Meeting Park Bo Gum

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     You met him a few years ago in Korea. It was summer. You were there for a few days by yourself, trying to heal. You weren’t really looking for anything other than peace of mind and some alone time. But somehow, while you were exploring the city by yourself, you saw him.

     On a train. Minding his own business. He looked cute, you had to take a picture.

     This cute stranger somehow made your short trip memorable. You did a lot of things by yourself but that one encounter on the train was the most unforgettable one.

--

     Fast-forward to a year later, you came back to Korea. This time, for a well-deserved break from work. You have healed slightly. Moved forward with your life. Had a better career. Without the guy who broke your heart, you’ve realized a lot of things about yourself. You’ve learned to focus on yourself more.

     This vacation was your reward to yourself. But you weren’t initially planning to go to Korea. Japan was on top of your bucket list this year. But just as you were about to book a flight, you happened to stumble upon an old picture. It was from your trip last year.

     The cute stranger on the train.

     You didn’t know anything about him so you weren’t really expecting to see him again. You rested for a while in your hotel room and then later that day, you hopped on a bus to explore Seoul.

     This particular guy on the bus caught your attention. He seemed familiar. There was something so attractive about him just sitting there by himself, reading a book. His hair was longer now, but you had a feeling it was him. You were hoping it was him.

     You had an itinerary to follow, but when he went down the bus, you found yourself following him. He went inside a library and looked around, occasionally taking a book from a shelf to skim through.

     You were entranced by him. You found yourself staring, unable to move. He suddenly smirked. You thought it was because of the book he was reading, but you suddenly met his gaze. You looked away, embarrassed.

     When you glanced to his direction again, he was already gone. Your shoulders slumped in disappointment. Letting out a sigh, you turned around to exit the establishment... and almost bumped into someone.

     “Hi,” he greeted in a hushed voice.

     You blinked because that’s honestly all you could do. To say you were shocked speechless would be an understatement. He looked ethereal up close.

     “I noticed you looking at me,” he continued. He spoke slowly, his gaze holding yours. “Do you need something?”

     You shook your head and profusely apologized in all the language you know. He said it’s okay and even held out his hand to introduce himself, “I’m Bo Gum. And you are....?”

     You told him your name, had to repeat it several times because you were stuttering so badly.

     “It was nice to meet you,” he said. He could have ended the encounter there and left. But when he learned that you were a tourist, he offered to give you a tour.

     For the days that followed, he took you to his favorite spots in the city.

     He even offered to take lots of pictures so you’d have a lot to remember. On your last day in Seoul, he took you to the sea. You talked about a lot of things. It felt like you’ve known him for years. While waiting for the sunset, you gave him your phone so he could listen to your favorite songs. You both sat there in silence. Him, listening to your favorite songs and you, staring at him while he did.

     Finally, it was time to say goodbye.

     “When will you return?” he asked.

     “Probably next year,” you answered.

     “Can’t it be sooner?”

     You shook your head. “My work’s very demanding. I can only take a long vacation once or twice a year.”

     “Oh.”

     “You should visit my country. I’ll return the favor and give you a tour!”

     He smiled but didn’t answer. Before finally parting ways, you promised to keep in touch.

--

     Maybe you were busy. Maybe he was. Communicating with him was harder than you imagined. Replies were sparse. You barely conversed. It was just you sending a message, him replying hours later, and vice versa.

     Maybe the magic was supposed to just stay in Korea. Things weren’t the same when you went home. After a few months, you didn’t see the point of continuing it anymore.

     No, you weren’t brokenhearted. You just felt upset because you invested in something so short-lived and expected a lot of things to come out of it.

--

     But one day, something unexpected happened.

     Will you go and see him?



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