If someone would ask me the reason why I am in love with Jimin Yoo, I certainly wouldn’t be able to provide a concrete response.
I don’t know.
I just do.
Must there be a reason?
Taeyeon once told me that: Some things do not come from the mind to know, but from the heart to feel.
I remember myself shrugging it off; too young to even bother to care back then.
Love makes people foolish.
It makes them do stuff that makes me want to puke out of utter disgust.
That it was just some sort of an idiotic concept that romance authors created to sell their novels to the equally idiotic hopeless romantics.
It was nothing short of derangement.
Now that I think about it, I was some kind of anti-romantic as a child.
I guess it was an inevitable outcome.
It was what my parents had shown me, after all.
However, if someone would ask me when did I know I would fall for her, then I had an answer in mind.
It happened 12 years ago.
It was a fine Sunday morning in April.
The sky somehow seemed bluer than the pacific, warming my eyes ever so good.
The clouds were as puff as the newly made cotton candy, ready to disperse into the wind, to travel the Earth.
The breeze of spring was so gentle and warm you wouldn’t notice it hitting your skin unless you stop and be present in the moment.
Mother brought me along with her to see a piano competition.
One of the competitors was said to be with a talent that you would see once every ten years.
As a result, a large number of music fanatics and critics flocked to the theatre to watch the rumored prodigy.
I had no expectations.
I was quite certain that they probably could only be considered as the best an ordinary person could be.
A prodigy who was not prodigious enough to rival me.
Nobody my age could ever hope to impress me; let alone defeat me.
Never in my dreams would I had imagined there exist a person who was going to prove me wrong.
The prodigy promptly caught my eye from the moment she took the stage.
That was her name according to the crowd around me.
She was beautiful.
The most beautiful person I had the pleasure of laying my eyes on.
She was just sitting on the bench—eyes seemingly admiring the exquisite grand piano before her, but she managed to take my breath away.
And when she touched the keys and started playing, I found myself helplessly smitten.
I never knew the piano could produce such a sound so rich I even closed my eyes to enhance my sense of hearing and bask in her extraordinary music.
It was as if the stringed and percussion instrument was made in her favor; that it was meant to be used by her alone.
I was a violinist.
I only learned to play the piano in order to be a mentor to my sister.
However, after witnessing an spectacular performance, I had sworn to myself that I would never touch that instrument again.
It was a field that was hers to dominate.
Instead, I should focus on the violin.
Hone my skills to perfection.
Someday, we would stand on the same stage.
I departed from the theatre to go to the abandoned playground nearby as soon as she was announced as the victor.
It had become a routine now every time I would go out; before I go back home.
Rj and I used to have a good deal of fun there—using everything the playground has to offer until our bodies become too worn out for us to move.
Unfortunately, they closed it down two years ago; cordoning off the area to prevent the public from trespassing.
Jokes on them.
I found a way in when I examined the place before. It was hidden in the grass, but a child like me was small enough to fit in through there.
As soon as I made my way inside, I allowed my gaze to wander around; searching for my favorite spot only to catch a sight of a familiar figure slumped by the side of the eroded slide.
Her palms were covering her face as if to hide herself; shoulders were moving up and down in an uncontrollable manner; her sobs and whimpers that she was trying so hard to suppress were spilling out from her lips.
She was crying.
Why was she crying?
She won the competition.
What was there to cry about?
“What are you looking at?”
Even her speaking voice sounds so beautiful.
“Who is looking at you?”
“Of course, you! Do you see any other person here?”
She was glaring; looking about ready to pounce on me if I so much as to lift a finger.
However, rather than finding her scary, I found her rather endearing.
A girl who could hold her own.
I pretended to dart my gaze all over the place just to annoy her more; shrugging my shoulders in feigned ignorance.
“I do not.”
“Then that answered your question, didn’t it?” she retorted, rolling her eyes distastefully.
I could not help the amused chuckle that escaped out of my lips.
From her appearance alone, I could simply deduce that she was around my age.
However, why do I have a feeling that she was a three year old kid at heart?
A spoiled one at that.
She still looked beautiful though.
“Why are you crying?” I pried, dropping the matter at hand.
“That is none of your business.”
I cocked a brow.
“What is your name?” I attempted to inquire again after a moment of silence.
I knew what her name was.
She was all the audience back in the theater could talk about, after all.
However, I’d rather hear her name coming from her own lips.
“Why would I tell you? You are a stranger.”
