Do You Still Dislike Pickles?

His personality was like the best coffee one could taste. It was of the right balance- not too sweet; he was capable of acting tough and serious in the appropriate situations- and not too bitter either; when it came to casual hang outs or taking me to the coffee shop, he was always loving and cute. He was perfect.

His curiosity was like a Cortado- very open and straightforward, but with a touch of angelic innocence, a topping of cream.

His conscientiousness was like a Macchiato- always with a strong base, filled with different levels. It was a maze, but he utilised it well.

At the same time, he was very extroverted. His ability to socialise and draw energy from any atmosphere was never inconspicuous. It was like a perfectly brewed Pharisaer. Everyone loved him.

His embrace was like a hot cappuccino on a cold, wintery day.

His scent gave off rich aromas of spiced coffee, matching his personality, which was made of a dramatic, adventurous, but humble and gentle spirit.

The feel of his lips had an air of Vienna Coffee. He was never one to make a kiss feel uncomfortable, but eventually, as you think of pulling away, he will end with a smart kick, rendering you completely breathless.

Regardless of his warm spirit in kissing, his ability to make love was purely Americano. He could lead you for days, and would never feel like stopping. And it was never slow or gentle, but very erotic and wild.

Bang Yong Guk was the best brew of coffee.

And he was the very same man who took me to the Coffee Shop on our first month anniversary and introduced me to the different coffees.

The Coffee Shop was a sophisticated café that Yong Guk had apparently visited during high school for ‘relief’. It housed a vast menu of coffees alone- exotic names that a normal Korean would have never recognized.

I was never into coffee- I more or less hated milk based beverages, and stuck to fruit juices and the likes. But since I loved him, I thought trying wouldn’t hurt.

And it didn’t. I literally dragged him to the same café everyday to try out a new coffee. Each drink was different, just like him. Each time we met, he showed me different levels of trust, adventure, friendship and most of all, love. Regardless of my newfound love for coffee, I loved going to The Coffee Shop with him. It was a place that made him open up the most. The Coffee Shop seemed to create an energetic rush in him, causing him to happily converse with me, before leading me to my house. Though the cafe had a warm, earthy vibe, Yong Guk interpreted it differently-it was his place to be fun, happy, and most of all, loving.

The Coffee Shop was what made our love blossom, was what made us descend to different emotions together, and what ultimately made it crash as well.

As we graduated from college, which was about two months before, Yong Guk refused to go out as often as we did before. He only seemed interested in dates at the Coffee Shop. Every time I invited him for a hang out or a casual meet, he declined it, unless it was planned in the Coffee Shop. It seemed like he was more in love with the place than with me. I found myself waiting in the Coffee Shop every time we decided to meet. He was never open for after the date either. He would always disappear after we stood up, and kissed, and parted ways. Though very unrealistic, dates, for him, meant cuddling up with The Coffee Shop. I was merely a messenger.

I, of course, figured that infidelity using The Coffee Shop was not something Yong Guk participated in. Though he declined meeting at any other place, he always acted as sweet and loving as ever when we did meet at the café. Like always, we talked, but unusually, je wasn’t as enthusiastic before. we never professed pur secrets, or talked about our problems. It was like he had cloned himself to meet with me, and his real spirit was dead.It was confounding, because he never did tell me why he preferred dating there. We talked for hours together over warm or cold coffee, but whatever the drink, he never talked straightforwardly. He always showered me with praise and never stopped talking sugar. But we never talked like a real couple of four years. It seemed too amateurish, and he didn’t seem to be ready to tell me why it was like that. So, after weeks of consulting my mind, I decided it was time. I could not last in a relationship where a surreal image of happiness was drawn. We had to split.

But of course, I didn’t have the heart. I starkly remember one instance before college graduation, when we had had a small fight and I refused to talk to him. He took me to the café and bought me my favourite coffee, Ethiopian, and sat me down on his lap. He didn’t care that it was an open place where other students thronged to. He sat me down with no reluctance and held me tight, before gently turning my face towards him. His eyes seared through mine, yet he didn’t let me move.

He said, with a deep breath, “I’m so sorry, Kyung Min. I truly am, from the bottom of my heart. I can’t believe I would cause a fight between us, and I can’t believe I lived with myself knowing that I caused you to ignore me. I love you, and I always will. I promise to never cause any trouble. Please, forgive me.”

I looked at him and observed his straight and unwavering emotion. His feelings were so deep and true. At that point, I couldn’t say no.

“I love you,” I whispered after a kiss, to which he replied, “I also have one more request.”

“Please, never say you’ll break up with me. I’m having so much fun with you; my life is never complete with your smile. I don’t think I’ll be able to cope up with losing you. If you ever suspect me of anything, throw those thoughts away. I’ll never cheat on you, and I’ll never stop loving you. Never split up with me. Promise?”

I nodded slowly. At that time, even I couldn’t think of ever needing to break up with him.

This was why actually telling him that our relationship was void was impossible.

But how much ever I reasoned, I still felt a hole. It was the only way to release myself from that endless feeling of being locked up.

