- a JaeSuJin (Jaeduck x Suwon x Jaejin) short story
The death of a loved one that’s the worst kind of pain there is. At least that’s what it felt like when Jaejin told me about Jaeduck. He looked so bad for me, burdened by the fact that he brought me such sad news.
I collapsed into his waiting arms, crying buckets of tears. Why? I asked him, not really expecting an answer.
Why my sweet Duckie? He had so much to live for.
He could only watch me helplessly, unable to share the depth of my sorrow. I think he was surprised at how strongly I reacted. Jaeduck had been his best friend, but he had been my lover, an undeniable part of me. I turned to Jaejin for comfort during the next few months, when I was emotionally unstable and empty inside.
All I allowed myself to feel was an overwhelming sense of grief.
Even worse was the guilt I felt from never saying good-bye. I hadn’t gone to the wake at Jaejin’s insistence, because he had thought it would be too stressful for me. It had seemed a good idea at the time, but it haunted me late at nights, making me jerk awake from nightmares, covered in cold sweat and crying out his name.
There wasn’t even a grave to visit and symbolically say good-bye to. He was cremated, his ashes scattered all across the ocean. Jaejin told me he would have wanted me to go on with my life, and find happiness. Many times, he opened his mouth, wanting to find the magic words that would take away the hurt. But he never could.
I watched dully as he broke down in tears when I remained unresponsive to his pleadings to eat, go out, do something, anything, to get over my loss. He was suffering, too, as my already thin body grew more and more emaciated and I lost the will to live. I felt bad for him, but I couldn’t muster up enough strength to even care.
All I had was my pain.
But eventually, I learned to cope, and deal with my feelings. I gained back some of the weight I had lost and got my life back on track. I moved out of the apartment we had shared and had Jaejin get rid of all but a few of his belongings, which held special memories for me. I no longer burst into tears whenever I saw an old picture of Duckie and me, or when I revisited places we used to frequent. I was surviving. Life was going to go on despite his absence.
Then, over a year later, I saw a ghost from my past.
He didn’t see me he was too engrossed in the figure beside him. The two were laughing, with their arms wrapped around each other. Jaeduck twisted his body and craned his neck to stare up at the other boy, his eyes sparkling with happiness.
That smile used to be for me, my heart didn’t shatter. It was ground up into powdery dust and blown away. The pain I felt now was a hundred times worse than the pain I felt when I had believed him dead. Even though losing him to death was horrible, it was better than losing him to someone else. A hateful expression stole across my face, and I fervently wished that he had died.
I wanted to run up to him and demand to know why he had lied to me all this time. I wanted to ask him how he could be so happy and light-hearted when I had been wallowing in misery without him.
I wanted to kick the other boy, and bash his face in until it was no longer so pretty. I wanted him to feel as bad as I did no, a million times worse than I did. For the first time since his *death*, I felt something other than depression. I felt blinding rage and a thirst for revenge.
I didn’t confront them. Instead, I went home, and marched straight into the bathroom. I removed a razor blade and rolled up the sleeves of my shirt. One clean stroke and the thin skin parted, bright red blood appearing miraculously on my pale wrist. The flow increased steadily, the stinging matching the hurt in my heart. I took the blade in my other hand, wincing at the pain. The silvery metal glinted above my untouched wrist, poised to strike.
My heart was pounding, just like my front door.
Suwon! Open up! I know you’re in there! Jaejin yelled. Jaeduck told me you saw him today!
I closed my eyes, trapping my tears.
Listen, I know it was wrong to lie to you, but Jaeduck didn’t know how to tell you he was in love with someone else. He didn’t want to hurt you but he can’t help how he feels. He only lied to protect you, hoping you’d go on with your life if you knew for certain that the two of you could never be.
Ha that was a laugh. He wanted to spare my feelings by making me think he was dead?
Please, open the door, Jaejin pleaded.
I swallowed hard, feeling bitter. Jaeduck and me, me and Jaeduck that was how it was supposed to me. The only way it could be. Jaeduck had been right if I had known from the beginning that he had left me for another man, I probably would have continued to pine for him and never love again, harboring a desperate hope that he would return to me, someday.
I recalled how happy he looked with the other boy. And I had thought he had been happy with me. Tears burned behind my eyelids. I couldn’t take it anymore. Letting loose a wail, I slashed my other wrist.
Fuck!! It sounded like he was throwing himself at the door now.
I leaned forward and gazed at my reflection, putting my hands on the solid pane to steady myself. Streaks of red splattered and slowly made its way down the glass. My eyes were so sunken in, so dark. I looked as if I were already dead. Truthfully, I had died thirteen months ago, when Jaeduck-and-Suwon had died. Only half of a whole, I wasn’t strong enough to continue living by myself.
Sighing, I smeared my blood across the mirror to cover my face, not wanting to look at myself any longer.
Then, I made my way to the bedroom and took out the framed picture I still kept in the nightstand drawer.
Jaeduck was grinning in that way I used to love, his eyes squinting and his long lashes upturned. I was smiling, too, my eyes crinkled, both of us glowing with life.
I hugged it to my chest as I lay back on my bed. I didn’t want to hate him anymore. I wanted to die as I had lived loving him. I forgive you, Jaeduckkie, my love.
Jaejin rushed in, pulling up short when he saw me bleeding quite profusely and waiting peacefully for the end.
Oh my god, he whispered. Suwon, I’m so sorry. I should have told you the truth.
He came next to me and gathered me into his arms. If I hadn’t been so damn selfish, I wouldn’t have gone along with it I knew it was a stupid idea. His tears rained down on me, mixing with my own.
Jaejin, promise me something, I croaked.
Anything, he sobbed, burying his face in my chest. He seemed oblivious to the slick blood that smudged all over him.
Don’t blame yourself for this. It’s not your fault. Go on with your life, and find someone to love. But don’t place all of yourself into that person, it’s not worth it. My breath was coming in shorter gasps.
It’s good to love, but there is such a thing as loving too much Jaejin looked at me straight in the eye. You can’t die, Suwon you can’t. I need you my lingering strength left me and I closed my eyes once again, waiting for the inevitable. How very ironic, that Jaejin was the one with me at my life’s end, not Jaeduck, the only man I had ever loved. But it had always been like that Jaejin had always been there for me, without my having to ask.
I love you! Don’t leave me! Jaejin cried, shaking my limp body.
My heart stopped beating. Then, all the pain I had felt just went away.