A couple of years ago, I visited California as a vacation spot. I still remember getting away from Southeast Asia and coming to the west to experience more than just what surrounds Korea. I was dating Seohyun at the time, in which I remember her telling me that nothing good ever comes out of going overseas. I told her everything was going to be okay and that I needed to go on this trip for myself. It wasn’t until shortly after I came back from my vacation that she broke up with me. Maybe she was right all along; nothing good ever comes out of America.
I turn my back once I realize that the door of the room I was staying in was being knocked on. I walked over and opened it to see Shawn, who walks in and looks around my room.
“Whoa, you have the best room in the house,” Shawn said. Kevin and Shawn decided that for our guy’s trip, we would rent a house for the summer instead of constantly checking in and out of hotels. I didn’t mind since it saves me money in the long run. I smiled and crossed my arms onto my chest.
“Well, this was my birthday gift from you two after all,” I teased. Shawn rolled his eyes as Kevin knocked on the front door and let himself in.
“Hyung,” Kevin called out. I raised my eyebrows at him, listening to what he needed to say. “How do you call someone in Korea while you’re overseas? What time is it anyway in Korea?” I couldn’t help but laugh and tease the maknae of our friend group.
“Aww, is Kevin already missing his girlfriend?” I said in a sing-song tone. He pinned his eyes on me which felt more like darts. I started to laugh even louder, in which Kevin’s face began turning red.
“Hajima~” Kevin whined. “I wanted to let Joo-ah know that I landed safely.” Shawn runs over to Kevin to pinch his cheeks out of cuteness. The two men begin to play fight in the middle of my room.
“Ya, that’s enough,” I shouted at the men. “If anything breaks while we are here, you’ll be the ones who will pay for it.” Shawn and Kevin stop fighting, and respectively begin to show themselves out of my room.
“Get some rest, Hyung, we got plans to do some exploring in the city,” Shawn said. He left the room before Kevin did. He randomly stood near the door as if he still had a lot going on in his mind.
“You’re okay, Kevin?” I asked.
“Is this how you felt when you were away from–” Kevin stopped. Kevin doesn’t seem to force me to talk about things like he used to. In a way, I’m glad Joo-ah is in his life. It keeps him busy with his own personal life.
“Yeah.” I simply answered. He didn’t push me further to talk, which I’m thankful for. He simply nodded his head and left my room.
Once the door closed, I immediately went to lay in bed. I don’t remember the jet lag being as bad as it was this time. Maybe it was just my age coming to play, or maybe I was actually excited to leave Korea and go to the west. I closed my eyes, trying to calm my mind down and allow my tired body to drift to sleep.
“Jamie,” a whisper lingered through my ear as my body began to wake up. I opened my eyes and look to my right to see her laying there, smiling when she sees me awake.
“Jagiya,” I playfully whined and covered my head with the comforter. She rips it off and begins to run her fingers through my hair. “Can’t we stay in bed for a little longer?”
“The more time we stay here, the less time we have together,” she answered. I sat up from the bed and look at her.
“It’s not like you’ll run away from New York and we’ll never see each other again,” I said. She laughed and cupped my face with her hands.
“Only if you don’t come looking for me,” she said in a cynical tone.
I wake up and immediately need to catch my breath. I touch my neck which is drenched in sweat. I look at the time on my phone, and it reads 5am. I sighed and rubbed my eyes before laying back down in bed and staring up at the ceiling. I don’t remember when these dreams began, but they would happen every once and awhile in the couple of months I was back in Korea. Maybe they’re more intense ow considering I’m back in America. She’s not here, Jamie. She’s…
That’s the thing. I didn’t know where she was. A couple of weeks after arriving to Korea, I tried to get in contact with Ari to ask her if she had any updates on Grace. She didn’t, but I also didn’t expect her to tell me anything if she knew where Grace was. After awhile, I had no choice but to give up. I knew what it was like to disappear from your home without anyone really knowing; if you don’t want to be found, you tell no one.
Even if they still think you’re the absolute world.
It was no point trying to go back to bed, so instead I picked my phone from the night stand and did a quick search of any nearby coffee shops that were open at this time.
“Beanie’s Cafe?” I read the first available shop open. It still surprised me to see places that are open 24 hours in other countries. I get up from my bed and begin to throw on my outfit for the day. Knowing that today was going to be really hot, I tried to dress coolly… shorts.
I walked out of my room and into the common area to see if Shawn or Kevin were up yet.
“Ya,” I called out. “Anyone want to take a walk with me to a coffee shop?” There was no reply. I shook my head, not surprised that these guys can sleep anywhere and forever. I gave up, put my shoes on, and walked out of the door.
Walking down the streets of California, I can’t help but think back when I was vacationing here. I smiled, thinking about how I carried around that damn Korean-to-English dictionary trying to communicate with anyone. To come and think about it, I wonder where that little book is anyway; I might’ve thrown it away in frustration when I kept failing at communicating for all I know. You know, that might actually have happened.
“You threw away your dictionary?” Seohyun said over the phone. She sound more concerned, even though I told her it was funny.
“I did. No one could understand me behind my accent,” I explained. The joke didn’t feel as joke-like anymore. Seohyun always knew when to take things too seriously and ruined jokes because of it.
“Jaemin,” Seohyun started. “You’re in a foreign country, and you can’t rely on the little English that you know!”
“Seohyun-ah~” I tried to not sound as annoyed as I was, but she was making me feel somewhat incompetent. “I’ll be fine.”
“Don’t come crying to me when you’re lost in the middle of America,” Seohyun bluntly stated. “I told you nothing comes good out of traveling that far.”
I got to the coffee shop shortly after I left the house. The shop wasn’t anything too fancy; it was just a little cozy coffee shop; one that people go to do their work or students who are studying. It definitely reminded me of New York City, and I immediately felt too uneasy to stay there any longer. Ya, you can’t just let New York ruin every place in America for you. I still vote against it. I left the cafe without getting anything.
Is this how the rest of the trip is going to be like?