After a few minutes of lively breakfast talk, there was an awkward pause. You look at the woman before you, right before she averted your gaze, to mindlessly stare at a spot outside the window. She is thinking deep. You let her be still like that for a few more moments, until you break the silence. “Ji Won-ssi, do you have any other projects lined up after Secret Garden?" you asked her. She smiles, but you sense that whatever she was thinking moments before changed the mood. “Yes, I do. I am playing the role of the captain of the Korean table tennis team.” She tells you with a new aloofness in her tone. “Good! I look forward to watching that then,” you honestly tell her. “Really?” she asks. “Really.” You tell her. You smile the smile of a proud sister. “Hae Rim” she says. You look at her with a question in your eyes. “Just call me Hae Rim. All my close friends call me that. I like you and I want you to be my friend.” She tells you. You nod, “Hae Rim-a”, you said acknowledging her permission with a smile. There was both privilege and responsibility to that, you knew.
Alone in your room that night you look back at the time you spent with your newfound friend. You are still quite amazed at how easily you warmed up to her. “Her smile is like sunshine.” You thought to yourself. And you chuckle at the clumsy way she had asked you to call her by her real-name. At that point, you knew that she dropped all formalities, but you also knew she still had her guard up. Your phone rings. “Hyun Bin!” you exclaim as you spoke into the receiver. “It’s been a long time!” you said to him. You exchange greetings and after a while he tells you the real reason he called “Ji Won-ssi came to meet you? He asked. Silence. Then, you chuckle. “Did you hire bodyguards to keep watch of her, Hyun Bin, dear? Wow, this must be something” You teased him. “Mianhae, I-I-I…” he starts to explain, stammering at every third word. You chuckle even more. “Stop. You’re sounding like a fool in love.” You said to him in between a laughing fit. You know him too well, maybe a little too well than you would want or need. “Yes, we did see each other,” you finally answered the question he put forth. “We’re cool. I like her. Don’t hurt her,” you said almost rapping. Silence again. “What are you talking about?” He asks with a notable quiver. “I don’t need Calculus to figure this out, dear. And I’m fine with it. I like her for you.” You tell him. Sigh. From him, not from you. You caught up for a few more minutes until he needed to hang up. And you sat, alone in your room again.
With the lights turned off, you lay on your bed, thinking about the day that went by. “If it cannot be me, then it needs to be her.” That was the part you left out in your conversation with him. “I like you too, and I want you to be my friend too.” You didn’t tell her this, since it sounds so pretentious. Yet, today, you feel no pretense in your motives with both of them. You do like her and want her to be your friend. You do want to move on from a complicated past with him. You do like him, but more than anything you even like the thought of him with her. And as the thoughts spill in your mind, you remember days from the previous Spring, when he was healing from the impending demise of a dead-end relationship. His grief came too early, you thought then. Right before you were falling madly for him. Wondering if you were falling for Hoon as Anna or you were just being crazy, accepting easily to be the girl you never once was in any of your past affairs—the one who got the losing stick, the one who is destined to be left behind even before anything began.
Those days in California, in between shooting for Manchu, was fun. There you learned more about him, even if he was withdrawn and aloof at first. The hesitant kiss you almost made real for those ending scenes in the movie. The little rendezvous you both were involved in, set in a foreign land. Those little pieces of heaven before truth sank in. The truth that he was still healing from a broken heart and that it will take time. The truth that you were his halfway point. The truth that he is searching for love, and that he hadn’t found it yet. You didn’t cry during those times. Because you were strong, but you’ll be lying if you say you didn’t get your heart crushed. These thoughts, like a river, are coming to you now. All because of that moment she stared at the window, with worry in her eyes.
You saw her agitation – borne out of fear, hesitation, doubt. She didn’t know if she could trust you. She also didn’t know if she should trust him. For a moment, clouds covered her sunshine. Yet, bravely, like the amazing woman you’ve heard that she is, she took the leap of faith. She decided to let you in. She chose for you to be her friend. In the deep of night, as you celebrate making a new friend, you whisper to the empty silence, “Hae Rim-a, do not fear. You have his heart. You are not the rebound girl. I know. Because that girl was me.”
Then, you saw your phone light up. Incoming message. “Tang Wei-ssi, thank you for your kindness. It’s nice to have you as my new friend.” You smile again. “Tang Mei. Mei. Sister. I am now your sister.” You replied.
***Us and our complicated relations, the beauty of being human. My POV of the Tang Wei-Ha Ji Won relationship.***