Secretly Secretly - KARA
A week soon passed since Naeun returned back to Earth. Throughout that dreadful week, Naeun’s thoughts were only on Baekhyun and the others.
All she did was stay cooped up in her house day after day, but she always made sure to keep her end of the promise she had made with imaginary Baekhyun.
After all, she knew that inside, her conscience was telling her that that’s what the real Baekhyun would want. He would want for her to live on without him.
Naeun ate all her meals, went to bed on time, and forced herself to smile at least once a day. Before bed, however, she allowed herself to shed a few tears before closing her eyes and falling asleep.
But when Naeun opened her eyes this morning, she was completely different. She had vowed to return back to the original Naeun when the week was over. Today, of course, was the start of the new week, and Naeun knew that she had to persevere for everyone she loved.
Plus, school was only a week away, and she had to be strong if she had to deal with that idiot of a bully, Han Kangsoo.
After eating a hearty breakfast, Naeun decided that she would go to the hospital to have a checkup. She wanted to make sure that her leukemia was gone and she was perfectly healthy.
After she finished up her last piece of egg roll, she put the dishes in the sink and left the house.
Naeun rested her head against the cool glass of the bus’ windows. She softly smiled when she saw couples happily smiling hand in hand and small kids with their parents zooming by.
*I wonder… if that could’ve happened for us.* Naeun’s expression softened when she saw a small child tug on the hem of his father’s shirt. Happily, the father scooped his child up and laughed while his wife doted on the both of them.
A soft smile escaped her lips. *Family… huh?* Naeun was only half-conscious of the fact that her fingers were—once again—clasped around the white necklace that hung around her neck.
She immediately snapped out of her daydream when the familiar, large building of the hospital showed up just a block away.
Naeun straightened up and clicked the stop button, making the bus slow down and eventually halt. When she got off the bus, another smile filled her face.
The sweet smell of nearby bakeries lingered in the air, the aroma of various different flowers from nearby flower shops, the animated sound of people talking and walking by with different expressions on their face…
Everything she glanced at reminded her of her home back on EXO.
Naeun continued travelling as she saw the looks of happy people walking past her in the opposite direction. Her smile soon died out. *How many of these people are really happy, and how many are just smiling for show, like I am?* A serious expression crossed her face. *I want to be happy, but it feels like I don’t have any reason to, anymore.*
Suddenly, Naeun felt something bumping into her leg. Her gaze automatically dropped downwards as she noticed a small little girl, maybe about six years old, sitting on the floor. She looked like she had been knocked back from bumping into Naeun.
Naeun’s eyes widened and she immediately squatted down to meet her level. Not many people were in this part of the area. Naeun worriedly helped her up, “Are you alright?”
The girl blinked and stood up, nodding immediately. She politely bowed, “Sorry for bumping into you.” She straightened up and her eyes twinkled after seeing Naeun’s face, “Waa~ It’s a pretty unnie!”
Naeun blushed after hearing the child’s words, “A-Ah, um…”
“Unnie, you look down.” The girl frowned, not noticing the elder girl’s sheepishness. Naeun gawked at her. *How did she know?*
“Since you helped me up, I’ll give you a present!” The girl announced proudly and carefully opened her small satchel up, pulling a cherry lollipop out. Naeun just stared at her, unsure of what to do.
The child innocently beamed as she grabbed Naeun’s hand and placed the candy in it. “There. Now, you can cheer up!”
Naeun was about to say something when a voice called behind her.
“Oh!” The small girl looked up, her pigtails bobbing up with her head, “It’s my mommy and daddy!” Her eyes twinkled as she bowed hastily again towards Naeun, “Bye bye, unnie!” The girl grinned and ran off to her parents.
Naeun slowly waved back, a small smile on her face. “Bye…bye.” When the girl was out of sight, Naeun turned her attention back to the lollipop in her hand.
A thoughtful smile spread across her face as she carefully tucked the candy into her purse. *Komawo, little girl.*
Naeun was in the middle of dozing off in the waiting room at the hospital. Her head uncomfortably bobbed as was a little agape.
“Is Song Naeun-sshi not here? Song Naeun-sshi!”
Naeun’s eyes instantly opened. Quickly, she wiped the drool from her lips with her sleeve and stood up, “H-Here!”
The nurse blinked, but then broke out into a smile soon afterwards. “The doctor will meet with you now.”
“Ah, yes!” Naeun blinked and followed her. She had previously done some tests before, and now, she was waiting for the results. Naeun anxiously followed the nurse until she was led to a room with a closed door. The nurse knocked on it, “Ms. Song Naeun will see you now, doctor.”
“Come in!” A muffled voice came from behind the door. The nurse opened the door for her, bowed once, and left. Naeun in a breath and entered, closing the door behind her. *Here goes nothing.*
A kind looking, middle-aged man looked up at Naeun from stacks of paperwork. He was dressed in a white coat, with a stethoscope loosely around his neck, and pens in his chest pocket—a typical image of a doctor.
