Chapter 8 - First and Last Friend
People who don’t say much were amusing. A myriad of reactions swum around in their gaze and even their breathing. A gentle look flashed by Hyehyun’s eyes before they turned cold and then returned to normal. Out of all the reactions, he chose composure and calmness.
Hyehyun replied curtly, “Seeing you like this makes me want to take back what I said before.”
“Go buy me a coffee or something. I’m thirsty,” I said as I handed Hyehyeon my wallet.
He grumbled and asked, “Americano? Or a mocha latte?”
I only drank americanos with no syrup or mocha lattes with a lot of whip on top. Before, Yeonseon told me to either drink completely sweet or bitter, to just choose one or the other. My coffee tastes were informed by Yeonseon.
I wondered if close brothers shared everything. I couldn’t ask anymore because Yeonseon went and died.
I could see dead people, but I couldn’t talk to them. No matter what the dead person said, I wasn’t able to hear. Eyes, nose, and skin—those were the “senses” that I received from that house. I had no way of knowing anything else.
I stared at Hyehyun Ham as he left the studio, then got up from the sofa. I grabbed a random person and told them I was going out for a smoke, then walked in the opposite direction as Hyehyun.
Thankfully, the smoking room wasn’t that far from where I was. Although it was called a smoking room, it was actually a terrace attached to the building with no walls or ceiling.
Since they still had to make a smoking room but didn’t have space for one, I could tell the building planners just half-heartedly decided to make do with the space they had. I was an exemplary citizen, but I wasn’t one who felt the need to report every little thing, so I decided to make do with it and smoke in that smoking room.
I took out a cigarette and put it between my lips and recalled my past. Come to think of it, Yeonseon Ham was a funny b*stard. Although he said he was afraid of meeting people one on one, he was fine with standing on stage.
Most people normally struggled with stage fright, but he said that the stage was better. Seeing as he didn’t say that he liked it, I think he was still nervous up there. He was only scared of meeting another person alone, in the same room as him. So it was slightly different from social anxiety where one couldn’t face a large group of people.
He struggled specifically with being alone with a person.
I asked why, and the answer came readily. He said he hated the feeling of responsibility and duty that weighed down his shoulders. He said that it suffocated him. He said that even if it was family, he felt stifled if they were alone in a small, closed space.
When I asked him if he was fine with a group of people, he said, “So about that…” and answered in a way that made it seem like he himself also didn’t quite understand.
“I guess since the feeling is divided among the numbers, it feels lighter.” Then he chuckled softly. “So I end up acting in front of a lot of people.”
Occasionally, there were people like that, people who felt that the words and actions of a single person were bigger than the words and actions of a group. I could somewhat understand Yeonseon’s bizarre personality.
Instead of being ignored by a few people in a large group, the shock would be greater if you were ignored by a few people from a small group of five or fewer people. Because I was an outcast among my peers in my school days, it wasn’t like I couldn’t understand his fears at all.
When he said that he acted in front of the masses, it wasn’t a lie because he was different in front of an audience from when we would chat between just the two of us. Yeonseon on stage was a boy full of dreams who always sang about soaring the skies, a truth-seeker who appealed all the world’s emotions to the gods, and a talented singer who tugged and pushed the audience’s hearts. If one could fall in love with music, anyone would choose him as their first love.
However, I liked the Yeonseon who was alone with me. I even liked the strange disorder that he carried. Unlike other celebrities, he avoided situations where he would be alone with me yet held my hand in front of others and smiled affectionately, and I loved that deprived side of him.
There was no point in saying it now. Yeonseon and I were never going out, but we liked each other—at least, that was what I believed. Perhaps our relationship would have been different if I continued to work in the entertainment world. However, I gave up everything in the middle, so our relationship stopped there and couldn’t progress further.
To be more accurate, we became estranged. Yeonseon became very busy, and I became self-conscious of the watchful eyes of others, so I gradually contacted him less. Our relationship went back to simply exchanging texts and calls.
Yeonseon’s death came after that.
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