At the beginning of March, lies the first week of school. Having transferred to the popular school known as SPIA, or Seoul Pyeongmyeon International Academy, a boy deeply sighs as he steps on campus grounds.
The boy’s name? Lee Sunghwan.
Having transferred back to Korea after being away for a lifetime, Sunghwan finally breathes the air he used to breathe here in Korea.
Ever since they went abroad, Sunghwan had always been sure of returning to his real home one day. Despite leaving Korea at a young age due to his parent’s job relocation, his Korean was second to perfect. Combining the fluency in English he was taught abroad, he was multilingual in the least.
After returning to his old home that had been left covered in many years’ worth of dust, Sunghwan sighed. He sighed again as he picked up the broom he had fetched from the convenience store an hour ago. It was time for cleansing.
Hours went by, and finally, after sweat and frustration, he climbed the stairs to the second floor, where he overlooked the now cleansed apartment. He was very satisfied with his work.
“Now, time for some food!”
Sunghwan quickly climbed down the stairs, excitedly opening the refrigerator to see what secrets it possessed. To his disappointment, however, was a sight of an empty refrigerator. He sighed at the fact that he hadn’t fetched any food at the same time as he bought the broom.
Closing the refrigerator door to his dismay, Sungwhan noticed something under the refrigerator. It was an old picture. He picked it up and smiled. It was a picture of him, and his childhood friend, Choi Yijin.
He reminisced at the thought of it. It was his last day in Korea, and Yijin had thought of taking a picture of them as a goodbye gift. They had 2 pictures, one for each of them. “So much has changed, Yijin… I wonder where you are,” whispered Sunghwan in the empty apartment, “I hope you still remember me.”
Sighing once again at the thought, he went upstairs instead of eating. Still having jetlag from the trip from the States, he couldn’t bother to run out again to buy some food.
Sunghwan outside of the academy reception, unsure of where to go. A wind finds its way onto campus grounds and almost blows schedule he got from the reception out of his firm grip. Suddenly, he felt a light tap on his shoulder.
“Hi, there! Do you know where the freshman classrooms are?”
“Sorry, I’m pretty new to this place too,” replied Sunghwan with a shrug. “Ah, I see… Sorry for bothering you, and welcome to the academy!” said the other freshman with a bow. He then ran off toward the main academy complex in hope of finding his classroom. Sunghwan sighed as he followed the boy with his eyes. Why did he run? There was still plenty of time left until the first classes started. Clueless, he walked toward the large main complex.
As Sunghwan walked through the hallways carrying his schedule, he finds himself lost in the large academy. Pushing himself through the crowded hallways he sighed, “How large is this school?”
A bang behind him came with “Out of the way, nerd!” as he was busy finding his classroom, A101. Sunghwan turned as he heard the sound and noticed a somewhat muscular boy walking through the path the students had made by sticking to the walls. As the boy came toward him, he glared at Sunghwan and said, “Do you want a fight too?”
Sunghwan shrugged in reply. “Though so,” said the boy. Sunghwan just sighed again, for that is all that he can do at this point. He looks at the fading figure of the boy, then felt another light tap at the shoulder.
“Hey, do you know where… oh, it’s you again.”
“Oh hey there, you’re the student from before!” replied Sunghwan.
“Yup, I was going to ask where Class 101A is.”
“It’s, uhm… I don’t…” began Sunghwan.
“Wait. This classroom is A103, we must be close…” The boy walks past Sunghwan and looks at the classroom numbers. “Aaaaaand, found it!” shouted the freshman in a victorious tone as Sunghwan stopped beside him.
The freshman glanced at Sunghwan’s schedule, “Wait a minute, you’re in this class too?”
Sunghwan slowly nodded. The boy yelped and said, “Well, holy shit, why didn’t you say so? Come with me, I’ll introduce you to the class!” as he pushed Sunghwan through the classroom door.
“I’m Jungseol, by the way. 17 years old, what’s your name?”
“My name is Sunghwan and uhm… I just came back from the States.”
“The States? Holy shit, tell me how things are in there.”
“It’s not much, I mean… I practically hate being out of the country, but I got used to it after a few years abroad,” began Sunghwan “I feel like I have been gone for too long though, and all I can do is remember the memories from the past.”
“Damn, must have been tough.”
“It sure was,” said Sunghwan as he looked for a place to sit.
“What do your parents… do for a living?”
“They? They work as teachers.”
Jungseol groaned, “You must be a smart-ass then.”
Sunghwan chuckles and jokingly says, “Of course I am. I may be even smarter than you.”
“Wow, shut the hell up,” said Jungseol jokingly. “Let’s sit at the back.”
The classroom was very lively. There were a lot of people talking to each other, glancing on Sunghwan as he walked past them.
Arriving at the end of the classroom, he picked a seat behind a girl who wore headphones. Jungseol settles down beside him and asks, “So, what do you do during your free time?”
“I was the team captain of our football team in my old school. We were pretty decent. We won a lot of national championships.”
“Wow, the great captain leads his ship to great treasures then!” laughed an impressed Jungseol. “Were you any good yourself?”
“I was crowned MVP the first season I joined the team, and no one has been crowned that ever since,” replied Sunghwan who picked up his phone and checked the time.
It was still 6:30 in the morning, still a lot of time left.
As he put the phone back in his pocket, he noticed the girl that sat down in front of him. “Haven’t I seen her somewhere…?” he thought to himself. She looked similar to whom he had met before… Is it…? Sunghwan slowly reached for the girl in front but hesitated. Should I…?
He was stuck on a ponder.
“What’s wrong, Sunghwan?” asks Jungseol.
He had a choice to make.