genre: romance, tragedy
note: basically,this is the remixed version of [this]. you know how this will end.
i. now is not the end.
brush off your ghosts
and meet his.
the day before yesterday, sehun had been listing down things he has to accomplish for the day when his water heater grumbled and died. winter's harsh rains and breezes urged him to invade his neighbor's apartment, pleading, whining. the boy next door has dark skin and lips carved into a permanent smile. this was their first time meeting each other. water had been boiled, windows slammed shut, cigarettes taken. sehun smirked to himself as his neighbor pretended to know how to smoke. he let the tanned boy suck on the unlit cancer stick, saving his words and his neighbor's dignity.
steams rose and danced. the casserole was carried into sehun's bathroom and before leaving, sehun demanded for a name.
his skinny neighbor, who doesn't know how to smoke and had a dirty living room, looked at sehun and grinned.
jongin. kim jongin. you're sehun, right? it's written outside your door. cool.
sehun closed the door after jongin. he did not tell jongin this is the first time he spoke to another person for two years and that he was planning to bid his farewell to the earth by slitting his wrist in the bathtub.
someone knows his name. for that, he'll tuck himself to bed tonight.
yesterday, sehun spent half of his morning reciting kim jongin's name. jong-in. jongin. jo--ngiiin. he treated the syllables as if it was candy on his tongue. savor the letters, let the word sink in. what most people will never know is that inside sehun, there's a sea of sadness he sometimes drowns in and somehow, little distractions like his neighbor's name could serve as a life vest keeping him afloat. sehun cooked, ate, tried to breathe despite the heavy pressure on his chest. peeling paint, shattered mirrors, spilled coffee, bruises blooming from his sides, slashes of red over his wrists. he is not a beautiful creature. sehun destroys every thing he lays his hands on. this is why he never asked to be saved, why he would never touch someone else.
kim jongin knocked on his door, talking about a hole between their walls. sehun could hardly care less. but the way jongin talks is so soothing and peaceful and calm sehun is willing to do anything just to listen to him speak some more, laugh some more. he entertained his neighbor, even going as far as to tape layers of flimsy paper over the hole. he saw jongin's bedroom from there. jongin sheepishly chuckled and explained about his multiple sidelines, hence the uniforms sprawled out all over his floor.
every word coming out of jongin's lips was music to oh sehun, who isolated himself for a long time inside his room. a ray of sunlight, breezes of fresh air. jongin oozed charisma, glee, politeness, kindness, something else that sehun can only feel the very edges of.
today, sehun searches for excuses instead of answers. he strips off the paper covering the hole and peeks into foreign territory to find something that's missing from his own home--life. the filled photo frames and inked papers fail to contain irreplaceable memories. they are simply not enough. there are souvenirs from other countries sprinkled all over the place and this is how sehun knew jongin does what he wants when he wants it. jongin hops from one continent to another, in search of something sehun wanted to be a part of.
ii. don't allow him to sleep in.
strip the bed until it's as naked as his soul
and remind him that he's going to have forever to sleep anyway.
the day before yesterday, sehun got too comfortable with his hard-working, gentle, patient, quiet neighbor and had jongin pirouetting around his living room as sehun waved wads of bills in the air. chuckles exploded out of him. the charade went on in twists and turns, taunts and running commentaries about jongin's hidden elegance. the truth is, sehun's cheeks and sides ached with the weigh of laughing too much, happiness hurts. sometimes.
it's a good kind of pain, he mused. it's a welcome pain.
sehun has agony stenciled to the backs of his hands, but jongin tattoos new ones into his palms. raven black ink merging to form the word crush. he's read about it in romance novels, soaked in too much of it from foreign films, remembers it every single time moonlight catches jongin's eyes in just the perfect angle. sehun can think too much into it, and he does. what's it about jongin that segregates him from the rest? is it because he's kind and he actually noticed sehun's brooding self? or is it simply because he's kim jongin and all the kim jongin's in the world are irresistible?
teasing jongin is just a distraction, of sorts.
yesterday, sehun got dragged and manhandled out of the refuge of his four-cornered room by a sweaty and excited jongin. no one traversing the surface of this earth would have the guts to bark orders at sehun, especially when it's five in the morning and raindrops are pounding holes into the river underneath the bridge. especially when it's five in the morning and the city is blinking towards consciousness.