Ever since these negative feelings arose in me, I observed that the meetings with Yong Guk became less in quality as well as quantity. We met less by the day, and each time we did, he seemed to have grown weaker than before. His voice slowly grew soft, and his bright complexion went duller and duller. It was like he was disappearing with my love for him. But didn’t that usually happen with hallucinations- where one dreams of the spirit of a loved one, and that which slowly fades away with memory? Obviously, these weren’t hallucinations. I couldn’t have gone mad- there wasn’t enough evidence for that. And it seemed too  sappy  to be true. It was like an old novel, where the heroine notices changes in her life as she breaks away from her prince.

I was clearly acting childish. I had to end this once and for all, even if they did mess with my mind.

For help I texted our long time friend Yoo Youngjae. He stuck with us ever since we were a couple, and he was one person who understood me. If I couldn’t confide in Yong Guk, then he could.

However, when I requested for help, he replied negatively.

His text said:

“Kyung Min! What is wrong with you! How many times do we have to tell you!? Bang Yong Guk is GONE. He has been gone for two months together now. I can’t think of any way to make you remember that except shout at you each time. Stop mentioning him, as if he still exists. You’re just causing us more hurt.”

That was Youngjae’s problem. I don’t know if the two had an altercation, or something of the sort, but he always denied Yong Guk’s existence as a whole. He kept telling me that he was gone, which clearly was wrong because I met Yong Guk at the Coffee Shop almost every day. Something obviously happened between the two of them, but they never mentioned it, if it ever did happen. I was left with no information on their relationship at all. Youngjae’s words never made sense to me.

So I turned to another friend, Daehyun. He was someone I hadn’t contacted in a long time, so starting anew with something negative would obviously render me to expect the same reaction as Youngjae. So instead, I just requested him to come with me to the café. When we got there, I figured I would explain it to him and he would subsequently execute my wishes.

Thankfully, Daehyun replied positively, and I was already set to meet Yong Guk the next day.

At 2:30, the day after, we all met at the café. Interestingly, Yong Guk and Daehyun didn’t exchange greetings. But it wasn’t of concern to me.

I pulled Daehyun to a corner as Yong Guk went in to order coffee, and pleaded with him to help me out with the break up.

Daehyun looked very puzzled, and scared at the same time.

“Kyung Min, what- what are you talking about? Yong Guk- he’s- oh, so this is what Youngjae was talking about. Kyung Min-“he muttered, before vigorously shaking his head and looking at me.

“I’m sorry, but I need to go. I’ll be right back in a few minutes.” He said, without waiting for a reply. I watched as he ran out into the road and stopped at a phone booth.

I went and sat down at a free table, waiting for both of them.

Yong Guk sat down and gave me my cup.

“I got you your favourite. You know, because I lo-”

And that was when the biggest turning point of my life happened.

As he froze, he looked toward the back of me. I could hear someone approaching me, and looked back to face a tall, sturdy looking man, with a uniform on. On his right chest pocket was a golden emblem that read ‘Hongdae Psychiatric Ward’. I turned back to see him slowly fade away, like he was an apparition all the while.

Ever since then, I have been sitting in a hospital ward. But unlike usual hospital wards, this one is dreary and cold. They never check my temperature or give me injections. All they do is talk to me, and I detest these sessions every day, aside from engaging me in useless things like gardening, and sewing. I’ve been admitted in an asylum.They keep telling me the same thing that Youngjae was reinforcing- that Yong Guk is gone. He apparently died two months ago, and I have been claiming to have met with him. Like a psycho.

Was I really hallucinating? No. These sessions haven’t had any effect on me.

I am confident that Yong Guk is alive and kicking. I can still feel his breath, and smell his scent, as if I slept with him yesterday.

 

I now have started planning how to meet with Yong Guk later, after they discharge me. I’m thinking about trying to patch things up, because he never meant to hurt me- I can see that. As I lie on this stone cold bed day- they day he took me to The Coffee Shop. It was glorious, just him and myself.Yong Guk isn’t gone- I’ve been dating him for the past four years. As I lie here, I can’t help but smile. The day they discharge me will be a new lease of life, in both finding my spirit, and finding my love. I can’t wait. I can’t forget the last words he tried to say- I love you. I will set out and regain that feeling of love. The perfect concoction: Park Kyung Min + Bang Yong Guk.

Youngjae’s words have never made sense to me, and they never will.

 


Yaay! First story entry for the Sky is the Limit contest! Please check it out- its really cool.  To be clear, Daehyun and Youngjae admitted her in a mental institution because she was hallucinating about Yong Guk, while he really died two months ago. I’m sorry I’m making everyone die, but you won’t see that it my other feature stories, I promise!!

This story was inspired from the song Coffee Shop, as you would have guessed. It was something I thought they should have done for the video.

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The confession

A few assignments later, Mir knew that he couldn’t keep warding off his ‘feelings’.

