The boardwalk was full of different people; it made me smile to see that so many other people had the same plans as the boys and me. Shawn and Kevin were more nervous; while their English has improved since being in New York, they still look for help… to come and think of it, that’s probably why they invited me in the first place; to translate for them. Either way, today was too much of a beautiful day spending it back in the house.
“Hyung,” Shawn called for me. I turned my head around, lowering my sunglasses to look at him. “Should we do pizza or hamburgers?”
“We just got here, Hyung,” Kevin responded. I couldn’t help but laugh because it’s true. Shawn always was up for eating as soon as we got to a place. Shawn looked at Kevin with daggering eyes. Kevin wasn’t even phased about it; he looks at me to continue to conversation. “Should we go towards the benches near the beach?”
Shawn sucks his teeth. “Whatever, I’m going to get some food…” Before walking away, he turns around and looks at Kevin and me. “Uhm, Hyung, how do you say pizza in English again?”
“Same way you would pronounce it in English,” I began. Shawn puts two thumbs up and begins to walk away. “Shawn-ah,” I called out. He turns around to look at me. “Make sure you get a slice of pizza,” I reminded him.
“I might want the whole thing though,” Shawn responded back. I didn’t say anything or protest. I just allowed him to go and get his food.
Kevin and I find an empty bench and sit near the railing that leads to the beach. Kevin pulls out his sunscreen from his backpack and begins to apply it on himself. I allow the sun to tan my skin for the summer season.
“So Hyung,” Kevin begins. I look over at him when he talks. “Do you like it here more than New York?” I ponder on the thought and look out towards the beach.
“California is good for a fun time, but…” I couldn’t help but think about what New York meant for me. It’s like a memory that never stays a memory; it’s also something I think about, ever since I left 6 months ago. I don’t even realize that Kevin was talking again until he points towards my wrist.
“Where’d you get that from?” I look down at the bracelet and immediately panic internally. I tried to not let it show; fuck, maybe I shouldn’t have worn it out today.
“I don’t even remember, it was so long ago…” I felt bad talking so down on the one thing that holds so much meaning to me. Kevin looks perplexed, but doesn’t say anything since Shawn was returning back to where we were sitting.
“Okay, so,” Shawn began as he sat down and ate his slice of pizza. “There’s thisreally cool bar a couple of stores down from this pizza shop, and I totally think we should go back later tonight.
“Why tonight?” Kevin questioned.
“Because I’m not trying to meet the love of my life in this,” Shawn looked down at his rushly put-together outfit.
“Love of your life, huh?” I looked at Jamie. Shawn took a bite of his slice and looked at me as he chewed his food.
“Korea doesn’t have her in there,” he answered.
“Well, if you’re serious about meeting someone serious out here, maybe we should stop at a bookstore and get yourself a dictionary,” I teased. Kevin laughed, in which Shawn nudges him to the side. “Seriously though, maybe just have some fun while you’re here.”
“This is coming from the person who hasn’t dated a woman like–“
“Hyung!” Kevin stopped Shawn mid-sentence. I let out a deep sigh, and get up from the bench.
“Well, I guess we’ll come back tonight then for Shawn. And me,” I said. I was lying, but I was tired of Shawn and Kevin tip-toeing around me regarding women. I know I had to let Grace go. She wasn’t coming back into my life, and I’m not getting any younger. Shawn and Kevin look visibly shocked, but it was Shawn that stood up from the bench next, pounding me in the arm for support.
“Alright! There we go! Let’s have some fun tonight!” Shawn skips away from Kevin and me, as we walk along the rest of the pier. Kevin stops me in my tracks by grabbing my arm. I look at him.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re serious? Are you really moving on?” Kevin genuinely looked concerned, and it honestly annoyed me that he phrased it in a way where I was somewhat joined in with Grace.
“At this point, I’d be stupid for not doing so,” I answered, forcing myself to believe in what I was saying. But it was the truth; I have to move on. I need to move on.
“But you love–” Kevin started to say. I wouldn’t let him say it out in the universe.
“I don’t. Not anymore,” I said. I kept on walking, following Shawn, lying to Kevin, and lying to myself.