theme: o16. Quiet places.
He had always been like a friend of mine. And I had always watched over him, protected him - even when we were trainees; even if the bullies had been JaeJoong and YoungSaeng. He was a very important dongsaeng to me. No, he was more than that - he was my love. He is my love.
Whenever I was with him, I always got the strong urge to protect him. He was a cry baby, perhaps even more so than Donghae and even though others thought it annoying, I thought it endearing; he cared that much about others. So, when we were both placed in Super Junior, I took it upon myself to be the best hyung to him so that he’d look no where else; so that I would become important to him.
He looked up to me and I guided him as best I could. We were considered two of the most powerful of singers in Super Junior and so we worked together a lot during songs. Through working together, we were able to spend more time together, get to know each other even more and become closer than we had ever been.
However, the day came when we were told that Ryeowook would be placed in Super Junior -M. So, there it was. I was to continue here in Korea, while he went off to China with the other members. It wasn’t a long plane ride to China but, considering he had been there every day for years, even an hour apart seemed like eternity. How was I supposed to endure being parted from him with country and land between us?
At that time I was scared that I would lose Ryeowook, that our friendship would be strained. Even worse, I was scared that I’d never get to tell him how I felt, scared he’d love another. So, one evening while everyone else in our dorm was sitting down for a movie, I asked him to come take a walk with me. He complied whole-heartedly - the others had chosen a scary movie to watch.
We walked in silence until we reached a small playground just a few blocks away from the dorm. During the day it was filled with children laughing and parents nagging. But now, during night and at that time, it was scarce save a single lamppost surrounding it in a circle of light. Quietly, we made our way over. We had frequented the playground often during our first album. So many worries and doubts lived during that time, that we had to get away. It was at that time that we discovered the playground, our little haven away from the stresses and problems of being idols and trying to be famous.
As always, Ryeowook took a seat on a swing and I stood behind him, gently pushing. Today, he wasn’t putting much effort into it, so he didn’t swing a great amount. If anything, he moved away from me a foot before coming back and making contact. I would miss moments like that. Moments when we craved the quiet places and each other’s company.
“China’s a far away place,” Ryeowook said then, breaking the silence.
I almost wished he hadn’t. He reminded me of the real reason we were there that night. Reminded me that he’d be leaving me. Reminded me that I was about to face a world of pain and sorrow and loneliness. And yet, despite these demons appearing at his words, I was glad he spoke because I could hear his melodic voice, relish in the feel of his warm tone washing over me, making me warm despite the cold night.
“It is,” was all I could say. If I said more, I was scared I would say too much. I’d say too much and then I’d surely lose him.
“I wish I didn’t have to go,” Ryeowook admitted quietly, his voice barely reaching my ears.
“But why? It’s such a great opportunity for you,” I countered, forcing the words from my mouth before they choked me. Gently I pushed him. Gently. Always gently. “You’ll get to visit a foreign country and live there for a bit. You’ll get to learn a new language and culture. Besides furthering your image and broadening your range as an idol, you’ll get to experience a lot of new and exciting things! I couldn’t be happier for you, if anything, I’m jealous you get to go.”
“But you’re not in China,” Ryeowook muttered quietly.
So quietly I barely heard. For a five-count I didn’t dare let myself believe he had said those words and yet… and yet my heart had heard. It had heard… and yearned… and cried. I didn’t know what to say, so, instead I stopped pushing and wrapped my arms around him, not allowing him to swing away from me anymore. I held him tightly, affectionately, protectively. I leaned my forehead on his shoulder, squeezing my eyes shut against the burning tears. I couldn’t cry and be weak, not in front of him - he who I had always been strong for. I refused to be weak.
“I wish you didn’t have to go either,” I said it finally. My words carried my heart and I prayed they’d reach him; prayed he’d understand and - dare I be greedy and ask for more? - reciprocate my feelings.
I felt his body shake slightly in my arms; felt tears fall on my bare arms; felt him bend slightly, his lips pressing against one of my fists. That’s all it took. That’s all it took for me to know how he felt, for me to let go of my guard. I lifted my head and pressed my lips against his temple as the tears that had threatened before, cascaded down in silent sheets.
A small, sad sob escaped his lips and I felt my heart break at the sound. I never wanted him to ever be that sad and hearing his cry nearly killed me.
“Ryeo-sshi,” I whispered, my lips still kissing his temple.
As if he knew, he turned his head to look at me. I nearly died right there seeing his crying face. As if not knowing anything else to do; as if trying to silence him from making that heart-wrenching sound again, my lips covered his in a bittersweet kiss.
The taste of him was mingled from our salty tears and yet, despite the sadness, it felt right. It felt perfect, our first kiss. When it was long over, I was just holding him again from behind, my chin on his shoulder as he leaned his head against mine, both of us still silently crying. Despite our tears, it was a time interrupted by the outside world, by intruders. It was a moment and a time meant for Ryeowook and myself. In that tranquil moment, I promised it would not be our last kiss. His leaving for China was merely an interlude until we’d be together again. So, when that time came, the tears mixing with our kiss would not be tainted but sadness. Instead, they would be borne by happiness.
He is my love. And I am his.