding behind her. "I have a son, Woohyun. He's seven this year, and he had been so excited in coming over to check out his new neighbours. I have no idea why he's hiding now."
Mrs Shin chuckled. She bent down and patted Woohyun's head. "You're seven? My daughter's seven too." she turned back. "YOOMI! Come down and meet your neighbours!"
A yelp was heard from the top of steps as shuffling was heard. A series of flustered steps revealed a cute looking girl running down and approaching them. Her cheeks were flushed and she pushed her overly large glasses up her nose. "Umma?" she squeaked.
Mrs Shin laughed. "These are our new neighbours, Yoomi ah. Mrs Nam and her son, Woohyun. You two are same age, you can make friends with him!"
At the word "friends", Yoomi immediately turned to look at Woohyun interested. Woohyun looked at her curiously too, his large orbs shining brightly.
Yoomi bit her lip. *Can I really make friends with him?* she thought to herself. *Will this Woohyun guy hurt me like the other bullies in my other schools? I can't. I'm scared.*
She took a step back. Woohyun's eyes rounded in surprise. *What?*
"I'll get back to my room again, umma." she bowed respectfully and ran back up to her room.
Mrs Shin reddened in embarrassment. "I'm sorry for her behavior. She's just, she has a lot on her plate even though she's just seven. She went through a lot and I guess she isn't going to make friends that easily now." she looked down at Woohyun. "I hope you'll still be friends with Yoomi after this?" she beamed.
Woohyun nodded. "I want to meet her!" he announced loudly. Before either mother knew it, he was running up the steps into Yoomi's room.
Yoomi jumped at the intruder in her room. Her cheeks reddened when she realised that her room was still in a total mess as she hadn't packed her things up yet. "What are you doing here?" she demanded. "Don't you know how to knock?"
Woohyun blinked. "Yah. Why are you so rude!" he frowned. "And don't you know how to smile?"
Yoomi looked away. "Don't bother me." she mumbled. "I'm busy."
Woohyun hopped onto Yoomi's bed and picked up a box. "You're unpacking?" he queried. "I'll help!" he chirped.
Yoomi looked at him. Woohyun looked at himself up and down. "Why? Do I look like an alien to you or something?"
Yoomi blinked and looked away. "Nothing." she muttered, before continuing unpacking again.
12 January 1998
Today I met a boy named Nam Woohyun.
He told me he wants to be friends. He asked me why I was rude, why I wasn't smiling.
Can I trust him, Diary? I don't know.
I'm afraid to be hurt again, I don't want to go through all that pain again when my so-called friends betray me again.
But Diary, you know what? It's the first time someone other than Umma that offered to help me. Really help me without complaints.
I don't know Diary, I really don't know.
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