The La-Iin Series
“When in Need of a Friend”
“Um, Miss Cahongyun, you’re sure you don’t mind me coming over for this? I know you said you like all the Sanhuuns and that you don’t mind spending time with me or anything, but I still feel like I’m doing something wrong…”
“I don’t mind. I don’t have work today and it’s not like La-Iin will pay much attention to me. She’s been talking with Bes-Isa a lot and finishing up that game. Not to mention that she’s been daydreaming a lot about San-Kyung. Although, if we finish early enough, she might want to monopolize you.”
“That’s fine. I don’t mind playing with her again. I feel like we left off in the middle of something yesterday…anyway, I just really wanted to talk about a few things. It’s not much.”
“That’s alright. I’m happy to have someone aside from La-Iin to talk to.”
“Well, if you say so…um, this is about yesterday, but I still hope they weren’t doing anything bad. I wonder about San-Kyung a lot. He scares me. Sometimes at school, he curses at the teachers and he doesn’t treat other people all that well….so I’m really surprised that he was nice to you.”
“Well, how’s he been acting since school started again?” She asked.
“I don’t really know…mostly he’s just been spending time with Dosa-Mina. La-Iin hasn’t been talking to him much, so I haven’t gotten to see how they interact either.”
“Maybe he’s on the path to becoming better behaved.”
“Maybe….still, I won’t trust him until I know for sure. And with that in mind I can’t help but worry about La-Iin! What if he’s just using her? What if he’s faking being good now? I don’t know, Miss Cahongyun…maybe I’m overthinking things.”
“You’re the one who saw how he acted at school, and if La-Iin started to like him he probably did act out, at least at first….I know some people who put on a front but have hearts of gold. If he’s still putting on a front, maybe that’s why she still likes him. But then again, there are some good people she likes…either way, with how he acted towards me, and the fact that he’s willing to be friends with La-Iin, I don’t think he’s that much of a troublemaker, at least not anymore…”
“I’m still worried. What if he does end up still being a jerk? What am I gonna do then? What if it’s too late for La-Iin?”
“…I’d never let anything happen to La-Iin,” Mit-Sun said. Her expression became intense. “She may be a pain sometimes but she’s still my daughter. I’ll find out some way or another if he tries to do something to her. So don’t worry.”
“I can’t help but worry….”
“I understand. But I don’t really know what we can do about it right now. La-Iin won’t tell us if we ask her outright and Bes-Isa doesn’t like me.”
“Maybe I should ask Bes-Isa?”
Mit-Sun shrugged. “That’s up to you.”
Fer-Shi glanced down. “…you know, I try to be happy as much as possible, but I can’t help but just get really sad sometimes.”
“I think that happens to everyone,” Mit-Sun said.
“I know. But it’s hard when that happens…my Dad says I shouldn’t think about certain things so much but it’s hard to do, especially when someone’s told you not to. Lots of days it’s easy for me to believe that everyone’s happy, especially at school. I mean, there’s this girl called Sanyaow and she’s always talking to her friends and laughing and she seems happy almost all the time, but I’m sure she has her problems too. And you might never know how bad those problems are….some people I can understand a little better ’cause I’m friends with them, like La-Iin. Usually when something’s wrong she’ll tell me or I’ll be able to tell, but sometimes you can’t, you know?”
Mit-Sun was a little surprised by the sudden turn of the conversation, but she let Fer-Shi continue to speak. “And it’s easy to think that people like San-Kyung have no problems and that they only cause problems, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe San-Kyung has a reason for why he acted the way he did. Maybe there’s a reason why he didn’t want to make any friends. And maybe, him making friends with La-Iin is because he got over whatever it was. I hear lots of evil people have reasons for being evil, and I don’t remember if he ever said he was evil, but if he did, maybe he had a reason for being that way….”
