The La-Iin Series
“Wishing Upon a Star”
Mit-Sun found herself incredibly distracted that day at work. Though she felt that Eteibreit would likely call her out on her sloppy job, she couldn’t find it in her to care all that much.
‘La-Iin feels so distant recently. Is it because of me? I haven’t been taking her anywhere. I did treat her to a little something on Children’s Day, and she seemed fine with me, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t distant…’
She sighed. ‘Maybe I should talk to Papa about this. I wonder if he’s ever felt I’m growing distant from him?’
“Cahongyun, something wrong?”
Mit-Sun glanced behind her; Leirhyn was standing there. “You look kind of down. I’m on a break right now, so I figured I’d ask.”
“Oh, it’s nothing really,” she sighed. “Just, thinking about my daughter is all.”
“I see. Is everything alright? We haven’t really talked much outside of work lately.”
“Everything’s fine. Perfect. Almost,” she sighed. “Anyway, I should probably get back to work.”
“Yeah, I guess so. But before you do, remember what I said: the two of us have got to get together sometime soon and talk about you and a certain someone.”
“You know who~”
“I really don’t.”
“You’ll figure it out, then. See you, Cahongyun!” Leirhyn walked off, a skip in her step.
“I wish I could share in that cheerfulness,” Mit-Sun sighed.
After work that day, Mit-Sun said good-bye to Leirhyn and reported in to Eteibreit.
“Your job’s sloppy today,” Eteibreit had said.
“…you know, I consider stronger punishments for my workers when they do a sloppy job and they know they’ve done a sloppy job.”
“That’s actually you being fair, for once.”
Eteibreit huffed. “I’ll let you off easy today and tell you just to do a better job tomorrow. But listen closely, Cahongyun. There will be consequences if this consciously sloppy work continues.”
“I understand, Mrs. Eteibreit,” Mit-Sun sighed. “I’ll do my best tomorrow.”
“Make sure that you do.”
Mit-Sun turned to leave the room; as she closed the door she heard Eteibreit giggling to herself and shuddered.
“Oh, there’s someone else I should say good-bye to, too…”
She head off to Uil-Cur’s division. Uil-Cur was setting down a stack of papers, but he soon noticed her and ran to greet her.
“Why, hello, Mit-Sun! How are you today?”
“Fine, I guess,” she sighed. “And it’s not hello. I just came to say bye.”
“Oh, alright.” Uil-Cur squinted. “Are you sure nothing’s wrong, Cahongyun?”
“Why? Do I look upset?”
“Yes, you do.” Uil-Cur’s brow furrowed with concern. “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
“Well, not really…I was actually thinking of talking to my Pap–I mean, Father–about it. It’s nothing.”
“I don’t mind hearing you out too,” he said.
“You can be really forceful sometimes, can’t you?” Uil-Cur drew away. “Anyway, I don’t even think you’d understand it all that well anyway. I don’t want to bother you with it.”
“Mit-Sun, you could never bother me. You’re my dearest friend. Go ahead and tell me. Well, if you want to.”
Mit-Sun was about to decline when a thought came to mind. ‘Uil-Cur is a good friend of mine. And he might not have experience with raising children of his own, but maybe it would be good to talk to someone who doesn’t…I might get an answer from him that’s not ‘this is something that happens’.’
“I’m sorry, I was just throwing something around in my head,” she said. “…are you sure you’d be okay with hearing me out? It’s not really a problem that matters anything to you…”
“Mit-Sun, I would hear out any problem you had, even if it was with me!” Uil-Cur said. “But do you mind if I finish work first? I’d really rather not get on Mrs. Eteibreit’s bad side.”
Mit-Sun gave a chuckle. “I can hear you there. Hey, I have to get home to La-Iin, though. Would you mind coming by for just a bit so I can at least tell her dinner might be late?”
Uil-Cur’s expression went blank. “Uh–um, certainly, Mit-Sun.”
“Alright. I’ll be waiting for you in front of the building.”
Mit-Sun had planned on staying silent until she and Uil-Cur reached their home, but halfway through the walk back she couldn’t hold herself back.
“I feel like me and my daughter are growing distant,” she said.
“O-oh? How so?”
