Summer is over and I’m back to school. One more year of high-school and then university. I’m in my room now, feeling really down. I haven’t been anywhere except to school and church. I can’t bring myself to hang out with my friends anymore. I can’t seem to stop crying. I can’t stop thinking about Dae and missing him. I love him so much that it hurts. It hurts that we can’t be together anymore. It hurts that he’s going to marry someone else.
The tears start to fall again. I lay curled up on my bed. My mind is filled with memories and thoughts of him. I can see his amazing smile, hear his voice, feel his touch. I close my eyes as I think about all those incredible times we made love. He was my first and with all my heart I wanted him to be my last. I can never give myself to anyone else. I wanted him to be the one I spent the rest of my life with. Unfortunately, a future with him wasn’t meant to be.
When he told me that he had to end our relationship because he was engaged, I felt like my world had come crashing down around me. He said that it was an arranged marriage and that he had wanted to tell me but was afraid to. I broke down and cried. He took me in his arms and held me tightly. He said something that sounded like, “salanghae” before I somehow managed to pull away from him and bolted from his flat.
I couldn’t go directly home. I was in a bad state. I went to the quay and sat on the bench for a while, my face buried in my hands. When I managed to compose myself, I went home and straight up to my room. I couldn’t eat or sleep. When school started, I had to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and go. After leaving school, I went straight home. I didn’t stop at the quay. Too many painful memories. I found some comfort when I went to church. Many nights before going to bed, I prayed and begged God to help me to get over Dae but I knew it was pointless. I would never get over him. Never.
Oh, Dae. Where are you? What are you doing? Are you thinking about me? Are you with her? Are you planning your wedding? I bury my face in the pillow and sob uncontrollably.
Summer is over. School has resumed. And I’m back in London. Min and I went to Seoul to finalize our wedding details. The wedding is in 8 weeks. I busy myself with my work, trying to forget…her but it’s impossible. She fills my thoughts and my dreams. Every time I close my eyes, I see her face. I see her lying there in my bed, looking up at me, love and desire mingling in her eyes before she reaches up and grabs my head, pulling it down so that we kiss before making wild and passionate love. My back still has her scratch marks. She was like a tigress between the sheets.
I walk along the quay, expecting, hoping to see her. I stand there for hours, staring at the Tower Bridge, remembering the first time we met and the wonderful times we spent there. My flat feels so empty and lonely without her and at nights, I lay awake, aching for her. I remember the first time I played the piece, Sorrows of the Soul, she was sitting on the rug. I watched as she listened to the music with a rapt expression on her face. When it finished, she asked me to play it again. While it was playing, I made love to her right there on the rug. It’s playing now in the background, haunting me.
How can I go through with marrying Min when I’m madly in love with Sade? I walk away from the window, put the glass of wine down on the bar counter and grab my keys. I leave my flat and head over to Min’s place.
The next afternoon, I call Sade and ask her to meet me at the quay. I’m waiting anxiously for her, pacing up and down, hands shoved deep in my trousers’ pockets. She shows up right on time. I quickly close the distance between us, my eyes running eagerly over her slim frame. “Thanks for coming, Sade.”
“I had to,” she said simply, looking up at me.
“I was a bloody fool to let you go,” I mutter thickly. “I want you back.”
“What–what about your fiancee?” she asks.
“It’s over between us. I broke off our engagement.” It was an ugly scene with Min. She was devastated but became livid when I told her about Sade after she demanded if there was someone else. After swearing at me in Korean, she chased me out of the flat, insulted that I would prefer to be with an African.
“What about your parents? You told me that they arranged your marriage because they wanted you to marry someone financially stable and from a good family. How are they going to react when they find out that you have broken off your engagement because of me, a Nigerian high-school student?”
“They will object, of course and possibly disown me but I can’t marry Min when I’m in love with you.”
“You’re in love with me?”
“Yes!” Groaning, I grab her by the shoulders and pull her against me. I cover her face and neck with feverish kisses. She puts her arms around my waist and presses against me. My mouth finds hers and devours it like a mad man. People are probably staring at us but I don’t care. After a while, I break off the kiss and pant, “Let’s go to my flat.”
“Yes,” she gasps.
We drive back to my flat. As soon as we are inside, I scoop her up and carry her off to my bedroom. As I make love to her, I make up my mind that I’m going to ask her to marry me on the very day she graduates from high-school. It feels great to be doing something which no one in my family has ever done before. I’m breaking with their tradition of arranged marriages and I’m choosing to marry for love.