SEOUL CITY MEDICAL CENTER (OFF CAMERA)
I opened my eyes, and I was oblivious at first. But then, everything came rushing back. Slowly but surely, the reality bit me again in ways that I desperately avoided all this time. The elder's punishment to me, Jiyong's sacrifice to save me, our conversation, his apologies... The past events swallowed my sanity, and my once stabilized emotions were thrown into shambles again.
Suddenly, I wasn't calm and oblivious in this very moment.
"You disappointed me very much, Jiyong," I heard my father's somber voice. When I searched for him, I found them all at the foot of my bed. My parents were there, and so was Jiyong, head bowed at my mother and father. "You shouldn't have said or done things that enabled her anxieties. You know very well how sensitive she is when it comes to you."
My father's reprimands of him reminded me how they had the same conversation years ago when I first experienced an emotional breakdown. It wasn't all Jiyong's fault, yet he played a very big role on how and why I became severely ill. Physically... mentally... emotionally...
There on the hospital bed, as I pretended to be unconscious while listening to my parents talk to him, the painful memories from three to four years ago crawled back in my senses...
One by one... excruciatingly... painfully...
August 19, 2010
"She's nothing to me baby. She and Seunghyun hyung hit it off. The picture of that kiss was a stupid misangling. I just kissed her cheek!"
That was the first draw. He met her on his 23rd birthday. His friends in Japan threw him a birthday bash, a wild one at that. That was one of the many social events he attended that I never felt comfortable with. His Japanese friends were wild and crazy, liberal and intimidating, and they changed Jiyong in so many ways that ate up all my self-esteem and trust in him. How I wish I attended that party. Maybe if I was there, she wouldn't have entered his life and wrecked my sanity.
"Everyone was drunk during his birthday party in Japan. Nothing happened between them!" Hyoyeon explained to me, because she was the only SNSD member to attend Jiyong's birthday party. "He was just introduced to that Japanese model. Tabi oppa went home with her."
Back to reality, I watched as Jiyong kneeled to the ground and bowed respectfully to my parents, exactly as he did many times in the past when he asked for their forgiveness.
"I'm sorry Kim umma and Kim appa. I didn't expect to meet her inside the house. If I had the choice, I would have prevented it. The last thing I would do is hurt her again."
He did the same thing countless times in the past, but my parents and I were unforgiving. Until one day, Kwon Jiyong eventually stopped seeking our forgiveness. Up to this day, I still resented him for stopping, even if he chased me for a whole year.
No one really could blame me and my parents for taking so long to forgive him. Following his first meeting with her, they eventually became friends, partying and hanging out with the same social circle, giving me reasons after reasons to be jealous and paranoid.
October 15, 2010
"They share the same crowd here in Japan. It can't be helped for them to hang out together. What's important is you are here in her birthday party because you are your boyfriend's plus one," Tiffany reminded me as we both watched her and Jiyong drink together, talking happily to one another on the next table.
Having heard of Jiyong's suspicious closeness to that one petite model, I started accepting invitations to his social gatherings in Japan, wild as they were. I was never jealous of Jiyong's previous female friends, but this time it was different. I researched about her, and I didn't like what I knew. She slept around. She partied and did drugs. And she had an open admiration for both T.O.P and G-dragon.
"Man, that girl's pretty wild, huh?" Jessica observed. She was Tyler Kwon's plus one tonight. "She can't keep her hands off the guys. Fine, it's her birthday party, but chill down girl!"
That night was my first time meeting her, and her behavior confirmed my right to be paranoid. She was all over so many men, but her closeness with Jiyong rubbed me the wrong way. How can a decent woman dance so provocatively with a man whose girlfriend was there to witness her?
"She's half-American and raised Japanese. Her liberal mind is something conservative Korean women would never embrace in a lifetime," Lee Soohyuk explained to us, and that did not help at all.
Because knowing and confirming the kind of woman Mizuhara Kiko was aggravated my already unstable mind. It pushed me to the edge of mental and emotional stability.
Now four years later, here I was in the hospital, possibly suffering from a relapse. It was like a cycle that repeated, as I watched my parents beg Jiyong to stop making things worse. I hoped to God this wasn't a relapse. I couldn't go through the hell that was 2011.
"Please set our daughter free from the past, Jiyong. As her mother, I humbly beg of you. You already hurt her enough."
December 31, 2011
"The kiss was a dare! It meant nothing!" he desperately explained to me, but I was still crying, shouting and throwing things at him.
Once again, he gave me a reason to be jealous and hurt. He kissed Kiko on the lips. For many weeks, he asked for my forgiveness, explaining and begging for my acceptance. However, all I did was freak out, and I was unable to calm down.
It didn't help that 2010's rigid SNSD promotions in Korea and Japan took a toll on my mental health. SM greatly overworked me and the girls, causing our physical health to deteriorate. The lack of sleep, daily flights, and strict diet, made me vulnerable to a mental illness.
