Title: You and Me are Magical
Category: Chibi version Christmas
Summary: RyeoWook goes to Canada and finds someone special there.
Kim RyeoWook has never felt so lost and small in his life before.
Standing in the middle of the humongous white hall with people moving rapidly around him and trying not to get swept in the wave of people, he felt afraid and tightened his grip on the hem of his mother’s dress. Why are they here? He just wants to go home and play with his choo-choo train. Tugging his mother’s dress, he timidly called out. “Umma…”
His mother knelt down in from of him and gave him a loving smile. “Yes, sweetheart?”
“I want to go home and play with Appa. I don’t want to stay here.”
He felt confused when a stricken look passed over his mother’s face. Did he say something wrong?
She brushed away his fringe and stroked his cheeks tenderly. “We’re not staying here. We’re just waiting for the plane.”
“Plane? Those aeroplanes that fly up in the sky and go swooshing in the clouds?” He opened up his arms and went around his mother, like those big bird-like buses that he has always wanted to ride in.
There it was again, his mother’s melodious laugher. “Yes dearie, we’re going to a faraway place in those planes. Somewhere nice and peaceful.” There was something in his mother’s eyes that he doesn’t know the name for it. He thinks it’s the same thing that he has whenever he wants a nice candy that he can’t have.
“Where are we going?!” He asked excited at the prospect of a new adventure.
“Canada, sweetheart where your halmoni is. Don’t you miss her? Ohhh…our plane is here, come on let’s go.”
As he held tightly to her hand, he wanted to remind his mother that he has never seen halmoni before and asks why appa isn’t here with them. That was before he walked into the plane and bounced onto his seat, everything about his father forgotten as he looked out of the plane in anticipation of this faraway and strange land call Canada.
RyeoWook spent most of the 14-hour flight, drifting in and out of sleep, dreaming about big scary bears coming after him and his father chasing them away and then holding him in his safe, warm arms. When his mother kissed his forehead goodnight in the warm and comfortable bed at his halmoni’s house, he closed his eyes and dreamt of flying a giant red kite in the green field with his appa.
The weak sunlight streaming through the window, RyeoWook opened his tiny eyes and sat up on the bed. Looking around his room, he pouts at the bare wooden furniture that was nothing like his colourful room, filled with his drawings and soft toy. His stomach growled but he was afraid to get out of bed and explore this unfamiliar house alone.
He jumped at the sudden voice and turned towards the door where an old lady stood. She was tall and robust and white wisps of hair framed her heart-shaped face. Though he has never seen her before, he saw that she has a set of twinkling eyes that shines amidst the wrinkles around it and round full cheeks very much like his own. She sat down gently next to him and patted his head fondly with a smile that reminds him of his mother’s one. “There are blueberry pancakes downstairs for breakfast, but only after you have brushed your teeth and washed your face.”
His favourite blueberry pancakes! He nodded his head excitedly and scrambled out of the bed. Remembering his manners, he stood right in front of the lady and bowed. “Thank you…halmoni.”
The next thing he knew, he was pulled into her embrace, her hands softly stroking his back and hair. After a moment or two, she let go of him and patted his head again before walking out of the room and he wondered why there were tears in her eyes.
There are layers and layers and layers of snow in Canada, RyeoWook thinks. So much more than in Korea where there are men with those heavy shovels, moving the snow to a special place, his appa tells him, where huge snowmen are built, and then at night those huge snowmen will come alive and leave presents for the kids that have been good.
Maybe this was the special place where the special snowmen were built, he thought as he stood in front of the snowmen and stared at it. He didn’t know what he was waiting for but he had this strange feeling that something magical is going to happen.
A snowball hit him squarely in his face, the sudden force sent him spiralling onto the ground. He started to cry and whimper at the icy stinginess of the snow on his face and wished that his umma was here to comfort him.
“Are you okay?”
He felt a pair of small hands brushing away the snow and he opened his eyes to stare up at a hamster face. Or at least a boy that looks a lot like a hamster, with small slits as eyes and bulging rosy cheeks.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to throw it at you. Are you hurt or anything?” The hamster boy started to poke his arms and legs in an attempt to find any injury.
“I’m…okay.” RyeoWook blushed and shied away from the poking fingers.
Hamster boy frowned. “My mama said that if you’re hurting somewhere, you should nurse it before it becomes bad and it drops off.”
“My face is hurting! I don’t want my face to drop off!” He started to cry at the thought of being faceless for the rest of his life. What if his umma and appa and halmoni and friends don’t recognize him and forget about him?
