Sunday, July 4, 2010

Solitude


Five years ago, I lost a friend the way Park Yong Ha's friends lost him a few days ago. I remember feeling lost and confused with all the questions left unanswered. I remember being scared, of frantically reminding myself and my other friends that there are a million reasons to live,not end, life. I wanted to channel those feelings through this fic. And yeah, suicide might be too serious for a fanfic you might say, but I lived through what my friend did and the only sane thing that blossomed from such tragedy was the realization that love is really all you need to live and appreciate life. Nothing else matters. Only love. It sustains you, even through the most tragic of circumstances, such as death. 

Solitude

From a few meters away, you can see her sitting solemnly on a bench, hair tucked neatly in a red beanie, something you previously owned, you note with a smile. She wears her hair long nowadays and you love it when it just falls freely on her shoulders like a silk veil, taunting your senses, giving off a faint vanilla scent that you love so much. But for tonight, as part of the drill when you meet in public places such as Cheonggyecheon, she neatly ties her hair in a ponytail under your old, trusty beanie, in an attempt to be incognito.

Cheonggyecheon at 11 in the evening is a place of serenity. You can hardly hear the traffic on the street 15 feet above. All you can hear are the soft murmurs of the water from the stream and the small waterfalls around. It is perfect for people like you who want to avoid attention. A few couples are walking at a leisurely pace, some people stroll alone deep in their own thoughts, and others, like Shin Hye, sit peacefully on the stone benches, eyes on the sparkling water illuminated by the lights, as if on a trance.

But you know why she is in a pensive mood tonight. Her silhouette radiates a sadness you can understand. It is the reason you asked her out to meet you despite your busy schedule. You want to see her at times like this. You need her as much as she needs you. Maybe even more.

“That beanie looks good on you,” you say softly, sitting beside her, adjusting your cap to a comfortable angle. She looks up with a ready smile that fails to hide the clouds in her eyes.

Touching up her head self-consciously, she gives a small laugh. “It feels comfortable, oppa. It covers my head snugly. Not too large, just enough for a cover up.”

You smile, your eyes feasting on how her round eyes reflect back the lights around you. “I’d still recognize you, though, even from afar,” you say, patting her head affectionately, “because of this beanie.”

She lets out a small chuckle then bows her head silently. You let your hand linger on her shoulder a little longer, savoring the silence with her.

Then she speaks gently to the wind. “The water is pretty with the underwater lights on, right, oppa?” She points to the stream before you. “Everything looks beautiful in the limelight. Everybody gets attracted to the light.”

You nod, following her gaze. The LED lights in the fountains and in the stream indeed add charm to the place.

“Like we do,” she adds in a whisper, sadness coating her words. “But when the lights are turned off, nobody really cares about the water anymore, what goes underneath, except for maybe a few. The imperfections carefully tucked away, shoved under the surface…just because the water is not really beautiful when it’s pitch dark.”

You turn to look at her, studying her profile. “But as you said, there are still a few who would really care, Shin Hye. And that is all that matters. That is all we need.”

She nods absently. “When I think of sunbaenim, I hope I was there for him, oppa. I hope he felt that somebody was there for him, at all cost. Maybe it could have changed his mind. Maybe…” she trails on, sadness weighing her every word.

You reach out to hold her hand. It is warm and it fits yours perfectly, comfortably. “We all feel that way, Shin Hye. But he made a decision. I’m sure it was a painful choice to make.”

She turns to you, eyes glistening with unshed tears. “Oppa, promise me one thing?” she asks.

You hold her gaze for a few seconds, giving her your answer before your mouth moves to say the word, “Anything.”

“Don’t lose me,” she breathes, her voice shaking. “Find me even when the lights are off. Find me in the dark, search for me when I’m lost. Even when I say everything is okay, when you feel that I am not, please don’t believe me. Even if we are no longer together, even just as friends, don’t lose sight of me. I promise I’ll do the same.”

You see the fear in her eyes, hear the alarm in her voice and you forcefully swallow the lump in your throat as you reach out to caress her cheeks gently. “Ya,” you scold her, attempting to be playful, “That’s a given. I will never lose you. I promise.”

This is the first time you see her vulnerability up close. She is still shaken by the sad news, you can see that. You were, too. Everybody was, or still is. But as you hold her in your arms tonight, as you listen to her long-drawn sighs, as you feel the frantic beating of her heart, it dawns on you that this is the first time she has verbalized her need for you.

“I can easily pick you out in a crowd. Of course, I can always find you,” you assure her, pulling her close to you, letting her head rest on your chest. “I will always remind you that life is beautiful. I will relentlessly try to make your life more interesting. And, down the road, if we will ever go our separate ways, whenever you feel lost, look back to this moment and think of my promise. If you ever feel lost, know that someone will always be willing to find you. That would be me.”

