the baby-faced man stared out at the dying red orb, his eyes watering uncontrollably. his frail, bony hand clutched the metal railing that seperated him from the ocean, his freedom. he could have dived in there and nobody would care. nobody gives a damn about a loser. a failure.

no, i must live on, he thought, clenching his teeth even harder. i must live my promise. his eyes still contained traces of a lost soul, waiting to be found. his soul, lost when the light of his life went out.

a chilly sea breeze ruffled his filthy, unwashed shirt, revealing an equally dirty singlet. i miss you, ji hyun...

"i'm going to be fine, tae hyun... i'm going to come out, and then we'll go and play squash again... okay?" she whispered into his tear-stained face. her delicate, pale hand was busy wiping the salty liquid from her love's face. with much strength and even more love, she painfully gave him her last kiss.

"ji hyun... jeon ji hyun! it's time for your operation." a prissy, wrinkled nurse eyed the couple disdainfully while a couple of other nurses prepared to wheel the ill girl into the death room.

he stood a distance away from the bustling nurses, not even daring to lock eyes with her, for fear that those unshed tears would make their way down, down his face.

"tae hyun..." the nurses stopped carting the bed, just before they exited the room.

"tae hyun," he could barely hear her whisper, but he remained slouched against the cold hospital wall. "promise me you'll live on... even if i'm gone... promise me?" and then those nurses sent her away, to her doom.

and so for a long time he remained still. he remembered, too many times when he cancelled their dates because of some unimportant events, like a soccer match. too many times when he was too preoccupied with admiring the beauty of nature, totally ignoring the beauty standing in front of him.

why? he had seen many people lose their loved ones, but he never expected it to happen to him. if she never decided to go for the operation... would she have lived longer to spend her remaining days together?

the doctors never guarenteed a high chance of survival, but she went on with it anyway.

and then like the darkness that slowly embraced the light, it dawned on him that what he lacked was hope.

she hoped...