“Swapped” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Azra Sarıkaya, MEV College Private Ankara Secondary School, Turkey.
It was the early spring in South Korea. There was a girl who was living in the capital Seoul. Her name was Do Bong Soon. She had a complicated city life as expected from the amazing population and she was working in a software company called MinSoft which was near to her neighborhood Gangam. She was living in a small dorm with her older sister Choi Ae Ran. It was the most famous and also the most expensive place to live but they got used to it since they’d been living a pretty high-qualified life together. So she had a colorful and great life so far.
At the same time there was also another boy whose name was Jeon Jungkook also known as ‘Jungkookie’ that his friends gave him because of his cute and happy manners. He used to live in Jinhae-gu district in Changwon City with his grandma. The city was almost completely surrounded by mountains and famous for its annual cherry blossom festival in spring but after his grandma who took care of him since his birth passed away, he moved from there to start a new page. So he started his new life in Buk district which located in Busan City. He found a job in a Kimchi restarurant as a sous chef. Kimchi was a common traditional dish in korean cuisine and he learnt how to make it before starting his job. After this change he was struggling to live in a crowd city because Jinhae-gu wasn’t like Busan. It was more like a small town where people spends time on planting. Also his personality had changed too, he wasn’t the ‘Jungkookie’ anymore because he started acting sad and lonely, since he left his friends in Changwon City he was actually alone. But he was still talking with his best friend called Kim Seok Cheoul. He was helping Jungkook to adapt his career.
One day, Do Bong Soon woke up and at first it looked like a simple day but when she went to the bathroom and saw herself in the mirror, she screamed like she saw an alien. It was absolutely beyond belief. She was in a boy body. She was taller than how she actually is. Also, she was wearing a blue sleepwear that she had never seen before in her life. But wait there is something more, she just found out that even the place she is standing is completely somewhere else than her house. She thought she was still dreaming so shouted like “Hey! Sister! Come here right now” to see if its real or not. Seconds later and still nobody came. She got curious and went the other rooms but she was alone.
Meanwhile Jungkook woke up too. The first thing he normally does in the morning was wearing his glasses so he reached out to take it from the nightstand but there was only a pink phone there. Also he was really shocked that his hand were extremely beautiful and also his nails were in pink nailpolish. He screamed so loud with the ease coming from that he knew he is alone at home but he was wrong. After seconds, a sleepy girl came and said “Are you crazy? What messed you up so bad that you woke me up, Do Bong-ie?” and she was calling Bong-ie instead of Bong because they were sisters so she was talking informally and friendly. He didn’t know what to say or think so he just acted like nothing had happened and asked her if she could leave ‘her’ room because since he was in a girl’s body, it wasn’t his room anymore so he was acting like he is a girl. Then he wore something from the closet but it didn’t turned out well since it is the first time he is trying to make an outfit with girl clothes. He thought he need to go and search for what’s been happening so he took the pinkphone and left the house.
At the same time Bong Soon in boy appearance went out too with the old phone she found at the wooden desk. She was looking for a way to understand what was going on. It was obvious that they switched bodies but they didn’t know whose body they were in and it starts to happen regularly after that.
When they switched again later something came to Bong Soon’s mind. It was really wise, she was working in MinSoft so it wasn’t unexpected at all. She was going to send a message from the phone she found at the wooden desk to her real number which was the pinkphone with Jungkook in Bong Soon’s body that day. They were really confused at first but then Do Bong Soon in Jungkook’s body wrote ‘Who are you?’ to Jungkook in Bong Soon’s body when they switched. After some time, they switched again. Jungkook saw it and wrote back who he was and then Bong Soon answered the next time they switched.
Meanwhile Choi Ae Ran, the sister of Bong Soon, and Kim Seok Cheoul, the best friend of Jungkook, started to notice the differences in their behaviours because when they compare their old manners with the new ones, it was obvious that they changed. Like, even though Jungkook has never played computer games before, he was working in MinSoft when they swapped bodies or even though Do Bong Soon has never made “Kimchi, Ramen, Jajangmyeon and Mochi...” before, she was working as a sous chef when they swapped. In addition they were still communicating. They started to message through their notes on their phones and leave messages for the other to find during the switches. After a while Jungkook offered to meet and left a note on Bong Soon’s phone. They planned everything. As soon as they went back to their own bodies, Bong Soon in her real body was going to go Busan and Jungkook in his real body was going to meet her. The next day when Bong Soon was going Busan to meet him, Jungkook had to have an additional shift beacuse a big group came to the restaurant. During work, because he was in a rush to meet Bong Soon, he broke a plate and cut himself which makes him to be late for the meeting. Bong Soon waited for Jungkook and thought that he got tied up when he didn’t show up. She waited for Jungkook until the last train came and left with that back to Seoul. When she arrived back in Seoul Bong Soon was very upset and went for a walk and ended up in a field, where she watched the meteor that had been in the news for a couple of days. She hadn’t paid a lot of attention to them though because she had been so preoccupied with the body swapping. While she was there watching the meteor, Jungkook ran to the place where they were supposed to meet but actually to meet with no one since she had already left there. Bong Soon was really sad because she thought that Jungkook didn’t want to meet her and Jungkook thought that Bong Soon had already left because he was too late, even though it was really late because they were living 3 years apart.
