Fri, Jul. 27th, 2012 07:00 pm
allnostalgia: (Default)
[personal profile] allnostalgia


His lithe form entered the cafe just outside university when I first saw him. He was an averagely built young man, and looked like he was in his twenties. On his back was a heavy looking canvas bag that had blotches of paint and dirt all over. He was intently looking at the menu as I unconsciously stared at him.

"Camomile tea, please." Well, that was unexpected.

"Would you like to try pastries, sir?"

"Oh, no, thanks." He declines quite childishly, his hands moving as his head shook.

He looked like an eccentric mix of qualities you'd never think to find in a single person. Well, that was a more proper way of putting it, you know, he might just be crazy and all that jazz. But who was I to judge?

He kept coming back the following days. This time he wasn't covered in oils and colors but he had a camera slung on his right shoulder.

"A Hot Chai Tea Latte, please." He smiles but it was blank. "And a strawberry waffle."

"Alright, sir. That'll be eight bucks in total."

He sits in a cushioned booth and slumps down. Eyes wandering around the area for something worth a frame.

The quaint cafe was calm and the subtle music heightened the tone of the atmosphere to a nostalgic extent, add up the walls of stone, different sizes of framed posters of movies, events and icons, authentic vintage items, interiors of different styles of kitchen counters, dinning sets and living room seats, all from the seventies.

The shutter clicks as the viewfinder aims at the beige vintage fridge with 'LOVE AND THEFT' written on it with the alphabet magnets. No wonder he likes it here, the cafe usually floats in Bob Dylan blues.

The certain time of day when he came in was when the place was almost deserted. It was a lovely time to think. It had been exactly nineteen days since he first found the place.

"Do you serve warm milk?" He hesitantly asks after staring at the now familiar menu.

"It's free with a purchase of pastries, actually."

"Oh. I'll get two velvet cupcakes then." He shifts his attention, "Would you mind if I give you the other one, Yunho-sshi?"

"I- Sir-" Come to think of it, its quite dumb that we're not on speaking terms yet after all these weeks. And I had to potentially blow up this first conversation.

"That a 'yes'?" And I can't help but think how he seems to glow, his mood was light and he looked fresh.

"S-sir!" He turns inquisitively, "What's your name?"

"Kim Jaejoong." He smiled at me for the first time.

He never fails to drop by for whatever he might fancy. It goes on for a few more weeks and then some more days to the point it frustrates me. I can't seem to be brave enough to take an up step.

He comes in, there's small talk about how our day's been so far, he orders a drink and a complimentary pastry, he pays, says thanks, I prepare everything and then he sits at whatever table he feels momentarily attracted to. I stare until he catches me, then I look away.

Every day was different. A watercolor portrait, graphite still life on scrap paper, chalk pastel landscape on felt. There was this one time he was hissing while pouring alcohol on his palms and then patching up band aids on his wounds from wood carving. The most vivid of them all was the sound of the shutter clicking, I looked up to him smiling goofily and a playful shrug of his shoulders.

I can't think anything of it. I know he was a kind person, pretty friendly and all that. And I'm an outsider that gets a peek into his life because of his caffeine fixation.

It hurts to hope, I know, but I can't help it. What have I got to lose when I haven't claimed anything yet, anyway?

"Oppa?" A sweet melodious voice disrupts the Johnny Cash vocals subtly playing in the background. It wakes me up from the afternoon boredom in the cafe. I look up to see Jaejoong laughing quietly, covering his mouth with the back of his hand and then he waves it off, "Nah, I was just kidding."

"Was that seriously you?" I asked, appalled, before I stood up from my seat behind the counter and approached the cash register.

"Yeah, you look pretty interesting asleep. Next time, I won't wake you up until I've drawn you." My heart sank. Admittedly, I frowned at him, "I'm just really hungry right now, I haven't had any decent food in my stomach."

"So, what'll it be for today, Jaejoong-ssi?" I wipe the sleep off my face and smiled at him.

"A clubhouse sandwich and a spanish chocolate, extra marshmallows," his fingers played with the money in his hand. It was adorable how he looked grown-up but he moves like a kid, "Do you have break time, Yunho? Is it okay if I drop the formalities? It escalates my awkwardness a lot." He says uncertainly, scratching the back of his ear, might be force of habit.

"For here?" I smiled and responded passively but Jaejoong nods nonetheless.

