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Picked Up In Winter - Chapter 26

Published at 9th of November 2019 11:49:30 PM

Chapter 26

Picked Up In Winter – <26>

That night . I had a dream .

In the dream, I was sleeping just like how I was in reality . That room also was no different from reality, it was Jun Hyung’s room . While I was sleeping, I suddenly felt a familiar hand stroke my forehead . I had a strange feeling while I held that hand…Was it Jun Hyung’s? Even while partially conscious, I didn’t think so, I slowly opened my eyes .


“…… . ”


When I opened my eyes, what entered my sight was… my mother .

My body froze in the position that I had slept in . What I held in my hand, was the pale and rough hand of my mother . I was so guilt-stricken that I couldn’t move at all . My mother was just silently looking down at me . I couldn’t breathe as I met her eyes . I was dimly aware of the terrible guilt binding my body .    

No, this was a dream . I must wake up quickly .

But at that point I couldn’t move at all, it was as if I had sleep paralysis .


‘…… . ’


The expression in my mother’s eyes was growing sadder by the minute . As I faced those eyes, I was unable to do anything .


‘…… . ’


Suddenly, my mother moved her small lips . I could see the lips moving, and also knew that she was saying something but…… for some reason I couldn’t hear a thing .


‘…… . ’


Suddenly, it felt as if my heart was filled with so much sadness . I tightly clasped my mother’s hand but I could neither feel the body temperature nor any sensation of touch . My mother kept saying something .

What…… What are you saying, mother…… .

I cried, I was so grief-stricken that I couldn’t hear any of my mother’s words . My mother’s expression was also getting more and more despondent as she kept speaking . I was bawling . Tears were also running down from my mother’s eyes .  

At one point, she stopped talking and stared at me . I kept looking at her as she continued to cry, then, she slowly moved her lips again .

You were……

I understood as I focused on the movement of her lips .





She only moved her lips twice .




My eyes widened in bewilderment .    

Did I get it wrong? Sorry for what? It is I, who owe you an apology…… It is my heart, which hurt with guilt…… .

She silently looked at me below, as if thinking that I understood, she smiled faintly .

The moment I looked at her smile, I was filled with extreme unease . I abruptly jumped out of the bed and hurriedly tried to run after her, as her image continued to fade .  

Not yet…not yet, wait! Mother……! I must apologize…… . !







But the place where I had run out to after jumping out of the bed, was completely different .  

Where was this……?

I lifted my face and slowly looked around in amazement . Soil…… . I could see the damp soil, with no one present . An empty sports ground . Yes, I remembered it . It was the place I had seen this afternoon . However, it had changed . The size of the sports ground had increased, I couldn’t see the end of it . Other than that, it was the same sports ground, at the school, that I had seen from the window today .

Suddenly, I looked up to see it was raining . One, two…… the raindrops continued to touch my forehead, then brushed past to my shoulders, trickling down to my toes, and finally becoming one with the sand below .  

Tranquillity…… .

I stared dazedly at the softly drizzling rain . After some time, my eyes widened . As if I had gained a new understanding, I looked down from the sky at my surroundings, but found no one . I again turned to look at the other side only to find that there was no one there also .

My eyes widened even more .

I stood all by myself on the desolate sports ground .  

I was alone…… .

I realized that it was as if I was inscribing characters in my mind .  

I had nowhere to go…… .

The moment I felt my sorrow increase, I woke up from my sleep .




When I opened my eyes, I felt something dry on my cheek .

I slowly touched my face, only to feel the dried tears on my fingers . I stared at my fingers, then I realized that the neckline of my shirt was wet .

Shedding tears while sleeping…… .

At a loss for words, I continued to lie still for a while . I imagined I was embarrassed because I had never done it before . Don’t know how much I cried, but I felt a throbbing pain in my head . I slowly sat upright, and then looked back on my dream when I finally felt somewhat settled .   

My mother appeared in my dream . Then an empty sports ground . It was said that the dreams reflect the subconscious . It seemed that the guilt towards my mother which continued to build within me, despite me trying to not think about it, burst in the dream .


‘You, Your mother─…’


Even more, since I had run away from hearing those words yesterday .


“…… . ”

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Suddenly, I felt as if all the strength in my body was leaving so I leaned back against the wall . What was that last dream? I again felt that bone-chilling loneliness that I experienced in that dream as my body trembled a little . That dreadful feeling of loneliness . Confused about where to go . I had no idea why I had such a dream .

 My mother again appeared in my mind .




The movement of her lips came to my mind . When I thought about it, I felt like the tears would come out again, so I blinked my eyes a couple of times before closing them again .

Why, even in my dreams…… thinking about a brat like me, mother……

It’s me who owes you an apology . Mother, you didn’t do anything wrong .

Mother…… . What I couldn’t bear, was this side of you . I didn’t like it when you only thought of me . It was painful to watch . Even for a little bit, I wanted you to live for yourself . Even if it was only for a while, it would have been good if you did something for your own happiness……that was what I hoped for .   

If I disappeared, wouldn’t you become like that? Even though I knew it wouldn’t become so, but I still thought that maybe it would happen .  

My father, whose face I can’t even remember, passed away when I was just a baby . My mother, who had no relatives, raised me all on her own from that day onwards .   