guided by a streetlamp's golden glow, jongin pushed sehun off the bridge and jumped right after him. pristine white splashes, cold water attacking their gaping mouths. sehun tried to stay afloat and jongin smiles at his effort.
today, the aroma of cooked vegetables and seasonings wafts through jongin's apartment. sehun sniffs and pretends not to notice the list of medicines jongin says he's planning to get for sehun's cold. jongin always makes lists.
iii. expose your scars, show him the sadness stenciled into the backs of your hands.
tell him depression is your territory
the day before yesterday, the fragile walls betrayed the dry belching, jongin's expressions of pain. chopsticks had been dropped, slippers shoved on. sehun raced to jongin's apartment to find a myriad of illness stuffed inside his neighbor's trembling body. blood on marble, blood on flesh, blood on the wooden floor. red on places where it shouldn't be.
sehun was aware jongin served in restaurants, mopped for a school, babysat a kid living below them, has more jobs than a normal person should have. but what he didn't know was that in the midst of a hectic schedule, death's shadow trailed after his neighbor's spine. simply waiting for an oppurtunity to snap his vertebrates, for his bones to decay and for jongin to give in. sehun wiped crimson, patted and soothed away jongin's suffering.
no words were uttered on this day. no words needed to be uttered on this day.
yesterday, sehun wanted to surprise his neighbor by ordering packets of colorful balloons and pumping them to roundness, one by one. fifty-seven balloons, held by thin strings wrapped around sehun's fingers. fifty-seven, the number of days they've known each other. as a child, balloons filled crevices of sehun's body until happiness threatened to burst from the inside out. he wanted jongin to feel the same.
drunk on gas, the balloons floated through the cramped hallway and into jongin's refuge. jongin, shirtless and creating another list, chuckled at the sight of sehun being burried by vibrant balloons. an anonymous one popped and caused sehun to leap in place. he offered the fifty-six balloons to kim jongin.
fingers brushing fingers. jongin took them and twirled sehun until they're a tangle of white strings and popping balloons. thank you, jongin
today, sehun tells jongin about all the afternoons he tried to kill himself. sehun discovers the length of jongin's hatred in himself, his sickness, in sehun. intoxicated under the february moonlight, they traded secrets and scars like cards they could use to win. life is a gamble, jongin says as he gulps down more alcohol, and people like you will bring me down. jongin hates how sehun knows his weakness, how vulnerable his bones are. sehun hates how jongin disagrees to romanticize sehun's depression. they drank and continued hating themselves for being so damaged and continued hating each other for knowing this.
iv. invade the world together.
breathe him in and
he'll have to breathe you out.
the day before yesterday, they still refused to talk about jongin's impending end and sehun's knocking enemy. as jongin coughed up more blood, sehun swallowed his pills. to block out the attacking reality, sehun begged jongin to produce all the money he can for a getaway.
they pried open drawers, raided old bags, turned pockets inside out, withdrawed from bank accounts only to find themselves in an airport five hours later, tapping their soles as if willing time to move forward and catch six-thirty, their flight to jeju island. jeju island, sehun's dream vacation spot.
strangers and foreigners swarmed them in language pocketbooks, tiny wheels and heavy luggages, each one of them burdened by their own secrets. sehun fixed his gaze on jongin, held his hand during takeoff and then, it has stayed that way since.
yesterday, they squeezed their grinning lips into glossy polaroids. wind-tousled hair and bedraggled clothes. jeju welcomed them: offering its warm shades as they munched on snacks and unhealthy foods, showing off its natural brilliance in the form of designed landscapes, banana-shaped clouds. arguments had been limited to their drinks and lodging. happiness overlapped the negatives.
it's twilight and their soaked clothes had been air-dried. their hands had been linked. the shore had been steady beneath them, even if their hearts aren't. chains of orange and red floated alongside thinning clouds. sehun forgot his disappointments, jongin forgot his measured seconds.
today, while flying back to their apartments, sehun and jongin falls asleep on each other's shoulders and recognizes home. inhale, exhale.
v. choose the sweat after a run, the long conversations,
the telephone calls, the poems,
the love letters scrawled on napkins.
the day before yesterday, sehun rolled out of bed and chucked his packets of cigarettes beyond his balcony. you did it because of a momentary impulse, jongin will later call it, pulling off his shoelaces and trying to catch his breath. monochrome cars stretched underneath sehun. traffic lights died red and revived green. strange, he mused, how the world revolves noisily, quickly, without even waiting for sehun and jongin to hang onto the surface.