Then Kiko came to my life, fully poking the bear.
"I was there Taeng. It was a childish game," Tiffany reasoned out to me another time. "They weren't the only one who kissed. I ing kissed Choi Seunghyun and it meant nothing to me too!"
It had been a week since I last saw and heard from my then boyfriend. He was in Japan, I was in Thailand. When he came back to Korea, I was in China. Then when he followed me in China, I went to Japan. There was no way to meet.
One day, the source of the problem came to me. Mizuhara Kiko visited me in one of our performances in Japan. For the first time, she actually addressed my months-lasting jealousy.
"Hi Miss Kim. I heard you and Jiyong are having problems. Please do not misunderstand. We kissed on New Year's eve because of a dare. I mean, I kissed three men and two women that same night. It meant nothing to anyone, I swear!"
Yet her audacity to talk to me in such casual manner only fueled my anger.
Up to this day, I could still recall how Kiko lied to me point blank. That same night, she told me the kiss meant nothing to her. All lies. Later on I would find out that she had fallen in love with my boyfriend since they first met each other.
"Please tell me what I can do to earn your forgiveness again," Jiyong asked of my parents in the present time.
"Stay inside the House of 20's," appa answered, also surprising me.
"What?!" Jiyong asked, shocked. "Why? W-what for Mr. Kim?"
Mr. Kim. He used to call him appa too. Those were the days of the past.
"You both need to stay and learn to live together in this world. That is the only way Taeyeon can begin truly moving on."
How do I live in a world with the man who wrecked me, inside and out? The man who broke my heart, over, and over, and over again... This was a relapse. Seeing Jiyong again, being reminded of the things they did to me, they put back my years of therapy and recovery in the back burner. I got scared at the impending anxiety and depression that was going to impair me again at the present time.
February 14, 2011
"She got drunk last night and I took her home. I couldn't leave a passed out woman, who's half-, in a club!"
Great. Finding Kiko's clothing in his apartment was just the Valentine's gift I deserved.
"You just have to believe me! Nothing happened between us!" he explained. By that time, he'd began to sound like a broken record.
Every single time he went back from Japan, I would always find out things that they did together. It came to a point that knowing his Japanese schedules traumatized me. I became an unbearable paranoid who got overly jealous and possessive. I knew that I choked his neck, and that I sounded whiny to our friends, but that's the only way I could deal.
It also came to a point when Kiko's friends came to defend the two of them. Why did it suddenly feel like Jiyong's Japanese crowd was covering up for them?
"Hi Taeyeon, my name is Yulia. I was also in Jiyong's apartment last night. Kiko and I got really wasted, and your gentleman of a boyfriend took care of us. Don't be such a jelly, girl!"
I hated them.
Remembering how much anger and hatred a harbored for Jiyong, Kiko, and their friends, it made me run out of breath again now. I felt another anxiety coming. I got even more scared and panicky that Jiyong would be here to witness it. The memories became overwhelming, and I wanted to send him away.
"U-umma?" I called out, almost in a whisper.
The three of them looked back at me and noticed that I was awake. They all came rushing to me, and my mom came to my bedside.
"Yes dear? Do you need anything?" she gently asked, kissing my forehead. "Why did you wake up so fast? Go back to sleep and rest longer."
"Hi Taeyeon," Jiyong greeted, and I felt suffocated. It was as if his sudden proximity took out all the air from me. "I h-hope you're feeling better."
"Why are you here? You should be in the h-house," I said, and I heard the panic in my voice.
"Don't talk too much my child. You will get tired," appa said, coming in front of Jiyong, as if distancing him from me. But Jiyong was intent to get his points across.
Jiyong said, "I wanted to see you, make sure you were alright. I'm really sorry--"
"Get out. Please," I cut him off. I saw the surprise in his eyes, as well as my parents'.
Then the air ran out, my heartbeat started running so fast, beyond my ability to handle it. The tears came torrentially, and the memories replayed in my mind.
The worst memory of them all. The scene that caused me distress every time I remembered it. That one night when my heart broke into million pieces.
I've always wondered if my heart has since been repaired. Maybe the individual and group therapies, the counseling, the medications, the skills practice, maybe they already made it whole again. I really believed that. The months passed, and the PTSD attacks distressed me less and less, even if I recalled that scene. So I truly believed I have been healed.
Until now, when Jiyong's existence in front of me, and my recollection of how he broke my heart, caused the post-traumatic stress to come back.
March 09, 2011
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"I know you're in there. Youngbae said you would be here..."
I called and knocked from outside his apartment door. My birthday, 03091989, didn't work as his security passcode anymore.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"It's my birthday today. D-did you forget? You didn't, right? You wouldn't."
This was the first time in five years that he didn't greet me, hug me, and give me a birthday gift on the 9th of March. Seungri assured me that he received the invite to my party, and yet the night passed without his presence. It hurt that he would miss my birthday. But then again, he'd been chasing me since last month -- 22 days to be exact. I asked for a breakup on the 15th of February, tired of all the Kiko dramas.
