Credits to shawty_12 for the poster!
          I’m staring at the ceiling of my bedroom. It’s dark, too dark for it to be morning. Doctors tell me that I’m suffering from insomnia, but I’m a doctor myself. I don’t need their diagnosis. I know exactly what’s wrong. I’m fucking heart sick. That’s what it is. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I miss her. No, I have been missing her ever since she left me. Now, I can only trace her back through my memories. I’m hesitant, though, of going back. I know too well what I have done, and I know I can’t change anything about that.
         But, I know I need to now that I’m holding onto this flimsy card.
         You are invited to attend. . .
          Whenever I read that phrase, I want to punch him. Fuck. That fucking bastard. Such a fucking coward.
          Then, I think of her, and I can see her petrified look that’s mingled with disgust. She’d hate me even more if I ever laid a hand on him, and I can’t have her hating me.
She needs someone now. I know too well, and so I get up and get out my luggage. It’s time to pack and to head back to her.

          I have to confess: I hate plane rides , and I fucking hate long ones. This one just happens to be ten hours, and what’s worse is that I’m sitting beside a 10-year-old girl. I thought kids couldn’t get onto first class. Spoiled brat, reminding me of Taeyang. I’m thinking to myself that she better not cry. I can’t deal with crying girls, women, babies, or people in general. Tears are for the weak, and the useless. There’s no sense in crying.
         Good morning. This is your captain speaking. We will be . . .
         That’s my cue to wear my eye mask. If I pretend to sleep or at least try to, then I should be okay. I’m wrong. Goddamn it. I’m wrong. Why?
         “Fuck! What’d you do that for?” I lift the eye mask off, and shout at the girl, who nudges me in the elbow.
         “You forgot to put on your seatbelt,” she answers coldly and sternly as she points to my waist.
         I cut myself off once I glance down. Fuck, I curse in my head. She’s right. This little twerp is right. Man, I have made a fool of myself, and she’s staring at me with those cheerful, devious eyes. Suddenly, I’m reminded of her. She liked to do that to me as well, and I didn’t mind her playfulness or her teasing at all. If she were happy, I’d be okay.
         “Sorry,” I utter. “I just hate plane rides.”
         The little girl tries to suppress her giggles by pursing her lips, but she still answers, “I can tell.”
         I can’t help but let out a chuckle. She’s like the mini version of Jikyung. Then again, Jikyung was always short, so this little girl is just like Jikyung’s twin. I must be crazy, yet I extend my hand towards her, and I greet, “I’m Lee Junghoon. You can just call me Junghoon, and you are?”
         “I’m Song Lara.” She shakes my hand with much confidence.
         “So, why are you travelling by yourself?” I decide to ask the question that most travelers around me are wondering. I know because a few even lean closer to listen to her reply.
         Lara proudly exclaims, “I’m visiting a friend in Seoul!”
         “And your parents let you?”
         “My parents let me do anything,” she scoffs. “As long as I don’t do drugs.”
         “Wow. How generous.”
         “Well, they’re too busy working to even look after me,” she murmurs almost too quietly, but then she adjusts her tone to a brighter one, “but it’s okay! I’m fine by myself.”
         “At least you’re visiting a friend?” I try my best to encourage her.
         “Yup!” she gives a sweet smile that makes me think of chocolate fudge. “Yoochun is my best friend, and I can’t wait to see him again!”
         “You love him, don’t you?” I suddenly blurt out.
         Unlike Jikyung, Lara boldly nods. Lara isn’t afraid at all. In fact, I think I know why she’s visiting Yoochun. She’s going to tell him that she loves him. Brave, I think. She’s one brave girl. I wish I could . . .
         “So, why are you going to Seoul?” Lara manages to break off my wandering thoughts.
         “Um . . .”
         I’m wondering if I should tell Lara the truth. I don’t think a ten-year-old would be able to handle this type of news. Do I even want to share why I’m here at all?
         “Are you visiting a friend like me?” Lara questions.
         Yeah, I guess I am visiting a friend. A dead one, that is.
         “Or are you visiting your girlfriend?” Lara continues to hound me.
         No, she’s not my girlfriend anymore. Am I even going to see her? Probably. It’s Taeyang. She’ll be there.
         “If it’s not any of these, then you’re . . . visiting your family?” she asks.
         I finally answer, “No. I’m not going back for my family.”
         “Then, why are you going back?”