as if conjured by his wishes, jongin emerged from his room to his balcony, yawning parallel to where sehun's hands had been curled around a coffee cup. hands that wished they were unknotting the strands of jongin's hair.
later, sehun would have to bite his tongue so he won't have to tell jongin about how he believes that if he tries to stay alive, jongin would too.
yesterday, they spoke in riddles and laughed in poetry. pretending that the skin on jongin's thigh and knees aren't throbbing into blue violets is easier than talking about the rest of the signs blooming from within him. the hole in the wall filtered the stanzas etched in tissue papers. they filled the gap with secrets no soul knew and would have to know.
they are not in love, not in the way they've been told to be.
today, trolly wheels squeal against jongin's rash handling. rows of instant foods cave in around them as they grab packets of noodles, canned goods, junk foods, biscuits, shoving them into their cart. in the end, they had enough food to last them a lifetime.
even if they won’t.
vi. do not be surprised;
you know how this will end.
the day before yesterday, jongin collapsed during one of his part time jobs and was sent to the hospital.
yesterday, bags brimming with essentials crowded jongin's hospital room. sehun saw to it that jongin's favorite coffee mug, a paper and a pencil was at his bedside table. his favorite shirts had been arranged neatly in one of the allotted cabinets. slippers below his bed, sehun's fingers linked to jongin's as he read more about bone cancer. things are right where they belong. jongin had already been drugged. sleep, at least, had been kind to him even if his cells hadn't.
dripping iv, static quiet. sehun looked up from his book and studied the room.
he discovered that there are things much noble than his sadness.
jongin's unsteady breathing, the hospital's interior, creases on the side of jongin's eyes, uncompleted lists, hidden pictures of them conquering jeju. all of these add up to something sehun could only dream of and now, and now the corners cave in, confining their world to medical terms and time limits; four more months.
in his sleep, jongin mumbled something and squeezed the hand holding sehun's.
four months is enough to get a driver's license, enough to tour europe's biggest cities. four months is enough to get used to a new job, more than enough time to move in another place. it is enough to fully furnish a house, but four more months would never be enough to love someone and stop.
today, tears were shed. after months of scornful touches, reckless abandon, the two of them bends and crumbles so badly they begin to resemble what they were supposed to be: human.
vii. work for him, sweat.
stumble in his shoes for a while.
the day before yesterday, sehun tied an apron around his waist, securing them in knots and loops. this is all for jongin. chaos befriended him in the form of minced spices, shredded vegetables, dices of meat, smoke dancing above fire-consumed stoves, chefs cursing in spanish while sweating bullets, missile bombs. twelve noon called him to be a kitchen assistant, two in the afternoon begged him to give away pamphlets around gray avenues. four to seven had been booked by the kid residing a floor below them.
having been born with a silver spoon glued to the roof of his mouth, sehun had no idea what normal people do to obtain cash, to nestle it between their fingers.
yesterday, sehun worked again, seeing jongin in between jobs, juggling pliers and table napkins. jongin groaned in his hospital bed. he noticed the reddening hands and drops of sweat on sehun's nose and a million of feelings began to swirl in circles over his heart. he only recognized a couple of them--proudness, faith, trust, calm, love.
sehun nagged about the heat, jongin's various sidelines, the high cost of medicines needed to keep jongin breathing. once, as sehun watered the flowers by the bedside, he asked about the reason jongin refused worried nurses and avid warnings before, it's only natural to want to save yourself.
after a minute of hesitation, jongin said the words that caused the pitcher in sehun's hand to drop. i didn't want to fight it. i didn't have to fight it. i thought, that's life right? people like me are just unlucky. now, i'm only here because you persisted. because you're stubborn and you eat nothing but instant food. i'm here because you talk in your sleep and because you're sad. i don't want you to be sad. i want to hear about your unconscious midnight thoughts. i want to see you scarf down your noodles with eggs. i want to hear you whine and laugh and make excuses as to why you don't wanna go out. your holed walls, the way you scrunch your nose when something displeases you, your fading scars, your wounds, your forgiving lips, you. i want all of you. i have to live for that now.
today, shots are being stolen, aided by the Polaroid camera in sehun's hands. sleep has already lured jongin into its realm, leaving sehun alone in the room with his sinking heart, films fanned to absolute dryness. warm, pleasant sunlight visits them, just beyond the curtains.