I just never thought he'd give up the chase that fast. In my heart, I held on the belief that he would make a grand gesture to ask for my forgiveness on my birthday.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
"I know you didn't forget. Can we t-talk? Can that be your 23rd birthday present to me?"
Have you given up? Please don't. Not when I already believe you. I said to myself. I still held on to my faith in him. Maybe, behind the doors would be the grand gesture that would reunite us.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Still, nothing. Maybe he was asleep. Maybe he was out. I eventually slid to the ground, my back on his door. I wanted to stay until he came back, or woke up. I didn't want another day to pass without talking to him.
"I just came to tell you I miss you so, so, so, so, so, very, very, very much. I never stopped thinking about you and l-loving you," I continued talking, as if he could hear me, as if he was there. I didn't even consider that there could be paparazzi or sasaengs who could hear me.
"...please, open up. I really want to see you... and talk to you..."
Beep. Finally, Youngbae responded to my message, confirming if Jiyong was really home.
He should be there. His new passcode is 88918081.
So he changed it to the jumbled letters of his birthday. For years, he kept his housing passcode related to me. Knowing that he changed it to something completely unrelated to me brought about a fear. A fear that he already gave up...
I entered the house, hoping he was there, hoping it wasn't too late to repair our relationship.
"Jiyong? Hello?" I called out.
He wasn't in the living or dining room, not in the kitchen or veranda. My last chance was his very own bedroom, and I approached it with a heavy heart. I wanted so much for him to be there. I desperately wanted us to reconcile.
But as I opened his bedroom door and called his name, the sight behind pushed me the lowest point of my life.
There, on his bed, he was sprawled. . Sweating. And certainly not alone. Because on top of him, straddling his pelvic area, was a woman who was half-.
No... no way...
"T-Taeng? Oh !" he reacted dramatically upon seeing me, getting up and pushing the woman away.
You wouldn't... You didn't...
"Let me explain babe..." he immediately explained, getting on his feet to approach me.
How could you?
"Please don't misunderstand!" he cried out, holding my two arms, looking at me. But I was frozen, unable to mutter a single word. "I don't want to hurt you babe. This was stupid. I was stupid. I only love you!"
I already forgave you...
"Taeyeon, speak up. Please," he begged of me, tears in his eyes as he shook my body and embraced me.
But as he locked me in his arms and kissed the top of my head, I only felt more frozen, as if I was unable to move or talk. I felt chills run down my spine as the vision of the two of them was stuck in my mind. I couldn't unsee or unhear it all. I was still and muted.
"I shouldn't be here," I heard her say. She was no other than Mizuhara Kiko. "I'm s-sorry..."
I didn't have to look at her to realize she was dressing up, hurrying to leave. Jiyong ignored her, and instead just embraced me tighter.
"I'll talk to you later Jiyong. G-goodbye." Then she was gone.
"I'm really sorry hon. Please forgive me," Jiyong whispered, but still I was speechless and immobilized.
I already believed you...
My mind was talking very loudly, but my mouth was frozen and disabled.
"God this was a mistake! I didn't ing mean it. She's nothing to me! I want you!" he cried in my arms, embracing me so tight that it already hurt. "I want only you and no one else! I want you back in my life. P-please... don't let this ruin us..."
I wanted you back in my life too...
"Talk to me baby. P-please..."
Then, there it was.
It was easier to be in the darkness than to exist in that very painful reality. I never thought that such emotional state, such traumatic sight, could make me lose consciousness. Yet it did that night. I fainted in his arms, and beginning that night, my mental illness got the best of me.
I remembered it clearly as if it only happened yesterday. Over the years, I've learned to handle my distress through skills and medication. That specific memory affected me less and less, until it never affected me at all. But how could everything change after meeting Jiyong in the house again? Now, recalling them in that position caused me difficulty breathing once more.
I struggled for air, and my heart beat was giving me an even harder experience in my own body. The panic was uncontrollable.
"Taeyeon? Oh my God! Call the doctors!" umma cried out upon seeing my struggle.
"Taeng..." Jiyong's worried voice echoed, but it only caused me more distress.
"It's okay my baby. Mom's just here."
"I'm s-sorry Taeyeon," Jiyong muttered, crying now.
"Just go and call the doctors Jiyong!"
"M-mom..." I did my best to call her.
"Umma's here. Just relax baby. Breathe in and out. Remember, you can fight this! You've fought this before, right? Just think of the happy memories..."
But the painful memories drowned all the happy ones, and I was once more in the darkest pit.
"S-send him a-away... P-please... I don't want to see him anymore... Don't let him come back..."
"I don't love you anymore, and I know you don't love me anymore."
"I'm in love with Baekhyun, and you're in love with Kiko."
"I want a future with Baekhyun, and I sincerely wish you and Kiko a happy life together."
"And I... I've forgiven you..."