Chapter 44: Chapter 44
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Ban Yeo Ryung was feeling under the weather.
It was inevitable since she and Donnie went to the same school for 9 years, and this dynamic of their relationship was now entering a decade; however, it was the first time they had to attend classes in separate sections.
Although she was not a Christian devotee, Ban Yeo Ryung always prayed passionately for Ham Donnie to be in the same class as hers once again the night before the class placement. The following day, she would always find her prayers answered; thus, she felt grateful to notice that she was God’s beloved.
However, the problem happened because she forgot her annual prayer yesterday. Ban Yeo Ryung could not concentrate on her entreaty after hearing Donnie’s big reveal about the secret she had kept for all these years. Today, she’s facing the price she had to pay, eventually.
Gosh! Ban Yeo Ryung laid her head on the desk again and stomped her feet. How could their classes be all the way from Class 1-1 to Class 1-8!?
Ban Yeo Ryung and Ham Donnie were always classmates until now and their classroom was generally about nine meters by 7.5 meters. When they were in the same class, there was only a diagonal distance between them accordingly. Using Pythagorean Theorem, the diagonal distance of the classroom was about 11.7153745…
She squared and counted two numbers simultaneously to arrive at the answer she was looking for, which was a huge quantity of numbers; however, she cried her eyes out instead of feeling proud of herself for being a human calculator. No way, how could this happen!?
When assuming all the classrooms were located horizontally along the hallway, the distance between Class 1-1 to Class 1-8 would be 72 meters by nine by eight. However, wasn’t 72 meters a bit too far? How could it be 72 meters when they were supposed to be only 11 meters away?
Aww boo-hoo, Ban Yeo Ryung truly wanted to cry out loud. Dividing 72 meters by 11 would arrive at an answer of no less than 6.55… She and Donnie were 6.55 times apart in school, how could this have happened!
If others knew the intricate calculations forming from within Ban Yeo Ryung’s head, they would seriously consider asking if she had lost her mind. Some might even advise her to stop all these human-calculator shenanigans. Unfortunately, none among the students in the classroom could read minds. The Four Heavenly Kings, who sat right behind her, just thought things would be okay in time while looking at her back lying prone on the desk.
Separating classes with Ham Donnie not only shook Ban Yeo Ryung’s constitution, but it also affected another person. It was Woo Jooin, who sat behind her diagonally, turning the pages of the just-received literature textbook of his with tear-filled eyes.
Perhaps his frustration was lesser compared to hers since he wasn’t weeping on his desk. Eun Jiho thought this while staring at Woo Jooin’s side view. Woo Jooin, however, pulled faces out of the blue as if he was down in the dumps. When he leaked a faint wet voice out of his lips, Eun Jiho was finally at a loss of words.
Like a heartbroken woman, Woo Jooin started reciting a folk song of the Goryeo dynasty with a pathetic and a shivering voice.
“On the flo’r of novemb’r… Oh… ’tis depress’d to forswear down with a summ’r clothing. I liveth in thy mem’ry, dearest… Dong dong bridge… sob, sob.”
Soon as he finished his oration, Woo Jooin buried his face in the textbook and shrugged his shoulders like Ban Yeo Ryung.
Seeing this made Eun Jiho dumbfounded since he studied classical poetries before and grasped all the lyrics.
The lines Woo Jooin recited was the November part of the Goryeo folk song, which one could interpret as:
On the floor of November
Oh, lying down with a thin summer clothing
Makes me sob
I live apart from my dearest love
In short, this part of the folk song meant singing about the sad feeling of living apart from one’s beloved. How could Jooin remember those certain lines word for word and recite along? Startled for a moment, Eun Jiho soon became dumbstruck.
They were just placed in different classes, but others had already treated this situation as if Donnie had gone to study abroad. It was Eun Jiho’s first time to realize that the Dong Dong bridge verse could be this mournful.
When looking back and forth between Woo Jooin and Ban Yeo Ryung, who both had their shoulders trembling uncontrollably, Eun Jiho felt the graveness of their state, which made his eyes wander around and heard Kwon Eun Hyung’s laughter from behind. He then turned back to throw a quizzical glance at the origin of the noise.
Yoo Chun Young, who was sitting beside Kwon Eun Hyung, also looked uncomfortable while his mind was muddled with nothing but concern for Ham Donnie, who was all alone in a different class. Eun Hyung, however, kept a smiling face, which aroused Eun Jiho’s curiosity.
Wasn’t Kwon Eun Hyung second to none when it comes to cherishing Ham Donnie? As a matter of fact, he was the only one Donnie did not call in full name among the Four Heavenly Kings—she did not seem to consider Woo Jooin as a human being.