jongin's closed lids. snap. the bridge of his nose. snap. thick, paling lips. snap. long fingers. snap. sharp collarbones. snap. delicate wrists. snap. his humongous feet. snap. tousled hair. snap. sehun stops.
soon enough, calendars would undress themselves until they expose the day jongin would no longer be around to remind sehun to eat his breakfast (coffee isn't food), clean his room (are rats your best friend?), stop knocking on random doors (goddamnit, sehun). when that day comes, sehun knows he'll be blanketed in denial and grief. it's only logical to take pictures and keep them, to remind himself that jongin was, is solid and real and not a part of his macabre fantasies.
he strokes the outline of jongin's lips.
i don't deserve you.
viii. in the side of his hospital bed,
instead of slow dancing in his arms,
listen to his beating pulse through the bandaged wrists.
the day before yesterday, jongin had been well enough to be discharged for a couple of days. six months into meeting jongin and sehun's life had been a whirlpool of celebrations, abstaining cigarettes, expecting the worst, wishing on invisible stars, drowning in euphoria.
doubts shadowed sehun and in order to calm himself, he ran to the store to buy a bundle of red strings. when he was younger and afraid, he would tie a red thread around his pinky finger. the thread would stretch up to his parents' room, ending over his mother's pinky. and as voices intimidated him, he would pull on the thread until his mother pulled back, the tiniest reassurance of love and company. only then, would he fall asleep fearlessly.
yesterday, after devouring takeout chinese, sehun tucked jongin into bed with the red string on his pinky. the thread had been inserted through the hole of their bedrooms and sehun went to bed with a smile. jongin pulled, sehun pulled harder. it's love as sehun knew it. a tug and war between lithe fingers, smiles showing no signs of surrender.
"jongin?" sehun called out, pull.
"jongin?" louder this time.
"yes! what do you want?" jongin tugged at the other end.
sehun pulled back. "i love you."
the lack of a reply stretched sehun's imagination to infinity. he wanted to believe jongin blushed, smiled, bit his lip to stop himself from giggling out loud. but jongin isn't the giggling type and the silence has been geared to drive sehun insane. if the pesky wall hadn't been there then sehun wouldn't have to wonder, but it's there and it's concrete so he settled for juvenile guesses.
until jongin tugged the red thread in a sequence; pull, pull, pull. "too."
it took seven seconds for sehun to get it, an hour for the smile on his face to disappear, forever to get his heart rate back down to normal.
today, three precious words had been slurred countless of times. while eating breakfast--i love you jongin, before drinking a glass of water-- i love you jongin, in the middle of a phone call--i love you jongin, after slipping on wet bathroom floors--i love you jongin, but you're a clumsy nutjob. what had been excruciating for sehun to mumble before was now a sentence he pours out the way he would to carbon dioxide.
to them i love you was the equivalent of saying the earth is the fifth planet from the sun, sharks can detect blood miles away, bangkok is the capital of thailand and the bluer the surface, the deeper the water. it is a fact; proven and tested.
ix. avoid clocks, sandcastles, glass sculptures;
things that will remind you of time passing by.
the day before yesterday carved a perfect weather for swimming. jongin didn't have to say anything for sehun to understand that what he needed was something other than piercing skyscrapers breathing in steel and dust.
sehun started packing blankets, towels, extra clothes and food into a large basket. a makeshift tent and sleeping bags had been included too. accidentally, he opened the cupboard containing his razor blades, pills, the cheapest pistol he could find, his suicide comrades. a thick haze obscured the view to his previous train of thought. funny how hard he tried to kill himself everyday. funny how before the damaged water heater, his life had been a comedy written by a sadistic creator and the only way to the end was a horizontal gash over his veins.
grazing, flattening. he traced the edges of the razor, cupped the bottle of unprescribed medicines. gone was the willpower to abuse them, abuse himself. pathetic. he had been too selfish. his suicide weapons almost seemed like a blasphemy when faced before jongin who doesn't have a choice. sehun could drop razors off his skin again and again, he could spit out the pills and untie the ropes but jongin, jongin wasn't even given a fucking chance.
the knock on his door distracted him, made his hand jerk and the pills fall. it was jongin. he was announcing that the car they rented was already downstairs.