Naeun bowed 45 degrees, “Hello.”
“You must be… Song Naeun-sshi.” The doctor smiled. Naeun nodded wordlessly. “Please come in and sit down.” He urged in a friendly, light voice.
Naeun bit her lip but followed his instructions anyways. After asking her a few questions about her health and checking her files, the doctor happily smiled.
“Well, Naeun-sshi, you seem to be in a perfectly fine condition. It’s surprising to see such a clean record.” He glanced back down at his files, “It says here that when you were younger, you battled against leukemia?”
Naeun’s eyes softened, “Yes, but I was cured.” *By someone extraordinary.*
The doctor leaned back in his chair in amazement. “That’s incredible, and very good to hear. From what I see, nothing has spread or came back. You’re 100% healthy.” He concluded.
Naeun let out the breath she was holding. *For some reason, I expected that.* Her eyes were sad, however.
Naeun stared at the desk in front of her with her head lowered, and froze when her gaze darted to the doctor’s nametag. Her eyes were wide as she read it aloud in her head.
Dr. Yoo Hasung.
*Hasung…* Her eyes were wide. *Surely not him—* Her thoughts were cut off when something on the doctor’s table caught her eye. A simple, black picture frame, with a picture of two boys in it.
One shy looking boy with tousled black hair smiled widely, while another boy that looked around the same age smiled as well. His eyes were not as gentle as Naeun remembered them, but instead, they held sorrow and fear. Still, both of the boys appeared to look happy. In the background of the picture, a tall, dark building stood, with a plaque that wrote two words in large print.
Naeun gaped. *No way.*
Dr. Yoo noticed that Naeun was staring at something. He mistook her stunned expression as interest, and glanced at the frame with smiling eyes.
“Ah, this?” He picked up the frame with aged fingers, “Usually, doctors would have photos of their family, husbands, wives or children on their desk, but seeing as I am not married nor have any children, I decided to at least keep a good memory here.” He explained.
“A good memory?” Naeun blinked at him once, then focused her eyes back on the photo frame.
The doctor smiled sadly, “…Yes. This is a photo that I cherish, since it is the only photo I have of a very old friend of mine.” He pointed at the boy that Naeun knew all too well, “This is—no—was, my friend, Byun Baekhyun. We had similar… situations, so we understood each other perfectly. He was a really good guy.”
Naeun soon got her senses back and she straightened up cautiously. “…I don’t mean to pry, doctor, but he was your best friend?”
The doctor seemed troubled for a moment before he glanced at Naeun and smiled, “Oh, yes. I found out a while ago that he… passed away.”
Naeun pressed her lips in a firm line, stopping her from correcting him.
An unreadable expression crossed his face before he put down the frame. He opened his lips to say something, but Naeun cut him off quietly.
“You know…” She paused for good measure, “He’s probably sorry… for going on ahead before.” Naeun glanced at the sky. “This… friend of yours… He’s probably watching you from up there.”
Dr. Yoo perked up at her words. He seemed to have calmed down, because a thoughtful look took over his face. “Really…”
Naeun softly smiled and got up, slinging her purse around her shoulder, “Well then, doctor, thank you for taking the time to see me.” She held out her hand politely.
The doctor blinked and immediately stood up, smiling back.
“No, no,” He paused, “Thank you.” Naeun shook his hand firmly, gave him a small bow of gratitude, and walked out the door.
Hasung smiled as let his fingers brush against the photo again, and looked out the window of his office. The baby blue sky seemed brighter than ever as marshmallow-like clouds floated by without a care in the world.
“My old friend…” He trailed off. “I wonder how you are doing…”
Naeun let out a content sigh as she passed by the hospital rooms, walking down the hall at a moderate speed.
*Baekhyun oppa… You’re watching us, aren’t you?* Naeun softly smiled as she continued walking down the hall. *I did good, right?* Naeun stopped when she saw someone.
One of the rooms had their door slightly open, which was very strange for a hospital room. *Maybe I should close it…?* Naeun thought confusedly. As she neared the door, the plaque on the wall displaying the patient’s name became clearer and more visible with every step.
Naeun’s eyes were wide again the second time. *No way. No way.*
Patient: Park Mina
*Maybe… Chanyeol oppa’s Mina? That Mina…?* Naeun quickly shook her head. *No… There many people that can have the name Park Mina. Maybe it’s all a coincidence…*
But frankly, she believed that it was too strange for it to be a coincidence. Curiosity got the better of her as she found herself entering the room, just to see if she was how Chanyeol had described her.
Quietly, Naeun knocked on the door, “Hello? Um, is it alright if I come in…?” Too late. She had already pushed open the door, and plus, there was no sign that said that there was another patient except Mina in here.
Naeun figured she’d be safe. Hesitantly, she stepped inside and walked into the room, freezing when she saw a figure on a single bed.
A youthful-looking woman that seemed like she was a few years older than Naeun lied there. She was hooked up to a machine that was monitoring her heart, and a few other tubes were there as well.
