16.5: Extra

Yooji: Love is War

               Every time I would see a family in which the child had a striking resemblance to their mother and the obvious strong bond they shared, I’d then wonder how was it like to also be raised by the person you had been born to.

               Was it happier?

               Was it warmer?

               Would I be able to feel what people called mother-daughter connection?

               For instance, if I was facing a problem, could she sense it right away even without words being said as if she had a telepathic ability?

               Would I also be scolded for being a naughty kid?

               If I scratched my knee for playing too much, would I also get ice cream and hear comforting words after?

               Or whenever I couldn’t sleep at night, would I also experience being read bedtime stories with the most tender voice until I fall asleep?

               These things that the majority of children had experienced were all alien to me.

                That was why I hated it so much when we were being tasked to write something about our mothers in school.

               It was not possible in my case.

               I would always get a big fat zero.

               Because my biological mother left me the moment I was out of her womb.

               I was discarded like an object.

               No mercy.

               I was told that her reason was she had no means to raise me for she was poor who could provide only for herself.

               I had no place in her life.

               Nor had she planned to have me from the beginning.

               I was a mistake.

               A product of infidelity my father and the former maid of the Kim family committed.

               Shameless.

               Both of them.

               I had never seen her even once in my life.

               My father also refused to talk about her.

               I don’t even know what her name was and I think it was better that way. Because if I don’t know her name, then there would also be no attachment.

               I wouldn’t want to feel any kind of emotion toward someone I do not know.

               I don’t even hate her.

               She doesn’t deserve to occupy my mind and heart.

               She was just an existence I acknowledged as someone who birthed me into this world.

               Nothing more, nothing less.

               The ‘mother’ that I had right now was the legal wife.

               Despite being a living reminder of her husband’s unfaithfulness, she never treated me badly. Though, I wouldn’t say that she treated me well either.

               I’d say, she just had no choice because I was already here and as a child of her husband, she felt obligated to accept me.

               As for love, I never received that from her.

               Even then, I was still thankful for everything she had done for me. Especially because she was the one who gave birth to my two half-siblings who dearly loved me just as much as I loved them.

               Taeyeon and Minjeong.

               If there was anyone who I considered as my only family, it was them.

               They never made me feel that I was a mistake like I claimed myself to be.

               They made me feel that I belong.

               Tae who was years older than us spoiled Mj and me as children.

               She would always buy us stuff that we wanted.

               “Tae, I want the new ps3 game.”

               “Again?”

               “Yeah. What’s it called again, Rj?”

               “Fallout 3.”

               “You heard that? I want it tomorrow, okay?”

               “What—”

               “Thanks, sis!”

               She would take us to places just because we were bored in our home.

               “Is it me or does the time feel so slow today?”

               “You’re not the only one.”

               “Why do you think that is?”

               “Because we aren’t doing anything.”

               “You know what? You’re right.”

               “I know. I’m always right.”

               “What do we do?”

               “That’s easy, Rj.”

               “Huh?”

               “Hey, Tae.”

               “What?”

               “Take us somewhere exciting!”

               “All of a sudden?”

               “Rj and I are bored, right?”

               “Yes, that’s right.”

               “You two are such a pain in the .”

               She would cook delicious food for us when she wasn’t busy.

               “Since I have already finished my requirements, I will be the one to cook for you two for tonight. Anything you guys want to eat?”

               “Guobarou!”

               “Anything that is spicy and savory.”

               “Alright, kids. Sit tight and watch me make the best version of your favorites.”

               But never did she tolerate us if we did something bad.

               Mj specifically.

               She was like... a devil in disguise.

               When we were in primary school, she would always get in trouble for punching the boys in our class in the face.

               “I heard what you did in school today, Mj.”

               “Oh, really?”

               “Why did you do it?”

               “It’s their fault.”

               “How was it their fault?”

               “Because their faces were so ugly it was getting on my nerves.”

               “You broke their noses for that reason?!”

               “As I said, it’s their fault. They should undergo severe plastic surgery or something.”

               “Minjeong!”

               She was also a heartbreaker.

               My sister was attractive so it was inevitable people would be smitten with her.

