Nineteen

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"Yes, Lilla is here," Jae answers to my mother through the phone, glancing at me as I was sprawled out on the couch. "Alright, hold on." He took the phone away. "Lil, your mom wishes to speak with you."

"About what?" I ask, pushing chips into my mouth. I clicked onto the remote to change the channel screen on my tv before sitting up a bit.

Jae-won nudged his glasses. "I'm not sure but she has said it is important." Stretching the long cord of the phone, he shakes it around so that I would take it.

Sighing, I place down my chips and walk towards the dinning room table. I grab the old phone from his hands before placing it to my ear to hear my mother out. "Yes?"

She was breathing hard. A familiar sound of struggling to grasp what was in her surroundings. "Lil-la. Lilla, honey."

I quickly adjusted the phone. "Mom? What's wrong? Why are you like this?" Worry began to sprout through me and I couldn't come to a conclusion as to why. The scene seemed all too strange for me to relax.

"Lilla, it's your grandpa." I heard a small sob get cut short. "H-he isn't doing well. Have Jae-won drive you to the hospital. You n-need to be here."

The breath got caught in my lungs and I glanced at my husband. "I'll be there in a minute." I knew that if I didn't hang up, the sound of mother's cries would tear me to shreds. I marched over to my room to grab a coat.

"Jae! I need you to drive me to the hospital," I desperately ask, throwing my coat over my shoulder. I look to him with pleading eyes as I did my best to sound definite and unwavering.

He was shocked. "What is going on?" He grabs his coat and keys and follows me out the door, rushing behind me to get to the car. "Lilla, what is happening to your mom?"

"I don't know," I mumble slightly. "It was just an urgent call to go there. There wasn't any details."

Please. Please.

Everything seemed to be fine for awhile. With the marriage on track and even the honey-moon, it was as if everything was going to be okay. But even with an escape by my side, I couldn't completely leave behind the truth: my grandfather was dying. He use to sit before my eyes, but now it was all behind my back because I was a coward. I wanted to forget his pain so I could forget mine.

I was selfish.

As soon as we arrived, I made my way to leave the vehicle and head inside, but Jae's hand stopped me. "Let's go together, Lilla." His dark eyed stared at me with hope as he attempted to calm me. "Please."

I looked to his outstretched hand, debating inside my head for a moment. But in the end, I turned away from him and hurriedly made my way into the hospital. I could feel Jae-won hot on my tracks yet I didn't stop, and decided to let him stay behind me, where my guilt was softer and less noticeable.

When I opened the hospital door, I didn't know what I was expecting. Maybe I was hoping it was just a false alarm, or I truly knew that it wasn't going to be good news. Either way, I was holding my breath and clenching my fists.

"Lilla-mi, Mother gasps as I enter the room. She stood up immediately with her arms spread out wide and engulfed me in a solemn hug. Her head pushed into my shoulder as she sobbed.

I stood frozen to the floor. I didn't know what to do besides glancing over her shoulder. I don't know if I was surprised or just upset to see a white sheet covering the bed from bottom to top. Underneath was a body that had laid in a bed for months, barely capable of moving. It hid away an important family member and left my mother in tears.

Ever so slowly, streams began to undulate down my cheeks. They were rapidly falling as reality started to sink in. I couldn't stop it or have time to let out the pain that was guiding the tears. My heart dropped to my stomach and it made me fumble backwards, my knees buckling.

Pain. The familiar pain.

I was starting to have fear rise through me. "M-mom. That's..." I couldn't form the words. Suddenly, a hand grasped my own from behind, unwinding my fist and holding me tightly. I knew it was Jae-won yet I didn't acknowledge him.

"I'm sorry, Lilla," dad tells me, also standing to his feet to walk closer. "Your grandfather, unfortunately, passed away."

I took a deep breath. Removing my eyes from the bed, I took notice of both my older brother and my uncle sitting in the corner. Their heads were down, hands either clasped together or hanging off their knees. Both had a sad aura floating around them.

Father gently pried mother from my shoulders. He allowed me to pass through with Jae, holding onto mother with a heavy heart. I tugged along on his arm, taking him towards the bed. I got down on my knees and placed my hand over what was my grandfather's arm.

"Papa." I sniff, pushing my cheeks up to stop the falling tears. "Papa, what is this?" I look at his limp body that laid breathless. The machines no longer suffocated the area, which was rather unsettling. "Why are you like this?"

My breaths were wavering. "Hmm? Why did this happen? You were strong for us. You didn't give up, did you?" I closed my eyes. "No, you didn't. It just hurt, right? I'm sorry, papa."

You are fine now, right? In heaven?

Finally, my eyes met my husbands. He didn't remove the gaze for awhile, but his eyes were stronger than mine. They showed sorrow that didn't fully go to his mind. His heart seemed to be glowing through his eyes, but not because of Papa.

He was sad because of me. For me, and the pain I felt, he was hurting himself. 

Raising my hand, I slightly brushed back his hair before laying my head on his shoulder. Resting my heart, I began to take small breaths to calm myself. "I love you papa," I tell him, knowing he would hear. Even after Jae-won's family came, I didn't remove myself from my spot, nor did I stop the incessant tears.

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