Being a songwriter for as long as he has been, you’d expect him to know how to handle art blocks.
Everyone talks about writing as a way of handling your emotions, but what happens when writing is the cause of your turmoil? What happens when the frustration over the inability to write adds up to everything else already weighing you down? What then?
For Jiyong, it’s this;
Going to the nearby bar and getting tipsy, searching for the closest party currently in progress, going there, drinking more, dancing, finding a random person to make out with – or two. Or five. Drinking more.
Green. Yellow. Red. Red again. Blue. Purple. Red. Red.
The entire space is swaying, rocking like a boat, and Jiyong is having trouble keeping balance on its deck. He tries to walk through the dancing crowd, but the only thing keeping him upright are the bodies he’s slamming against.
Where is the toilet?
He can’t see. He only sees green. Yellow. Red. Blue. Purple. Red. Red. Red…
Jiyong pushes through the door and nearly collapses then and there. Frantically, he grabs onto the nearest sink to hold himself up. He doesn’t know if he is alone or not. He thinks he hears voices, but sounds have become too merged and unrecognizable to tell at that point. It could be the music, the crowd, or someone right next to him.
He doesn’t know.
It doesn’t matter.
He’s in a hurry.
He stumbles to the nearest stall and falls to his knees, hunched over the toilet. The stench makes it all the easier for him to throw up, everything, every single shot he took that night, all the food he hasn’t eaten.
The smell burns his nostrils and he tries to scramble away from it, but he can’t get up. His senses are dull, all of his sensory inputs are getting mixed up and making it impossible to regain balance.
For a second he only sees white and he has no control over his body. He blinks a few times and sees—something—and he stands, gets to the sink, drinks some water.
Then the ground is swept from under his feet again, and he is lying heavily on the cold and filthy tiles. He fears that this time he won’t be able to get up.
It’s as if his eyelids are glued together. The bass is shaking his bones and splitting his skull. He decides not to attempt to stand anymore. He can’t. Everything around him is already a bunch of mush, pudding that he’s floating in.
From the white all around him, a pair of black boots emerges. Jiyong sees them come to a halt a little farther from his face. As the person crouches, a pair of ripped jeans comes into view next. Elbows rested on the knees. A leather jacket.
The man’s voice is as distant as the heavens.
The ground opens up and it feels like he’s falling. Jiyong wants to scream, but he can’t find his voice.
* * *
The pounding in his head is so familiar, it’s almost like home.
But everything else about his waking up is so wildly unfamiliar; it quickly fills Jiyong up with dread. In a panic, he sits up, swinging his feet off the surface he’s been lying on, but immediately gets nauseous and starts swaying. He falls to the side, right onto—someone.
This time, the voice isn’t distant at all. In fact, it’s so close it makes shivers run down Jiyong’s spine.
He pulls back, not overly fond of resting against strangers; especially when he doesn’t know where he is, and yet hasn’t opened his eyes properly.
When he does, his eyes sting and fill with tears, and Jiyong blinks them away. He grabs onto the edge of what he realizes is some sort of cushioned bench that he is sitting on, for balance.
While he waits for the world around him to stop spinning, he keeps his gaze cast downwards. Jiyong makes out the tiles underneath him, the dust in the corner, a napkin with a footprint on it nearby.
A while later he sits up, throws a glance around. Judging by the bright neon signs, little booths with red seats, the bar on the opposite wall and the big windows with promotional writings on them, he is in a diner.
The sun has almost risen. There are still traces of violet, the stars are still clutching onto their light, but the sky is mostly a faint blue.
He turns towards the stranger.
Jiyong isn’t sure if the familiarity he feels towards this person is reality based or not. He thinks he remembers the quirked smile and the lip ring and the bleached hair; but he is also aware that last night he was unconscious and visually overwhelmed. He isn’t sure if he truly saw the man’s face until then, yet it looks familiar.
“You okay?” The blonde asks.
Jiyong grimaces. “Splendid.”
The blonde snorts.
Jiyong abandons the conversation when he feels something stabbing him in the and he pulls out a leather jacket from under himself. It’s the kind with way too many patches, pins and clips, the last likely being what stabbed him.
He stares at it. “This isn’t mine.”
The jacket gets snatched from Jiyong’s hands, and the blonde slips it on. “No. It’s mine,” he says.
“Clearly,” Jiyong says. “It’s hideous.”
He hears laughter on the right, but as he realizes that it isn’t the blonde who’s laughing, he notices someone else present.
They’re about the same age, about the same height. The burnet’s eyes nearly disappeared when he smiled and he was wearing the largest jacket Jiyong has ever seen in his life.
Being a rapper himself, he simply was never able to get behind the hiphop fashion. So unbelievably lumpy and uncoordinated.
“The question is, where’s my jacket?” Jiyong muses.
“I only picked you up from the bathroom floor, there was no jacket,” the blonde says in the calmest voice and the cold irony of it stabs Jiyong right in the gut.
He straightens up. He isn’t used to being sassed by a child.
“Damn. It was Gucci.” He sighs remorsefully. He stands, slowly, careful not to get nauseous again. “Well, goodbye.”
“Wait—” The blonde stands up after him. “Are you good to go on your own?”
Jiyong makes a show of sighing heavily and looking at the blonde under the brow. “Word of advice, kid. You’re no one’s hero. Don’t get your fingers in other people’s pies, or you'll get yourself in trouble.”
The blonde frowns ever so slightly, and slowly crosses his arms. “You mean, don’t ever help anyone, even when they obviously need it?”
“I didn’t need your help. Stay out of people’s business. Goodbye.”
This time Jiyong wastes no time getting out of the diner. As he walks away, he hears the brunet say, not very subtly, “Man what an .”