               Too bad for them she was never interested in the idea of romance and would reject the girls who would confess to her in the harshest way possible. The poor girls could only run away while bawling their eyes out.

               “Your teacher informed me that you made a lot of girls cry today.”

               “It’s their fault for thinking they had even the slightest chance with me.”

               “Mj, I didn’t raise you to be someone who would trample on other people’s feelings.”

               “I didn’t trample on their feelings. I just stated the truth.”

               “What truth? That they are snotty brats who read too many corny romance novels that they turned into hopeless romantic idiots?”

               “Yes, that.”

               “Goodness, Mj! That is so wrong!”

               “I’m never wrong, Tae.”

               “Oh my god.”

               Mj, cunning ever since she was born, would just display her puppy eyes and our dearest older sister would forget why she was mad in the first place.

               Talk about being weak.

               In my case, she was more gentle with me.

               I rarely misbehaved, after all.

               And probably also because of my predicament.

               She was aware of her mother’s indifference toward me, that was why she would always come into my room to comfort me in every way that she could.

               “Rj, sorry about my mother. I don’t know why she’s like that around you.”

               “It’s fine, Tae. It doesn’t bother me.”

               “But it does bother me. I don’t like how she’s treating you.”

               “It’s understandable. I am her husband’s child from another woman.”

               “And whatever our father did isn’t your fault, Rj. It is not right for mom to direct whatever negativity she is feeling to you.”

               “I know.”

               “So, don’t say it is understandable because it isn’t.”

               “Okay...”

               “Listen Rj, you should never settle for less. If you believe that you don’t deserve what you are receiving, then demand more.”

               “Thank you, Tae. I’ll remember that.”

               “That’s my girl.”

               She was like a mother figure to me.

               Someone I admired deeply.

               The best older sister I could ever ask for.

               Mj and I were the same age with her being a few months older.

               We had a lot of similarities despite our differing personalities which I had always found fascinating.

               Hobbies.

               Since we were both musicians, it became a normal occurrence for us to play the piano and the violin together when we had nothing better to do.

               “Rj, you busy?”

               “Not really, why?”

               “Would you like to play this piece with me?”

               “What piece?”

               “Nocturne in C sharp minor.”

               “Oh, Chopin?”

               “Yes.”

               “Alright.”

               Our love for mystery novels.

               Actually, I had come to like it because of her.

               I used to wonder what was so entertaining in the books she was reading so I got curious and tried reading one myself.

               I got hooked instantly.

               “I have a question, Rj.”

               ”What is it?”

               “What’s your favorite work of Conan Doyle?”

               “A Study in Scarlet.”

               “I can see why. It is a memorable masterpiece since it marked Holmes’ first appearance.”

               “How about you?”

               “The Sign of the Four.”

               “That’s highly regarded throughout the world.”

               “Most probably because it tackles how wealth makes people do bad things.”

               “It reflects the reality of this world, in other words.”

               “Exactly.”

               Music which our father introduced to us.

               Mj’s the type who could learn every instrument she laid her hands on with ease. That’s why even though she preferred violin, she still learned the piano for me so she could serve as my mentor.

               In the middle of practices, she’d always try to crack dad jokes that I really appreciated because I knew she was only doing that to lessen the pressure that I was feeling.

               “Why did Mozart get annoyed of his chickens?”

               “Why?”

               “Because they kept saying, “Bach, Bach, Bach”.”

               “...”

               “Mj...”

               “What?”

               “Your humor’s drier than the Sahara desert.”

               Dancing.

               She had always loved dancing and she was very good at it. Watching her had always been captivating. The way she moved and made every choreography look easy that it became the reason for me to try dancing as well.

               “Do you think I’d do well?”

               “That’s for sure. You’re my sister, after all.”

               “Will you guide me?”

               “Rj, I will teach you everything I know.”

               “Really?”

               “Of course.”

               And the list goes on.

               We were like two peas in a pod.

               We were often mistaken as twins and Minjeong would always confirm it as a fact and I would always just go along with her.

               At first, I thought the reason was that she wanted to trick people.

               But I realized, that’s not it.

               I was stupid for thinking she was only doing it for fun.

