Keeper Of Secrets

Keeper Of Secrets

A Chapter by MeratheRestless

Summer 1992
"If you don't pick up your feet and start walking instead of gawking....."
17 year old Hyuk could not help himself as he followed along behind his eldest brother on the crowded sidewalk toting his single ratty suitcase. He had been met at Gimpo International Airport on the outskirts of Seoul by 21 year old Seok after a long and grueling flight, and with few words passed between them despite 3 years apart, Hyuk simply took a good look at Seok and began following his retreating back in silence. They both had Korean blood running through their veins, sharing the same mother, but Hyuk had the benefit of also having a Korean father and being 100% pure blooded, whereas the eldest was not as lucky. Conceived shortly after their teenage mother had traded her homeland for a neighboring lesser evil and wound up in Vladistok in Russia's Far East, Seok was visibly tainted by white blood. Hyuk or anyone for that matter would have had to have been blind to lose sight of pale skinned, brown haired, and towering Seok. 
"Your accent and dialect are wrong. "Hyuk observed loudly to be heard over the din of the crowd. 
Seok stopped dead in his tracks, pivoted to face his youngest brother, and glowered with hazel eyes blazing. "I don't need this s**t from my own family too, so unless you want to meet your father again with a broken jaw...."
"That's the way Seok talked when you annoyed or irritated him enough to get a word out of him." Uncle No Good explained to bleery eyed Joon and Misir. "You knew what he meant without him needing to finish the sentence. Believe me, he looked like he wanted to kick my a*s and I took him at his word."
"First Uncle couldn't talk?" Misir just couldn't resist asking a dumb question. 
"He could, in fact he knew four languages by then. He just wouldn't, unless you got on his nerves or talking was going to get him something he wanted." Uncle No Good tolerated Misir's ignorance. "He started learning a whole new language just to impress a woman."
"My mother, a typical monolingual american?" Joon guessed. 
"Who else?" Uncle No Good affirmed with a strange half-smile. "That woman is the love of his life."
The two younger men looked at him a bit unnerved since he wasn't one for smiles.
"Another bottle, Papa?" Misir suggesteed.
"Yes!" Joon answered agitatedly. "And hurry up, so he can get on with it!"
Sure, it's not like Papa's going to let you go home tonight and we both know you've spent many nights here against your will anyway. Misir felt a twinge of sympathy for his cousin. 
"You're not coming up now?" Hyuk queried as Seok held open the door for the him to enter the high rise building first. "When should I tell Apa you'll be home?"
Seok raised his gaze and fixed Hyuk with another icy look. In the blink of an eye his free hand had landed a breath stealing blow on his youngest brother's back that sent the nosy adolescent stumbling over the threshold. "I'm going where I'm wanted." He snapped bitterly already walking away.
Breathless Hyuk kept stumbling and somehow managed to find the elevator. "Dasut(five)." He wheezed to a startled older gentleman who was already inside. What had their parents' ancestral homeland done to his oldest brother, who he remembered as a person of few words and emotions, least of all anger?
Unfortunately he found no explanations from meeting his overworked father again after 7 years. 
Uri, broad shouldered and fiftyish, received his younger son with a mixture of indifference and annoyance at best. The modestly educated factory worker had wanted his older son to come, not this headache who his wife had constantly lamented about in letters. Unlike Seok and Nam, Hyuk he'd been assured was simply a mouth to be fed. "Well, don't just stand there like an idiot." He growled at his problem child stepping aside to allow him to enter the cramped apartment. "You'll sleep on Seok's old floor mattress."
His tone told Hyuk not to ask the question burning on the tip of his tongue.
The next morning, Uri was gone early before the sun had risen, leaving Hyuk asleep in the clothes he had travelled in. It was the apartment's buzzer that woke him hours later. Confused and dishevelled he did not think to answer it until the third time.
"What?" He yawned into the speaker. "My father is gone."
Seok's sharp tone startled him fully awake.
"I know that, you little idiot! Now get dressed and come down before I change my mind about doing something nice for you. If you're not here in the next 5 minutes, I'm leaving." 
Obediently Hyuk freshened up and changed his shirt before leaving the apartment. He was so eager to get out that he didn't give any thought to how he was going to get back inside. Recklessness and impulsiveness drove all of his actions for better or worse.
"We were just about to leave you." Seok grumbled as Hyuk exploded out of the building into the muggy overcast day.
For a moment time stopped and Hyuk's mouth hung open as his eyes processed what his brother meant by 'we'.
"Is he okay?" Seok's companion asked. 
"He knows sexy chocolate." Seok answered her in thickly accented broken English. In Korean he added to Seok with narrowed eyes. "Women come in more than one color you know."
Uncle No Good still had that strange half-smile on his face as his eyes drooped. "We really must have been one hell of a strange sight. White guy, black woman, and asian kid trailing along behind them. They would come to take me out at least 3-4 times a week and only asked one thing of me."
"Which was?" Misir prompted.
"That I never utter a word about what I heard or saw. Not to Eomeoni(mother), Apa, and probably not even to you nephew." Papa Hyuk said slowly looking directly at Joon. "Your parents were good hearted people. If you trust me as much as you say, then you must believe me when I say, they were the wronged, not the wrongdoers..." 
Someone knocked incessantly on the door which Misir had locked to protect them in their impaired state. 
Reluctantly Joon ignored Halmi's calls and demands, met his uncle's gaze, and sighed. "If you say so." 

© 2017 MeratheRestless

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Added on August 15, 2017
Last Updated on September 1, 2017




Really there's not much to tell. I study in university, work a part time job, go to Kingdom Hall twice a week, out preaching at least twice per month, and spend the rest of my time at home. Don't like.. more..