It's been about a month. We've been married for a month and ..... she still hates me. She's amazing. She's intelligent, talented, gorgeous, and perfect! But ..... she hates me. She absolutely hates me. We've known each other for at least four or five months now and she still doesn't even want to talk to me. We even sleep in the same bed but she won't even acknowledge my presence.
She agreed to come with me to the annual Spring Festival that the city I was raised in has every year. It's huge, and it's the perfect time to tell her how I feel about her and ask her to give me a chance.
We were walking down a path of Cherry Blossoms. I noticed how there were many other couples and little families walking down the path too. The difference between them and us was that they looked happy. Everyone was holding hands and laughing while Melissa and I just quietly walked next to each other. We weren't even close enough to hold hands like a normal couple.
I looked at the different booths that I saw behind the Cherry Blossoms. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I stopped walking - turned to my right and looked at Melissa. She had stopped too.
"How much longer are we gonna be walking? I'm bored." Melissa said. I was hoping that she would enjoy the view but, apparently not. I smiled gently and answered her question in a soft, quiet voice.
"Let's walk a little longer. Maybe you'll see something that catches your eye." She rolled her eyes but continued to walk.
An older ajeossi stopped me and started to speak in a very comical way.
*Ajeossi - Older man (Korean term)
"Dangsin-ui soul meiteuga jinjeong nugu-injibogo sipseubnikka? eojjeomyeon dangsin-ui milaeleulbogo sipseubnikka?"
(Would you like to see who your soulmate truly is? Maybe, would you like to see your future?)
"Gwaenchanh-ayo, gamsahabnida!" I bowed and thanked him but he persisted.
(We're fine, thank you!)
"Ap-eulo eotteon il-i issneunji algo sipji anh-eusibnikka?"
(Are you sure you don't want to know what lies ahead?)
"What's he saying, Namjun?" Melissa asked.
"He's a fortune-teller and he just wants to tell our fortune. It's fine, I'll tell him we already have plans."
"Wait. I've always wanted to have my fortune told. I want to hear this guy! Let's just go to his booth for a second!" Melissa said. I could see how excited she was. She was never like this around me. Seeing her smile made me smile.
"Okay then. eolmaibnikka?" I asked.
(How much is it?)
The old man smiled and spoke.
"Bieo issneun." He said as he walked towards a small booth that was just past one line of cherry blossoms.
We entered the booth and sat down in the two chairs that were provided. The old man sat on the other side of a table and turned to face a painting easel. He started to draw on it - occasionally glancing up at me. When he was done with the first one, he set it aside and started on a second one, taking a moment more as he would glance up at Melissa.
"Mwohaneungeoya?" I asked.
(What are you doing?)
"Milaeleul chajgo gyesibnikka." The old man answered as he slightly frowned at the paintings.
(Looking into your future.)
He looked at the paintings for a few minutes more with a saddened look before holding up the first picture. It was the one that he had drawn for me. In the picture, I saw myself with a girl. The girl was laying on her stomach on a bed with white sheets on it. I laid next to her with an arm around her holding a sunflower in front of her face so you couldn't quite see who she was. It didn't look like melissa though. The girl's hair was a milk-chocolate brown and slightly curly but Melissa's hair was jet black and straight as a board. I had my face so close to her that my nose was slightly in her hair. It was a very seductive-looking picture. I didn't quite understand it and the fortune-teller didn't seem too ecstatic about it either.
"Mwoya?" I asked the man.
(What is it?)
"Dangsingwa dangsin-ui milaeui anae."
(You and your future wife)
"Naneun imi gyeolhonhaessseubnida." I stated as I put my hand on Melissa's shoulder only for her to shrug it off.
(I'm already married.)
"Maj-ji anhneun yeoja"
(Not to the right woman.)
I gently shook my head. The old man handed Melissa her paper and shooed us out. Melissa looked at the paper and then quickly closed the paper.
"What is your picture showing?" I asked
"You don't need to know." She said. She quickly pointed towards a booth full of cotton candy. "Let's get some treats!" She changed the subject and ran towards the booth. I watched her run and stared. She couldn't even show me something as simple as a stupid, fake fortune-tellers painting. I'm hurt.
. . .
We had walked around for a few more hours and looked at booths until late at night. We headed home and both of us took a shower before heading to bed.
I woke up a while later and found that it was still dark besides the lamp's light on Melissa's bedside table. I propped my body up on my elbow and looked at the clock on her table. It was three in the morning and I could hear rain pouring outside the hotel room. I sighed and started to lay back down but stopped when a rolled-up paper on the bedside table caught my eye. It was the painting that the fortune-teller had given to Melissa. My curiosity got the best of me and I slipped out of the silky sheets into a pair of slippers.
I walked around the bed and quietly picked up the rolled-up paper. I walked to the bathroom, closed the door, turned on the light, and then locked the door. I sat on the toilet and started to unroll the paper.
"What the hell is this?" I whispered after staring at the painting for a moment.
It was me, kneeling in front of a grave in a graveyard. I had on a black suit and I was facing towards myself. As if begging myself to take me out of the painting. I was blindfolded by a wreath of beautiful flowers and you could see tears streaming down my face. Not just tears. Blood. I shook my head and then went back to look around the painting. The tombstone had words on it. I squinted my eyes and brought the paper closer to read the words. "Save me." The tombstone also had a name under the words but they were much too small for me to read. How had the artist managed to draw this and what did it even mean?
I jumped at a knock on the door.
"Junie? Are you in there?" Melissa asked quietly.
"Uh, yeah." I stood up and flushed the toilet before rolling up the painting and placing it on the counter. I washed my hands and opened the door stepping out.
"What are you doing up so late?" Melissa asked as she stepped into the bathroom and turned around.
"Couldn't sleep. I'm pretty tired now though. I'm gonna head to bed."
And that was it. She never said anything else even when she came out of the bathroom with her painting. Maybe she was just too tired to realize that she hadn't placed it there before she'd fallen asleep. For whatever reason it was, I was glad. But .... was I?
Something in my stomach says that something's wrong. Should I even be worried? What for? I'm safe, right? I'm not going to get hurt, right?
. . .
Just a week after that amazing festival, I was burying my wife. Why? I wonder that too. The doctors couldn't pinpoint a cause of death. She just .... died. No warning at all. I kneeled at the fresh gravestone. I looked at the name on the stone as I quietly let tears cascade down my cheeks and past my nose. Melissa Jane Kim. I heard a voice come from my left and turned only to have hands come from behind my and cover my eyes. It was a familiar scent. Flowers. It smelled like roses. I pulled the hands off of my face and turned around to see a girl about my age. She was wearing a very revealing outfit and she smiled as she leaned down towards me and squeezed her breasts together.
"You look sad? Maybe I can cheer you up? There's a hotel just down the street." The girl said. I quietly looked at her before sighing. Why not? I'm a grown man. I don't have a wife anymore. Who cares if I have a little fun. I'm not even president yet. At least, not officially. I need to give our last president time to move out of the white house.
I stood up and followed the girl. If only I'd known before what I knew now. I even had a warning. The painting. The tombstone said save me. If I had just tried harder to read the name then I would have realized that it was Melissa. I could've saved her but I was too ignorant. I was wearing the same suit from the picture. The same tears running down my face. What about the flowers that blindfolded me, you ask? The girl. The flowers that blinded me were roses. When that girl covered my eyes I could smell roses. The blindfold of roses was her hands. The blood? That was for all of the pain that she was about to inflict on my already broken body and mind. If only I had looked a little closer at the painting and seen the nasty thorns on the blindfold of roses.