05

“Jikyung,” Jina places her hands on my shoulders, “you okay?”

It’s the day of the wedding, and I’m getting jitters. I don’t think it’s because I’m unsure of marrying Junghoon. It’s just the idea of marrying someone in general is tugging my heart. I’m going to be settled now. I’m going to be someone’s wife, and I’m going to consider creating a family. I’m going to have to care for someone else as much as I care for a family member. I’m going to face the possibility of divorce in the future. I guess I’m scared. I’m scared to move onto the next part of my life, and then be left behind somewhere. I don’t want my parents’ case to repeat. I’m saying that I won’t mind my husband cheating as long as he provides for me and my future children if I have some; however, I know that’s half of a lie. I think I care too much about Junghoon now that I’ll mind. I might even come to hate him if that ever happens, and I don’t want that. I don’t want to follow my mother’s steps.


“Yeah,” I lie. “I’m fine.”

I have been sitting in front of this large golden mirror as the makeup artist and stylist prepare me. I’m wearing a Vera Wang ballerina ball gown with veiled layers of cut flowers and a rose bowtie waist. We’re holding the wedding in an exotic country, France. I purposely do that to make sure we don’t have a ton of unnecessary relatives dropping by to see the show and munch on our food. I invited Daeun as well, so she knows that I’m over Taeyang and that I’m not being rude. My closest girl friends, who are my bridesmaids, all tell me that I should not have invited her. They said she’d ruin the atmosphere, but I ignore their childish thoughts. 

Knock. Knock.

“Come in,” Jina utters.

The door opens, and from the mirror, I can see Daeun entering. She is wearing a violet bobbin net dress with a translucent neckline. It’s the colour that I hate the most. My father’s lover adored that colour, and so naturally, I despised it. It wasn’t until recently did I start incorporating purple in my wardrobe. Junghoon said orchid looked nice on me, and so I thought I’d give the other shades a try.

Her hand is holding onto our wedding invitation as she mutters, “I . . .”
 
I turn to Jina, telling her, “Can we get a few minutes by ourselves?” By this time, I am finished with everything, so all the helpers along with the other people. When everyone finally leaves, Daeun is about a meter away from me. Because we’re in a hotel room, Daeun takes a sit on the edge of a bed.

Daeun asks, “You’re marrying . . . Junghoon . . . Taeyang’s classmate right?”

“Yeah,” I still stay in my seat and reply.

I’m not sure what Daeun’s stubborn stare means. I wonder if she’s thinking that I have moved on too quickly. I’m pretty certain that to outsiders, it may seem like I have decided to marry way too hastily. Most of them don’t know that Junghoon and I are together for the second time, and even when they do know, they still give me that look that Daeun is channeling. She doesn’t seem to understand how I can just go on with my life like that. According to the majority, I am supposed to sob and sulk until many years later, but they don’t grasp the idea that I have been mourning way before Taeyang passed away. After we lost contact, I’ve always thought about him. Maybe, at first, it was constantly, but after a while, it was only from time to time. Even then, I did . . . think about him, and it’s not as if I have completely forgotten about him. There’s a difference between nostalgia and remembrance. I wouldn’t want to go back to the way we were before. I’m perfectly fine with myself now.

At last, Daeun declares, “Junghoon . . . he’s a good guy.”

“You know him well?” I wonder.

Daeun clarifies, “He came by before Taeyang’s funeral to look for our wedding invitation. He said he wanted to give it to you, and I wanted to give him the cards you sent to Taeyang. Junghoon wouldn’t take them. He . . . said that I didn’t have the right to give Taeyang’s belongings to you because Taeyang wouldn’t have done so. Anyways . . . I really . . . wanted to apologize for what I did then. I was . . . just mad and upset over Taeyang’s death. I wanted someone to blame, and—“

“It’s okay.” I turn around and look at her. “Really,” I stress. “It’s okay. Haha, I don’t even know where I put those cards.”

Daeun offers s soft grin while muttering, “Thanks, Jikyung. I hope . . . that you’ll be happy.”

“I’m already happy,” I respond, “and thank you. I hope you will be happy too.”

Daeun then bows slightly at me and leaves. Once the door clicks, I give myself a look in the mirror. If it were before, I’d probably be in tears after hearing that Taeyang wouldn’t have wanted Daeun to return my cards, but now, I feel like crying about another phrase. It’s the one about Junghoon, of how he went to see Daeun and refused to take those cards. I have this sudden urge to see Junghoon. I know it might be a curse to see him on my wedding day and for him to see my dress, but I don’t care at all. I also don’t care that the wedding planner is yelling at me to come back while I’m running off down the hallway. I just dash to the elevators and press for Junghoon’s floor. Then, I continue sprinting to Junghoon’s hotel room and burst through the doors. I only see his friends in the room, so I shout, “Where’s Junghoon?”

“In the w-w-washroom,” the best man, Bosung, mutters.

“Did someone—“

Junghoon’s words are cut off by me as I leap into his arms. He opens the door just in time and I cling onto his neck perfectly. Both of us are probably severely bruised after landing on the hard, marble floor, but I need to tell him now.

“Thank you, Junghoon,” I whisper close to his ear.

“For?” he groans.

“For being there.”

I hug him tighter, and I feel his arms wrap around mine. That’s when I realize that I love him more than I could ever fathom. I’m glad I realized this before I lost him. I don’t want to repeat the mistake I made with Taeyang, who had been there for a while. I don’t want to say that it’s only after you’ve lost someone do you understand just how much you love him or her. I’d rather be uncertain about my future with Junghoon than regret missing on this chance. I think this is part of love—taking risks. I don’t know how many times I have said this, but I want to be unafraid to love and to be hurt. I don’t want to feel that I’m wrong for loving Junghoon more, but I also don’t want my love for him to overburden me.

Junghoon isn’t my everything, and I am not his all. He is, though, an important part of my life. He’s someone I would like to keep by my side for as long as I can imagine. He’s the one I’d first consult if anything arises. He’s the one I know who will keep all my secrets. He’s the one I’m not afraid of being myself. Above all, he’s the one that makes me want to be better every day, and that’s why I’m marrying him today.

Even though his parents don’t approve of his lifestyle and of me, I’m not letting that get to me. Because for some odd reason, I think Junghoon and I will manage. Slowly but surely, his parents will accept us. They’ll understand his choices, and they’ll accept me. My family might not be as prestigious as theirs, but I’m just as accomplished as Junghoon. I don’t need to rely on their wealth nor does he. We’re using our own money to live, and we’re happy the way we are.

So now that I’m standing at the altar, I state proudly, “I do. I do take you as my husband.”

“You may now kiss the bride,” the man announces.

I feel Junghoon’s hands steady on my arms. He leans forward, and just like that time at the funeral, I jump up. This time, though, I press my lips firmly on his.

I love you, Junghoon.

I love you so much that I can be scared by just how much you mean to me. But . . . now, I know that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to love. It’s okay to want to be with you.

Why?

Because . . . that’s just how love is. It’s just . . . sort of crazy that way.
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