Twenty

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"I'll make you some food," Jae-won says, scurrying off into the kitchen. He immediately takes out a large pot and began to fill it with water.

Sighing, I set down my coat on the dinning chair, glancing around the room. I happened to catch a glimpse of our wedding photo, which reminded me that the last time I had visited my grandfather, was after the wedding. At that time, I had taken sleeping pills with the effect of losing a bit of my memory, and therefore, forgot our last meeting.

It has been several hours since we went to the hospital. Several hours full of tears never ending. I didn't know if I could bear it any longer, for I had suffered for months everyday. Now that I had been brought away from sorrow, I didn't want to go back. Selfish or not, I did not wish to cry for very long.

Taking my time, I grabbed a water jug from the fridge and poured some for both my husband and I. "Here," I whisper as I hand him the cup. He takes it silently and  continues to cook a meal for me. Without a word, as he cut several vegetables to throw in his pot, I wrapped my arms around hid waist.

Jae didn't stiffen. He didn't pause for a moment to let my actions sink in, nor did he question me. Rather, he continued to chop the food into pieces and work diligently with me at his side. When the meal was near finished,I released him from my grasp.

"Jae, can I not be sad?"

He turns around, eyebrows raised in surprise and a questioning expression across his face. "What do you mean?"

I shrugged. "I just can't find it in me to want to be so sad." I took a seat at the dinner table and watched him from a short distance. "I was crying for months on end. Everyday it was the same. I love Papa to no end, but I don't feel this suffering is what he wants.

He suffered too. So much more than we ever did. Through the pain and through the tears we shed for him, he suffered while fighting for his life every single day. He doesn't have to struggle anymore, so neither should I have to cry for the same thing any longer. It's too much to handle. Mother may say I'm selfish because she can stay in such pain for a long while. I can't do that."

Jae-won tilted his head down so our eye contact dropped. "Lilla, you don't need to ask. You held it in for so long, I'm surprised you only broke now." Letting go of his wooden spoon, he walked towards me. He crouched down to his knees and grabbed my wrists. "Let me share this pain, so you don't have to feel it."

I nodded. "Okay. I can do that."

After the food was complete, Jae set it out for us to eat. We both took our time with eating and replenishing the water I had lost hours ago. Once done, I walked towards my room to sleep. 

As soon as I was alone, though, my heart dropped. My tough facade was strong for him, but right now, where only I was there to be strong for, my heart couldn't take it. I almost started to cry out of fear, hating the fact that I was not able to save my Papa. Hating the fact that his death scares me. Haunts me. 

A knock at the door stopped me from screaming into my pillow. Jae entered with a heavy blanket in his hands, the golden living room light streaming in from behind him. "Here, take this. It's getting colder outside."

"Oh. Thanks."

What am I so scared of?

I sucked in a sharp breath, getting off my bed to grab the blanket from him. "Do you have something too?"

He looked behind him at his bedroom. "Yes, I'll be fine. Go to bed." Jae waited for me to plop onto the bed before closing the door.

"Wait!" I called quickly, a shaking hand held out to him. He opened the door again and peered at me.

"Yes?"

I curled into my blankets before pushing backwards to leave space on the bed. Although the usual was for him to sleep in the other room, my mind would be a wreck if I was to be alone at this time a night; where only my thoughts accompanied me. 

"Can you?" I question, pointing to the empty area. "I don't want to be alone."

Jae-won was surprised. It must have been a bit awkward for him, since he was quite older than I. Someone his age wouldn't be caught dead sleeping with a little girl like me. But after a moment, he turned away and closed the door.

I bit my lip to hide my disliking and rolled over, pushing my pillows over the empty space. Just ad I dunked my head into the blankets, the door opened again. This time, the lights to the house were turned off, making it harder for me to see him.

"Jae?" I sit up quickly.

"I am here," he tells me, making his way over to the opposite side of the bed. He carefully crawls onto it, grabbing the extra blanket he had brought and wrapping it around himself. "Goodnight."

My head was still lifted up as I stared at him. "What was that for?" I was astonished he had even come back for me.

He didn't move. "I had to turn off the lights."

"Jae..."

"Lilla, go to bed."

I had to fight a small smile. Easily, I slipped my arms over his waist and cuddled into his back, relishing in his familiar scent. "Goodnight."

The silence was putting my mind and heart at ease because of my husband being there. I was finally deciding that this marriage might not be so bad if I could use him for these things. Jae-won may actually help me conquer my fear of death.

"Don't forget your English test this Friday," Jae-won mumbles.

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