“….you think about deep things,” Mit-Sun said. Fer-Shi’s face flushed. “That’s not really deep….it’s just, well, I guess I get to thinking when I don’t have anything better to do. And unfortunately for me, it’s usually stuff that makes me sad….I could try and ask Dosa-Mina about San-Kyung, but even though we get along we’re not the best of friends. He might not tell me, especially since I’d be asking personal things about his best friend. But, I don’t know….it’s like, you want to block out the idea that anything bad could be going on around you when in actuality it’s always going on.”
Mit-Sun was still taken aback, but Fer-Shi continued. “Dasdoria and North Vaelyn are still all messed up. You could pass by a person on the street and they could be dealing with something really hard! People like my Dad try to help, but they can’t help everyone. No matter how hard anyone tries, we can’t make the world good. There will always be people who have it hard and there’s just too many things that have happened to go back to an earlier time where we all might have gotten along better….”
Fer-Shi sighed and took a sip of water. “Sorry to dump this all on you, Miss Cahongyun. I just get rambly about this subject sometimes…”
“It’s not a problem…you’re not stressing me out at all, but are you sure you’re not stressing yourself out?”
“I am, but I can’t help it,” Fer-Shi said. “There’s another thing I think about a lot too, Miss Cahongyun.”
“Well….knowing that there’s so many bad things happening in the world, I really want to help! But you know, there’s so many ways to help people, and I don’t know what would be best. If I help people one way, I might not be helping them another way. If I set up some sort of shelter, that’s only someplace for them to stay for a little bit. It won’t help them if they have problems later on when they don’t need my shelter anymore. I was thinking about it before. La-Iin has a goal, even if it’s bad, but it’s still something she’s striving for. I wanted a goal too. And it took me a while, but I realized I really wanna help people. Now I’m still having trouble, because no matter what I do, I can’t really help everyone in every way!”
Fer-Shi’s eyes started to water. “I’m sorry, Miss Cahongyun. It just makes me so sad. I wish I could help people out more.”
“….you’ve got a good heart, Fer-Shi.”
“No, I think I’m just selfish. My Dad said he has selfish reasons for wanting to help people. It would be really hard to be someone who just wanted to help people without any ulterior motive…I think I’m like my Dad in that way, I want people to be happy and carefree because that’ll keep me happy and carefree. If I don’t think about this sort of stuff, I’ll be happy. So if I solve everyone’s problems, then I’ll be happy, and in the end it’s really only for my own happiness.”
“Fer-Shi, you’re only eight,” Mit-Sun sighed. “You have a whole future ahead of you. I know it’s hard not to think on these sorts of things sometimes. Whenever I hear of some disaster, I think about this sort of stuff too. But there are still a lot of people trying to help everyone they can. That you want to help people at all means you have a good heart. Even if you say it’s selfish, and it probably is, you’re still bothered that there are people out there who have it hard. That’s good enough to me.”
Fer-Shi wiped at her eyes.
“And about finding how you want to help people, don’t worry too much about it for now. If you’d like to know, La-Iin just figured out she wanted to rule the world randomly. All of a sudden she was obsessed with the idea one day and hasn’t shut up about it since. Some people find out early and for some, it takes a while. Until then, keep helping people in any way you can, I’d say. Eventually you’ll find the way you think is best.”
“You’re good at encouraging people, Miss Cahongyun…thank you.”
“Not a problem. Me and your parents promised each other we’d be there to lend an ear whenever we needed it. Why shouldn’t I do the same for you?”
Fer-Shi smiled. “Miss Cahongyun, you’re my best adult friend ever!”
“What were you and Mama talking about?” La-Iin asked later while the two played together upstairs.
“Huh? Nothing important.”
“Mama started praising you randomly when I came down to reach the ice,” La-Iin said.
“Really, it’s nothing.”
“Are you able to fly again yet?”
“Only a little. I feel so grounded!”
“Well, hopefully you’ll be able to fly again soon…” Fer-Shi giggled.
“You Cahongyuns make good friends,” she said. La-Iin gave her a side glance and inched away from her, then the two girls continued to play.