- a Jiyong short story
This is either from 2002 or 2003 … can’t remember. Must remember to date my documents from now on, because the access information that comes with them are not really that accurate once you start transferring.
Anyway, super super short story that is of my very typical writing style.
I viewed Ji Yong as an extension. Kind of like an additive to someone that I already knew.
That someone was a childhood friend whom I had lost contact with since secondary school. The day I ran into her again after so many years, Ji Yong had been the only other person around.
It had snowed, that day. He was draped in black from head to toe, with the exception of a grey scarf, which hung loosely around his neck. Classy, I thought to myself. I liked that scarf and his trench coat.
Nina introduced him as her boyfriend and that was precisely how I came to know him, Nina’s boyfriend. Rarely do I see them apart, as she was the kind of girl who needed constant love and attention from those she loved. Our friendship sustained under the circumstances that I had been too lazy to make new friends, and because she was around, we kept in touch.
Very little similarities existed between us, Nina and me. But she liked me for whatever reasons, and often invited me to join her and her friends on outings for fun. I usually decline.
Bits of enjoyment do come with the times that I attend one of Nina’s events. She had silly friends that frequently became my objects of ridicule and laughter, in secret of course, I was all about manners. I liked to sit alone and listen to their conversations from a distance, and sometimes they speak of something of my interest, sometimes not.
People who knew me had nothing nice to say about my bad habit, of course, and I was frequently criticized for my boundless standards and what someone had described as nasty arrogance. Regardless, I’ve never failed to maintain approval from the few close people in my life, and thus went about disparaging whomever I felt like.
Perhaps Ji Yong had been, at times, classified with the rest, but for the most part, separate from the others. Extension, as I had called him, even if Nina was the one with attachment problems because, to me he was only the boyfriend of a friend. But then, often do I witness his solitude amongst a busy party, as he tends to stand out. While Nina enjoyed fluttering from one conversation to another, he chose instead to help himself to a chilled bottle of wine and made company with the stars from an adjacent balcony.
Rather romantic, I would say, even if it were just he and his wine. There was something unique about the way his hair fluttered in the wind just like any other hair, I suppose, but it was quite a pretty picture. And I happen to like people who can enjoy time by themselves.
”Look,” Nina crept up beside me with a magazine in her hands. “Doesn’t he remind you of the model in this perfume ad?”
I took a glimpse of the photograph and then at her boyfriend.
”Very,” I laughed. “Very nice.”
”They all tell me that he’s a good catch,” she put the magazine aside and smiled. “But, sometimes I don’t think he really cares.”
“Cares?? I arched an eyebrow. “Isn’t it good enough that he’s eye candy?”
”Oh , he’s more than just that,” she played with a curl in her hair. “There also intelligence, grace, talent , money.”
”That’s the whole package there,” I smiled, even though I felt as if there was something missing from her answer. “The perfect match for you.”
”Which reminds me,” she changed the subject abruptly. “You really ought to smile more often. It just kind of lightens up things.”
”So you’re not the first person to tell me,” I said to her. “Maybe you don’t understand, but there’s not much worth smiling about these days.”
”Maybe you don’t believe me,” she replied. “But I sometimes understand.”
That night was the last time I saw the two of them together. Due to plans of going overseas, I spent much time dealing with international officials and saw little of no one else. Nina called a few times to invite me to the movies and once to tell me that she and Ji Yong were having issues.
”Everything he does for me is out of courtesy,” she wept. I don’t feel as if I have any importance in his life.”
”If you don’t want to give him up,” I advised although had absolutely no idea of what to say. “Give him some time, and maybe he’ll snap out of it.”
I never found out what happened between the picture perfect couple, but ironically, the next time I saw Ji Yong was on the American Valentine’s Day shortly before I had to leave home. I inquired, of course, the whereabouts of my friend, but he only looked at me for a long time without any reply.
”What are you doing out here in the snow?” he inquired some while later, after I finally understood that it was perhaps not a good time to talk to him about his girlfriend.
”Waiting for class to start,” I replied. “There’s a long time to pass.”
”No, not anymore.”
He smiled and looked away into some far distance where I was unable to detect. I left him to his own thoughts and returned to something that I had been working on before he came, looking up only every once in a while to keep track time from the clock on the tower. As I scribbled away in the company of his silence, a part of his shadow blanketed over my body as if to remind me of his existence. Glancing up at him out of some sort of curiosity, I realized that, he had somehow become rather tempting for the eye.
And thus I stared.
”How forgiving of a person is Nina?” he broke the silence.
”It would have to depend on the situation,” I pondered a bit before answering the question.
”True,” he nodded, and then turned to me. “How forgiving of a person are you?”
”Well” I smiled. “It would have to depend on the person.”
He suddenly leaned towards me and brushed my lips with a gentle kiss.
I somehow managed to sit through process of his action with sheer composure, but couldn’t bring myself to voice an opinion after he broke away.
”I’m glad that I know of you,” he spoke softly before taking his leave. “Although not sooner.”
Know of me.
I didn’t know what he meant by those words, and to add on to the complication, his kiss. And as much as I wanted to know, time didn’t seem to permit. While one past occurrence has occupied my mind, another that I perhaps should have known about had entered my reflections without any prior warning.
I spent my last day at the school tying up some administrative loose ends in the transfer office, and, as for the rest of my time on campus, wondering if I抎 run into anyone that I had wanted to see.
Ji Yong had been one of those people but unfortunately I had told no one of my departure, and the day ended peacefully.
It was nothing more or less than what I had expected.