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You discuss the option with Lee the next morning over breakfast. She’s slightly worried that you are rushing into leaving, still not sure what to think about your new attitude towards [HN]. You spend the day planning your departure, your arrival, and your accommodations for when you reach Tongyeong. It was decided that the easiest thing would be to take the train so you can see the countryside. The cost isn’t that much and at a 5 hour trip, it takes up empty time you need to fill. You find a nice little hotel for the week and figure you can check out Lee’s new housing and school when you arrive.
You haven’t decided what you’re going to do yet when the week is over. You do still have a job waiting but nothing really beyond that. Your roommate sublet for the month and mentioned that if you wanted to stay longer, the new person was interested in extending. You’d thought about staying longer last week; before you’d discovered you were in love with a man you couldn't have. Now, the idea is still appealing; you just aren’t sure if you can handle being this close. Wouldn’t it be easier to be an ocean away?
This week will tell you if you can stay close enough, yet far away and handle it. Staying here means finding a job and you aren’t sure if you can, they require specifc Visas. Before you and Lee leave for the train station, you pay a visit to the Embassy to see what needs to be done.
Sunday is spent on the train watching the scenery fly by and visiting quaint little train stations along the route to the other side of South Korea. You snap pictures out the windows, read the book you’ve had the whole trip and never opened, and even get in a short nap. It’s mid-day when the train pulls in to the city outside of Tongyeong. You have to catch a bus for the remainder of the journey; however, it doesn’t leave for another couple of hours. The two of you sight see and wander around, making sure you stay within a mile radius of the bus station so you don’t get lost.
It’s past dinner time when you arrive in Tongyeong and get checked in to your new hotel. Who knew sitting on a train all day could be so exhausting? It just doesn’t make any sense to you but you feel drained. You and Lee trade off taking baths to wash off the dust of the road and call it a night. Before you lay down, you add a few new pictures and decide to add a quote as well.
“Off on a new adventure! Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find yourself, it might be a long journey. But I found a new quote: 'Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.' I’m finding that true more and more each day.’
You really don’t expect him to see it yet you really hope he does. It’s kind of senseless really, since he won’t know it’s about him and that’s good, you remind yourself. Each night you triple check each of your social network accounts looking for a like, a heart, or even just a post from him. Each night you fall asleep at 11:05, telling yourself that it was great while it lasted and you will never regret a couple of great weeks in his company.
You’ve been waiting to hear from the Embassy for several days now; they promised to get back to you on the status of obtaining a work Visa before the week is out. When your phone goes off in the middle of the day on Wednesday, you answer it automatically, thinking it’s them.
“Hello, this is [YN].”
Your heart stops at the sound of his voice and your feet stumble over each other on the sidewalk. You put on a smile on your face; it’s not good to sound like you’ve been unhappy or miserable without him. You try to add a little extra forced cheer as well.
“[HN]! Hi, how are you?”
“Good thank you. It’s nice to hear your voice again, I’ve missed it.”
Your heart squeezes at his comment, really? He’s the one that left town, no, the country without a word to you and hasn’t said a word since. You don’t know what to say to that, so you don’t say anything.
“Did you have a good trip?”
“An exhausting one; one that took much longer than I expected.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure you’re glad to be home, I know Eun missed you.”
“Eun? Of course. She is the only one that missed me?”
You have to find somewhere to sit down before you fall down. Why does he do this to you? Friends your brain screams, quit taking it so romantically personal. Of course a friend would want you to miss them!
“I think I noticed you were absent. Eun confirmed it when we had dinner last Friday.”
“You had dinner with Eun?”
“Yes, she invited Lee and I over. It was very nice, she’s very gracious and funny; I can totally see why you love her. Is it not alright that we ate with her?”
“No, it’s fine. She simply didn’t mention it is all. She’s been asking to get together to know you better since the charity event. I apologize; I probably should have had all of you over together.”
“No need to apologize, like I said, we had fun. She’s very personable.”
“Yes, she is. So, now that I’m back in town; what are you and Lee up to tonight?”
You pause for a moment, here’s the proof that he hasn’t been on his social network accounts or checking yours. That makes you feel a little better, but not much.
You take a deep breath; rip the band-aid you tell yourself.
“I think we are going cliff exploring and then having a picnic on the beach.”
“Cliff? Beach?” You don’t hear anything for a minute, than he continues. “You are no longer in Seoul?”
“No, we arrived in Tongyeong on Sunday. This is where Lee will be teaching, we came a week early to explore here and find ways around for her.”
“Was that planned? I apologize; I thought you were spending your entire time in Seoul.”
“We were, we decided on Saturday.”
Your phone beeps, thank the Lord.
“Sorry, I have to catch that, it’s the Embassy. I’m glad you’re back and that you're safe.”
You hurry and switch over to catch the Embassy before they go to voice mail. When your call ends you stay sitting trying to get your thoughts and feelings back under control. The Embassy had good news; they can extend your visitor Visa for the amount of time it will take to get your work Visa finished.
The new question is, now that he’s back and you’ve heard his voice. Would it be better to put an ocean between you instead of mere hours?
Tongyeong ... the Naples of South Korea