yesterday, sea gulls woke them up. there's sand on their toes and each other's ribs in their hands. they slept side by side, by the beach. sehun had been the one consciousness decided to touch first. he unzipped their tents and gaped at the dawn beyond the ocean. streaks of lavender and pink loitered all over the horizon, its vibrant colors absorbed and reflected by the lazy waters. the sight is too beautiful for only one pair of eyes to feast on, so he shrugs jongin awake, pointedly looking at the scene before them.
reverently, calmly, they watched nature at work. but jongin's head slumped down in exhaustion and he kissed sehun's bare shoulders. the air in here is the kind of humid air that clings to your skin but despite the sweltering warmth, sehun shivered. he looked back at jongin, and bedroom eyes looked back at him.
this is the point of no return.
drunk on ocean breeze and dreams, jongin cupped both hands around sehun's cheeks and promised him forever.
it's an easy promise to make when the sun has yet to rise and there's no one else within a fifty-mile radius, but sehun believed in him anyway and he kissed jongin's lips as if there's nothing else in the world but him. fingers on cheeks, on throats, on chests, on hips, digging for eternity on the curve of sehun's thighs.
jongin was about to unbutton sehun's jeans when sehun stopped him. jongin cocked his head to the side in a question: why? sehun muttered, i always thought my first time would be more romantic.
jongin fought the barricade of bags. sehun silently apprehended him. a minute later, jongin produced his phone, tapped it for a bit and slammed his lips into sehun's. continuity. before sehun could react, a familiar melody echoed throughout their tent and he began chuckling while kissing jongin back.
jongin played careless whisper on maximum volume.
sehun began leaning back, completely unable to control his laughter at jongin's antiques and quirks. he found himself thinking i'll miss this and he froze as if the very act of accepting jongin's predetermined death is a crime. kisses, hickeys, a vortex of apologies translated into touches.
today, they create parodies of sandcastles using plastic cups. they weren't michael angelos or raffaels worthy of worldwide critic but it'll have to do. jongin has as much creativity as a fetus and sehun isn't holding up that well either. hungry waves eat their unfinished kingdoms, leaving them mad and kicking sand towards the white foams.
it's as this point when they decided to try again, make a new empire farther from the greedy ocean when jongin tells him about the story of the little mermaid, the original one. jongin used to do volunteer work at a children's center and while there, he read fairy tales and spoke them out loud to boisterous children in colorful shirts.
the little mermaid is my favorite, jongin confesses. he piles his sand and molds them into a tower. scattered sand rests on his damp legs and arms. there wasn't a happy ending. it was realistic, that's why it's so easy to love. the prince didn't chose her, he went for another land princess who could speak, who was prettier, who his parents approved of. the little mermaid gave up her voice to ursula just to be with the prince and now he's marrying someone else. so, her sisters tried to save her by consulting the witch ursula. long story short, the little mermaid was given a dagger to kill the prince with, so she can return to being a mermaid and live. if she doesn't kill him before sunrise, she will turn to foam. surprise, surprise. when the prince woke up there was a dagger on the foot of his bed and foam on the ground. i always thought the little mermaid was stupid. i had been jealous because she knew exactly what love was.
on the blue seas, white foams reach for them. the beginning of an end, another lesson learned. sehun looks at the shore, at his blood-spluttering prince and he whispers. "i would have done exactly the same."
x. get drunk.
the day before yesterday, sehun towed jongin towards the club junmyeon managed. it had been a kind evening, the time of the night when speed and drowsiness smudges neon signs and faces bathed in golden light. darkness; kind, noisy, friendly darkness waited beyond the glass walls as they clutch bottles on their hands. sehun drank in the bitter, sharp sting, forcing them down his throat and jongin had been intoxicated by the chaos of nightlife concentrated on the dim center.
exchanging slurred confessions, creating false promises, touching elbows, pressing chests and knees together, doing things they wouldn't have the guts to do sober.
the day before yesterday, sehun fell in love with jongin for the fourth time, when jongin had been grinning into his overflowing glass and nodding his head. the first time sehun fell in love, it was when the unlit cigarette dangerously flirted with jongin's lips. the second was when jongin recklessly pushed him off a bridge and the third, the third was when jongin had been lying on the hospital bed, helpless and drained and still the same.
in this pulsing night, surrounded by sweaty bodies rubbing into each other, sehun planted kisses on jongin's cheek, hoping jongin wouldn't notice the tear tracks on his own tomorrow morning.
