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While on your hike you bring up the phone calls to Lee. She’s really excited about the call from the Embassy. She loves traveling and has no problem making new friends with her students or fellow teachers but the thought of having you here with her is priceless. She stops at the point of the cliff and looks back at you when you mention the call from [HN].
“I’m confused. I didn’t understand why he even stopped talking to you, why has he started again? Does he feel like he has to be in the same country as you to converse?”
“I don’t understand either and if that’s the case then maybe it would better if I return to the states.”
“You don’t think you can handle just being friends with him and only being on the other side of the country?”
You shrug as you look out at the sea waves rolling in.
“I don’t know if I can handle just being friends with him at all.” You put your hands in your hoodie and look to the horizon.
“When I heard his voice my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest, I was suddenly deliriously happy. And then I remembered that he left without a word, especially after…" you stop, not wanting to say it.
“Especially after what? What haven’t you told me?”
The two of you find some large boulders and sit down. You pull your knees up to your chest and get comfortable.
“Remember the night you fell asleep while waiting for him to call?”
“Yeah, I remember, you said his call didn’t really help. What did you leave out?”
You look away from her, back out at the sea.
“He knew I was upset and could tell I was crying. Said he felt like he was part of my problem.”
“Well, he was… is.”
You nod, “Yeah but he came over.”
“Wait, what? He came over while I was sleeping right there in bed?”
You look over at her sheepishly, biting your lip and nodding.
“Yeah. He said it was to find out what was wrong. We went out on the balcony so we wouldn't wake you but I wouldn’t tell him anything.”
She examines your face, getting right in it. You look down and away.
“There’s something else, spit it out.”
“When I wouldn’t tell him what the problem was, he said I needed sleep. He took his shoes off and climbed into bed; he held me until I fell asleep. When I woke up that morning I was really surprised he was already gone. I mean, I was kinda glad so you weren’t uncomfortable, but he just left. You didn’t even know he’d been there, and he didn't just leave the room, he left the country."
“Wow. No wonder you wanted to leave that hotel. That really surprises me, I didn’t take him for that kind of guy but I guess that was dumb of me, I mean he is a man. I don’t know that they get how important things like that are to us."
She wraps an arm around your shoulders, "I'm sorry. But we’re here now and look at this beautiful sea!” She throws her arms out at the view and starts laughing.
You can’t help but join her; laughing at her exuberance.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you lady.”
“And you’re never going to find out!”
She wraps her arms around you and the two of you sit like that, staring out at the sea, lost in your own thoughts.
When you get back to the hotel that night, you set out to post the pictures of your daily cliff adventure. You include a new favorite quote:
“Sometimes in the waves of change we find our true direction. Unknown”
You’re alerted that you have notifications.
[HN] has now been on social media. He’s posted a few pictures from his trip, it looks like he was somewhere in the US but it doesn’t say where or why. The only evidence you can see that he was looking at your account is the quote he posted.
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. Jean De La Fontaine”
You toss your phone on the night stand and join Lee, heading out the door to dinner. In the days the two of you have been there you’ve toured the entire town. You’ve found Lee’s new living quarters and even met her new roommate who also arrived that week. You've toured the small schoolhouse but since school isn’t in session, meeting the students will have to wait. Lee has been recognized as one of the new teachers, so people are friendly and accommodating when the two of you arrive anywhere.
The two of you linger over dinner at a small mom and pop café. The owners rely on locals; therefore, the conversation is free and floating, it includes everyone in the whole place. The two of you laugh; find out more about the town and who is who. As you arrive back at the hotel, you decide to shower first and head straight there. When you emerge, you feel better then you have in hours.
Lee is sitting on the bed with your phone in her hand.
“What is it? Something wrong?”
You grab it away from her as you ask your questions to which she just shakes her head no.
“It rang while you were in the shower. I didn’t answer it but I was curious,” she points over at the clock that reads 11:05. “It buzzed after, saying you have a new voice message. Then it buzzed again saying you have a text.”
You unlock your phone to find a missed call from [HN] at 11:00. You push the button for messages and enter your code on automatic. His voice comes across deep, melodic, and sad. Sad? Why is he sad? Have he and Eun had a fight?
“[YN]-ah, I was hoping you would answer.” You can hear him sigh, “I’m beginning to think you did not see the note I left for you that morning. I didn’t just leave,” he sighs again, more frustrated. “I hate message machines. We need to talk please.”
He left you a note? What? There wasn’t a note anywhere that you saw. You glance over at Lee,
“You didn’t see a note or piece of paper in the hotel room did you?”
“Your doodle paper? Yeah, you left it on the table all folded up. I almost threw it away but saw you had what looked like lists on it so I just shoved it in the top pocket of your suitcase. Why?”
Your doodle paper with your lists? Oh shit, if he read that then he knows. You put your head in your hands and ask her,
“Would you mind getting it for me?”
You take a deep breath, pick your phone back up and check your text messages. You have one, from [HN], left at 11:06.
“I hope you found yourself so you can find me.”