Through his tears, he felt the small pair of hands in mittens over his face. They were warm and nice against the cold of his face. “Better?” hamster boy asked and scrunched up his face in concern.
He could only nod his head because hamster boy’s hands were currently covering his mouth.
“My name is Henry. What’s yours?” Hamst- Henry took his hands off RyeoWook’s mouth and stretched one hand towards him.
“…RyeoWook.” He shyly answered and shook Henry’s hand hesitatingly.
“Nice to meet you, RyeoWook…. Want to make snow angels together?”
They spent the rest of the afternoon together, making snow angels, snowmen, snowdogs and a snow castle that was only inches taller than them. RyeoWook came back to the house when night was falling to his mother’s cooing of how nice, he has made friends here already and his halmoni’s approval of that nice little boy next door.
As he drifted off to sleep that night, he wondered where do Henry’s eyes go to when the boy smiles and those slits disappear.
“Come on RyeoWook…”
“No!” RyeoWook stood on the bank of the frozen lake and refused to step unto the glossy slippery surface.
“You mean you have never ice-skated before?” Henry was incredulous that there was someone who actually hasn’t ice-skate before in this world.
RyeoWook frowned and explained softly. “My appa promised to teach me but he didn’t have the time.”
“Oh well, I guess I just have to be your appa for a day and teach you one of the most important things you have to learn in your life.” With that and without waiting for a reply from the small mousey boy, Henry came forward and dragged RyeoWook off the bank, unto the natural skating rink and stopped at the very heart of the area. For a small boy, he was very strong to be able to withstand RyeoWook’s screams and flailing of the arms.
“See that wasn’t so bad right? Now all you have to do is to move your feet in a V shape, like this…” Henry then began to demonstrate and beamed encouragingly at RyeoWook to try.
RyeoWook looked from Henry’s smile to his own feet and then back at the smile. He took a big breath and move a foot forward. When he didn’t fall and cracked his butt open, he became more confident and took several steps.
Henry started clapping and shouting at the sight of his new friend skating. That was until the new friend slipped and fell onto his butt, whining and whimpering at the pain.
“Hey, get up and try again!”
“We are going camping tomorrow.”
Camping is something that RyeoWook has never done before because he was too shy and sleeping with people other than his parents scares him.
But Henry is different.
“Are we going to build a huge tent and have a campfire with lot’s of marshmallows?”
Henry nodded excitedly. “Uh-huh, and we’ll going to tell ghost stories…That’s what people do at camps.”
RyeoWook gasped. “But I don’t want to! It’s scary…”
Henry thought for a moment. “Okay…we shall scrape ghost-story-telling and…tell star stories! Don’t ask what it is, it’s a surprise. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…”
“So where are we going?”
Henry looked around and then pointed to the top of the mountain. “There.”
“There” turns out to be Henry’s backyard.
“My mama said that it was dangerous and it was much better here.” Henry said cheerfully, getting into the tent that his father set up for them. RyeoWook followed after him and squealed when he saw the many many packets of marshmallows.
“What do you want to do first?”
Henry grinned and got up. “Tell star-stories it is.”
The “star-stories” included a telescope, constellations that were so hard to pronounced, princesses that needed rescuing from the big bad space raccoon, talking horses that looked like spaceships, farmers and street-sweepers who saved the princesses and turned into heroes.
After all the “adventures”, Henry and RyeoWook returned back to the tent (“Our fortress!”) with mugs of hot chocolates.
“My umma used to make me and appa hot chocolates that were so nice.” RyeoWook remembered the times when he was naughty and didn’t want to sleep and had to be bribed with hot chocolates and bedtimes stories told by his appa.
“Are you ever going back to Korea?”
RyeoWook thought for a while and answered, almost sadly. “I don’t know. But I miss appa and my room and my soft toys…”
Henry moved next to RyeoWook and threw an arm around his shoulders. “It’s okay, you have me and your umma and halmoni here. And Frederick…” pointing at the imaginary friend that was in the shape of a rabbit soft-toy.
RyeoWook nodded and hugged Frederick. “But I’m scared to return to Korea…”
Henry was puzzled. Why would anyone be scared to return to their home? “Why?”
“…because umma and appa always fight and I don’t like it. Umma and appa is supposed to love each other, right? I don’t think my umma and appa love each other anymore.”
Henry snorted. “Don’t you know? It’s because they love each other, that’s why they fight!”