yesterday, hangover muted and then intensified the tiniest motions. jongin and sehun decided to stcik their asses on jongin's living room and stare at the black confines of the flat, unplugged television. the screen reflecting tousled hairs and drying lips. sehun leaned his head on jongin's shoulder, jongin patted sehun's head, taunting their reflections to do the same. just this, the itsy little details embroidered on their days. just this, jongin's fingers on his hair and sehun is already willing to tie himself into a busy train track if it would mean jongin won't have to die.
why can't it be me instead? god i was the one who wanted to die, right? i was practically fucking asking for it. god, jongin's too nice. can't you see that? he reads to the blind, plays with children, he doesn't answer back to rude customers. he even open doors for strangers and pick up dirty shits on the sidewalk! why can't it be me instead? why can't i be the one injected and coughing up blood and everything? please, he's too good. even for me. he doesn't deserve this.
sehun tightened his grip on jongin's hand, knowing better than anyone else god isn't someone you can bargain with.
today, they're painting on the rooftop with flower crowns on their heads, pretending they're more than just two kids trying hard not to break, that the reds drying on jongin's shirt are acrylics and not blood, never blood. sehun repeatedly tells jongin that it's okay to trip and tremble, but it isn't acceptable to sob or to look at each other in the eye for more than five seconds because, goddamnit, there's only enough paper walls they can use to protect themselves from reality.
with the two o'clock sunlight squirming into strands of jongin's hair, sehun knots his arms around jongin's neck, keeping them there as jongin carries sehun on his back. no consequences or coherent phrases can be formed. wind, ice-cream shaped clouds, a flaming ball of gas, steel infrastructures all around, inviting tanned skin--for now, these are all that sehun needs to survive.
ix. waltz on the hospital's rooftop.
don't say a word, don't shed a tear.
pretend you don't notice life leaving his veins.
the day before yesterday, sehun chastised himself for bringing out his inner female by rooting for blank notebooks and filling them up with entries, scribbling sentences in a penmanship fit for a kindergartner. lists aren’t his forte, and it’ll never be his but jongin is dribbling on a deflated ball and throwing it perfectly into the basket, and maybe sehun, too could try to be good at something else besides conjuring ways to kill himself.
he listed jongin’s favorite dishes, then his own preferred cuisines. sehun jotted down places they’ve been to together, places they couldn’t be in together at the same time. their hobbies, the number of moles glued to jongin’s back, how many times jongin whispered if you’re in love with sadness, i hope it fucks you over and breaks your heart so you never have to go back to it again—they’re all kept and documented. scores, grades, contracts, sehun has learned that whatever’s been written down is factual and fool-proof.
jongin called out sehun’s name before showing him a seamless slamdunk. sehun rolled his eyes, shook his head and smiled.
yesterday, a surprise attack of coughed up blood and weakening knees knocked on their door, making itself known to jongin and sehun. after getting confined and given temporary treatment, midnight blew in. grasping the pole with jongin’s dextrose on his right, and jongin’s arm on his left, sehun guided them to the rooftop of the hospital.
the city at night helped them believe that the lights they’re seeing are floating stars, not streetlamps doing what they’re supposed to do. there’s drizzle, and then there’s sehun who won’t allow any disease or natural occurrence to hinder them. raindrops drilled dark holes into concrete, seeped into jongin’s hospital gown and sehun’s rented formal tuxedo (with the matching red rose on its lapel).
they danced, stepped on each other’s toes, and danced again because what else can they do? what else can they be?
today, sehun creates a list. a list on how to love someone named kim jongin. a list that only he can pull off because even if the universe is endless, jongin isn’t.
xii. let him cry. let him fall, then give him
one hundred and fifty reasons why
they're too beautiful for tears.
the day before yesterday, sehun woke up to find jongin staring at him. lazy bedroom eyes, an exhausted smile. that’s all that jongin’s ever been after getting discharged out of the hospital two weeks ago. this is when sehun saw it; the beginning of the end, the muted spark behind jongin’s eyes. instead of asking what’s wrong, sehun squeezed jongin’s hand from under the covers.
they talked in touches.
are you scared?
i’m here, you know.