“We haven’t been talking as much as we used to. La-Iin’s always treated me like she thinks I’m a bad parent, but she’s never really been distant like this. She talks to me at dinner. We have been spending time together. It just feels like she’s heading away from me, you know? If she was a teenager, I might be able to understand and pass it off as something that would pass with time. But she’s only seven. Have I been doing something wrong? Maybe I’m really not doing as good a job as I thought I was.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s just because of the way she is. Our opinions are pretty different. But I don’t want to think that way. She has a friend and they don’t agree on a lot of things, but they still get along. It might not be that.” She sighed. “She and her father also don’t agree on a lot of things. But she loves him unconditionally. I get treated a lot differently than he does. And that makes me wonder even more if I’m doing something wrong.”
“Does she get to see her father often? Maybe she treats him so well because they don’t see each other often. And her friend is around her age, so it could always be that. Maybe she’s going through an early rebellious phase.”
“Maybe. I’m just worried. I really don’t want to grow distant from her. I’ve been trying my hardest ever since she was born! I had to survive off the vuyong I made from my old job and what my ex brought in when she was a baby before he left the house. I think she resents me for sending her to the preschool I sent her to, but I had to get a job! There was no way we could keep going with the vuyong I had left. We wouldn’t have made it.”
“Explain that to her, then! Little kids don’t always understand these sorts of things.”
“La-Iin wouldn’t believe me. She’s a very opinionated seven-year-old. She believes what she wants to.”
“Mit-Sun, you shouldn’t let yourself get discouraged. If you do that you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Maybe you’re just at a rough patch. You could always try and bond with her. What sorts of things did you do in the past that you haven’t done recently? What sort of things do you think she would want to do, or would like if you let her do them?”
“I don’t even want to begin to get into that last one,” Mit-Sun groaned. “….but we did go for walks downtown sometimes, and we haven’t done that in a while. And I used to teach her about species history and species study after school sometimes. And I haven’t been talking to her myself much lately. Maybe it’s not La-Iin’s fault. Maybe it’s because of me.”
“You just have to make an effort, Mit-Sun. I made an effort to get closer to you. You jumped to the worst conclusions, but maybe it’s nothing all as bad as that. Maybe she just needs a little space. And maybe both of you aren’t making the effort. Just try, Mit-Sun.”
Mit-Sun smiled. “Thanks, Haner. Talking to you really helped. I’m going to try now. You know, I was worried about whether I was being a good mother or not, and I was overlooking the fact that maybe I haven’t been putting enough effort towards interacting with her lately. I spend a lot of time on the ‘homework’ Mrs. Eteibreit gives me. So maybe it is my fault.”
“I’m glad to have helped any, Mit-Sun. It just didn’t do to see you so upset.”
Mit-Sun continued to smile. Uil-Cur began to feel immensely flustered and looked away. “So, um…shall I head home now that I helped you, or do you still want me to…?”
“Why not come by for dinner tonight?”
“D–don’t you want to try and build up your relationship with your daughter? I’d only get in the way of that!”
“I don’t think you coming over for dinner one night is going to sour our relationship. Besides, we have the whole weekend ahead of us. But I can’t force you to come over if you don’t want to. The offer’s there anyway.”
“…what time do you usually have dinner?”
“Six to seven, depending on what I make and how late I make it. Why?”
“Oh, just wondering…I think I will take you up on that offer, Mit-Sun. Though really, how would your daughter feel about it?”
Mit-Sun pondered his question. “She probably wouldn’t like it. But I said so already, Haner. It’s not going to make us enemies if you come over one night.”
“If you say so.”
Although Uil-Cur felt quite timid, he also had to hold himself back from screaming out in joy. ‘Mit-Sun invited me to dinner! I can’t believe this!’
“Who is this?”
“Don’t act so hostile, La-Iin. This is my coworker, Haner. He helped me out with something earlier today, so I invited him over for dinner.”
“I’ve heard a bit about you, La-Iin.” He waved. “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Haner!?” La-Iin jumped back. “And he’s a Siren!? Male Sirens are bad news, Mama.”
“Oh, don’t be like that. If you can put up with him for one night, we’ll do something special tomorrow. How about that?”
La-Iin gave her an uncertain glance. “Mama, you could never understand the reason why I object this so strongly, and you wouldn’t listen if I told you anyway!” She stomped out of the living room.
“Are….are you sure she’s seven years old? She acts like a rebellious teenager…”
“That’s La-Iin for you,” Mit-Sun sighed.
‘Haner. Haner! Mama may be oblivious to what you want, but I can see it from a mile away!’
Throughout the night La-Iin kept a close eye on Haner, and the longer she focused the more she felt her suspicions had proven true. ‘If this guy is in love with Mama….then that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard!’
Barely a moment went by that night in which La-Iin’s wings weren’t flapping wildly in anger.