Choi Jongho! a voiced called my name, it was Teacher Park who today wore dark blue shirt with an 80's vibe yellow-green ties.
" Answer this question," he added. The man who stands in front of the green chalkboard only aged 27 but somehow his unpleasant face added by 20 years of his ages. Unlike his features and his odd taste of fashion, he surprised a really good math teacher and person.
" Yes, Sir. " while I am an exceptionally ordinary student who adores math and sports. And this is my story how I end up living in house number 82.
"Jong in! Can you help me? " I started packing all my stuff for going to school that day. I took the envelope that I kept in the cookies in.
" Sure what is?" my younger brother said as he also started tidily up the bed and pack to school.
" Gave this rent to Madam Jang, said it is for this month." I gave the envelope to him.
He took it and said," Okay, I will." and continued tidy the room we rent. I stand up and trap my keys and put on the shoes.
" Good, see you tonight."
" Yeah, wait for Hyung?!? " he stopped b. I look at him.
" What hurried, I will be late. "
" Can I go to Ryu's house? For homework? I will be home for dinner. Please? "
" Hmmm, I don't know." he never like stayed at people's place before. People always worried about us, me and Jong In. Who financially earned by ourself. Their parent just worried and we were kind of burdensome with the attention we get.
" Please Hyung?" he asked again. I looked at him again and nodded.
" Okay, but you will make the roll eggs for dinners. "
" Yes! "
" Hei, how is the homework? " I asked Jong In who just finish cut the egg rolls for our dinner.
" Good, its half away," he replied. I took the folding dining table and folding it for our dinner. I then took the rice and our chopstick. Jong In took the kimchi and yesterday simple japchae.
" Did you gave Madam Jung the money? " I asked him as soon as we sat.
" Yes I did." he looks at me in my eyes.
" Good, wahh the eggs roll smell so nice. " I smiled at him and focused my eyes on new freshly cooked egg rolls.
" Yeah of course," he said proudly while brushed his shoulder.
Without my knowledge, it was the last dinner together as a family.
I live in a small room in a rent house at JangMi street. It was all I could effort so far after Ma left us, me and my brother, Choi Jong-in. I am a high school student. Same goes with my brother. I was only a year older than him. We both work part-time to support ourself. I work at the bbq restaurant at night and pizza restaurant weekend, while my brother at the seafood restaurant. If we were lucky, our boss will give us some leftover.
I do not understand ma, why she left all of sudden. All I could remember was that we were having dinner together, and then, that day you never come back. Disappear like a cloud of smoke in the thin air. Untraceable.
There is no note, call or even trace that shown that you want to live us. All your staff are all in the way it is. Your clothes, your smell. I have used the money pocket that I save to live on our own. We wait for a while for you to come home and get us or we live as we are before but after years, I realized it all dreams. The dream I wish to dream off.
I was planning to cook some beef meat for our dinner that I got extra from my boss, Mr Lee. Let say, dip it with gochujang sauce maybe. I can't wait to see his face! Jong In loves meat.
What is this? I saw some stuff been pilled up at the stairs outside the 3 house storey.
Isn't that our pillow? The one with olive colour. It is our stuff. Why our staff is outside? I found a note that was taped on the box.
I AM SORRY, CHOI'S BROTHERS BUT YOU WERE LATE FOUR MONTHS PAYMENT WITH WARNING FOR 4MONTHS STRAIGHT. THEREFORE, WITH YOUR UNACCOUNTABLE AS TENANT TO PAY WITHIN THE 4 MONTHS, I HAVE RIGHT TO CEASES YOU.
This got to be a mistake, I never miss. 4 months? How could this happen? I need to meet Madam Jang. I took the note with me and ran toward Madam Jang house that was located 40 meters away from the rental house. I calmed myself at the front door of her house. I rang the bell three times and she finally faced me. She worn her basic Ajumma clothes with her rubber gloves in. Maybe she just does the dishes.
"Yes," she looks at me while took off her rubber gloves.
"You got to be mistake but I have paid without miss." I showed her the note she left with my stuff. She looks at it and said,
" Apparently, you did. "
" I have paid. " I insisted. She left the door open and when to the cabinet next front door. She took out a book and a pen and opened it to some pages. She took her finger out and look some subject in it and when she found it she looks at me without any emotion.