Mother never did anything for herself, let alone remarry . My mother’s wishes always started with me and ended with me . Even before doing anything, she would always think, if I did this, would Hagil like it? Even when buying food she always thought…would Hagil like it? It was the beginning as well as the end of her need .     

I felt suffocated by that love . I wanted to say that, even if it was always done for me, I wasn’t happy . However, I was scared that if I said that, she would be saddened . I didn’t have the nerve to say it in front of her .

I wasn’t so consumed with life . I didn’t have any passion nor did I feel any joy……therefore, I felt that her sense of responsibilities demanded too much from me . It was so heavy that I felt I would be crushed under it . So I ran away, for myself rather than for her . When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I ran away from her .


‘Sorry . ’


……so, mother . You don’t have to apologize . I was the one being selfish .


“……hng . ”


Don’t know why, but somehow sadness welled up in my chest . I lightly bit my lip and strained to exhale .   

…… but, nevertheless……I had some expectations . If, by any chance, I made my presence disappear from your side, then maybe you would care to find your own happiness……


‘Sorry . ’


…… No .

I am the one who should be sorry .  

When I came here, I began to feel happiness in my life…… I don’t want to go back… I kept thinking that because I believed it was due to my current environment that I felt such .   

I terribly missed seeing my mother’s face .  

Let’s return .

That morning, I finally decided to return to reality .




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But even if I had decided to go back, I couldn’t leave at once . I needed time to settle my heart .  

If I left now, I may not be able to come back… I didn’t know if he’ll accept me If I refused to be Happy…

No, it was so . If I wasn’t Happy, I would no longer be a special existence to him .

Kang Hagil didn’t exist for him .

Now that I think back, I was feeling overwhelmed by unbearable sadness when I met Jun Hyung . However, he named me Happy and loved me as if someone would love a pet . But he still calls me Happy and treats me no different than a pet . I felt truly sad when I think about the fact that it had meaning only when I was like a pet .   

I would have to say goodbye to Min Hyung also . Although it was for a short while I came to care for him as if he was my own little brother… I also won’t be able to see Patrasche anymore . When we thought she caught a cold, I was really worried… Dae Hyung… at first, hated me a lot but he was quite friendly now… Seon Hyung-nuna… I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my promise… Jun Hyung’s mother, father… Thank you very much for accepting me without hesitation when I had run away from home .   

Everything was being sorted out as the Lunar New Year’s Day approached .


“I’m not going . ”


On the first day of Seollal1, everyone seemed busy since morning . It seemed that every year they go to the eldest son’s house to celebrate Seollal . Everyone was busy packing their bags as they rushed from one room to another, when Jun Hyung, who was sitting next to me, uttered those words . His mother, who was just passing by the living room, turned around to look at him .   She seemed to let out a puzzled sound before quickly speaking .  


“Okay . Since if we all left then Happy would end up being all alone in the house . ”

“…… . ”

“Then, Jun Hyung, stay at home with Happy . Mom will somehow make up for it . ”

“Ok . ”


And so that was how he and I would end up watching the house during the holidays, together .  

Before his family left, as if they wouldn’t be able to relax otherwise, they warned us of a variety of things . We were not that young…… Even though I thought like that, I took note of each warning . After they told us on how to settle the problem of meals for 3 days, fully working out everything, they went out through the front door . I and Jun Hyung saw them off .


“Then, Jun Hyung . Happy . We’ll return soon . ”

“Watch the house well . ”

“Come back safely . ”

“…… . ”


It suddenly occurred to me that since I had already made up my heart so it actually would be the last time I would see them . I would have left by the time they returned .





Suddenly, I got startled upon hearing a loud cry from below . I looked down to see Min Hyung . He was looking up at me in tears .


“…… . ”

“Happy, Happy, Happy……”

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He was calling out fervently .  

Now that I thought about it, I realized that I had never once been separated from Min Hyung while staying here . Except for the time I went outside, I had always been with Min Hyung while inside .


“Min Hyung, don’t cry . Can’t you wait for a few days to see Happy again? We’ll be back after just sleeping for two nights……”

“Yep . We can’t take Happy to the eldest’s house . ”



It seemed to be a sentence from which ‘but’ was omitted . I knelt on the floor and faced Min Hyung, who was calling me anxiously . Looking at the thick teardrops falling from his eyes, I was also feeling choked up . I gently pulled Min Hyung in for a hug .



“…… . ”

“It’s not like you’ll never see me again, Min Hyung . ”

“Happy…… Happy, Happyyy…… heok……”

“…… . ”


…… correct . Min Hyung . You’re right .

When you will come back after sleeping out for two nights, I won’t be in this house . You may never ever see me again . And you noticed . It seems like you have felt my decision to leave .


“Min-hyung… . ”


To this little child, I whispered goodbye .


“Goodbye…… . ”


Min Hyung burst into tears at the end .

With this, I bid my farewell to his family .






1) Seollal – It is the Korean New Year . The people in Korea have the custom to celebrate the day at the house of their eldest son or their ancestral house, they also wear hanbok (Korean traditional clothing), eat traditional food and play folk games . Children usually receive money from their elders . In here, the house of the eldest son most likely meant the house of either Jun Hyung’s mom or his dad’s family’s .


Enjoy the last update of November, Barb is going to be busy with her exams so next update will only be in December, should be more than just one . ^^

I know it ended on a pretty bad cliffhanger . But that’s just how life is, lol .

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