As if Kwon Eun Hyung immediately noticed Eun Jiho’s glance, he kept his laughter to himself and had eyed Jiho. Still, his sneer never left his eyes.
Kwon Eun Hyung soon shrugged and said, “I mean, see the A/C there.”
His words made Eun Jiho raise his head to look up at the white A/C on the ceiling. It was just the same machine they had in middle school. Eun Jiho tilted his head in wonder and looked back at Kwon Eun Hyung. Eun Hyung, however, paused before speaking and eyed Yoo Chung Young, who was sitting next.
What’s wrong with the A/C and how was Yoo Chun Young connected to it? A moment after he continued wondering, Eun Jiho noticed a hint of the answer he sought from Eun Hyung’s eyes.
Pfft! As he burst out a giggle, Yoo Chun Young lifted his eyes at Jiho. The frown on his face seemed to press hard upon the reason why Jiho was laughing or perhaps, he, too, was also wondering what’s going on.
Eun Jiho scratched the back of his head for a second before opening his mouth. Would it be fine to say this since Ham Donnie was not around? As he eyed Kwon Eun Hyung with intent, Eun Hyung nodded with a smile on his face. By that sign, Eun Jiho moved his lips and delivered his words unto Yoo Chun Young.
“Dude, do you remember last summer? When the final exam was over and we only had a few days till summer break. That’s the time when kids in our class were all about to die from the heatwave.”
Yoo Chun Young remained silent but responded with a nod, followed by another frown. He might have remembered what sort of weird thing happened during that summer. Eun Jiho tittered inside.
“Weren’t the kids kind of acting weird around that time? They just came to you for no reason saying stuff like, ‘Oh, it’s too hot, Chun Young!’ Then they tried to put their arms around you. They even sat next to you and hugged you. It was such a fuss. Didn’t you think they acted kind of strange?”
Yoo Chun Young, again, knitted his brows.
His appearance perfectly matched his personality. Though they said that physical intimacy was inevitable for human beings, he truly put his nose out of joint when someone dared to touch him. He would not get bent out of shape, but he did not have a soft spot for it either.
Besides, when it comes to humid summertime afternoons, even a person who enjoyed physical intimacy would refuse people who were hanging around and trying to cuddle. Around that season, kids would visit their classrooms often, especially Chun Young’s personal space.
When people cling themselves to another’s body, their temperature would increase of course; why would they invade his space and imply sensual intent on his proximity?
Eun Jiho collapsed into giggles as if he read Chun Young’s mind from his annoyed face. He then continued his words.
“Dude, do you remember how Ham Donnie was always sleeping in class around that time? Ban Yeo Ryung and Woo Jooin begged her to wake up, but she would just lay down asleep like a corpse with earphones on.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“And one day… Ah, I remembered you doing this often… Ham Donnie would only wear one side of the earphone since it irritated her ear when she would lie down on her ear, so she usually left the other side flop on the desk. Then you would sit beside her sometimes and plug the unused side on your ear to listen to the music she’s playing. Then you would also fall asleep and wake up again before leaving.”
Yoo Chun Young just nodded at him without uttering another word. He did not seem to recognize that dozens of other girls around them tried to sleep the same way Donnie did, wishing they could share the other side of the earphone with Yoo Chun Young too.
When Eun Jiho was about to speak, Eun Hyung burst out into laughter from across them. He might have recalled what happened that day.
It was Eun Hyung who took the next turn to continue. He stared at Yoo Chung Young and spoke gently, bending his misty eyes.
“That day happened when you were sleeping beside Donnie again, but as you know, she rarely wakes up once she’s inside her dreamland. Maybe it was about half an hour after you laid beside her did this thing transpired. Donnie slowly opened her eyes all of a sudden and began to rub her arms as if she felt cold. We were behind you guys at that time and saw the other kids, who were watching a movie, turning their eyes to Donnie in surprise since she rarely got up from sleep.”
“Donnie looked around with a frown, and her eyes looked half-closed… just like Mashimaro. Well, looking at her surroundings with her half-opened eyes made her think she’s probably not awake yet. We also had our eyes on her in wonder. Then she dropped her gaze at you sleeping next to her. Around this time I remembered her having a wry look on her face. Do you know what she said next?”
Yoo Chun Young opened his eyes wide but soon shook his head. Eun Jiho paused after seeing his reply and instead of feeding his curiosity, he broke into laughter. He then kept on his words while his shoulders shivered.
“As soon as she saw you, there was this scowl on her face… ‘Geez, no wonder it was so cold.’ Then she went back to sleep.”