The woman had short, dyed hair that was cropped up to her shoulders. It was a honey-blonde. She was strikingly beautiful, but had a tomboyish look to her, even though she appeared to be asleep.
*Is this her…?* Naeun hoped it was.
“Oh!” A voice came from behind her. Gulping as if she had committed a crime, Naeun spun around to face a nurse. She was the same one that guided her to Hasung’s office.
“Oh, are you the girl that went to go see Dr. Yoo?” The nurse recalled. Naeun awkwardly curled her long hair behind her ear, “Uhh, yes, that’s me…”
To her surprise, the nurse smiled and approached Mina, checking that her tubes were secure and that her heart monitor was working fine. “Do you know Park Mina-sshi?” She suddenly asked, startling Naeun.
“Um…” Naeun warily glanced at the comatose woman lying in the bed. “I guess you could say that I know of her…”
“Really?” The nurse mused as she turned around, sadly gazing at the patient. “No one has ever come here for her in the longest time. I heard she was in a fatal car accident a couple years ago. Apart from her, another man was in the car. He passed on impact, though. She probably went in a coma from the shock of losing him. I heard he was important to her. I guess it was her boyfriend, or something to that effect. She was already here before I got my job at the hospital.” The nurse clucked her tongue.
“No, not a boyfriend,” Naeun quietly murmured. “He was a friend... A friend that loved her very much.” *A friend that never got the chance to become something more.*
The nurse was taken aback by Naeun’s knowledge, but smiled. “I see… You must know of Mina-sshi very well, then.”
Naeun smiled, “Not too much.”
The nurse nodded, “Well, it’s nice to see someone finally come to visit her. I’m sure she’ll wake up soon if people like you continue to come by.” The nurse bowed her head a bit, and left the room, closing the door behind her to give Naeun and Mina a little privacy.
Naeun gazed at Mina’s limp body again. *So you are Park Mina.* A warm, slightly happy feeling tickled her stomach. She was happy to have found her, for Chanyeol.
She took a seat at a stool that was placed beside Mina’s cot. Naeun sat there for a few minutes in silence before smiling.
“Hi, Mina. I’m Naeun, Chanyeol’s friend, and the girlfriend of Baekhyun, one of Chanyeol’s best friends.” She gently smiled. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Of course, there was no response from Mina. Naeun knew that Mina wouldn’t reply, but continued to speak as if she understood her and could hear her.
“It’d be nice if you could wake up soon. You see, I’m lonely, too. I have no one left in this world that cares about me. I heard you only had Chanyeol beside you, before. We’re similar, you and I.” Naeun inhaled and exhaled, “You loved him, didn’t you? That’s why you would rather give up your life too, instead of living in this world without him. That’s why you threw yourself off that bridge, along with Chanyeol and the car.”
“…Sorry. I don’t even know you personally, and I’m already assuming things. That was rude of me.” Naeun apologized, “During a whole course of events, I’ve met people who actually care about me and think of me as their family. It’s ironic, because I think of them the exact same way. I’ve even found someone I love, although he no longer exists on this planet called Earth.”
“But you know what? I’ve realized… that it’s never too late to give up. Look at me, I’m standing here because a miracle happened. I’m supposed to be gone from this world, but instead, I’m here again. And I’ve decided to continue living for the sake of the people I love.” Naeun warmly gazed at her, “See? You should continue living on, or else, you might not be able to experience things that you can never experience again. God always has a plan. Maybe it’s fate that you’re still alive.”
Naeun slowly stood up from her seat with a big smile on her face. “I think… it’d be great if we became friends, Mina unnie. Can I call you that? Sorry if I’m being too friendly. Don’t worry though, I’ll definitely come back to visit you again. I only hope that Chanyeol oppa can see you again too.” She walked over to the foot of the bed.
An encouraging smile brightened up Naeun’s face. “Because… I won’t stop believing. Someday, Baekhyun oppa will come back, and Chanyeol oppa, Sehunnie, and all the other oppas…” She beamed, “Someday… somehow.”
The door opened and closed, and phenomenally, a small smile had graced Mina’s lips.
Naeun exited the hospital and stretched out her long limbs.
She crinkled her nose in disgust, “That hospital smell is horrible. I hate hospitals.” A small smile escaped her lips though, when she remembered Hasung and Mina. *But I have a feeling that I’ll probably hate them a bit less now.*
“Mmm…” She hummed a tune as she zipped open her bag and pulled out the cherry lollipop that the little girl had given to her as a present before. A beautiful sunset was exerting hues of pink and orange, and strangely, it calmed her down.
Naeun took off the candy wrapper and rolled her eyes at the sunset in a good-natured way. *My life is full of sunsets and sunrises, but yet another sunset?* She softly smiled. *Baekhyun oppa… I believe that you’ll come back. You will, won’t you?* She smoothed out her necklace as she sat on a nearby bench in front of the hospital, admiring the gorgeous sky.
Candy had never tasted sweeter.
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