         I don’t look at her. She’s gawking at me just like how Jikyung would whenever she wanted to pry the truth out of me. I know if I stare back, I’ll spill everything that I’ve managed to contain in my heart. I don’t need to revisit the past, but I know I’m already on my way to walking back there to my memories.
         I close my eyes for a minute, and I see her . . . and me. That’s exactly why I can’t sleep. I can see her lips quickly widening to form a naughty, half-hearted smile. I can see her wide-set eyes condemning me for what I have done. I can hear her distinct voice critiquing anything. I can’t feel her though, and that’s when my eyes open.
         I take a gulp before announcing, “I’m going back . . . because . . .”
         “Because?” Lara inquires.
         At last, I make eye contact with Lara, and declare, “Because there’s someone I’ll always remember. A girl called Kim Jikyung.”
         “What’s she like?” Lara unbuckles her seat belt to face me. “I want to know.”
         What was Jikyung like? I’m wondering that question myself. What was it that made me go so crazy about her? Oh, I know.
         “I guess it all started on that day,” I respond. “That day I asked her . . .”
         “You love him, don’t you?” I asked her.
         This question slipped out of my mouth. I had seen her face countless times on Facebook. She was Taeyang’s friend, the girl that he constantly texted. From the way she stared at Taeyang, I just couldn’t stop blurting out my suspicion.
She looked at me as if I were a pervert. I knew what she was thinking. I was going to harass her and may be become her stalker. I was one of those shallow guys, who only thought about sex. As simple as it was, she thought I was a player. But, how could I ever explain to her that I knew about her already? That . . . would definitely make me a creep.
         “Who are you?” she snapped at me with one of the fiercest glares I had ever witnessed in my life. “What are you even talking about?”
         “I’m Lee Junghoon,” I stated. “I’m a close friend of Taeyang’s.”
         I was hoping that mentioning that I knew Taeyang would make her think that I was normal. Instead, she continued to question, “If you’re close with him, why didn’t Taeyang say hi to you?”
         I felt like rolling my eyes, but I didn’t. Taeyang would never greet me when he was with a chick. The last time he introduced a crush of his to me, she ended up hitting on me. Of course, he wouldn’t say hello to me with a girl following behind him. Especially with Jikyung, he’d never introduce her to any of us guys. All of us knew she existed, but also knew that she was off limits. Taeyang would shoot us a piercing glare whenever we asked about the girl he texted. That was our cue to shut up.
         “Taeyang didn’t see me?” I hastily lied, hoping that she’d stop hounding me.
         She was about to open her mouth to start a fiery debate, but luckily, Taeyang announced, “Jikyung, where are you?” Right after he saw me, he continued to ask, “Oh, Junghoon! What are you doing here? Thought you never like studying at the library!”
         What a bastard, I thought. That fucking bastard wanted to make things even more awkward by blurting out my study habits. I swore he wanted a bit of revenge on me for ruining his chances with that girl. Still, I could only lie. How could I tell them that I was using this chance to coincidently bump into Jikyung?
         “I thought I’d try focusing for once. I need the marks if I want to be a specialist,” I half-lied again. Then, I took this moment to force Taeyang to introduce the two of us. “And, who’s your friend, Taeyang?” I asked.
         I noticed Taeyang frown at me, but he still answered, “That’s Kim Jikyung. She’s an exchange student studying business admin here, and she used to be my high school classmate.”
         “Hi,” I saw Jikyung force a smile as she greeted, “nice to meet you.”
         I didn’t know what else to say, and so, I allowed what I was thinking to spill from my mouth. “No wonder your Korean sucks.”
         “Well, she’s half Chinese, and half Korean. She’s way better at Mandarin,” Taeyang clarified, making me seem like a bigger asshole than before. Fuck, I curse in my head. Fuck. Fuck. Damn. Fuck. Bastard.
         Then, I handed her one of my signature smiles, and uttered, “It’s okay, Jikyung. I can be your Korean buddy, and I can tune up your skills.”
         Jikyung’s eyes instantly brightened. I never knew she could be passionate about anything else other than Taeyang. Cute, I thought. Very cute.
         “Really?” she exclaimed in a lovely voice. “You’d practice with me?”
         I was about to promise her that I’d tutor her, but Taeyang interrupted too quickly with a bothersome warning, “Now, Junghoon, don’t go off hitting on her. She’s not like those girls.”
