Today is the first day of kindergarten, and little Seongwu can’t describe how excited he is.
He’s walking down the street towards his school and is observing the big cars and buses passing by. He isn’t afraid of them, for he knows that cars are not allowed to be in the sidewalk. He doesn’t need his mom to hold his hand while crossing the street or guide him towards his school. He can perfectly remember how to go to his school from his mom’s directions (although his mom gave him a hand drawn map just in case). He is fine, he will be fine. He’s a big boy now.
Seongwu turns around the corner (as per his mom’s hand drawn map), and he abruptly stopped walking as he saw how big the school was. He was amazed by the huge gray building in front of him, and although he can’t understand fully well, he was fascinated by how the letters decorate the huge banner by the entrance of the school. The school has a large field with a playground on the side, which was decorated by various trees and bushes, making him feel that his school is very comfortable enough to play tag with his new classmates.
Speaking of his classmates, he also noticed various children of his age entering the huge door of the building. He wonders what kind of people his classmates are as he tugs his backpack on his shoulders, and skips his way towards the building.
Once inside the building, he was met by three adults who were standing in front of three doors each, seemingly waiting for the arrival of the children. He holds the straps of his backpack tightly, suddenly shy around adults now that he’s not with his mom, when a man with a light colored hair approaches him. Was it called yellow? Little Seongwu wonders.
“Hello! What is your name?” The man with a yellow hair said. In Seongwu’s opinion, this man looks like a monkey. So he’s going to call him that, in his mind at most. “My name is Ong Ddeongwu.”
“Hong Seongwu?” He heard monkey ahjussi mutter as he goes through his list. “Are you sure you are enrolled in this school?” Monkey ahjussi asks him, looking at him confused.
“Yes.” Little Seongwu answers shyly. He then puts his backpack in front of him and gets a piece of paper from it. “My mom says to give this to you in case you couldn’t find my name.”
Monkey ahjussi takes the paper from his little hands and reads through it, and then Seongwu sees the lit of understanding from monkey ahjussi’s eyes. “Ah, it’s Ong Seongwu. I am sorry, little one.” Monkey ahjussi smiles as he scans his list again. “You are in my class, Seongwu. You can come inside and sit down. We’ll start the class once your classmates are here, okay?” Seongwu nods in affirmation and enters the room.
He enters the room and saw that there are only a few chairs left. One in front of the teacher, one in the middle, and one at the back. He ponders which seat should he take, and evidently chose the middle seat.
Once he got settled on his seat, he greeted the boy beside him, whose eyebrows furrow as he concentrates on drawing something on his paper. “Hello. I’m Ddeongwu.”
“Minyeon.” He hears him say absentmindedly, still concentrating on the drawing that he’s doing.
“What are you drawing?” Seongwu peers on Minhyun’s paper as he asks him. “Robot Taekwon Five.” The latter answers, attention still at his task at hand. Huh? He asks himself as he observes the drawing. To him, Minhyun’s drawing actually looks like many squares stacked together with a bunch of scribbles around the said boxes, but Seongwu thinks that he doesn’t want his potential new friend to get angry so he keeps his opinion to himself.
Seongwu looks at his seatmate, and thinks that he has to get Minhyun’s attention in order for him to be his friend, “I also watch Robot Taekwon Five.”
Wide eyed, Minhyun finally looks up and at him, “Really?” He grins, proud that he finally got his seatmate’s attention. “Yeah. I actually brought the stickers my mom bought for me.” Pulling out the said stickers, he shows them to Minhyun.
Minhyun’s eyes sparkled when he saw the stickers, and Seongwu swears he hasn’t seen anyone whose eyes sparkled at the appearance of his favorite cartoon. He pulls out the largest Robot Taekwon Five sticker from the pad and hands it to Minhyun. “Here, you can have this.”
Little Minhyun looks up to him, eyes asking if Seongwu is being serious. Little Seongwu just nudges his hand with the sticker in confirmation, and little Minhyun sticks his little fingers on the said sticker, pulls out his book to paste the sticker on it.
“Thank you, Ddeongwu.” Minhyun grins widely, still sparkling eyes crinkling into two half crescent moons, apple cheeks going up cutely as he smiles widely.
He’s proud to himself that he had made a new friend, and if he were to admit, Minhyun has a nice pair of eyes and a smile that he wouldn’t mind seeing all day long.
Their teacher, who had introduced himself as Hyukjae on first period, tells them that it’s time for lunch and that they are free to go play at the school yards, as long as they’re careful not to get hurt.
“Minyeon-ah! Let’s go play at the sandbox!” Seongwu says as he holds Minhyun’s hand, running and dragging his new friend towards the back exit that has a little playground they could play on.
Once at the sandbox, Seongwu gathers the castle shaped buckets while Minhyun grabs the plastic shovel. Together, they fill the buckets with sand and packing it tightly for the sand to hold its shape. Once satisfied with their work, they both flip the buckets, knocking into it to let the sand separate from the bucket, and lifts it slowly.
Both of them were stunned at a moment, and then giggles were followed right after. The sand was not packed enough to maintain the shape of the castle, thus making it look like a castle with not enough materials to finish it (or more like a mountain of some sort).
They were filling another bucket of sand, preparing for another sand castle building, when someone approaches them. “Hey, move out.” The slightly skinny boy tells them, arms crossed that the boys at the sandbox apparently finds intimidating. “This sandbox is mine only. You have no right to use it.”
Seongwu chose not to let his words get into him and continues to play with Minhyun, ignoring the bully. Minhyun must’ve thought the same, because he’s also plays along with him, although they both turned quiet as they fill the bucket with more sand.
