He smiles at the mere thought of her. The way she twirls her fork while eating pasta, the way her hands move around in big gestures, the way she tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear…every little detail sends a shiver down his back, and he likes the way it makes him feel. He likes the way she makes him feel.
April 4. He goes to her house and surprises her. He says they should go out—it’s his birthday, after all. He sees the look on her face and quickly tells her no, it’s my treat. She frowns and tells him that’s not it. She just doesn’t have any present for him, and she feels bad. He tells her it’s no big deal; they can just consider going out to be her gift for him.
He’s happy by just being by her side. He likes telling her jokes—she tries to laugh even at his lamest ones. She prefers not to hold his hand, telling him that her hands easily get sweaty. He shrugs and takes her hand anyway.
December 21. He looks around the shopping centers for a nice Christmas gift. He hasn’t seen her for a while; it seems that his practices and her academics are keeping them apart. They’ve only talked on the phone once or twice a week. Saying that he misses her terribly is an understatement; to him it feels like years since he last saw her smile.
He buys her a necklace. It’s not expensive and merely made of silver. He wants to buy something else but his lack of any spending money at that time limits his choices. He knows she will be delighted once she sees the gift, but her reactions always make him want to give something more. I’ll give you a proper gift next time, he always says. She easily cries at the smallest gifts, easily touched by his affections. He’s happy just seeing her happy.
December 24. Christmas Eve. They plan to meet at a restaurant small enough for no one to recognize him. He’s not a big celebrity yet, but sometimes he comes across fans of his group, surprisingly ogling at him and wanting to take pictures. He always likes meeting fans and hearing good things about his groups’ performances, but when it comes to her, he wants to keep things private. People don’t need to know his love life.
She sits down the seat in front of him and apologizes for being late. She asks if he’s been waiting long; he answers no with a small smile. He looks at her, slowly taking in her face. She looks a bit different now. Her hair is shorter, just around her shoulders. She wears a hint of make-up, and her face is flushed from the cold winter air. She looks a bit grown-up.
She asks if there’s anything on her face, and he shakes his head no. It’s just that you look so pretty, he says. He still can’t believe that such a pretty girl, someone so kind and sweet, will ever like him, and there she is, sitting in front of him. She smiles warmly back at him. Seeing her smile always makes his day.
He’s getting steadily busier—more trainings, more practices, more shows. He rarely has time to call her, let alone see her. She says she understands and tells him to just do his best with every performance. He knows she’s suffering just as much as he is, tries to endure it just as much as he is…but knowing that he can’t do anything about the situation makes him feel so much more miserable.
Before every performance, he tries to call her. At times when no one answers his calls, he gets frustrated. Just hearing her voice makes him more confident. Hearing her say his name warmly gives him the push he needs to get over his anxieties and get up the stage with just the thought of showing the world his talent, his passion. The sad truth is that she’s not always there to give him that push.
August 16. It’s her birthday a week from then but it won’t be possible for them to spend her birthday together, so he decides to spend a whole day with her. He calls her. Let’s meet. She’s surprised; it’s been a long time since he had the time to meet her.
The time is 2:30 pm when he sees her again. This time her hair’s a bit longer. She has side-swept bangs now. She looks a lot different from the time he last saw her, but it feels to him like he’s never changed. She greets him with a hello and a smile, and so does he.
Silence. A long and awkward silence. It’s been so long that they don’t know what to say to each other.
Advance Happy Birthday, he greets her without further ado. She thanks him and tells him that he doesn’t need to give anything for her birthday; just as long as they can spend her birthday together, everything will be fine.
I…can’t, he hesitatingly says. You know I can’t.
She avoids his eyes. He knows she’s mad. He knows she’s hurting. But like always, he can’t do anything about it. To perform is his dream.
Can’t you at least tell me that you’ll try? She knows the answer to her question long before she even asked it. He can’t. He just can’t.
He puts his hand right above hers and squeezes it. Sorry, he tells her. For everything.
She looks straight into his eyes, her own brown ones starting to fill with tears. I’m sorry too. She quickly takes her hand away from his, and tells him the last words he will ever hear from her.
I can’t do this anymore.
It has been a year and a half since that day. He hasn’t heard from her since, and neither does he call to check on her. He tells everyone it’s much better this way. He hasn’t forgotten, and he believes she hasn’t, either.
He sits on the living room couch with a pen in his hand and a tattered notebook full of lyrics, some worthy of being recorded in their next album, some worthy of being crumpled and thrown into the trash bin. He heaves a sigh and looks up at the ceiling. As he does, he remembers her and slowly, a smile creeps into his face. Even through the painful goodbye, she still manages to make him smile. From the way she twirls her fork as she eats pasta to the way she tucks a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. Everything about her still brings a shiver down his spine. He still likes the way she makes him feel.
He smiles one more time and begins writing another verse, one line at a time.
-Written on March 13, 2009. Unedited. Written with Super Junior member Eunhyuk in mind as the male character, but the character itself is just a he. I love using pronouns.