The girls kidnapped us on the sixteenth night of summer.
We were on our way home from one of our concerts when they took the five of us, effortlessly. Our van was speeding, passing through the empty street, then suddenly, it stopped. We didn’t feel any bump or commotion caused by the brake. It just felt like the car refused to continue moving, as if it had a mind of its own. But we were too exhausted (being on stage for three hours always drains our energy out) to check what actually stopped our car. We didn’t move an inch from our seat.
A strange kind of silence filled the air.
“Guys, did you hear that?” Jonghyun, the most sensitive among us, broke the silence.
“Hear what?” I opened my eyes, but all I could see was fog. Fog of fluorescent colours, blocking my view. I couldn’t even locate where my members were.
“I think I just heard … something’s coming.” Jjong’s sentence confused me, and when I was about to answer him again, I fell into a deep, inscrutable sleep.
The next days were surreal. Somewhere between imagination and reality, we woke up everday not knowing what day it was and where we exactly were. We just knew we were there in the moment, with the girls who took us away.
We ran around, feeling the grass stinging our bare feet. We let the sunshine burn our skin. Minho got even more tanned, his complexion glowed so beautifully against the blue, cloudless sky. We drank to satisfy every fiber of our being. Getting high in a rock gig, dancing in an abandoned warehouse, sharing cigarettes. We did so many things that had never occured in our mind before.
“We should’ve done this since a long time ago!”, Jjong chuckled in the midst of thick smoke and broken bottles of beer.
We didn’t want to be freed. We enjoyed doing everything and nothing like this.
“Maybe they’re witches and we’re all bewitched”, Kibum once joked about this.
“Maybe they are”, I replied. Yet we savoured every second with them — we wished it could be eternal.
I think we were drunk by the pool at that time when Taemin said, in a croaky voice, “I wanna live like this, forever.” Sobbing, what he always does when he’s too drunk, he laid his head on my shoulder.
I gently patted his head, caressing his soft lavender hair. “I feel the same way, Taem. Same.”
Come to think of it, I can’t really recall the girls’ faces. Except for Freia. She was the kind of beauty that would be carved in your mind once you saw her. I was too shy to look at her, but once or twice I stole the chance. Her eyes were transparent green, her lips blooming in colours of flowers. Whenever she’s around, her voice lingered on my skin and it made me nervous.
Freia danced with the wind. She sang with the moon. She healed me when I fell and scratched and bled. She made sure I was comfortable everytime the sun was too bright for my pale skin. She was here and also there. She existed with summer. She was the summer.
“Do you wanna go home?” she asked as she’s sitting next to me. The heat of the night was suffocating, and her being so close to me didn’t help either.
“I don’t know, do you still want to be with us?” I hoped she didn’t sense the agitation in my voice. For the first time, we looked at each other in the eyes.
“As long as you don’t break the spell …”
“What spell?” I noticed how her eyes were not only hypnotizing but also lonely and anxious.
She held my eyes with her stare. Silence, but then she smiled weakly, “I can’t tell it.” She stood up, leaving me restless for the rest of the night.
After several nights, I didn’t think about it again. The days were ticking away, and we continued living our younger days that were once taken from us. There wasn’t any sign for the summer to end. We didn’t mind. However, just like they said, all good things must come to an end.
Freia was getting more beautiful each day. My eyes were always looking for her, and I knew I could always find her wherever she went. And one day I couldn’t contain this feeling anymore.
“This is the best food in the world.” We were sitting outside, leaning against the grafitti wall. Our dinner tonight was a spicy noodle we bought from a street vendor. Been a long time since I had street food and could eat outside freely like this.
“Jinki, you have the most sincere smile I’ve ever seen,” she smiled, her lips curled into a shape of crescent. I blushed and almost dropped the bowl in my hand, making her laugh.
Her laughter was the melody I had always wanted to sing. This is the right time, I thought. “Freia,” I whispered her name as I moved forward, touching her lips with mine. “You’re such a beautiful view.” Our bodies were so close I was basking in the sweetness of her scent. I felt all kinds of impressions tingling all over my body.
“Noooo, Jinki, why did you do that?” she pushed me away. Her piercing scream made the others shift their attention from their dinner to us. Kibum stood up and came toward us, “Hey guys, anything wrong?”
“I’m sorry, Freia, I shouldn’t have done …” but before I finished my sentence, I felt a sudden weight in my head and heart. Was that …. “Freia, did I …”
“You did, you broke the spell.” Tears were running down her cheeks. In seconds, her figure cracked, broken into thousands of colorless pieces. I reached out my hand to hold her but touched nothing. I looked at my members, but they froze before turning translucent and disappearing. All of my senses suddenly became numb.
I woke up in my own bed, drenched in sweat and feeling unusually fatigue. My cellphone rang, it was Jonghyun.
“Hyung, what time will you arrive at the studio?” There’s weariness in his voice too. I wanted to ask whether he had the same lengthy dream, but afraid of being ridiculed at, I refrained from letting the curiosity out. It was the seventeenth day of summer.
I kept myself occupied with practice and recording in order to forget about the scenes and the time we spent with the girls. The days went on as usual, although sometimes — maybe I was being delusional — I could smell her presence around.
Freia. Maybe she’s not real, but her name will always stay inside me.
The days get colder, as the colors grow warmer. Autumn is almost here in Seoul.