South Korean illustrator Myung Min Ho draws couples in everyday activities that show what it is like to love someone your whole life.
By Diana Garrido
When my grandparents were alive, my grandpa never let go of my grandma's hand. They danced to their favorite song until the last day they were together. They took a walk in the park at 6 pm and saw the sunset, and went to church, prayed, and kissed each other good night. Then, one morning, he didn't respond to her "good morning." He wouldn't move, he wasn't breathing. He was gone.
Grandma, like all women who have been left behind, cried for months. She screamed into her pillow and slept clutching his portrait. She kept his lotion, wrote notes for him, and wore his clothes, but she knew that, no matter how much she wanted it, he would never come back. The love of her life had left forever, and she just wanted to leave with him. But one afternoon she understood that, if she stayed, she would get to see her grandchildren grow up, and she could spoil them, too. But more importantly, she would remember what grandpa gave her until his very last breath: unconditional love. And so, in deep pain, but with a lot of courage, she went out one afternoon, at 6 pm to see the sunset alone, just like they did together.
The next day, she got ready to go out. When she picked up her keys and purse, she took off the apron to set it on the sofa, right where grandpa used to sit, and remembered when he took over the house while she went out for some fresh air after dealing all day with the children. He always said goodbye with a kiss and a wink that made her swoon.
While she walked, a tear rolled down her face. She sat down on a bench to rest for a few minutes. Whenever they sat there, their hands would be clasped together, as they watched people go by. They didn't need anything else, just to embrace each other and to know they were together. There might be a war going on around them, but she knew she would be safe in his arms. He would never let go.
She stayed there for hours waiting for a signal of any kind, but it never arrived. Still, grandpa had always been unpredictable. When he seemed to go up, he was actually going down; when he wanted to say yes, sometimes he would end up saying no, and once, when she thought he would be consider her boring, he kissed her and made her feel like the most interesting woman on Earth. He made her smile like she never had before.
That same smile was the one she had on her face when she was walking home alone, resigned to the idea that she would sleep one more night without him; and then she saw a rose seller. He loved roses. In fact, the rose shrub in their garden was dying after his departure. And she would bring with her a large, fragrant rose, as alive as the love she had for him, just like that rose he gave her when their love became a reality.
Flowers were always his hobby, and he kept them alive because of her. He reminded her that it was important to take care of flowers, just as it was important to take care of their relationship. How could she forget all those flowerpots in the hall to their house, full of flowers of all colors and kinds. Now, most of them were gone, but those left still brought back memories.
Then, at home, looking at the rose, she drank from the coffee mug that, to her, smelled like the scent of love, the same scent that he gave off every morning when they were in bed talking about the day ahead. Then, they would be quiet for a second or two, or a few hours, just letting time pass them by. Silence was something they also enjoyed together.
And she stayed there, staring off into space, while the memories engulfed her body and mind. With the taste of his kiss still on her lips, the sensation of his arms still around her, and the scent of his skin on hers right before going to bed. Grandma remembered everything so well that she could still see herself when she was young, in an eternal embrace with him on a park bench, her cheeks flustered by love.
That same fluster appeared in their first encounter, when they caressed each other's naked bodies and kissed passionately, the physical demonstration of a love so big not even death could end it. Sometimes they didn't even need to touch each other, they only needed to look at each other when they woke up, or right before going to sleep, to know that everything was alright.
Meals were the best part of the day, especially with the traditional sauce she prepared, something as necessary on the table as the presence of grandpa in the house.
Usually, right before going to bed, they would dance. Their bodies moving so swiftly that is seemed as though the beauty didn't come from the music, but from their own bodies dancing. Art was part of their love; it didn't matter if it was a song, a kiss, or a dish.
She laid down and, as on the day he had passed away, she couldn't sleep. She could only sob and cry for hours on end, until the sun told her it was time to get up. But, how could she do that if grandpa was present in every little detail of that house?
She got up to look at pictures and cry bitter tears that fell on the images. That's how she finally fell asleep.
The next morning, she woke up with the firm intention of getting everything off her chest, and with the feelings accumulating, she wrote a long letter, as long as their love had been. In it, she told him how she felt ever since he had gone, and how she was slowly learning to live without him. How life was giving her tests, one more difficult than the other, and how she, drawing strength from where there was none, tried to overcome them. One day, she would give him that letter.
One day, they will meet again. He will tell her he loves her, and she will give him an eternal kiss. They will walk down the street together, hold hands, and see the sunset again. The birds will fly in the sky, and they, away from everything and everyone, their hearts beating fast, will then know that this time it's forever.
Grandpa is gone, and grandma can't stop crying, but she knows in the bottom of her heart that one day they will meet again and will find solace in each other. They will look each other in the eye again and will kiss without fear of being apart again. In the meantime, eternal couples are always around us, showing us that love never ends. It always endures, like the love of my grandparents.
For more illustrations of Myung Min Ho, go to his Instagram account.
Are you an illustrator and want to see your work featured in our website? Click here and send a 500 word article illustrated with your work for the chance to appear in Cultura Colectiva!
For more articles featuring art and design, click here:
10 Illustrations That Show The Power Of Dreams In The Time Of Political Hate
The Venezuelan Artist Who Wants You To Know That "Censorship Is Coming Your Way"
20 Creepy And Petty Valentine's Day Cards Victorians Sent To Those They Hated