“The lights can do tricks to the eyes, oppa,” she answers slowly. “Just like how fame can fool the best of us. But when the lights go off, when the applause dies down, the heart can feel empty and the soul can feel alone. We need to be reminded that we are never alone. That there is always a reason for us to be here.”

You lean back to catch her eyes. Twitching your lips to a goofy grin, you tell her, “You’re one of the reasons why I love being here.”

The tears that have been threatening to flow finally escape from her glistening eyes. She shyly brushes them with her hand. “And this pretty face will always remind me that I am blessed,” she stares back at you, her heart on her sleeve.
You feel your ears burn at her sincere words, rendering you speechless for a moment. All you can do is bring your lips to her temple and kiss her solemnly.

Yes, life will always be wonderful, you tell yourself. And someday, on your last curtain call, when your own star has finally dimmed, when the applause of the fans and the shrieks of the crowd are all but a wonderful memory, you know you will never feel empty. Your life would never be a waste.

Because once upon a time, on a starry, summer evening, a beautiful girl clung to you with tears in her eyes, poured her heart out and said she needed you. She asked you to find and never lose her. She let her guard down. She made you feel needed and wanted.

That alone makes this life worthwhile.

12 comments:

FaI said...

Beautiful piece, jossa!
And you're right. No matter how desperate we are, love can help. That is, if you're willing to let people in.

When I heard the news about PYH, I was scared, and sad. Then i was angry.

How could he do that to his parents and friends? They all talked about him like he treasured his family, friends and he was looking forward to the new project very much. If it's all true, then why? and how? I'd call it irresponsible. But what's done is done. I wish him R.I.P, even if I don't think he really deserves it, for leaving his parents and friends as such.

And I do hope that anyone, not just people in Korean show biz, will look at this and think before they decide to do something STUPID like that again.

jossa said...

Hi FaI, I personally think that suicide is hardest to the one who commits it. I can only imagine the desperation and the helplessness a person feels that would drive him to end his life. Afterall, one of the basic human instincts is self-preservation. So to kill yourself only speaks of a pain so unfathomable that you'd rather end it all.

It goes against human and religious laws, yes. It sounds stupid, yes. But let us keep an open and understanding heart to the departed. May he find the peace he didn't find in this life. May his wounds finally heal.

When I lost my friend, I kept asking why he did that. And I never really find the answer to that until now. But the one that kept me going was when I acknowledged that he made a decision. It was wrong but he chose it. And I just had to respect that. Because I never really knew his reasons, I couldn't judge him harshly.

Anonymous said...

Raine.

This is so poignant, so tragic. Depression is a potent disease. Loved ones cannot detect when or how it triggers the deed. I believe people who really wants to take their lives don't give hints or indications. Those who does are only hungry for attention. That's why people who succeeded in dong so, their loved ones are the last to know.

I am so sorry to hear about this but may his soul rest in peace.

Tita Girlie

earthprincess said...

Awesome! My goosebumps won't go away reading this. You touched on a delicate topic and did it beautifullly! This is one of my favorites!!

Thanks Raine!!

SukkieHye said...

*hugs*

beautiful words.... i luv it Raine.

elhabe25 said...

I hope they read this Jossa...

And those whom right now so desperate should read this...so they know there's still alot of thing in this world worth.....alot of reasons to live then to die...even if the world hates us agains us,there's always one person one thing worth to live....

Thank you Jossa

maize said...

may more people be like sukkie in this fic - his light shining from within. if he really is this kind of person, he truly is beautiful. and if there more people like that, there must have been hope for people like PYH (may his soul rest in peace), in this life.

on a lighter note, i just earned back my waterworks queen title for crying over your ff while at work.=D this is just me, though. you, on the other hand, have the gift of making us realize life's simple joys amidst all its complications.

thanks, raine!Ü

kaze_lolipop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaze_lolipop said...

Im crying now,Raine.I remember when i lost my Mother.Its very hard thing that happen into my life ever!!I love her so much,so miss her n i hope no one people do what PYH did!!Its terrible,u just cant think bout yourself but the others who love u!!I hope his soul rest in peace..This FF is really touching me,Raine..Words by words simply amazing!!I love it so much!!Always be ur BIG fan,,:)))

~ NoFee ~

jossa said...

Thanks,everyone for reading and appreciating the message of my simple fic. Life is tough, right? But somehow we must go on by remembering that there is always something/someone worth living for. Never lose that reason. Never lose that hope.

And NoFee, I'm sorry about your mom. But you're a strong girl and I know she's proud of you wherever she is right now.

weng said...

Just beautiful, raine!

Goosebumps and tears aside, this really is one of your best :)

I was a fan of Park Yong Ha and I cried when I read the news. I truly hope he finds peace and happiness where he is now. The two things he wasn't able to get while he was still here.

Anonymous said...

I know it's too late to say this but THIS!! Your words and all these fanfics are AWESOME!!
And this chapter is so beautiful more than simply cute love story
Really really love your work!!

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