Chapter 14: The Mom Helps the Free Spirit Make a Decision

Early mornings were suitable for Jaejoong. He had many household chores to execute, so it was natural for him to start his day at six. Breakfast had to be exquisite and stuffed with nutrients. He did not want to tend an ill friend; colds managed to circulate once one person caught it. He also did not want people suffocating from dust bunnies, so he took the time to experiment with various cleaning products by wiping down every counter or flat surface he saw. 

Just as Jaejoong was whistling a new tune while walking down the spiraling set of stairs, there was already someone in the kitchen. Jaejoong, who was expecting an empty, semi-dark room, almost tripped and tumbled down the stairs when he saw Yoochun pouring himself a glass of water. 

“Wh-what are you doing here?” Jaejoong gasped. 

Yoochun swallowed a mouthful of water and then muttered, “I got thirsty.” 

Jaejoong looked at Yoochun from head to toe and proceeded to the refrigerator in hopes of finding inspiration for breakfast. Jaejoong had already concluded that Yoochun needed that extra boost of energy to last the day. “Judging by your pale complexion and your puffy eyes, I believe that you couldn’t sleep last night?” Jaejoong asked.

Yoochun nodded and leaned against the cold, granite counter. “Barely slept at all.” 

He scratched his eyes with his hands, causing Jaejoong, whose head was already immersed in the cold fridge, to scream, “Don’t do that with your fingers! You’re going to get an eye infection.” Yoochun was about to utter a joke if Jaejoong had not demanded, “Go wash your hands!”

Unquestioningly following Jaejoong’s instructions, Yoochun turned on the sink’s faucet and began to scrub his hands with soap. “Better?” he asked with a tad of displeasure before taking a seat beside the dining table. 

“Much better. Now, you’re allowed to have breakfast.” Jaejoong flashed a grateful grin and dropped some fruit into a clear glass bowl. “All right, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Just couldn’t sleep. That’s all,” Yoochun lied. “It’s probably because I didn’t turn the AC on.”

Jaejoong almost snorted. “Right. Blame the heat. Now, tell me what the problem really is.”

“What if . . .” Yoochun suddenly choked on his breath. He couldn’t believe that even saying her name was still difficult.

“Go on.” Jaejoong turned on the tap and dipped the fruit in water.

 “What if you received your ex’s wedding invitation?”

“I’d purposely go to her wedding and freak her out. I’d pop out wherever she can see me and then scare her to death!” Jaejoong raised his hands and cheered.

Yoochun let out a slight cackle and muttered, “All joking aside, what would you actually do?”

As Jaejoong took a clean, white plate from the stainless steel dishwasher, he corrected, “You mean, what should you do.”

Although Yoochun admired Jaejoong’s honesty, he sometimes wished that white lies could be told. He then sighed with his eyes casted downwards. “Your suggestion would be?” 

“Is this about Soohwa?” Jaejoong blurted to which Yoochun only nodded. “I’m not surprised that you’re still not over her. Actually, you’ve never been.”

Yoochun’s voice splintered like fragmented wood chipsas he chuckled. “Probably only you’d think that way.”

Jaejoong sat in the seat opposite of Yoochun and confirmed, “Well, do you want to see her? Are you prepared to see her move on with her life? Are you even ready to wish her well?”

Yoochun felt his throat wither, and his eyes weary and beginning to water. He took a quick, choppy breath and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know . . . but I do know that . . . I . . . c-can’t get—“ 

Jaejoong interrupted, “Just let it out. Let it all out. I’ve seen you cry too many times and it’s worse when you try to hold it in.”

So, Yoochun’s hand covered his eyes and he let the tears soak into his palm. He, at least, did not want them visible to the eye. While he struggled to capture them in his hand, he desperately croaked, “I j-just can’t . . . hate . . . her.”

“It’s all right to love her,” Jaejoong advised while patting Yoochun’s shoulder. “I know you’re not the vengeful sort, so just try to love her in your way.”

“Why is . . . it so hard to move on?” Yoochun buried his head into his arms.

“Because you always thought that . . . maybe, she’ll come back. There’s always that possibility, but now that she’s  . . .” Jaejoong’s voice trailed off. He didn’t feel like regurgitating aching reminders.

