I met Kim Taehyung in middle school. He was slightly shorter than me with bright brown eyes and newly dyed orange hair. We looked quite alike (as funny as that sounded as he was incredibly handsome) and that was the reason we talked at first. He was brave, out–spoken, talented and at times weird when he was curious about something. I found that quite endearing, to be honest. I always felt drawn towards him as weird as it may sound. It felt like there was an invisible string pulling me towards him.
We were always together and I’m not even kidding. We walked to school together, went to the cafe near school and then walked back home. On the weekends, we would skate in the ice rink, he would help me out with Taekwondo or I would just sit by him as he sketched on the banks of the Han River.
We became best friends and were inseparable. We were always there for each other through thick and thin. He was my shoulder to cry on whenever I argued with my mom. I was there to help him when the academic pressure got too much for him so that he didn’t have any 2 a.m panic attacks. He knew me, he understood me, more than anyone else in this gigantic world and I did the same for him. At least, I hope I did.
Somewhere between that, I fell in love with him. I remember the internal struggle I had before I accepted my sexuality. During that inner turmoil, I realised that I was pansexual and it kinda made sense why I was so attracted to him and my previous crushes. I never really cared about gender. All that mattered to me was the person. Taehyung had an amazing personality and despite his flaws, he always had a positive attitude towards everything. But there was still one problem.
Did he even like me that way?
It was in the sophomore year of high school when it happened and it finally came down to that fateful day at his room in his house. We were sitting face to face with her watching intently.
“Before I tell you anything, I want to say that you are allowed to hate me if I make you uncomfortable,” I said, looking down at my sweaty hands that rested on my lap.
“Don’t be silly, Kookie.” he giggled. “I don’t think there is anything in this world that make me hate you. Just tell me.”
I let out a breath. “I’m in love with you, Taehyungie hyung and I’m really sorry if I disgust you. We are both boys and I know it’s weird as fuck for you and I’m sure you don’t even that way above me.” I said as my eyes burned with unshed tears. “I am just– fuck, I am so sorry for this.”
His hand reached out to wipe the tears straining my face. His touch made me look up at her and he was smiling with tears streaming down his face. “Oh, Kookie, I love you too. I love you so fucking much, you have no idea.” Taehyung laughed through his tears. “You don’t even know how relieved I am to hear that you feel the same way.”
“You do?” I said, my voice laced with skepticism.
“Of course, I do, pabo.” he laughed as our lips sealed in a soft kiss.
He was my first kiss, my first date, my first everything and he was also my first heartbreak.
Two months before our graduation, he received an opportunity to move to New York City to pursue his dream to be a fashion designer. I supported him to accept the offer even though he was reluctant. I didn’t want to regret later in life that he didn’t go to NYC just because he did not want to leave me. That would have hurted a thousand times more.
With him, I learned that being the first always doesn’t guarantee to be the last. It never does. Our separation wasn’t bad, our love was beautiful and honest. There was no cheating between us but it was just sad. So we let it go even if we loved each other because distance and time wasn’t something our young hearts could handle.
People said first love didn’t last long and it didn’t last in our case as well but my first love would forever remain as a beautiful memory and experience.
It was in my sophomore year of college when I met Kim Seokjin. He was in his final year and was about to graduate. I was star-struck the first time I saw him. He had shiny blonde hair, mesmerizing almond eyes with a button nose and a cute smile. We were introduced by our common friend, Hoseok.
He was so handsome that I didn’t know what to do with myself at first and it was great that he had an equally amazing personality to go with it. We immediately hit it off and by the end of the night, we had each other’s numbers and a promise to have coffee later.
I didn’t fall in love with Jin at first sight, rather it was something that happened gradually and steadily. We met for coffee several times, went on walks around the campus, had lunch together and texted each at ass o’clock in the morning.
We eventually made it official that we were dating, which was received with an enthusiastic response from our friends, Jimin, Hoseok and Yoongi. It was amazing to have Jin as a boyfriend. It felt like I had a boyfriend, best friend and a hyung all in one. He taught me many things about life and he made me brave. He gave me all the support I needed while showering me with love.
After my graduation and almost two years into our relationship, we moved in together. We both found our dream jobs and we were happy. We made plans about our future together. How many rooms we were going to have in our dream, our wedding, our honeymoon in Juju, how many children we were going to have and the pets we were going to adopt.
Jin was perfect, everything was perfect. We have been together for 6 years, it was perfect until it wasn’t anymore. It was when we became too busy, too busy to achieve success, too busy to get promotions, too busy to spend time together. It was perfect until one of us fell out of love.
It wasn’t me but him. I was still very much in love with him as I was 6 years ago but he wasn’t anymore. It was one day he confessed that he fell in love with his co–worker named Namjoon. It wasn’t intentional on his part and no, they weren’t together but Jin wanted them to be. He didn’t want to cheat so he came clean about his newfound feelings.
“I just want to be honest with you, Jeonggukie. I’m really sorry this happened. Trust me, I didn’t mean to.” Jin sighed, looking at his feet. “I respect you way too much to cheat on you. I just– I don’t love you like before. I didn’t even realise when I fell out of love.”
So I let go, I let him go. I wanted to fight for him but what was the point of fighting for someone who didn’t even want me anymore. Jin then moved out of our apartment after a few days as he already found himself a new place. I was just left sitting on our couch thinking, “Where did I go wrong?” “Where did my love lacked?” I felt as if my soul had been crushed with no way of fixing it.
After Seokjin, I lost my faith in love. There was no such thing as love. It was an illusion that humans created, nothing more. I drowned myself in my work and my love life? I only had flings and one–night stands. This was better. This way I wouldn’t be hurt less.
I heard of him coming back to Seoul from Mrs. Kim while I was in the Kim Barbeque Resturant. Taehyung was coming back. After ten long, long years, he was going to be here in a month’s time.
“Is he staying permanently or..?” my voice trailed after that.
“Oh no, he is back for good!” Tae-Im exclaimed. “He told me that he was going to change the headquarters of his brand to Seoul and stay here to...” I stopped listening after that. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I couldn’t wait to see him.
I didn’t see him until three days after his arrival. I was swarmed with work for the last two weeks and I also had an important meeting on the day he came back. I desperately craved some delicious korean barbeque and it was a perfect excuse to see him — not that I needed one in the first place. I walked into the resturant in black skinny jeans and a navy blue dress shirt paired with black boots. I knew I looked good and I wasn’t trying to impress Taehyung or anything. Pfft, who does that?
“Ah Jeongguk-ya, you are here!” Tae-Im said, making her way from the counter to give me a hug. “We missed you a lot in the past few weeks. Are you staying to have some barbeque with us?”
“I was really busy with work, Mrs. Kim and I’d love to have some barbeque. You know me too well.” I smiled. She knows me well even more than my mother most times.
“Taehyung! Get down here!” Jaehoon, Taehyung’s father shouted. “Someone is here to see you.” The Kim's had their own apartment upstairs which was very spacious as they owned quite a large resturant.
Then I heard him. “Coming, appa!” She sounded the same soft yet had a deep baritone to his voice. I heard his rapid footsteps as he made her way down. “Who is here to..?” His voice trailed as our eyes made contact.
“Jeonggukie?” he gasped.
“Tae-hyung.” I smiled softly. Within two strides, he had me enveloped in his arms.
“I missed you so much.” he murmured against my ear. I wrapped my arms tighter around him. “Me too.”
I ended up spending the whole night at the Kims’. Taehyung and I spent the whole night talking as laid side by side in his childhood bed.
We talked so much as we rediscovered ourselves. He was the same yet different, more mature. He told me about his career for the last ten years, his ups and downs, his overwhelming success with his brand and how he eventually grew out of his clumsiness. We shared a laugh on that one. I told him about mine minus the ‘Sockjin fiasco’, Yugyeom, my co-worker, closest friend and confidant, had aptly named it. I left the restaurant and Taehyung more satisfied than ever and with a promise to meet at ‘usual cafe’ for coffee.
We continued to meet on the weekends and even during the weekdays as much as our jobs would allow. We spent hours talking in the cafe, walked in the park near her parents’ restaurant, went ice skating in the ice rink and sat in ‘our’ spot near the river Han.
He made me feel alive again.
He made me happy again.
He made me smile again.
Most of all, he made me fall in love with him all over again. I don’t think I stopped in the first place.
It was during one of our usual walks in the park, when it happened. He was walking slightly ahead of me and then suddenly turned around. I was perplexed as he slowly took my hand in his
“Jeongguk, I wish everyday would be like this. Every moment I spent with you would be like this,” he smiled. “I don’t want us to continue where we left off because it wouldn’t be fair to either of us. We are just different people now, we grew up from our awkward fifteen year old selves. You make me feel alive, make me feel happy again and this past month that I have spent with you has been the happiest I have ever been. Jeon Jeongguk, will you give me the honour of being my boyfriend, pretty please?”
Of course, I said yes. How could I not? He was everything I ever wanted, I hoped for. We moved in together a year into our relationship and adopted a little pomeranian named Yeontan. We tied the knot two years after that. It wasn’t until two more years later that we decided to expand our little family of three. We adopted a little girl of one year called Minsoo.
Taehyung made me the happiest I ever was and ever could fathom to be.
Taehyung was my light in the darkness.
My First Love, my Hopeful Love and my Forever Love, Kim Taehyung.