“Oh my god! Have you seen the viral video? That one senior student who's singing? Damn! His voice is so good and the looks? Perfect!" I heard the gossiping students beside me, I'm sitting on a stone bench just outside the Engineering Building, it's vacant and I don't have anything to do. As I heard those words, I rolled my eyes, perfectly knowing what they were talking about.
"I think that's Ryeowook?? Ryeowook Kim?" Her other friend mentioned. Ah.. Ryeowook, Ryeowook Kim. How can I describe that person, well in fact he's okay, i guess? I've known him since 1st year high, he was chubby back then but now oh boy, he's looking just as fine as heck!
Well going back, he's not the typical college jock boy, instead he's into music and theater arts, he has the voice of an Angel! When you hear him sing a song, you will literally see colors arounds you, and he's also kinda cute, and handsome, but I won't admit that to him because his head will definitely get bigger!
"Kyuhyun!" I heard a voice calling me, I turned around and saw Ryeowook practically skipping towards me. I swear, I saw rainbows around him, he's like the human form of Happiness. Then, I hear the students beside me gasp. Ryeowook told me it's also his vacant, asking me to eat outside, but I am not in the mood to eat. I dismissed him, but then he leaned his head on my shoulder and I felt my heart skip a beat. No, please, just no!
"Please?" He pouted and acted cutely, I pretended to act disgusted where in fact I just wanted to squish those cheeks and kiss him fully on the lips.
I like him, ever since I laid my eyes on him, but I don't have the guts to admit it, I don't know.. I just can't. I'm content with whatever we have at the moment... I don't want to ruin our friendship just because of my stupid feelings that'll eventually go away, soon, I hope, and I know that I don't have a chance on him, I never will have a chance on him.
In the end he managed to drag me outside the campus and as we were walking he suddenly stopped, I asked him what's wrong, he just gave me a lost dog look, "Where's the direction of Chicken Avenue again?" I eyed him, I don't even know that place.
"Why are you asking me? Do I look like a map to you? I don't even know where that is!" I scoffed, he just rolled his eyes, and settled for a restaurant nearby.
We ate for like nearly an hour, Ryeowook mostly just talked about random things and I on the other hand was just listening. I will always listen to his stories, no matter how nonsense they are. As we stepped out of the restaurant we were walking back to the campus, he then jumped as his face turned brighter than it ever did,
"I'm dating Ari!" Those words rang inside my head, and it felt like someone threw a bucket of ice cold water at me at that very moment...
I found myself staring at his face while he's telling me how he secretly courted Ari, his blockmate. I'm still listening, even though I can feel how my heart's been ripping into pieces whenever he mentioned how he courted her, how much Ryeowook likes her. I feel like crying but the tears won't come out, maybe later? When Ryeowook's not around anymore. We parted as soon as we walked back inside, saying that Ari just finished her practice and he will go fetch her. I can see how happy he is. He's not vocal when it comes to his love life, this is the first time I see him look so in-love. Damn.
As I stood there watching his figure slowly drift away, I kept thinking, What if I had the courage to tell him how much I like him? Will it change a damn thing? Or will I just ruin our friendship? But I clearly remember that one night, that one particular night, when I was so drunk and he ended up taking care of me, I still remember the words he whispered to my drunk self,
"I hope I get to meet you in another life, in another time and universe where You and Me can both have what we truly want."
9 years later...
“Kyu! You’re late!” I was greeted by Ryeowook’s disappointed face, “Of all days that you decided to be late, You really chose to be late today!” Ryeowook was mad at me? But I happened to explain myself, I got stuck in a meeting proposal, it’s a big project, but of course Ryeowook as my best friend, he couldn’t be mad at me for long. It’s a short lived anger.
“I’m sorry Ryeong, We have a big proposal and I’m one of the elected engineers.” I explained.
“You should be! Of all people, you shouldn’t miss this party!” He exclaimed, he handed me a wine glass and pleasurably poured me an ample amount of wine, probably trying to get me wasted. It’s his Bachelor’s Party tonight, he’s finally getting married. “You’re my Best Man! Of course you need to be here at the party.” He laughed, I looked at him, he’s still the same even after 17 years since I first saw and met him. He’s gotten more mature and his facial features are more prominent, but deep inside he’s still the same Ryeowook that I fell in love with years ago.