I know, thank you.
yesterday, sehun woke up to find colored paper airplanes landing on his living room. jongin was at his door, flying folded airplanes, trying to get them to land on sehun’s chest. without words, sehun picks them up and unfolds them, one by one. they are all apologies: for being sick, for not knowing how to smoke, for not telling sehun how lovely he actually is, for being tedious and for being jongin, the boy next door who has more jobs than a sane person would like to admit.
today, sehun flies the airplanes back, each with its own individual reply. it’s okay, you didn’t ask to be sick. it’s okay, that’s why i liked you dummy. it’s okay, i already know my worth. it’s okay, I love you for being you anyway. after visiting jongin, sehun stumbles upon his reflection in the mirror and he almost doesn’t recognize who he sees there. directly parallel to him is someone who looks like he wants to live. gone were the traces of the boy sehun had been. now, a completely different stranger poses before him.
today, kim jongin sneaks into sehun’s room carrying a boxful of memories. the receipt of their tickets to jeju, a crushed cancer stick, seashells from where they discovered each other’s body for the first time, learned each other’s wounds for the first time, a bundle of red strings, flower crowns, mementos that could replace his eternal absence.
jongin knows and accepts that sehun is his last, even if he won’t be sehun’s. there would be fresh pairs of lips for sehun to kiss, another set of fingers to hold, a brand new face to memorize. jongin bends down to whisper i love you, thank you for teaching me what it’s like to live.
as he kisses sehun’s forehead, a piece of paper slips and falls from sehun’s bed. jongin picks it up to read.
oh sehun’s guide to loving kim jongin:
i. now is not the end. brush off your ghosts and meet his.
ii. don't allow him to sleep in. strip the bed until it's as naked as his soul and remind him that he's going to have forever to sleep anyway.
iii. expose your scars, show him the sadness stenciled into the backs of your hands. tell him depression is your territory and dying is his.
iv. invade the world together. breathe him in and he'll have to breathe you out.
v. choose the sweat after a run, the long conversations, the telephone calls, the poems, the love letters scrawled on napkins.
vi. do not be surprised. you know how this will end.
vii. work for him, sweat. stumble in his shoes for a while.
viii. in the side of his hospital bed, instead of slow-dang in his arms, listen to his pulse beat through bandaged wrists.
ix. avoid clocks, sandcastles, glass sculptures; things that will remind you of time passing by.
x. get drunk.
xi. waltz on the hospital's rooftop. don't say a word. don't shed a tear. pretend you don't notice life leaving his veins.
xii. let him cry. let him fall, then give him one hundred and fifty reasons why they're too beautiful for tears.
xiii. tell him you love him, every fucking chance you can get. you'll never know which one is going to be the last.
tomorrow, there won’t be a kim jongin.
tomorrow, sehun will wake up to the groaning engines and incoherent chatter composing the seven o'clock street noise. an unwelcomed noise, perhaps, but it was inevitable because he forgot to close his windows shut last night. he'll instinctively grab a plate and his spoon and fork before going out of his house to knock on jongin's door. the echoes his knuckles against wood cause and the lack of reply on the other end will remind him of jongin and his absence. he'll feel his knees give out beneath him tears follow suit, even though he doesn't think it's physically possible for a human to have this much tears leaking out of their sockets. he'll loiter on fast-paced highways, trying to find pieces of jongin in a stranger's wrist, the way that girl sitting by the park bench squeezes her eyes shut, a man's hip as they sway when walking.
tomorrow, he’ll remember how he whispered jongin into stardust, spoke about him into sunflowers, how he dipped his hands in forever and touched jongin with infinity.
tomorrow, sehun will impose self-loathing. he'll fuel the fire of his self-hate using jongin's multiple lists and letters. he'll reprimand himself for being so selfish he didn't notice the signs of jongin—gosh, jongin practically turned transparent in front of his eyes. sehun will tear the polaroid pictures down and pry his sheets off in a fit of rage. a rage that'll kill itself like arson in an abandoned warehouse. when seconds quenches the fire, the ashes of what we have beens, what we should have beens, what we never will be, would manifest on him. his fingers will fumble to tape back the pictures and put them back properly, like a suspect hiding evidences of his crime. he'll be secretly hoping that doing this would bring jongin back, would return the kisses and childish pillow fights, the nasty name callings and hardcore lovemaking.
tomorrow, doors will open for sehun. tomorrow, a hand would flip the page of a thick book. a book that happened to be about sehun's life. a story without end, but a story nonetheless. a story with chapters meant to be finished to introduce a new one.
tomorrow will come, maybe with the sun's greeting or the heaven's drizzle. maybe with yesterday's regrets or today's mistakes. with a potential lover or mortal enemy. maybe with a broken water heater or a surprise hole in the wall.
either way, tomorrow will come.
f i n .