“Why not? I am not a bad person.”
She squinted her eyes as she scanned me through scrutinizing gaze.
“How can I be sure?"
“I do not lie.”
“Right,” she said, her tone mocking. “‘Cause, that kind of dopey face is worth to trust.”
I broke out into a fit of laughter.
That was the first time a person had implied that I was remotely ugly.
She was one of a kind.
“What’s so funny?”
I shook my head. “I think I know why you were crying.”
She turned away, keeping her silence.
“You missed a note during your performance.”
I saw how her body stiffened.
She looked so taken aback.
She probably wasn’t expecting it.
“I have perfect pitch,” I said; covering my mouth as I let out a yawn. “I cannot be mistaken.”
She heaved a sigh, tilting her head to gaze upward.
When people were sad, they look up at the sky.
Then their tears wouldn’t come pouring down.
“I purposely didn’t follow the music score sheet because I thought my idea was better.” She chuckled, bitterly. “My mentor was furious. They said I was lucky I even managed to win. You see, one of the judges scored me poorly because of that “mistake”.”
Ah, I see how it is.
It was the same thing all over again.
People regarding the score as the bible.
“Music is free,” I spoke a bit loud to earn her attention. “Music sheet is merely a guide and is not absolute. To hell with disrespecting the original composer. If you reckon it is better to play a certain piece your own style, then do it. Those who try to chastise you for that can go to hell.”
And then she was laughing.
Her shoulders relaxed as her gaze on me softened.
The weight of the air around us lessened from the sudden friendly aura she was emitting.
“Are you a musician?”
“I am a violinist.”
She hummed while nodding her head.
“Then we are meant to stand together on the same stage someday.”
She puts the u in unpredictable.
“I don’t even know your name.”
“My name is Jimin,” she stretched her hand for a handshake. “Jimin Yoo.”
“Jimin, is it?” I felt satisfied with how the name rolled off my tongue perfectly. “I am Mj. Pleased to meet you.”
She pulled her lips to a grin.
The kind that reached all the way to her eyes.
I felt my lungs constrict upon witnessing the sight.
How inhumanly stunning.
I stared at her face for a while, memorizing every detail; engraving them in my brain.
“I gotta go.” She stood up, dusting her pants off. “Mom’s probably looking for me already.”
I could only watch as she slowly disappeared from my sight; too dumbfounded to say anything in response.
Jimin doesn’t know.
But ever since that day, I was head over heels for that smile.
That was the last time we had seen each other.
For some reason, she never appeared again in the limelight.
I tried going to different piano competitions across the country, but her name never showed up in the list of participants.
“Mother, you are familiar with Jimin Yoo, right?”
“Of course. Every music fan have heard of her.”
“Do you know what happened to her?”
“There are rumors that their family is facing a serious problem right now.”
“Nobody knows, Jeongie.”
It was a shame, but a child could only do so much.
I had no choice other than to wait.
It was two years later when I saw her again; at the after-party of the opening of the new branch of our hospital.
I remember feeling similar to an empty shell that night due to my older sister’s untimely death.
The sole reason why I even attended in the first place was Rj.
I may be in the middle of grieving, but I would never forget my responsibility as the older sibling.
Then came her.
She looked the same.
She had gotten even more beautiful if that was possible.
Full red lips.
Tall pointed nose.
Something was wrong about her, however.
It was miniscule.
You wouldn’t notice unless you were paying close attention.
The light in her dark brown orbs was no longer there.
It had only been two years, but it seemed as if she went through so much.
I wanted to approach her.
Damn, she had no idea how badly I wanted to go up to her and talk about music again; or about that book she was reading.
Unfortunately, Rj beat me to it.
I could’ve sworn I saw her face brightened up in delight upon seeing my sister.
She seemed happy.
All because Rj showed up.
What an eyesore.
I strode off toward her direction, determined to steal her attention and have it all for myself.
But then, I heard her claim something so ridiculous that I found myself blurting out the words I did not mean to say.
“Hercule Poirot is the best detective of all time.”
“Don’t be stupid.”
She looked so appalled.
A hint of disbelief was also there.
That was probably the first time she heard someone call her stupid.
She was looking at me as though I was a stranger to her.
They lack the gleam of familiarity.
...she doesn’t remember me.
Haa, how despicable.
I waited two years for us to see each other again.
Am I not worth remembering, Jimin Yoo?
This face that every musician out there knew?
