I thought of something when she laid on my arm that night. I can’t recall it clearly now but I don’t want to forget the warmth of my arm’s place where she put her head on, the scent of her hair, her breath gently flowing around my chest. I wanted to lay with her like that for a long time, as long as possible even though I knew it couldn’t be. At some point, I felt comfortable and annoying at the same time when I held her to sleep. I hadn’t done it with anyone else before. I just had sex, sometimes I held my partner for short time while we talked with each other after that. It was always a short chat about how we felt with the sex positions that we had just made, sometimes a few insignificant jokes; then we slept separately. I didn’t want to hold someone while sleeping through a long night because I thought that it was too uncomfortable. The heaviness of my partner’s head kept me from sleeping. The sound of their breath was too noisy. I couldn’t sleep with that kind of thing. In fact, I also nearly couldn’t sleep at that night. I wanted to stop my confused feeling, so I removed her head from my arm. But she hadn’t slept yet at that time. Her arm held my back and she said: “Oppa, don’t go. Please stay with me.” How could I refuse that requirement when she said it with her sweet voice, remained tiredness a little bit from long day she had been with me. Therefore, I slept with her while holding her all the night. My heart beated so fast. I couldn’t sleep. It was a strange feeling to me. For the first time, I felt as if I was her real brother. I wanted to be her real brother desperately at that time because I could be with her without feeling of guilty, scare. I wanted to be with her. I wanted to love her and protect her just like her brother. I was afraid of being her lover because I didn’t want her to be hurt by me. I couldn’t give any luck for the one I loved and the one loved me. I hadn’t never let Hee Joo sleep on my arm just like with Young. We had just kept this position for a short time when sleeping with each other. Like me, Hee Joo couldn’t sleep while I held her tight. “It makes me feel hard to breathe because my nose is so near to your chest, I have no space to breathe,” she said that. I think it’s so reasonable. I wonder why Young could sleep with me in that position through night. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t need too much space for breathing. Just a small space and she can breathe. Until early morning, I could take nap a little bit when I was too tired. From the apartment we slept, I could hear the wave’s sound far away. When she woke up, we would go to the beach. She told me she prefered sea to moutain. She could walk slowly on the beach without fear and hear the wave’s sound but she couldn’t do it freely when walking on the moutain and most of all, the sound of the wind blowing through trees – the echoes created from that made her somehow scare because she couldn’t know exactly where the echoes came. Being on the beach was easier for her than being on the moutain. At least, she could somehow be on the beach alone but she nearly couldn’t be alone on the moutain. I bowed my head to see her face again (I did it too many time that night). Her eyes were still closed. Her face was so peaceful. I wanted to kiss her forehead manytimes but I didn’t do it because I was afraid of awakening her. Youngie ah, just sleep. As long as possible. I will be always by your side just like I promised eventhough it is a really hard thing to me. I thought that when I closed my eyes and waited for a sleep slowly coming to me.
“Do you know how long haven’t I gone to the beach?” she asked me while inhaling deeply to feel the smell of sea.
“I don’t know. Maybe one year?”
“No. Not near like that.”
“So, three years?”
“Nearly right. Exactly, four years.”
“Why did it take a long time like that?”
“Because I didn’t want to go to the beach alone eventhough I could. I could tell Secretary Wang or Driver Yoon to take me to the beach whenever I wanted to but I didn’t want to go with them. I want to go with dad. But three years before he died, he was so busy and so ill.”
“Now, I will go to the beach with you whenever you want to.”
“Yes, don’t disappoint me. You promised me yesterday that whenever I needed you, you would be always by my side.”
“You didn’t sleep at that time?”
She didn’t reply me but she smiled gently.
“You look so happy.”
My elbow touched softly her elbow and her hand held my elbow. We walked slowly on the beach. We played with the snow that made her hands so cold and I held her hand tight, blow my breath through the tiny space of our hands to make her hands and my hands warm again. I even held her. We just did such simple things like that but I was happy at that time. For the first time, I somehow could forget the pains from what I did in my past even just a little bit.
“I love you so much.”