After they failed meeting up Bong Soon and Jungkook didn’t switch again which got Jungkook worried. He waited but they haven’t been swapping bodies since that day. He felt bad because he was late and tried to call Bong Soon as he had already taken the number when he looked it up from Bong Soon’s phone during a switch. But the number did not exist which confused Jungkook even more and he decided to go to Seoul to meet Bong Soon. He told Kim Seok Cheoul his plans about going Seoul then Seok Cheoul offered him a ride. Jungkook accepted it so they drove away from Busan to Seoul.
When they arrived Jungkook saw Choi Ae Ran and he knew her that she was Bong Soon’s older sister because of the swappings. He decided to ask her about where Do Bong Soon was but you couldn’t believe how she reacted. As soon as she heard her sister’s name in the question, she started to cry. Jungkook didn’t know why she was doing this at last she ended up saying ‘Well…. I’m sorry to tell you this but don’t you know or didn’t anybody tell you that she was on the field where the fraction of the meteor hit that night. Unfortunately, she passed away that night.’ Jungkook was about to cry and still couldn’t believe what Ae Ran said, the questions and everything. He said to himself ‘ No, It can not be. It felt so real. I couldn’t dream it all.’ Then decided to visit the place where the meteor hit her. He went the field where Ae Ran told him. There were a lake and besides the lake there was a huge tree. Jungkook was just walking there in silence with the tears came from his face.
He was fighting with himself inside, saying that everything should’ve been different if he had went there on time. Then Jungkook found Do Bong Soon’s pink scarf that she used to wear it a lot and he knew it from the swappings because he wore it too. After he looked at it so deeply and smelled it, he hung it to the tree for Bong Soon’s memory. Jungkook didn’t know that the tree actually has a little bit of Bong Soon’s spirit because it grew on the place where she had died. When he hung the pink scarf, their lives connected again and their places combined so there was no longer the other side and reality. They weren’t living three years apart anymore. They just woke up at the same time but in their own places. Jungkook woke up in Buk district which was located in Busan City and Do Bong Soon woke up in Gangam neighborhood which was in the capital Seoul. They were feeling so weird. They forgot each other. They didn’t even remember anything about all of the swappings. After a week, somehow Bong Soon had to go Busan for the meeting of MinSoft company. When she was walking around the streets, she hit a boy and the files in her hand fell down. The boy bended and gave the stuffs back to her while saying “I am sorry.” at first she didn’t look carefully and just said “Thank you.” But when he stood up and they both looked in eye, they felt so different inside. Their hearts started to beat faster than ever, it was obvious they felt something that retains them to walk away. Jungkook was staring her face with a soft smile and she smiled back and said to herself “I feel like I was always searching for something, for someone.” Meanwhile he said to himself “I feel like something was always missing, I was always searching for it.” Even though they couldn’t really guess the reason, they were still thinking that they had found the missing thing. It had been only 2 minutes since Bong Soon hit him but it felt like a thousand years in their minds. At last Jungkook screamed with an unstoppable urge coming from his fluttering heart ”Wait… Haven’t we met before?” and she replied “I thought so..” and then they went back to their ways but after they took their first step, something happened inside them that made them look back. When they caught each other’s eyes they were the happiest people on the whole wide World. Jungkook went near to her and asked “W-wh-what’s your name” as she replied “Do Bong Soon, can I hear your name too?” He hesitated for a while and then said ‘Jeon Jungkook’ they stopped speaking again because both of them were thinking about the names. They feel like they have known each other from the first second they hit and since they heard the names, they were feeling like they had already heard it before. Jungkook said suddenly with the perfect angel face “The sorrowful gust of wind that blew right between you and me and I promise that I will never let you go…” Do Bong Song could only said “We met for a reason and it changed my life, Let’s walk to the end together...” with the tears fell of her face. They hugged and stayed like that for a while since it has been th most beautiful moment they have ever lived.