I’ve graduated and I am already taking up some coaching. I’m going to go out soon and find a job.
By the way the guy I told you about, Xuimin? Well he finally came out of the library to celebrate my graduation with me but it so happened that my friends seem to recognize him as Minseok, I don’t know who is Minseok but my friends says he’s a snob.
I haven’t seen Xuimin since then. After all we have only meet up thrice after the first meeting.’
* * *
I let out a huge breath of relief as the call ended. Then I let out a shout of delight. My mom who was sitting beside me on the couch clamped with her hands in delight and we hugged each other till we were breathless.
I couldn’t believe this but I had got a job at a reputable company. I had three interviews two of which I had failed but I got the third one. This job entails a good result after what I earned my degree from college in and some additional certificates I had. I had tried so hard for the exam and for the interview and I was so glad that I had got this.
This job was not much actually, although I was surely going to sit behind a desk and all, and get less pay but it was going to be on my resume that I had worked on a reputable company if I ever decided to leave.
“I’m so happy for you!” My mother gushed, her eyes wrinkling up in delight. I could only let out delighted laughter at that.
“I’m so happy too,” I smiled at her, “Maybe I’ll study online for further education. I’m so glad. I’ll be working hard to get promotion when I get to work.”
“You do just that. I know you’ll do great.” My mother smiled proudly at me. “I can’t believe how far you’ve come.”
Dad then comes waltzing in with cake in his hands.
“Tell me you got it,” Both mom and I beamed and we nodded our heads. He lets out a hearty laugh and the three of us are hugging and bonding so happily. The cake is cut and we celebrate me getting my first job.
But as I watched on the two of them being so proud of me my cake suddenly tasted bitter. There was the need to tell them someday about Baekhyun right? Maybe not, not today at least.
* * *
The first day of work made me feel jittery and all the butterflies that I thought had died attacked my stomach and my brain was fuzzy but I couldn’t help but be excited. I felt alive as my heart beat faster with each step I took. This feeling of excitement, this feeling of hope had been gone for so long and it was finally here again. I felt happier than I had ever been in a long time.
I had finished my coaching and this will be a piece of cake. I told myself and let my lips pull up into a smile. I let out a deep breath and willed myself to go through the spiral glass door. Everything in here screamed luxury and I allowed myself to admire the man-made beauty.
I wonder if Baekhyun would also love to come to such a fancy place and work?
I smiled unconsciously as I pictured Baekhyun looking incredibly handsome wearing a suit and tie and being busy. Maybe someday… or some other life.
I had arrived 20 minutes early to get myself acquainted with the place and be calm by the time it comes. I looked around and everything I saw swept me off my feet. I pictured myself working here full time, getting promotion after promotion. Maybe this is what I really want, I tell myself. An established life with a future that wasn’t bleak and full of uncertainty.
But would I be happy without him? My thoughts decided to hold a debate as I turn and try each door in our department. I could stay here and never go back there and start over with my life. Maybe I can get a boyfriend and get married and have kids. Maybe I will work here till I am gray and spent. And maybe I will pass on here after my time is up… that’s what a perfect life is all about and maybe I could have it but why is my heart not excited at that thought? Why was this huge glass building less appealing than the glass surface of the ocean?
I was employed under ‘Snow’ business which handled everything from shoping malls to high end bouquets. They had a hotel in Seoul and one in Busan. Ah! The rich life of the Kim family and the amazing chance of being able to work under them.
I was in the foreign trade department since I was fluent in English, my mother being born and bought up in the UK. She was the one who had personally tutored and taught me English. Now I was going to use her teaching to my advantage.
“All the new employees are to report to the conference room for a short meeting. The CEO will be meeting you all.” A smooth voice trailed out from the speaker stationed almost everywhere in the hallway.
We were meeting with the CEO today but that wasn’t surprising. The heads normally show up the first day and encourage us and then disappear because they are too busy.
My feet took me to the conference room which I had seen earlier on. There were already some people there and more people started coming in.
Within a minute the place was filled with more than 50 of us. It made me self-conscious. If I did not deliver well I had great chances of saying goodbye.
But there was no time to dwell on that as the doors opened and very important looking people walked in onto the raised platform.
My jaw dropped when they finally faced me. I was sitting three seats from the front but that cannot for all the world deceive my eyes because right now I was looking at Xuimin who was Xuimin in all physical aspect but different in every way. This was not the Xuimin I knew, this guy was confident and looked at people in the eye like he was looking straight into mine. He excluded an aura of confidence, of poise, and of good breed. I felt greatly incompetent just looking back at him with admiration, with surprise and with wonder. He looks away nonchalantly and gave a good sweep of all the employees currently present.
I curled my fist tight and kept all the thoughts that I had in my mind. Maybe he has a twin and this was the Minseok that my friends were talking about.
I scanned him and decided that this was not Xuimin. This could not be Xuimin… not at all.
They began with their welcome speech, going over their working policies and the rules and regulations in the office. I hardly caught anything because I was really getting worked up with the Xuimin look alike.
Then they welcomed the CEO to the stage and Xuimin walks up confidently without hesitation. There was no need to feel anything but my heart dropped unwillingly. Here I was sharing my deepest thought with him and he did not even tell me his real name. I felt embarrassed and wanted to walk out.
He started speaking and it was the voice I remember and know but it wasn’t Xuimin’s. This was Kim Minseok as he had introduced himself and there was no stammering in his speech and not even an ounce of nervousness.
I felt cheated although I had no right to be. He never asked, I was the one who shared with him, but there was no denying that I felt thoroughly ashamed. If he really was Xuimin than he would be trying to find an excuse to dispose off a girl who was madly in love with someone who is apparently very far away and won’t return her letters and who had bouts after bouts of depression.