"So? Aren't you going to answer my question?" Is it just me, or is he a little talkative today?

I didn't want to chuckle my nervousness off, he might get the wrong idea, "I do. And yes, of course, Jaejoong. Whatever you want." I kind of wonder why I said the last part.

"What time? Is it in about an hour or something?" He smiles, and I can't help but inwardly swoon.

"In about fifteen, actually. Why do you ask? Do you need something?"

"Not that I need anything." He says, face brightened, "From now on, then, I'll get here at around this time and you should sit with me." Jaejoong claims his orders and proceeds to a distant table with couches, "I'll be waiting over here." He says quite loudly from across the almost empty establishment.

Jaejoong had the ability to draw me in despite his oddness. In a matter of days, I was hooked and I anticipated afternoons. I did consistently on my job to keep me there, and before I know it, I was opening up to the kid as he did so with me.

He was amazing, simply put. He always wondered, was always curious. It added up as hours passed everyday. It felt like I found a reason to get out of my comfort zone and mold my dreams into what I really wanted to achieve. Jaejoong was weaved into dreams and rooted in reality, it was his enigmatic personality that draws you in and changes you but you don't feel it. Next thing you know, you're walking a step at a time, closer to your realizations about your own life. And he's just there, making you feel like you did it all on your own.

His presence lingers and makes you feel like you make perfect sense.

"Yunho-yah," It was a weekend, the first time we saw each other outside the cafe, "Do you think I'm different?" he asks a little hesitantly as we walked along Apgujeong.

"Yeah, why?" We walked side by side. Shoulders bumping but we didn't make anything of it. It felt natural. But i couldn't help thinking.

"Different as in weird kind of different?" There was uncertainty there, and insecurity clearer than crystal.

"Hm, why?"

"Do you think I don't belong with people?"

"Not really," I told him, "What's this getting to? Did anybody hurt you? Or tell you something?"

He shakes his head, "Nobody ever really talks to me to have a real conversation, actually."

"Oh well, they're missing out." I pat his head, and ruffle his hair. It would've been gross be it another person, Jaejoong's hair was oily that day but it was okay.

"Yunho-yah…" I hum and look at him questioningly, "If- If I told you to never leave me, would you willingly do it because you like being with me or would you do it because I asked it of you?"

"Of course, I'd stay because I like having you around. Jaejoong-ah, what's going on in your head, hm?"

"I don't know." Now, why do I find that hard to believe? "I'm sorry if I keep sticking around you."

"Why are you saying sorry?" He just smiles uneasily and then looks away, walking farther into the district.

Sometimes, blessings were downfalls in disguise.

The first time I asked him out was out of tempo. I've started to own up to how it felt to think of someone and it was enough to make you feel better, but the events weren't turning out the way it all went about in my head.

He came in with the usual stoic face he's got on, keeping the world out of his zone and building up walls. I thought of it normal, but next thing I know he was throwing a tantrum at me, displaying disappointment.

"Tell me what's wrong." I said. He looked at me with confused eyes that stained of doubt and insecurity.

"I don't like it when I'm not in control of something," He told me, and I didn't understand what he was referring to. He'd been speaking in riddles ever since we went out. I felt like he was detracting me but I can't let him just do that.

"How about we go out tonight, hm?" I took the chance, offered him comfort like the past few days he'd asked for it.

"That's not what I want!" My heart broke at that, I almost thought that it would always be about him from now on and I was just there when he wanted me to be there.

He still came around but I couldn't treat him the way I've gotten used to. He coldly spoke and gave me his orders and invited me to his table when my break came around. We weren't talking, I was playing on my iPod and he was sketching as his food got cold.

"Jaejoong-ah," I have to try and fix things, "Did I do something wrong?" I don't even know what needed to be fixed.

He looks up at me and shakes his head, then goes back to his drawing.

"Did something happen, then?"

Same response, only he didn't look up this time.

"I have fifteen minutes left on my break, don't you want to talk or do anything at least?"

None. Okay, now what's the point?

I was left hanging but I can't get angry. I can't help but feel like there's a lot he's not telling me and that it's up to me to figure it all out. It was one hell of bullshit to keep up with that but what was I supposed to do? I can't let him go off that easy. All the more I can't because I can feel that I'm not alone in thinking about us. There were endless possibilities I can't refuse to strive for.

He stopped coming altogether around a week before break. I woke up thinking that, maybe, it was about time I stopped chasing.