               Mj was naughty, but she doesn’t do things just for the sake of doing it.

               She knew people would get suspicious.

               Mj and I were born in the same year which was impossible to happen if we weren’t twins.

               She doesn’t want people to know that I was an illegitimate child.

               I thought because she was ashamed.

               I thought lowly of her.

               It turned out she was just protecting me.

               We were a prominent family in the field of medicine.

               She was aware of how harsh the people around us could be.

               And she doesn’t want me to hear awful words and receive nasty stares because of something I had no control of.

               Mj was a mischievous kid.

               A brat.

               But when it came to me, she was the warmest person.

               Unlike Tae, Mj was very vocal about her dislike toward her mother’s behavior around me. She’d say anything she wanted to say without filter.

               “Mom, why didn’t you include Rj in this photo?”

               “Honey, she was busy playing with other kids.”

               “No, she wasn’t. She was beside me the whole time!”

               “Mj—”

               “I know what you are doing Mom and I want you to stop it.”

               My heart would just swell in gratefulness every time she does things for me.

               She was the best.

               My partner in crime.

               I swore I’d do anything for her happiness.

               Even if at the cost of mine.

               Growing up, we almost never fight.

               We get along really well.

               Well, except for her attitude toward other people.

               I was always there to apologize on her behalf to avoid getting herself into trouble.

               It was a pain at times.

               There was this one time when we met a pretty girl at a party our family held for the grand opening of one of the many branches of our hospital.

               She was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.

               And the fact that she was holding a book made the want to approach her almost unbearable.

               So I did.

               She initially seemed hesitant to talk to me, but when I showed her the cheeky smile Tae was weak for, I saw how her shoulders visibly relaxed.

               Success.

               I learned that her name’s Jimin.

               She was a hundred times prettier up close.

               I knew she was intelligent with the way she talked.

               Formal.

               It felt like I was talking to an adult.

               I was intimidated, but the growing admiration in my chest was much stronger.

               And when she smiled at me, I knew I was ready to risk it all for her.

               But Mj came into the picture.

               She called Jimin stupid.

               I had never been so fast to apologize for her misbehavior.

               Thankfully, Jimin was a kind person.

               She didn’t make a big deal out of it.

               “I like her.”

               “What?”

               “I said, I like her.”

               “But you called her stupid.”

               “She offended me.”

               “In what way did she offend you?”

               “She called someone that isn’t Sherlock Holmes the best detective all of time.”

               “You’re so childish, Mj.”

               “Besides, she kept on ignoring me. I was there the whole time, but she was only looking at you.”

               “So you called her stupid?”

               “It was effective since I got her attention.”

               “You’re unbelievable.”

               “I like her, Rj.”

               “This is the first time you met her.”

               “You’re wrong.”

               “What do you mean?”

               “This isn’t the first time.”

               She was smiling.

               A genuine smile that was rare even for me to see.

               That’s when I knew.

               That I had to do what I had sworn to myself before.

               Do everything to make her happy.

               That’s why I squashed the tiniest of feelings I had for Jimin.

               And prevented myself from having any kind of close interactions with her.

               Because I knew it would be really hard to stick to my promise if I didn’t.

               But Jimin Yoo was irresistible.

               Even more so when puberty hit her like a truck.

               Beautiful was no longer enough to describe her.

               So, there were instances that I would fail to control myself.

               Like that one when she placed second in the Math Quiz Bee.

               I tried to congratulate her.

               She deserved it for almost beating my sister.

               But Mj got in the way.

               So, I backed off.

               That one incident in the cafeteria.

               I really wanted to help her then.

               It was obvious she couldn’t walk on her own.

               But Mj got in the way.

               So, I backed off.

               When I saw her outside the music room.

               How I told her I prefer her bare face.

               Because it was true.

               In the library when I called her beautiful for the first time.

               She blushed.

               I didn’t know she was cute too.

               A guy tried to make a move on her that same day.

               He’s got guts, I’d give him that.

               Unfortunately, Jimin was meant only for Mj.

               So, I stepped in and blocked his advances.

               That was the least I could do.

               To make sure she would end up with my sister.

               Even though, I knew to myself my feelings for her never disappeared.

