He is beautiful,
his soul and his smile.
You will see him,
and you will fall in love
but fate is cruel,
and he will be snatched away.
I was too hopeful and a little rough as well. I knew that he would not be coming, but I remained pacing in my small room.
The sun was already setting and knowing the islanders, they sleep really early since they rise extremely early to go pearl fishing. But I was hopeful that he would come out, ready wanting to head down to fish, but even that was way too much to even wish for.
Wringing my fingers while watching the sky become duller from my small window, I stepped out and knocked on his door.
I was more nervous right now than when I had to give a presentation in front of my classmates. I had, more or less, shouted in his face and even ordered him to wear those clothes. What if he changes his mind and comes out with a knife? I mean he wouldn’t be branded as a criminal if he hadn’t killed before.
“Let’s go down now. I-it’s getting late… haha.” I realized that I was sweating. Heck, I was nervous. I rubbed my sweaty palms over my skirt and knocked again.
This time he opened it, rashly at that. He gave me a glare, one that made me jump out of my skin and made me regret my actions at once.
“Why are you trying so hard to get me to go to that dinner? Why can’t you go alone?” He growled, semi-shouting at me.
I stood there stunned like I had lost my tongue. I wanted to say so many things. I wanted to shout back, saying this is entirely his fault and that the least he could do was come down for dinner with me, but I was too scared to talk back.
I averted my eyes away from his, and landed them on his torso. Suddenly, my breathing became normal, and my heart started beating normally. He had actually changed clothes! God! I let out a sigh of relief and breathed in heavily.
My previous fears suddenly evaporated, and I smiled deliriously as I look up to him again. He seemed rather taken aback at my smile as he frowned at me. It was then that I pulled the hem of his shirt and gave him a bright smile.
“Let’s go. They must be waiting.”
He only stared at me like I had lost my mind. I felt like so too, but he sighed and closed his door. Was I unbearably weird?
“I’m not saying anything, okay?” he added grumpily as he was dragged along. I had to hurry him up every now and then because the sun was already half-way under the sea.
* * *
“So what were you doing before you came here?” The woman asked Baekhyun. I had a feeling she was quite interested in this young fellow sitting next to me in the kitchen.
There was no dining table and we had to sit in one of those local seats and hold our food with our hands. It was the most difficult thing ever but then I got the hang of it pretty soon.
The woman or grandma as she wished for us to call her and her husband were both old, somewhere around their late sixties, but they both looked fit. We had been throwing around casual conversation, I tried my best to exclude my so-called-husband out of the conversation. But then the woman had questions that always came back to Baekhyun. I had a feeling she wasn’t going to let go of this opportunity for juicy gossip for anything in the world. She was the first woman in the village to be directly talking to Baekhyun and that was an achievement.
He only frowned deeper and I know it's because I was throwing him glances, slowly dying inside. We were sitting just a little apart. The woman had actually seated us a little further but Baekhyun had brought his seat closer to mine. Maybe he felt uneasy and since I was the only one he actually knew, he felt the need to get closer.
“We’re still students.” He said for the first time and probably for the last time because he said it with such finality I felt like ditching my most delicious bowl of noodles in a long time and run away.
“OH!” The woman exclaims as though she did not hear the finality in his voice. Some people are just gifted like that. The conversation, though had been like that for the last half hour, making me feel all the more awkward.
“You’ve been fishing a lot haven’t you?” The old man finally speaks up. This time Baekhyun looked up to see the old man. “I see you every day on the Eastern shores.” He spoke fondly as though he had taken a great liking to Baekhyun.
Grandpa, as he wished for me to call him, reminded me of my own grandpa in every way. He had this fatherly air about him that made me immediately trust him. They both had the same gnarled hands, the same friendly face and beautiful smile. I found myself missing my dear grandpa very much. He did not talk much but listened and gave great advice.
He nodded his head. I finally continued eating, now a little happy that he was at least listening and not being impossible. I finished my remaining noodles and sighed deeply. I missed that.
“I know excellent fishing spots around the Northern shores. There you get really tasty and meaty ones. I will recommend you to go to those spots instead.”
Baekhyun was now fully invested in that conversation. A voice inside my heart screamed happily at that. He’s finally giving them attention.
“Also if you want, we could take you to pearl fishing once or twice when there is good weather, but I don’t know if you can leave your lovely wife alone because sometimes we go for days.”
His eyes suddenly drifted to mine and stared at me for a few seconds before he averted it. “Maybe I’ll just stick to fishing.”
I gave him a grimace at that. We’re supposed to act like a couple who were madly in love to the point of running away and not the ‘Hey-We’re-Meeting-For-The-First-Time’ vibe.
The old couple chuckled at that.
“We understand,” the old man said, smiling knowingly. I couldn’t believe that we were actually fooling them with our pathetic acting. I felt bad because they were amazing people. Lying did not feel right.
The dinner lasted for almost an hour. By the time we finished, the stars were already out and the crescent moon were hanging so brightly.
“Wow! It took only an hour to change from the sunlight sky to a moonlit one,” I exclaimed as we climbed the path. The men of the group had steered the conversation entirely to fishing and the women had to listen to them. The old man, who was not going pearl hunting the next day, had promised Baekhyun a trip to the hotspots for fishing.
“Stop for a while please,” I asked him. He stopped in his tracks. He was walking in front of me, hands inside his pockets, looking as though he carried the world on his shoulders. I don’t know why but I wanted him to throw away that burden by making him laugh. I’m lunatic to even think this but there’w always pity whenever I look at him.
I sat down on the stony path and motioned for him to do the same. He did not of course, so I stood up and went right where he was and literally pushed him to sit down. This is our first physical contact. I hope that doesn’t spark any anger in him.
Thankfully, he said nothing although he did glare at me as I sat down next to him.
“Look up the stars. Aren’t they the most beautiful thing?” I whispered quietly as I watched the stars. With darkness everywhere, except for little lights here and there, it was a treat to watch the stars. I let out a content sigh as I lied down fully. I always love the stars and I could watch them the entire night.
“In the cities, it’s never this bright… here it’s a dozen times better.”
Baekhyun was also looking at them.
“Lie down,” I said softly. “It’s better that way.”
Surprisingly after some moments of hesitation he did.
We stared at the stars for quite some time.