This is a story about how love can change ones life and how loyal a person can be. Here is how it goes.There lived a girl named Hee Jin. A lively 13 year old girl who had big round eyes that sparkled like diamonds, pouting lips of glossy pink, a sharp nose, fair skin and long, black hair. She was a girl whom no one could find a reason not to like.
It was a Monday, first day of school for that year. A boy named Ji Hyeon walked into the class. The girls did not want him to sit with them. The boys were making fun of him as he was a new student. So, Hee Jin offered him to sit with her. That was how they met. They became really close as they found out they both had so much in common.
Everyday, Hee Jin would pack 2 lunch boxes to bring to school. 1 for herself and 1 for Ji Hyeon. Both of them would sit together and eat during lunch. After school, they would walk home together just like brother and sister. As they were inseparable she realized she had such strong feelings for him. Day by day, the feelings grew stronger and stronger. Her personality began to change. 3 years had passed since the day she met him. She changed. Hee Jin was not the girl she used to be.
The only person she trusted and believed in was him. The only person she saw other than her parents was him. She never talked to anyone else in school but him. She did so much for him but he never really appreciated it. She helped him behind his back but he never realizes it. How close they were but he never knew because he only treated her as his best friend.
Hee Jin would sit under the maple tree in front of her house and speak out all that she felt. She would say to herself “Why can’t he see?! Why can’t he see that I love him?! Why!” She would cry and cry. But sometimes she would laugh to herself and say “Do I have that much tears?” That’s how it went everyday. Though he always unintentionally hurt her, being close to him cures it all. It’s his existence that keeps her going.
Soon, it was winter. As always, she was walking home with him. She knew it was time she spoke for her heart. She hoped for the best, hoping he would return her feelings. Then, she stopped walking. He realizes and he turns to the back. “What’s wrong?” he asked. With her heart beating furiously and her mind raising, she confesses to him! He pauses and says “is this a joke?” She stares at him saying “do I sound like I‘m joking?! I love you Ji Hyeon, you are the one for me.” She hugged him lovingly. Ji Hyeon, with a sad smile on his face, said “I’m sorry, but I can’t return your feelings. There is already someone for me. Hee Jin, we have known each other for a long time now. Since the day we met, you have always treated me so nicely. But, I just don’t feel the way about you the way you feel about me. You will always be my best friend. I will always treat you as my sister, not something more.” At that point, Hee Jin’s heart froze. She couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t take it. She turned back and started running. Ji Hyeon went after her.
While she was running, she said to herself “after all I’ve gone through; after all I’ve done, why I deserve this? Why, why, why? If only I had told him earlier, maybe.” She tried to express her sorrow, but she couldn’t. Not a single tear flowed down her face. Her heart was stone cold. Then, she collapsed, kneeling on the ground. She started to scream. Ji Hyeon was shocked and tried to calm her down, but she screamed on and on. She thought, “Why can’t I cry? Why can’t I shed a single tear? Why can’t I express my sorrow? My sadness?” With thoughts raising through her mind, she kept on screaming. Then, with a final gasp of air, she fell into an unconscious state. Ji Hyeon tried to wake her, but she remained unconscious like being in a deep sleep.
“Hee Jin, wake up! Wake up! Please don’t leave me!” he shouted to her. Only now did he realize that he had feelings for her. “Oh, If only I hadn’t said all those things to her, this wouldn’t have happened! Hee Jin, I love you!” He rushed Hee Jin back to her house. Hee Jin’s parents were shocked when they say their daughter. They asked what had happened, but Ji Hyeon just said he was sorry and ran off.
Two days passed. Hee Jin opened her eyes and looked around. She saw her mother stirring some porridge. “I made some porridge for you Hee Jin” her mother said. Hee Jin tried to say something but she could near hear anything. She tried again. Nothing. Not a single word was coming out of her mouth. Then her mother started crying. She felt weird. She could here her mother crying but not herself speaking. Then, her mother said, “The doctor said that you had broken your voice box that you have lost your ability to speak.” Hee Jin paused. Memories of the events that happened two days ago flashed through her mind. She thought “Had I screamed so much until I can‘t talk anymore?!” She went crazy! She threw things everywhere! She was furious, and at the same time sad. “After my sorrow for more than 3 years and after him saying sorry. Isn’t it enough? And now this? Is this my after? To suffer like this?” she said to God. She asked Him what she had done to deserve all these.
Weeks later, she decided to stop schooling. She started a new life helping out her parents at the hot springs. She never saw or spoke to Ji Hyeon again. It was all the memories that they had together that kept her going. She never stopped thinking about him. In her backyard, there were lilies. Every Monday, she would pluck one flower and secretly put it inside his mailbox. Whenever Ji Hyeon took the flower out of his mailbox, he would say sorry. He knew it was from her. After what he had done, he could never show his face before her and could never forgive himself. And so, a year had passed.
One day, she realized that the lily she placed inside the mailbox the week before was still there. She found out that he and his family had moved to the city. Her parents knew, but did not tell her. They did not want to hurt her. She was so sad. Nonetheless, her life continued. She continued putting the flowers in his mailbox. When his mailbox was full, she would throw the flowers into his house porch.
6 years passed. His porches were filled with hundreds of lilies. One day, while her parents were on their way home from their visit to their ancestors’ tombs, they met with a car accident. It was tragic. It was so sudden. Hee Jin never thought that her parents would leave her so fast. From then on, Hee Jin led a hard life managing the hot spring alone. She was alone. As his porch was already filled with lilies, she threw the lilies into his garden.
18 years passed, his garden was filled. She was 41 years old now. Still alone. She never stopped loving him. As his garden was filled, she started throwing the lilies into his house.
20 years passed, Ji Hyeon’s house was filled. One day, Hee Jin somehow felt that she was going to die. So, she decided to plant the lily plants in his garden. Not a single inch of the garden was left out. His garden was indeed beautiful. She placed her diary in his mailbox. 2 days later, she died. Ji Hyeon had news of her death, so he came back for her funeral.
Soon after, he went to visit his house. As soon as he reached, he stared at it. He took off his glasses and started crying. He was so touched. Even now, he still could not forgive himself. He didn’t think after all those years; Hee Jin would still remember him. He thought Hee Jin would have hated him so much that she had forgotten him. But she did not. Because of that, Ji Hyeon was even angrier of himself. He looked into his mailbox and found a book. It was Hee Jin’s diary. He took it and sat on the bench in his garden. He opened the diary and started reading it. All her hardships she faced, having to go though alone. Her parents’ deaths. It was horrible. But, she still lived on. At the end of every page, there would be a sentence, Hee Jin saying “I will love you till I die, I will love you in the next life, and I will love you eternally” He cried on and on reading it. He retired from his job in the city and moved back to his house in the countryside. From that day on, he cared for the lilies because the lilies were all that was left to remind him of her. He felt that it was the least he could do for her.
A year had passed since he moved back to his house in the country side. He was diagnosed with cancer. At his dying moment, he thought of everything he had done in his life. Then he thought of Hee Jin, with his final breath, he said “See you soon, Hee Jin.”