               Because Mj deserved Jimin more than I do.

               What I feel for her was nothing to what Mj does for her.

               She truly loves Jimin.

               However, I began to doubt things that one night I saw Jimin in our home.

               I knew she disliked Mj.

               What I didn’t was that she liked someone else.

               Mj appeared, claiming that Jimin was her girlfriend.

               How was that possible if she doesn’t feel the same way?

               Typical Mj.

               It was obvious she was just messing with her, so I didn’t say anything.

               After she brought Jimin home, I went inside her room to confront her about it.

               “I think it is about time you stop pursuing Jimin.”

               She stared at me weirdly.

               “Quit it with the nonsense, Rj.”

               “Do you think I don’t notice?”

               “Notice what?”

               “That you are hurting.”

               A chuckle escaped her lips.

               “What are you saying?”

               “You might be good in hiding your feelings, but I know you better than anyone else. I grew up with you, Mj.”

               “I won’t stop, Rj.”

               She was determined.

               Her decision was final.

               “She’s hurting you.”

               “No, she’s not.”

               “You didn’t look like this earlier.”

               No reply.

               “She probably said something hurtful to you.”

               “It doesn’t matter.”

               “It does! She’s hurting you!”

               “I love her.”

               I eyed her with an incredulous look on my face.

               “Are you serious?”

               “Are you saying I should hate her instead because she’s the cause of my pain?”

               “Wha—”

               “Did she force me to be in love with her?”

               “...”

               “She didn’t,” she answered her own question. “I only have myself to blame for this excruciating pain in my chest every time I am reminded of that I foolishly fell in love with someone who will never love me back.”

               I didn’t say anything more.

               I let it go.

               Mj was brilliant.

               But she was a fool when it comes to love.

               I had to make a move.

               To make her give up.

               I asked Jimin out on a date.

               I wasn’t expecting anything, to be honest.

               What were the chances that she’d agree?

               But when she did without any hint of hesitation in her eyes, I knew right away.

               ...that I was the one she liked.

               Damn.

               My suspicions were further confirmed when she tried to explain what happened the other day.

               She didn’t want me to think that there was something going on between them.

               Because she liked me.

               I wanted to laugh.

               That wasn’t what was supposed to happen.

               So, I was the reason why Mj was in a one-sided love.

               How cruel.

               Despite the revelation, I still went on with my plan.

               I brought her to my favorite ramen shop.

               I flirted with her.

               Said things that I knew would make her heart flutter just to see her reaction.

               She was embarrassed.

               A clear indication that I had an effect on her.

               I felt guilty.

               It was as if I was stabbing my sister in the back.

               But I was doing this for her, so it was fine.

               When I kissed her in the parking lot, I was aware Mj was watching.

               I had to do it.

               I wanted her to see us.

               Mj was brilliant.

               She would know right away that it was me who Jimin liked based on her reaction to my unexpected affection.

               I was hoping that was enough to make her give up.

               I was wrong.

               Mj was waiting for me in front of my room when I returned home.

               She was still in her uniform and sweat covered her face.

               “Why did you do it?”

               She looked calm, but the tone of her voice was brimming with poison.

               “Did what?”

               “You kissed her!” she exclaimed. “You kissed her right in front of me!”

               “Ah, yes. I did that.”

               That seemed to tick her off even more.

               “How dare you.”

               “She likes me, Mj.”

               That left her frozen.

               It took a while before she spoke again.

               “I know that.”

               It was my turn to be speechless.

               What...

               “You do..?”

               “Of course, I do.” She gave me a small smile. “She always makes sure that I will not forget.”

               What the .

               “If you know that she likes someone else, then why do you still keep on chasing her?

               “Is a reason necessary?”

               I stared.

               “I don’t know why you would give up on someone you love, but as for wanting to give someone the love they rightfully deserve, a reason is not needed, is it?”

               Upon hearing her answer, I came to a realization.

               That maybe it was Jimin who doesn’t deserve my sister at all.

Like this story? Give it an Upvote!
Thank you!
taglamig
Won't be able to update for a while. PH election is draining tf out of me. Not really in the right state of mind to write anything. Thank you :)
No comments yet