RyeoWook wasn’t sure he understood the logic of Henry’s statement.
“Don’t give me that look. I can’t explain it. It’s just the way it is. Like me and my sister? I love her a lot but we always fight. If I don’t love her, I wouldn’t even talk to her.”
“But that’s sad, fighting with someone you love.” RyeoWook hugged Frederick tighter.
“It is but then there is the kissing and hugging after that; that makes it happy.” Henry gulped down his hot chocolate, leaving a chocolate-moustache on his face.
RyeoWook giggled at the sight of it and nodded his agreement with what Henry said. “I like it when umma and appa hugged. It’s like they will never be apart.”
“So don’t worry. Soon you will be back in Korea and you’ll be able to see your appa again.” Henry lay down and bundled up in his sleeping bag.
RyeoWook lay down on his sleeping bag and Henry switched off the torchlight that was used to light up the tent. A few minutes of silence passed.
“Hmm?” came the sleepy reply.
“What happened to Cinderella and the pumpkin prince?”
“They lived happily ever after in their candy house.”
“…Will my appa and umma be like them?”
“They will, if you sincerely believe with all your heart, mind, soul and body.”
RyeoWook kept quiet and after a few minutes, he knew that Henry had drifted off to sleep. Closing his eyes, he said softly “I sincerely believe with all my heart, mind, soul and body that my umma and appa will live happily ever after.”
On Christmas day, RyeoWook’s grandmother invited Henry’s family over for dinner. It was on this festive atmosphere that RyeoWook’s mother suddenly announced that they were going back to Korea, back to RyeoWook’s father, the next day and she thanked her mother and Henry’s family for the hospitality and also for taking care of RyeoWook.
After dinner, the two boys sat in silence in front of the family of snow-people they have built a few days ago.
“For teaching me how to ice-skate and telling me the star stories…for being my friend here.”
Henry kept quiet and kept his face downwards, hidden by his fringe from RyeoWook.
“Merry Christmas, Henry.” RyeoWook shyly pushed a piece of drawing towards Henry.
Still with his head down, Henry took a look at the drawing. RyeoWook had drawn the both of them with their country of snow-people and snow-pets, and not forgetting Cinderella and the pumpkin prince in their candy house.
A single teardrop dropped onto the drawing. “Henry? Why are you crying?... Did I do something wrong?” RyeoWook asked quietly, frowning and panicking that he has somehow made his friend cry.
Henry sniffed and said in a small voice “I just think that I will miss you a lot when you go back.”
RyeoWook drew closer to Henry and put an arm around the smaller boy’s shoulders and the boy instantly buried his face in his shoulders. “I will miss you too. But we’ll write to each other right? And I’ll be back next year! Umma said that we’ll come visit halmoni and you next year with Appa and then you can get to meet him.”
“You will do all of that, really?” came the muffled reply against his winter jacket.
“I will. Do you think you can come and visit me in Korea? We’ll go up to the mountain-tops and continue our camping there. It’s much nearer to the stars than here. “
The other boy nodded and passed a box to RyeoWook. “Merry Christmas.”
“Can I open it now?”
Henry shyly nodded his head and when RyeoWook opened the box and took out a snowglobe, he blushed, making his rosy cheeks even more lovely. “I hope you will like it. I made it myself.”
Shaking the snowglobe and seeing the snow falling on the figurines, RyeoWook nodded and tried to keep his tears from falling. He was happy that he was going back but he didn’t want to leave the bestest friend he had in his life.
Henry gently wiped away the tears that were spilling out of RyeoWook’s eyes. “We will meet again. You promised me and you don’t look like someone who breaks promises. Papa says that people who break promises have long noses and obviously you don’t have a long nose, or I would have broken it when I first threw the snowball at you.”
RyeoWook nodded, until he caught Henry’s words. “You threw the snowball at me on purpose that day?”
Henry froze and looked down guiltily at his shoes, very much like his expression whenever his mama caught him stealing cookies. “I…just wanted to be your friend but I didn’t know what to say to you.”
When RyeoWook didn’t say anything, his guilt increased and he kept his head down. Maybe RyeoWook didn’t want to be his friend anymore, he thought sadly.
Henry jumped and gasped when he felt coldness on his back and turned around to see RyeoWook grinning cheekily with another snowball in his hand.
“I declare a snowball war with you.”
It was a pity that the two boys were too busy chasing and throwing snowballs at each other around the yard because if they paid attention, they would have seen the eyes of the lone snowman following them and his smile widening before disappearing into thin air.