         Instantly, Jikyung’s smile vanished to form a judgmental grimace. If I could punch Taeyang, I would have, but there she was watching us. Her first impression of me was ruined already, so I really didn’t need to make a scene. I ended up chuckling as that was the only thing I could do.
         “Yeah, yeah, I know,” I stated sternly. “I’ll treat her seriously.”
         Did I . . . did I treat her seriously before what happened? I had to admit I was curious. Actually, everyone was curious about Taeyang, and that was exactly why he was popular among the grade. He didn’t have to do much, and he’d be noticed by everyone. He wasn’t even the smartest or the best looking guy. He was just above average, and was from the States. I was from there too, yet we weren’t exactly close. Everyone thought Taeyang and I were best buddies when in reality, all we did was drink together. Taeyang wasn’t the type to let anyone get close to him. I remembered one time when I asked him about what his family thought about him deciding not to become a specialist. He didn’t say much, and just grinned with pursed lips. That made me wonder if he actually treated me like a close friend, and I guessed because of that, and my curiosity, I chased after Jikyung.
         Maybe knowing her would let me know him better. Heck, I had no idea why I’d want this guy’s approval. I wasn’t interested . . . if you’d know what I mean. I was just being silly again, and here, I would begin my idiotic antics to get Jikyung.
         “Hey,” I’d say when we were coincidentally at the cafeteria, “let’s have lunch together.”
         Jikyung wouldn’t run away, and instead, she’d give me that smug grin. Her eyebrows, though, told the truth. She hated me, and . . . it was with a passion. Still, she would sit across from me, and try to maintain a conversation. Small talk.
         “So, what are you majoring in?” She first asked.
         “Same thing as Taeyang,” I answered before taking a bite out of my burger. “We’re both doing medicine, except he’s not going to be a surgeon.”
         “Wh-wh-what? That’s ridiculous,” she stuttered, almost spilling the coke bottle beside her.
         “That’s his dream!”
         Licking some sauce off of the corner of my lower lip, I remarked, “Sometimes, dreams are just dreams. When reality sinks in, there’s nothing else left to dream about.”
         “But, he was so—“
         “His grades and his skills aren’t going to cut it, Jikyung.”
         I thought I’d show off my talents, and let her know that I was better than him. So, I proclaimed, “I am going to be surgeon though. Profs say that I have the skills. I just have to study more for my written exams.”
         There was an awkward pause before she finally murmured, “Good. Good for you.”
I didn’t see that excitement in her eyes after those words of hers. Clearly, she was not interested, and was eating as fast as she could to escape from me. The only thing or person that could peak her interest would be Taeyang. I really didn’t understand why. What made him so special?
         She was about to devour her last bite of rice when I decided to ask her again, “Hey, you know . . . I could tutor you Korean?”
         I thought her eyes would at least widen, or that she’d look at me. Instead, she muttered, “It’s okay. I can just study online or learn from dramas.”
         “But you need someone to correct your pronunciation,” I argued, “and to teach you slang. I don’t think Taeyang is going to be of much help. He’s already struggling in our classes.”
         Jikyung at last revealed a chuckle. “I know,” she replied. “He’s bad at Korean. In fact, he sucks at it. He should be ashamed.”
         “And you’ll get to own him if you perfect your Korean,” I gently provoked. “You do want to beat him right?”
         “Of course.” She jutted her head upwards, scoffing, “Of course I’m going to be better than him.”
         “Then, go out with me.” I leaned forward and grasped her small hand.
         She lifted one of her eyebrows, and coughed, “Huh?”
         I offered while holding onto her hand tighter, “Let’s try dating.”
         “What?” This time, she squeezed me, and jutted her neck towards me in bewilderment.
         “You’re kidding me, right?”
         I reached for other hand, laughing, “No, I’m not kidding you.”
         “But this isn’t even a drama,” she muttered, trying to pull away from me.
         I wasn’t going to let her go, however. She wasn’t going to escape anymore. I wanted her to confront her feelings. I wanted to show her that I was better than Taeyang, that I was worth giving a shot. I had no idea what I was trying to prove. I guess now that I think of it, I was always seeking for someone’s nod or encouragement, and somehow, I thought that this time, Jikyung would be the one to replenish the gaps in my life. She was just as broken as I was, and I knew because of the way she was looking at me right now: desperate, indecisive, and insecure.
         That was me too.
         So, I interlocked my fingers with hers, and told her, “But I don’t care. I think we’ll be fine together.”

Back to Snippets of Love                                                                                        Next Tracing