" I am sorry, son. Look at this ledger. " It showed the cash inflow or simply ledger. There is four black space on my name.
" Your last payment is four months ago. " I cannot denied she was right. She never forgets the receipt. But I was the one who forget to ask Jong In the receipt.
" I already sent the warning. "
" I was already been nice to let you live extra months since you are nice kids. But rules are rules. " It cannot end like this. This means I am home...
" It got to be a mistake, did not you receive an envelope from last week? " me still in denial of reality.
" I did not receive anything. " she shaken her head without any single doubt.
" I gave my brother to sent it to you. " I insisted.
"Then, he had the answer"
I wait for him but when the clock strick 9 p. m, I know something did not feel right. I when to his workplace but they said he quit 2 months ago. Where the hell is he? What happening ? Where is the money.
I cannot just wait for him any longer. I need to find him now, right now. I stood up and walk out to search for him. I lead my way to the usual place we go, the playground. The playground meant special place to me and him. It is the placed that remind us that we are still an adolescent. But he was not there. Where are you, Jong In. I sit on the cradle at the playground. Tired, hungry and worried of whereabouts of Jong In.
"Ring Ring" my phone rang. The screen showed an unknown number. It could be Jong In.
" Hello? Are you Choi Jong In 's guardian? " the husky man asked.
" Yes. But who I am speaking to? "
" This is Dec. Jang Won from Jangmi Police Station. Your brother, Choi Jong In is caught for underage drug usage. We need your present for immediate future action. "
" So, Mr Choi are you the sole guardian of Choi Jong In? " he asked and typed on the laptop at the same time regarding my personal information.
" Yes, I am. "I look at the man that who just called me about my brother Jong In. His husky voice and kind off buff body match with my imagination when I received the call.
" So do you agree with my recommendation or do you have you're own suggestions against Mr Choi Jong In ? " his bold tired eyes look at me for my answer.
" Yes, I agreed and no other suggestion. Just do anything the best for him. "
He sighed and said, "Alright, then." He types all the form and prints it out. " Please sign here and here."
"Then, it is all settled. Thank you. "
" Thank you. " I look at the watch that was hanged at the back shown its already twelve past five in the morning. I stood up and grabbed my canvas bag. But then, I feel I need to meet him for a sec. I look at the Detective Jang Won.
" Sir, can meet him? " I said. He stops typing and look at me for a moment, as looking for honesty in it.
" 10 minutes," he said. He then stood up and lead me to the temporary cell. He left me for a moment to gave me privacy.
I look at him. He looks a mess and devastates. He still worn his school uniform. He was supposed to be on the study, now he is here. Is it my fault, did not give enough attention? But he!! He just used the money we earned to buy !?! How could he? I am so tired. And hungry. I look at him after a few silence.
" Have you eat yet, Jong In? " I asked to start a conversation.
" How are you feeling? " my second attempt to start a conversation.
However still no answer. I will not give up on you Jong In. You are the only person I left and I have. I love you and always. But,
" I am sorry," I said.
I have to do this to save you. I took my step away after the officer said my time is over.
" How long I have to stay here? " Jong In finally asked. I turn and faced him.
" Until you have the desire to live. " the last thing I said to Jong In on that day.
" How do you know Mr Oh? " Miss Lee asked while filling in some form in her laptop.
" I work for him." a simple, short and accurate answer I gave.
" Name," she asked.
" Choi Jongho"
" 18 years old. "
" So young." A man who sat beside her said.
" He s a man. " the man continued. He wore a hippie coloured shirt and a miss-match sock. He looked at me with an eyes mix of suspisious and worrisome.
" Well I am aware of it. " replied the woman that I believe is the owner. "That helps a lot," she added and rolled her eyes annoyed.
"It will give cons for you. " he continued.
"So does pros," she said and turned her face to him. The man unsatisfied with the reaction, added.
" But he is a man. " while handed to me looking concerned. Did not they realised? I could hear everything they said.
" He s a boy, high school boy. " urged her.
" Be will became a man. " stated the man.
" Darth, I know that. That's helping. "
" Do I seem like have a choose?. " she whispered to him.
" I do need a rent right now and a hand," she added. Without any discussion, she offered her hand as handshake for an agreement with the rental. The man looks annoyed.
" Welcome to this house, Choi JongHo "