“Hey! Are you not listening to me?” The bully shouts, and kicks their bucketful of sand. Minhyun was able to avoid the sand, but not Seongwu. “Ah!” He cries out, eyes stinging as he struggle to open his eyes.
“Hey! Look at what you did!” Seongwu hears him exclaim beside him, “This sandbox is not yours, it’s for the whole school to use. Also, we would’ve let you play if you asked nicely and not kicking the sand into our faces!” Minhyun scoffs irritatedly, and Seongwu feels him remove his hands from his eyes and blows into it gently as he whispers in between blows. “Are you okay?”
Eyes still stinging and is now brimming with unshed tears, Seongwu shakes his head ‘no’ and feels Minhyun pull back away from him, “I’ll call Teacher Hyuktae, alright? Stay here.”
“No! Minyeonnie, don’t leave me. Please.” Seongwu panics and grabs what seems to be Minhyun’s hand. The latter rubs his hand in a comforting manner. “Okay, I won’t leave you. I’m here.”
“What is happening here?” He hears Teacher Hyukjae’s voice gradually go near them as he still struggle to open his eyes completely. Minhyun tells him the full story, and he could tell that Teacher Hyukjae was furious as he tells the bully, “Go to Teacher Minhyuk over there and tell him to guide you to my office. Wait for me there and reflect with your actions.”
Eyes blinking rapidly, Seongwu slightly sees the bully go far away from them towards the building. Teacher Hyukjae stands both of them up. “Let’s go to the clinic to treat your eyes, shall we?”
“Okay, this will sting a little bit, Seongwu. But it will cure your eyes, okay?” Teacher Hyukjae tells him, and felt his eye being held open by his teacher’s gloved fingers. Minhyun was still beside him, holding his hand as tiny beads of liquid were being dropped on his eye. He holds Minhyun’s hand tightly as he feels his eyes sting a little bit, but in a good way. Seongwu blinks, and he feels like he has seen a whole new world.
“Thank you, Teacher Hyuktae.” Both of the boys chorused as they bow gratefully while seated. Teacher Hyukjae smiles, and ruffles their hair in adoration. “Thank you for not backing down and doing what is right.” Seongwu then sees Teacher Hyukjae pat Minhyun’s head. “Also, thank you for standing up by your friend and for not leaving him alone, Minhyun.”
Seongwu looks at Minhyun as he shyly smiles, ears red. Little Seongwu thinks that Minhyun is adorably cute with his red ears and shy smile.
It’s already the end of the class, and Seongwu is frantically shoving his things in his bag.
“Minyeonnie! Let’s play by the swings!” Little Seongwu invites him. Though, he doesn’t even wait for Minhyun’s answer as he tugs his friend’s hand on his and drags him to the swings at the yard in front of the school.
Both boys push themselves on their own respective swings, hard. They both squeal as they feel that the ground was so near them, and then in a split second all they could see was the clear blue sky. This cycle repeats, until they both got tired and ceased their swinging slowly.
“It was so fun! Today was fun, despite the bully...” Minhyun exclaims, and they both giggle at that at the mention of the incident. “Have you seen him earlier at the first period after lunch? He looked so down. I think he got really reprimanded.” Seongwu tells him his observation, and notes the furrowing of Minhyun’s eyebrows. “It’s what he deserves.”
“Hey, don’t be like him.”
“I’m not being like him. I’m just stating the truth.” Minhyun counters, kicking the ground lightly beneath his feet.
“If you say so.” Seongwu shrugs. He then sees his mother walking towards them.
“Mom!” Seongwu exclaims suddenly, running towards his mom and hugs her. “Mom, I made a new friend!” He tells her hurriedly, as he drags his mom towards to where Minhyun was.
“Mom, this is Minyeon. Minyeon, my mom.” Seongwu jumps slightly, giddy as he introduces his new friend.
“Annyeonghaseyo. I’m Minyeon.” He bows politely, and Seongwu’s mom ruffles Minhyun’s hair. “Aigoo, so handsome and kind.” He hears his mom say, and Seongwu is proud that he had chosen Minhyun, who is brave and kind, as his first friend.
Seongwu was still looking at Minhyun when his mom announces, “Okay, Seongwu dear. It’s time to go home. Say goodbye to your friend.”
‘What?’ Seongwu pouts, ‘ He just made a new friend! He can’t leave Minyeonnie behind!’ Eyes brimming with tears, Seongwu chokes up. “Mom, I don’t want to go home.”
“But baby, we have to. It’s getting dark already. Also, your dad is waiting for your first day stories.”
“But mom!” Seongwu whines, “I don’t want to leave Minyeonnie behind!” he continues pouting, and sits on the swing heavily, chains clanking by the force, arms crossed. “I’m not going anywhere!”
“Okay, we’ll wait for Minhyun’s mom, okay?” Seongwu’s mom crouches in front of him and rubs his knee to ease his anger. “It’s okay, ahjumma. I could already see my mom over there.“ Minhyun informs her, and true enough, Minhyun’s mom was just by the entrance, waiting for him.
Minhyun stands up from the swing and goes beside the pouting and sniffling Seongwu. “It’s okay, Ddeongwu. We’ll see each other again tomorrow.”
Seongwu looks up, snot evident on his nose. Minhyun grabs the handkerchief that he always keeps in his pocket and wipes his friend’s snots and tears. “Here, you can keep this and bring it to me tomorrow.” He says as he gives Seongwu his handkerchief.
Little Seongwu suddenly brings his little pinky up, “Promise me we’ll see each other again tomorrow?”
Little Minhyun smiles, apple cheeks showing, and links his little pinky finger with Seongwu’s.
Seongwu’s looking forward to go to school again tomorrow. Because it means that he’ll see his new friend, Minhyun, once again in class.