I suddenly began to feel my anxiety rise. This isn’t good. I closed my eyes and curled my fist tightly and began breathing in and out like my dad told me to. I should control it before it controls me… I chant as I felt it go away slowly. I did not care anymore what was happening outside. I was going to be fired anyway.
I decided then that before I opened my eyes I need to forget that little boyish-like person in the heart of the library and that this person was someone I had never met. This person wasn’t worth working up my anxiety.
* * *
My desk was small but comfortable. I liked it the moment I saw it and I mentally began to formulate how I was going to design it. Although it was right in the middle of the room with people flanking me on every side I did not mind because my back faced the wall which was thankfully filled with the most beautiful wild flowers.
My heart thumped as I admired them. Why are wild flowers the theme flower here? Coincidence?
They reminded me of Baekhyun. He grew up in the wild yet he managed to bloom so beautifully he has been lingering in my mind this whole time.
“We redecorated our room yesterday,” a smiling woman with a huge stack of file came to me. “I’m glad you like it.”
I nod my head, “It is so beautiful…” I exclaimed. “The department surely has great choice.”
“Oh no…” She says as continued to walk to where her desk was, “It wasn’t any of us. It was the CEO.”
* * *
A call came. It was almost 12 but I was up writing him a letter. Those wildflowers did a good job in bringing me back the memory of a shy Baekhyun who hesitantly gave me a bunch every time he returned from the gulf.
I sighed looking at the number displayed on the screen. It was not saved which means it was unknown. Do I pick it up or just let it go?
But then someone calling at this hour? Must be urgent.
For a second my heart stood still and it felt as though a lightning hit me. Excitement and anxiousness suddenly coursed through me.
This time though my heart dropped so low in massive disappointment that the previous moment seemed as though it never happened.
I thought I heard Baekhyun’s voice over the phone. He calls my name with the same kind of tenderness that I wanted to hear him call me over and over again and I’ll smile at him as he does so.
“It’s me,” A pause, “Xuimin,” another pause, “Minseok.”
I held my breath. So it really was him. Minseok was Xuimin and Xuimin was Minseok. But why was the CEO calling me at this hour?
“Ah…” That was the only thing that came out. I barely knew Xuimin much less Minseok and this calling at night thing wasn’t what I was accustomed to.
“I’m sorry,” He says, “I did not even tell you my real name.”
I kept quiet, not really sure how to answer. What do I say? It doesn’t matter? But it did. I felt humiliated although it was entirely my fault.
“I want to meet you,” he says and I held my breath, “In person. When can you be free?”
I chewed on my thumb unknowingly. Just what am I suppose to do in this situation? If this was Xuimin I was talking to I would gladly march out even at this hour and met with him but this was Minseok and he was not really someone I thought I would like very much.
“I-er…” I cleared my throat because it suddenly felt very itchy. I scratched my ear and my knees and picked up a pencil and then put it down. “Um… you’re the boss… haha.”
I managed to squeak out. I thought I heard some sort of quiet laughter from his end but it must just be because I was so worn out.
“Jo,” he calls and my heart thumped wildly. Please don’t say my name like that. “I’m Xuimin… I will always be Xuimin when I am with you.”
* * *
He took me out for coffee. I sat there straight back, hands fiddling and my teeth chewing the inside of my lips. This felt like another interview all over again and every time I look up at him he seemed to be looking at me with a smile.
The roles were reversed here. I was squirming and he was smiling.
“Hi…” He said extending his right hand, after what felt like an eternity, “I’m Kim Minseok.” He gave me a smile, one which brought out his gums and his cheeks. He looked exactly like a super cute chipmunk.
Why is it that people associated with me all resemble animals in the cutest way possible?
I must have been squinting at him because he pulled back his hand, shook his head and drastically turned into Xuimin. What the hell just happened? Did I witness the transition of Minseok to Xuimin?
I blinked at him, shocked that he suddenly and literally shrank down in his chair.
He had come and picked me up at home like I told him to and not from the office. Imagine the uproar it would cause especially with the ladies because boy, have I heard of fangirling among the lady employees.
“So um… who are you exactly?” This coffee house, the one he brought me to literally serves customers with very warm pockets only. It had an extremely cozy interior and even cozier cubicles where there was no way people will overhear any conversations because they were all miles away from each other.
He slides up a bit and I sort of wanted to giggle at that because in his suit he looks like a little boy trying to be a grown up.
“I don’t even know anymore!” He sighs exhaustedly and then the Xuimin I knew was back – the helpless and always bored persona.
“You’ve got like, what, a company under you?” He pouts as he gave me nod.
“My father is even lazier than me,” he sighs, “Now he only drinks tea and goes to party with mom leaving the heavy load to me.”
Now that he was relaxed and back to being someone I actually knew, I begin to relax as well.
“Minseok seems like a really…” I stirred my coffee,”… Well, not you.”
“I know,” he replied, slouching down once again becoming the kid I knew. Thankfully now that we were in a cubicle people couldn’t see him act like a spoiled little kid, “he’s a douche bag.”
“So which is the real you?” I decided to prob.
“Which one do you think? That guy is a front I have to put up to run something,” he says with his eyeballs both up as though he if recalling or really annoyed by something, “I have been taught that since I was birthed into this world. It since I have a real shy personality. I am terrified all the time being him.”
“I thought I was hallucinating when I saw you there,” I sipped my coffee.
He laughed but his cheeks were up making me almost coo at him.
“I didn’t know our company took you in either,” he smiles and sits up