And now, look at him, He’s getting married the day after tomorrow, with the same girl he told me he was dating way back college days. I don’t know why Ryeowook waited for 9 long years to tie the knot but, I just know that he’s happy, they’re both happy and deeply in-love with each other even after all these years.
I am actually not familiar with anyone in the party since most of them are Ryeowook’s colleagues, so I excused myself and went to the balcony, admiring the city-light in front of me as the night breeze blew towards me. I was just enjoying the calm view when I felt someone join me, Ryeowook. Funny how I still know when he’s around even though he’s so quiet.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” He asked as he took a sip on his wine glass.
“Nothing, I just feel out of place inside, I’m still waiting for Hyukjae and Heechul.” Ryeowook nods, silence surrounded us, it’s almost deafening if it weren’t for constant honking below.
“Kyuhyun have you moved on?” He asked, I closed my eyes, I know someday, one way or another, we’ll talk about this. The air around us suddenly thickened, full of tension.
“Why do you ask?” I tried to shake it off, a hint of playfulness in my voice.
“Just answer it.” I inhaled sharply as I breathed out slowly, I didn’t look at him even though I know he’s looking at me. I can’t.
“Yes.” I finally answered. Have you? My subconscious fired back. Yes. For the sake of our friendship, yes.
“You know Kyu, I liked you throughout our High School and early College days, but I figured out, I can’t lose you, I can’t lose my best friend. That’s why I pushed back my feelings and decided to hide it deep down, and I silently moved on.” My brain’s still processing all the words that came outside his mouth, what does that mean?
“What… Ryeowook you liked me?” I finally have the courage to face him, tears are welling up inside my eyes. I feel like my ears are playing me.
“Silly crush, you fool.” He answered. “But when I noticed that you’re also giving in, I immediately stopped, It can’t be, Kyuhyun. That’s why I tried dating other people without telling you, and that’s when I met Ari.” I kept silent. I knew it, I knew it’s never one-sided.
“At first I felt bad because somehow, I was just using Ari to get over with you, but shit, I fell in love with her.” He drank all the remaining wine in his glass. “The reason why I waited almost 10 years before I finally tie the knot with her… is because I wanted to be sure that I really want to spend the rest of my life with her, beside her, with our future children.” He smiled, there’s still a light pain in my chest whenever he say those words pertaining to Ari. I carefully wrapped my arm on his shoulders, he smiled.
“Look.” He pulled something from his pocket, a folded paper. He gave it to me as I slowly opened it, an ultrasound. “She went last week to her ob-gyne, and she’s 4 weeks pregnant. Kyu, I’m going to be a father.” He looked at me, I met his eyes that are sparkling from unshed tears, I felt touched, I hugged him. I know how happy he is, it’s his dream, and it’s finally going to be true.
“Congratulations Ryeong!” I whispered. “You’re gonna be an excellent and loving father to your children and husband to Ari.” I felt tears on my shoulder, I also wanted to cry but I still can’t, I still can’t cry when Ryeowook’s around.
“Ryeowook, I’m happy for you, genuinely happy for you. I know how much you want to have a family of your own, and now look at you, you’re starting now.” I happily exclaimed, he just laughed while he’s still in tears. “Still a crybaby even after 17 years.” I joked, he lightly punched me on the stomach, I enveloped him in a hug when suddenly we heard an achingly familiar voice .
“Look at them, same bromance, Heechul, they won’t change, they will never change.” Someone snickered.
“What’s up Kyuhyun Cho, You son of a bitch!” Heechul smirked as he grabbed my nape and was put in a headlock. I haven’t seen Heechul in years, he’s in New York for 5 years, managing his technology firm there.
“Hey! Let’s go inside, it’s cold out here!” Hyukjae complained.
“You haven’t changed!” I teased him. Hyukjae just made a face, Ryeowook went inside first, followed by Hyukjae, Heechul and me are the only one who stayed outside.
“So how are you?” Heechul asked.
“I’m good.” I replied, but he just gave me a look.
“You know what I meant Kyu.” I know, I know what he meant.
“It’s better this way, Heechul. I am content in what we are now.”
“Do you know the famous saying, ‘In the end, you only regret the chances you didn’t take.’ ?” He asked, I shook my head in response.
“It suits you, very well.” He answered, “Anyway! Let’s go inside! The night is still young!” Heechul exclaimed.
Am I? Do I regret not taking chances in the past? Or was it better this way?