Chapter 6 - Vivid Recollections
“Yeah, kids that age often go in the closet too,” the MC replied, going with the flow.
“But I couldn’t remember why I fell asleep under the bed. I remember waking up because my dad called my name. Plus, back then, I never went into rooms with beds because I heard that ghosts came from under the bed.”
Mina laughed and replied, “Really? Woorim, you don’t look like the kind of person to believe that.”
Woorim’s face grew pink and he replied, “I was young then. I still don’t like ghosts.”
So he came on the show even though he hated ghosts.
Perhaps he had the same thought as I did because Seohang, who was sitting next to Woorim, furrowed his brows. He grinned slightly and shrugged. It was as if he was saying that it was too bad that Woorim stole my spotlight.
Seohang was the rapper in Woorim Eun’s group, and although it had been three years since they became a team, he still didn’t seem to like Woorim.
I didn’t feel the need to increase my airtime, so I watched the people chattering away with detachment. Aside from Seohang, everyone chimed in with their experiences. It was all mostly stuff like walking alone on a long-distance trip, getting into an accident without knowing why, or being confused about doing something they would normally not do.
The studio was filled with an energy fitting of a talk show for once. I glanced at the staff and it seemed like they were planning on editing bits and pieces, so they were listening comfortably to the guests talk.
“So, Haeseo, what was the point that you wanted to make?” Nahoon Kim asked. He seemed to think that they wasted enough time on this topic, so he interjected at a good time. Everyone’s attention was focused on me again.
On times like these, I recalled things that I saw in the past—the heads floating on the ocean that turned my way when I opened my mouth and the dead among the swimming, living people. Those things happened to me when I went to a camp during high school.
“It was nothing much. Just like everyone here, my classmates talked about their experiences too. They talked about when they hung from the second-floor railings of their rooftop, without knowing how they got there. They said the railings were taller than their height, or something like that. And then after talking about it for a while…”
Just then, someone interrupted the conversation. That kid asked me, “What about you? Have you ever experienced something like this? Honestly, I think you would have gone through these kinds of experiences the most.”
After recklessly blurting that out, that classmate grinned cheerfully at me. I think I groaned on the inside when I saw that grin.
“It was after everyone told their own stories. So naturally, it was my turn to speak. But I was a bit flustered that everyone all looked at me at the same time.”
“True, if you’re suddenly given the stage, even if you’re usually chatty, you suddenly become at a loss for what to say.” Nahoon, who seemingly had a lot of experiences like that, crossed his arms and nodded. He could host this kind of small talk show with ease now, but he went through many hardships to get to this point. He was completely different from me, but it wasn’t to the point where he couldn’t relate to me at all.
“Yeah, there was also that…” I paused for a moment, then looked at all the guests. “Isn’t it weird that random events like that remain with you quite vividly? They stick out like a sore thumb, like images transmitted by a broadcast in error. You can recall those moments better than other memories.”
People nodded in agreement.
“So that’s why I remember that day as well.”
I remembered that day clearly.
That day was kind of hot and there were seven or eight kids on the field. Watermelons were on the lunch menu that day. The watermelon that I ate that day wasn’t sweet or refreshing. Some kid sitting next to me complained that they would rather eat cucumbers. I dropped some watermelon on my clothes, so I had to smell the unsweet watermelon all day.
It was the same back then. I was just a bit annoyed because the watery smell of fruit kept following me, and my clammy skin kept sticking to my desk. Moreover, all the kids who gathered accidentally kicked my desk, so the stationery in my desk fell out several times.
The feeling of my mechanical pencil and highlighter pressed against the soles of my indoor shoes was uncomfortable. That feeling was amplified by the fishy odor and typical stench of sweat of the kids surrounding me.
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