I felt like shit since then.

I counted down the days of him being away. It was all in my head, and I thought I'd gone haywire. Thirty-four days. I still thought of him so vividly like he left just yesterday. I was staring at the interiors and saw him everywhere, what he'd done on those tables and every artwork he'd left and posted on the fridge door that he'd eventually tell me to keep.

The door opens, signaled by the chimes that resound a shallow echo. And he stood there, like the first time I saw him enter this place. Except he wasn't looking at the menu, but me. I stared back, daring him to do what he came here to do, whatever it is.

"Give me my favorite drink in a for-here mug, and a waffle." He was groggy, and dirty with paint. By the looks of it, his order was on me. And then it sunk in, I was never sure of what he likes, and his inconsistency makes his favorites change when he feels like it.

I served him Green Tea Frappe and a Chocolate Waffle with fruits on the side and left for the cashier. I stole glances of him while eating until everything was finished. He got out and then I proceeded to clean after him.

He left a sketchpad on the table with a note on it. I'm sorry, Yunho, I can't help it. I felt guilty so, it's yours. I instantly cleaned everything before going back to my spot to see the contents.

I flipped the cover and saw my face on the first page. I flipped them one after another and saw different renditions of me. It felt weird. And yet, it felt oddly satisfying. But then, what was the point of this gift?

I waited until I was on my way home from work to call him, wishing he hadn't changed his number. It rang, it took quite a few long seconds before the phone stopped ringing but no voice answered.

"Hello? Jaejoong-ah?"

"He's a little busy right now, call him later." Said the person who picked up his phone, "I'm hanging up. Please do understand."

It was a little too formal, it creeped me out. Where was he?

Two days later, I decided to walk up to him and give him a piece of my mind. His dorm was seven blocks away from where I lived. It felt eerie and I almost hit my head on the wall right after I knocked. I heard him voice out something muffled by the thick door.

"Who is it?" He asked, opening the door as far as the chain lock would let him.

"It's me." And then he stared, before closing the door. He unclasped the chain, pushed the door wide open before he jumped into my arms, "I called you last time, where were you then?"

It sucks when you want to act distant but you can't. Its simple how things work out between you two. But then, how about the hurt that stung you completely when he was away? Wasn't there a way to even compensate for that?

He didn't talk. I was nudging him off me but he would hold tighter. And then I can feel moisture forming on my shirt. "I can't believe this." He hit my chest quite harshly a few times, "What? You're the one who suddenly disappeared!"

It was stressful keeping up with him - I won't attest to that. He was stubborn and then some pain in the ass. He never said what he felt, and I always had to guess around. He was more transparent this time though and it's not like he had a choice.

It stirred him when I can't seem to know how to help him, he had the tendency to attract drama because of the personality he had developed. I learned in a few weeks that he's going for sessions in support groups because he had been diagnosed of severe manic depression.

He hasn't done anything for over a month. We went out to walk around the city empty-handed except for some cash and packs of cigarettes. He didn't have the usual canvas backpack with either a sketchpad or a camera. His muse was beaten out by mood swings and he wanted to do something about it but he can't.

I can't do anything about it either. I felt useless. We stood at the river banks. He stared out, contemplating on things he'll never tell me about while I kicked on stones and pebbles.

"I probably wouldn't die from jumping into the river…" It was soft, passive, as if he didn't know he thought it aloud. I watched him walk the edge of the bank, quietly following him close behind, until he sat down. He faced me then, "If I jumped from the bridge," he says, shifting his attention from me to a faraway bridge over the river, "I'd die from impact, right?"

"Yeah," I took a seat beside him, dangling my feet over the edge, "And then you'll probably drown before you reach the surface or could have already passed out down under…"

"I was seventeen when I first had an episode," he says randomly.

"How'd you know?"

"When I thought about it, I was very passive then, I just thought I had a fucked sleep pattern, I almost never felt the need to sleep. I easily got tired of things I used to enjoy to the point that I flip when I got irritated. I barely had any self-control… I was way over my head, too." He says but doesn't look to me. A few minutes passed before he stands up again, reaching his hand out for me to hold.

We walk further. He talked more. About his thoughts, and he's talking excessively that day of topics not even clearly connected to each other. Like a hype of thoughts were racing to be spoken. I watch him some more, nod in agreement, squeeze his hand and tell him to breathe for a while. And he just laughs.