“I always thought she was . . . the one.”

“She isn’t,” Jaejoong coldly declared. “If she were the one, she would still be by your side. And sometimes . . . the person that you believed was ‘the one’ might not think you are ‘the one’. So, don’t be too tough on yourself. There are many ‘the ones’ for you. The hard part is finding ‘the one’ that will stay.”

Yoochun slammed his fists to the table, shrieking, “I’ve stayed by her side for all this time!”

 Why was life so unfair to him when he was the one that tried the hardest out of the five for romances? Why couldn’t the woman he loved love him back? Why was it too late to make up? Wasn’t love enough to conquer all? 

“You can’t expect everyone to give their whole effort for a relationship and to stay loyal. People change,” Jaejoong mentioned.

“Why then? Why is it . . .?” Yoochun’s fingers scraped his forehead, streaking red lines across his pale skin.

“Don’t think so negatively, Yoochun. You always go off in that direction. I know you’ve been trying to date other people, but have you given your all? Did you love them like you loved her?”

“I don’t . . . know anymore. Argh!” Yoochun smacked the table with his hand.

Jaejoong grinned before noting, “I know I’ve said this before, but you have to try harder to move on, move forward with your life. Don’t focus so much on love then if it’s not working out.”

“Do you even know how hard it is to do that?” 

 “I don’t know, but I do realize that you keep forcing yourself to remember her. Heck, you even have a box of her stuff that you can’t seem to throw away! If your future girlfriend saw that, would she say that you’re trying to move on?” 

“I just—“

“Go to the wedding, Yoochun. Once you don’t see a possibility, you’ll finally accept it and start to carry on with your life.”

How could Yoochun see her when he even had trouble saying her name or even talking about his past relationship with her? How could he move on, though, if he didn’t see her in someone else’s arms? He never had that scene in his mind, that possibility that she was with another man. The only image that he pictured was of his chase after her. Perhaps, if his hand merely touched an edge of her dress, she would turn around and embrace him again. She would say that she had been waiting for him all this time to capture her. Wasn’t waiting enough?

Then, he ruminated what she had always complained about him, how he was never eager to initiate tasks and how he hardly told her what was on his mind. Yes, he always waited, yet he never approached her. He had her cell phone number on speed dial, number one, but he didn’t dare to touch that button. He frequently thought and pondered. Even if he displayed his emotions and affection, those were never enough to satiate her insecurity towards their relationship. She tended to argue that he “bottled up his feelings” and “closed himself in a box”. He just didn’t want her to worry; she was already worrying for him. Those reminders . . .

Even with those reminders, he never altered his attitude. He was Park Yoochun, simply Yoochun. He did listen, but did not accommodate with her. Laughing at his epiphany, he finally asked, “I haven’t changed right?”

“Not one bit,” Jaejoong retorted. “Still the same old Yoochun I’ve known for years. Why are you asking this? It’s weird for you to be like this. . . Are you sure you’re okay?”

Yoochun laughed even louder. “I’m okay, and I’ve decided that I’ll go.”

“You sure?” Jaejoong verified. 

Yoochun bobbed his head. “I’m positive because I don’t plan on changing.”

“I don’t get you,” Jaejoong scoffed and stood up. He shuffled back to washing fruit.

Yoochun didn’t bother with any explanations for he finally understood that they would never work together. Individually, she was delightful and lovable. However, when combined with him, she changed. She changed for him, changed to remind and to badger him. 

I’m sorry, but I don’t love you anymore.

Meaning was at last enforced with her message. She had lost herself during their relationship, so how could she love him anymore? At the brink of their relationship, they had bickered too often. There was one time where she smashed a vase into pieces and screamed how much she hated herself and how it was all his fault. He never comprehended her infuriated remarks and used to believe that they were just words of rage. 

Yoochun then concluded that he never completely understood her. She was the one that knew him too well. Because she knew practically everything about him, she no longer loved him when there was no hope in ameliorating their relationship.

He had just preserved his identity as Yoochun, and she, in the end, had wanted to keep hers as well. Obstinacy had resulted in their separation. Now, he could still regret and wonder what could have happened, yet he settled on seizing the day, his carpé diem