 

Every time Joon sat with him, he became nervous, and hot. His eyes wavered; he couldn’t look him in the face. On the first day, Mir had only been awed by Joon’s outward appearance. Later on, he came to know that Joon was the most funny, energetic person he had ever met. Mir considered himself fairly straightforward and sociable, but Joon had the ability to make anyone his friend, and stick with that person forever. He was constantly amazed by his amicable personality, and his ability to decide his moods according to each situation. He was always a bit of a goof, but he knew when it was time to get serious. He had the peers, and the grades. It was easy to believe that Joon graduated with top grades.

 

All in all, Joon matched Mir’s personality. Mir also was open to anyone and everyone. He could create conversation with an old grandma and still leave satisfied. And everyone loved Mir in return. He was highly popular, not because of his looks, though they were there, but because of his outgoing character.

 

Mir was attracted to Joon day by day. Everything about him was a highlight he could not miss. Joon’s friend, Jinki, was therefore, there to purely make him keep up with the homework. As Mir became more and more infatuated, he grew more and more depressed. He could only think about how he loved Joon, and the possibility of him being gay. Homosexuality was not something he disliked, but it certainly was not something he considered to be a normal relationship.

 

Lee Joon apparently worked as a trainee in J.Tune Camp, and so was unable to talk with or inquire about Mir after school. After seeing that Mir was not writing as energetically as he did before, his teacher called up Jinki and Joon to ask them to talk to him. However, due to the constraints, Jinki alone went to discuss with Mir. From then on, it had been Jinki who asked Mir about his problems. If only he knew it was because of Joon.

 

Each writing assignment of Mir’s consisted of either preachy, droning topics, or a self-deprecating, helpless tone. He often wrote about his emotions, asking for help from the receiver if it was a letter, or writing pages and pages for diary entries, as it was his best outlet. Never was his topics to a point- it was always very ambiguous, to fit his feelings. He couldn’t reveal that he felt suicidal because of his attraction towards Lee Joon. And so he very vaguely wrote for help and about his depressed self in his compositions.

 

With these, his personality changed as well. Cheondung was shunned from conversation- in fact, everyone was. Aside from Jinki, and the occasional Joon, Mir ignored everyone. He was not the fun-loving, jovial Mir anymore, but the depressed, indifferent Mir. As soon as he reached home, he took out his assignment and began to vent his feelings. He made one copy for school, and multiple others for himself to keep. He had that much to let out. It was hard to accept that one had a crush and that there was a possibility of being rejected, but it was different altogether when it concerned a boy having a crush on a senior boy.

 

It all finally crashed down when Jinki and Joon provided Mir with their address. He was apparently free to drop by to talk at any time.

 

And so, Mir finally decided to confront Joon, and cope with whatever was the outcome.

 

He reached their apartment and trudged up to their flat.

 

The front door, was unusually, ajar. Mir turned about he corner to get a better look, but stopped in his tracks.

 

In front of him stood Jinki and Joon, locked in each other’s embrace, busily snogging each other. They pulled themselves tighter as the lip-lock grew intense. Joon finally opened his eyes to look at Jinki, and carry him inside, but instead, spotted Mir, frozen. His expression was genuinely, surprised and anguished at the same time.

 

“Mir, um, do you have anything to talk about?” he asked after turning Jinki around to face Mir.

 

“No- I’m sorry I disturbed you- really,” Mir uttered and dashed down the stairs before anyone could say anything else.

 

Mir ran back to his house, tears streaming down his face, and went up to his room immediately.

 

The latest assignment was a poem, and Mir was ready to write it.

 

The next day, Mir was called to his class room after school. As he walked in, he noticed that his teacher, Joon, and Jinki were waiting for him.

 

As soon as he saw Joon, he looked down, trying hard for the tears to stop forming. He knew what was going to happen.

 

He sat down and looked at his teacher.

 

“I think you have a lot to tell your partners, Cheolyong. Please, express yourself.” she started, as she handed him the poem he submitted. He specifically addressed it to Lee Jinki. It was more of an angry scolding than a poem. “We noticed in your past assignments that you’re very depressed, and mad. Can you talk about it?”

 

Jinki stepped up. “Is something wrong, man? If it’s about that day, you saw us- I’m sorry. We’re sorry.”

 

Indifferently, Mir pulled out a slip of paper from his bag and handed it to Joon.

 

“This is for you,” he said, and stood up. He slowly walked out of the class.

 

The paper read:

 

Oh, I can’t tell you about me Who wants to reach your heart Like the starlight hidden behind the cold clouds I love you, in the end, this painful confession That lingers at the edge of my lips slide down in tears.

 

They understood what Mir was implying, finally. But he was outside. They had to save him.

 

They were too late. Mir had entered his demise.

 

Mir stepped into the middle of the road, and stood still. No expression was seen on his face. And in the few moments before the car crashed into him, he thought of himself in Joon’s arms, with his lips on his his. He thought of his paradise. His Joon.

 

And he smiled. He was finally happy.

 

 

Just to clear things up, Mir dies (sorry). Do you like it? And do you see where my foreword was going now?