He looked up only to face his reflection in the broken dirty mirror of a gas station he had previously walked to. Felix had seen some drastic changes in his facial features; his cheeks were not as chubby as they used to be. His cheekbones were more visible now without the fat that used to cover them. His eyes analyzed his face, seeing what the runaway did to him. Lack of sleep made his eyes look more red and drowsy; the tired look he carried before exaggerated.
Having washed his face after a few days he looked kinda clean, he supposed. It wasn’t perfect, presentable to be exact. He took the backpack he had carried with him searching for toothbrush. When he finally found it along with the toothpaste, he squeezed the tube, hoping he’d get some of the paste to brush his teeth. Unfortunately for him, it was the last bit of it that he had.
‘’Looks like we have to go raiding again.’’ he sighed into the mirror while brushing his teeth, tasting the mint on his tongue and throat, totally not pleased for needing to steal again.
The neon sign of the gas station looked kind of pleasing in the night, its colors complementing each other or maybe it was just Felix being relieved that he would finally get to wash himself and eat. Felix pushed the door of the station with his shoulder, not paying much attention to who’s in the store. He knew that the lazy and untidy look he has will make the store clerk more attentive of him. But he wasn’t? Felix saw a guy with the usual dull uniform every gas station employee had in addition to his beanie lazily sitting on his head and few dark blue strands of hair trying to escape. Not a damn hello, good night or any form of greeting. Maybe this was Felix’s lucky day.
He was hidden between aisles when he tried to come up with a plan. He knew he didn’t have any money, but he didn’t have much space either to steal a lot of stuff.
The TV was quite loud, Felix noticed. Maybe the guy at the register won’t even notice him leaving, and honestly the security cameras he had seen didn’t look like they have been working properly for two decades at least. Sneaking around would only make him even more suspicious if his tangled and unbrushed hair didn’t already give it away, along with unironed hoodie with so many stains Felix didn’t even want to question what they were made of.
‘’I can’t steal everything, just need to find the cheapest thing I need and pay that so maybe he won’t question me. But I need to be quick I’m taking too long for someone who’s about to pay for one stupid thing.’’ he thought, pushing hair back. Stealing always made him nervous and jumpy and sweat a lot. And man was his hair sticking to his sweaty forehead.
‘’Just breathe in and out, you can’t look nervous because if you’re nervous he’ll question you and you don’t want that. If he does question you, he’ll ask to see your bag and he will see all the things you stole and the police will be involved and you will be arrested and brought back home, where you will have to explain why you ran away and you. don’t. want. that.’’ he panted. The bare thought of him returning home made him anxious, and he can’t have that right now. Not when he’s supposed to be silent and normal. Well silent, he’ll never be normal.
He brought his arm up to wipe off the sweat he was now overly producing. With every step to the cash register, his breathing became harder. His chest was tightening, and he could feel his organs being crushed.
‘’Um, h-hello?’’ his usually deep voice hitched, sounding very high-pitched. The blue haired guy turned around. And maybe Felix stopped breathing for a moment. The tag on the boy’s uniform said his name was Jisung.
‘’You took fifteen minutes for a minty toothpaste?’’ Jisung asked, with a lollipop in his mouth that made him look like he had a small ball in his cheeks.
‘’Yeah,’’ he chuckled gingerly, ‘’I’m kinda indecisive.’’
‘’Mhm, makes sense I guess. That would be two thousand and six hundred wons. Want anything else?’’ Jisung asked uninterestingly which made Felix less anxious.
‘’Maybe he didn’t notice. J-just don’t overthink it Felix, they can sense it and you can’t afford that.’’ the thoughts getting louder in his head while he searched for the money in his pocket.
Felix thanked Jisung quickly and just when he was about to leave he heard the other ask him something. He couldn’t hear him from all the pounding in his ears.
‘’What?’’ he asked, making an eye contact with the blue haired boy.
‘’I said, how much did you steal?’’
‘’Don’t know what you’re talking about.’’ blurting out and opening the door.
‘’I’m not gonna snitch you. If you want I can buy you ramen to eat.’’
And honestly, it was an offer you couldn’t turn down.
They were both leaning on the counter where instant ramen was made. ‘’So tell me, why did you run away?’’
‘’What makes you think I ran away?’’ his eyebrow rose. He knew he was being overly confident for someone who was caught stealing few minutes ago.
‘’You know, I could’ve just called police instead buying you a meal.’’
‘’And why didn’t you?’’
‘’Dunno, looked like you really needed someone to notice you. And to eat of course.’’ Jisung chuckled. ‘’But you keep avoiding my question why did leave?’’
‘’Maybe I just wanted to be noticed.’’ He realized he was flirting with the guy, and he felt so ashamed, so, so ashamed.
Jisung took the ramen out from the machine, handing it back to Felix with some napkins and chopsticks. ‘’Noticed. Hope you’ll find what you’re actually looking for.’’
He took the food carefully and thanked the other again. Felix’s mind was too preoccupied with other thought to have noticed he had been starving for days now.
Eating went by quickly, too quickly if you asked him.
Felix put the bag on his back, preparing for the journey again. But before leaving, he turned around to be greeted by Jisung’s smile and worried looks. He held the door handle. ‘’I ran away because I’m gay, Jisung.’’
And he left.
The dawn sky looked astonishing and Felix felt free. Maybe he wasn’t in the best situation right now, but he’d rather be himself than enduring the abuse from his parents because he liked guys. It’s not like they care, because if they did he wouldn’t be on his second week of being homeless.
Truthfully, Felix liked the way it is now. Maybe he’ll meet even cuter guys than Jisung that will make him stay.
And maybe he’d like that as well.