There were days that were just comforting, quiet. Some of those times he waits for my shift to end and then we walk to my apartment with interlaced fingers and smiles that we try to hide.

And behind thin doors we sit quiet on the floor. I stare back at him as he looked at me. His eyes would always have that glint of remorse, but it's out-shined by contentment and thankfulness, simple happiness and a little bit of fear.

It was those little gestures of assurance that keeps me up with him, the only consistency that makes my heart rest in steady beats until he moves closer and kisses me full. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't want to get used to it but he had always caught me off guard. He wasn't one for intimacy since day one, that I've learned from narcissistic observations and, ironically, unbiased judgments.

"No," Jaejoong shook his head as he laughed at my wrong guesses each time, "Come on! Think..."

"Bob Dylan?" I say, he shakes his head again, smirking and making me feel stupid, "Paul McCartney?"

"I do like Dylan, a lot. And, no," He responded, rolling his eyes, "McCartney's overrated. I'm sorry but sometimes I can't help but think that- Yeah, keep guessing."

"David Bowie!"

"I like him, yes, but still no. You were close a while ago."

"Robert Plant? Joey Ramone? John Bonham? John Lennon? Mick? Keif? George Harrison? R-"

"YES! Finally!" He flipped, clapped excitedly, "Congratulations!"

"The mysterious pretty boy from Liverpool…" He nods, then I ask, "Why?"

He stares dreamily into space, "Because of the songs he wrote." His smile was of pure admiration, like there was certainty in his mind that he feels secure at this point in time even as we joke around and make fun of each other in the smallest of ways, and going too far isn't being too much.

It was relieving to hear him say what he thinks and feels honestly, without restrain. I felt like we were moving further, way past craving for an assurance that we already know each other very well.

"Yunho…" his voice, although cracky through the receiver, was always comforting in a weird way, "I painted today." I feel my ego burst through the seems of my sanity, all because he told me about it.

"Out of whim?" I asked, and he hummed in response, "Did you enjoy it?"

"Yeah, I think I'll be able to finish a piece if this lets on throughout the week…"

"Good then. Oh! And are we meeting up after my shift today?"

He chuckles softly, "I'm on my way over there, actually."

"Why did you have to call me then?"

"Uh… Force of habit?" I can imagine his lips pouting a little as he scratches his temple.

It had become a routine, one he liked, ever since another year in university began. There wasn't much time for him to come see me at the cafe anymore because of his schedule and I was fine with it simply because it allowed me to approach him in a different way. I took it as my turn to give and prove that it's my choice to be with him.

"You're not going to class?" I asked, a little distraught.

"Free cut!" He says and I heave a sigh, "You know, I'll never cut class." I can hear him smiling and cooing over the phone, he chuckles. Then again, he knows me too well.

"Hm… Alright, see you in a bit, I gotta make coffee now." And he hangs up first with a shy reminder of love.

I'd like to think coping was a relevant kind of science.

"What are you talking about?" Jaejoong was on the phone with a curator, and I sat on the fire escape staircase as he paced up and down, brushing his fingers through my waxed hair as he passed.

And meeting Jaejoong was some sort of experiment that lead to a kind of story.

"Oh… I don't work well with groups, you see." He sighed and rolled his eyes, exasperated with the person on the other end, "No, thank you." He sat down and moved close, putting the phone on loud speaker and mocking the other person on the line as he spoke. I shook my head and we stayed quiet.

It makes that time worthwhile, subject to many hunches and trials but it doesn't cease itself, a real part of life.

"Hello? Hello? Kim Jaejoong-sshi?" There was a very frustrated grunt before the line went dead and Jaejoong wiggled his limbs as he huffed in irritation.

"Jae, you did the right thing." I told him, "You said it yourself, your art is you. If you compromise your art for publicity, that's giving up on yourself."

"Yeah," he nodded, "I'm glad you remember everything I try to note myself of."

It was that kind of natural thing that you only learn when you try to see things differently, see things apart from what it should be and accept how it's presented in a way that it defines you through your actions and thoughts.

Besides, nothing worth is ever, ever easy.

• • • • •

A/N: I made a poster just so I'd have the will to finish this coz I've been out of writing for about six months now... Hence, the rustiness of how this came down on paper, and I apologize for that. :(
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


allnostalgia: (Default)

July 2012

2223242526 2728

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Tue, Sep. 26th, 2017 06:11 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios