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even the darkest night turns to day

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hee

how have you been?

i feel like we haven’t talked in forever

 

Jake reads the text over and over again. Heeseung sends him this kind of message once a month, twice if he’s lucky.

 

jake

im ok

 

He’s not lying. Ok is a perfect word to describe how he’s been. He’s cried a normal amount and he’s left the house at least once this month to go to the grocery store. That sounds ok to him.

 

hee

that’s great, jakey!

 

And that’s the end of their monthly conversation. Jake’s not sure if he would want it any other way. He knows Heeseung is his friend and he wants to believe he cares about him. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t check in on him once a month like this, right?

It’s been about three months since Jake cut off any contact with the world. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how he feels. There’s been no reason for him to leave his apartment besides going out for groceries and maybe a library trip if he’s up for it. He does his studies online and his friends are all too busy with their own lives to reach out. Some days he thinks he brought this upon himself.

Jake turns off his phone and trudges into the kitchen, still in his pajamas despite it being the afternoon. He weighs his late lunch options, ramen or some kind of microwaveable stir fry and decides to go with the former. His mind starts to wander as he waits for the water to boil, as it often does when he has nothing to do. He wonders what his friends are up to— Heeseung and Jay who still attend university only twenty minutes away, and Sunoo who moved to a whole different city over the summer. Jake finds himself missing these people often, but he does nothing about it. Instead, he spends his days inside his apartment feeling bad for himself.

Sitting on the couch with a bowl of ramen perched carefully on his knee, Jake scratches behind his dog, Layla’s ears and pretends to watch some YouTube video on his tv. It’s something he’s already watched, just background noise for him to eat to so he feels less alone in his small apartment. Layla nuzzles against his leg like she knows he’s hurting, or maybe she just wants his ramen.

His three library books sit on the coffee table in front of him, all read through and waiting to be returned. He’d finished them the same week he checked them out, but he hasn’t been up to making the trip across town to the library. Maybe he could go tomorrow, he could swing by the store too— he’s getting low on coffee again.

“You’ll be okay if I go out tomorrow, right?” He asks Layla, voice hushed like he’s afraid of someone else hearing. Layla’s big eyes stare back at him as if to say why are you asking me?