If that’s the case, then I was more than willing to introduce myself again to you. Even if I had to do it a hundred times more, I wouldn’t get sick of it.
I had to tell Rj that I like Jimin.
It was to set boundaries.
Jimin Yoo was so easy to like.
And I wouldn’t want my younger sister as my rival.
After that day, I asked my mother to transfer me to wherever school Jimin was enrolled.
It took a lot of convincing since my request was out of the blue, and was in the middle of the school year, no less.
Fortunately, I somehow managed to come up with a plausible lie for Mother to finally agree.
It was a grueling process, alright.
Having to ask someone I am harboring deep hatred for a favor.
I had to remind myself that I would be doing it for her.
“I’ll be attending that archery class you’ve been telling me about if you allow me to change schools.”
“Jeongie, is this another lie of yours to get what you want?”
“How cruel, Mother. I do not lie.”
“Then what is this? I thought you didn’t like archery?”
“I changed my mind. I want to learn archery now.”
“The school that I am talking about is near the archery club. Convenient, wouldn’t you agree, Mother?”
“Fine. Have it your way.”
I never attended a single class.
Mother probably knew I wouldn’t.
I knew it wasn’t morally right.
But anything just to be closer to her.
I didn’t end up in the same class as her.
An unfortunate turn of event, frankly.
Though, I guess that was for the better.
I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class if that wasn’t the case.
For the first few months, I opted to stay inconspicuous as I do not want her to be suspicious and accuse me of following her here.
It was true.
She doesn’t need to know that though.
I also began to take my studies seriously.
Before, I never bother doing my homework and projects.
Just acing the quizzes and exams was enough for me to be the top-performing student of our academy.
I thought that was enough.
Until I had that conversation with my cousin.
“Yooji hates slackers.”
“Huh? How do you know that?”
“She’s my best friend.”
“Yes. So, it’s about time you make an effort, buddy.”
I heard intelligent people were attracted to intelligent people like a magnet.
If she wasn’t fazed by my appearance, then I would have to impress her with my intelligence.
That plan backfired.
While that made me popular in our school, resulting in her finally learning of my existence, it somehow made her hate me.
Every time we would cross paths, she’d always give me the stinky eye.
Naturally, I was confused.
What did I even do?
Forgetting about me wasn’t enough?
Damn, she was cruel.
My question was answered soon after.
We both participated in Science Quiz Bee.
It was held in November.
I placed first, while she place second.
I couldn’t be bothered by the gold trophy.
All I wanted was her attention.
“Congratulations, Jimin Yoo.”
“Shut up. Don’t talk to me.”
“I said, don’t talk to me.”
“Why are you so mad at me?”
“That is none of your business.”
“It is my business because it involves myself.”
“Because you are a hindrance.”
“...I am a what?”
“You are the reason why I was forced to take on the role of being the second-best.”
“How is that my fault?”
Everything went downhill from then on.
Rj transferred to our school.
Jimin’s obvious attraction toward her.
Her efforts to support Rj in her passion.
I felt so helpless.
Because I couldn’t do anything about it.
I remember reading her letter to Rj in our second year of highschool that she inserted inside the latter’s locker.
That was the first time I felt my heart as if it was being torn apart.
It was so painful that it was so hard to breathe.
Dear Ryujin Kim,
How are you?
I never planned to write you a letter since I am already contented admiring you from afar. But my friend insisted that I should at least let you know about my existence.
It rained a lot today.
I saw you rushing to our school wearing your pink raincoat. You looked so small and adorable that I had our driver stop the car so I could stare at you for a little longer.
You were in the dance studio during lunch break. You were practicing hard together with the members of the dance club. I know you guys will dominate every dance competition you would be joining in the future.
Hard work will pay off.
Not to mention, you guys are all amazing dancers.
I will always be on the sidelines, watching and cheering you on.
Do well, Ryujin Kim
I am always proud of you
It was a good thing that Rj hadn’t shown any interest in her.
That doesn’t make it any less painful.
Especially having to read about Jimin’s feelings in her own penmanship.
I ripped the letter into pieces and threw it into the nearest trash bin.
If you weren’t going to be mine, then you weren’t going to be someone else’s, Jimin Yoo.
Even if it was my sister.
That day, I waited for her in front of her classroom.
There was still thirty minutes left before dismissal.
I had to cut class or I would miss her.
As soon as she saw me, however, she was quick to turn around, planning to take the opposite direction.
“Jimin...” I called out, grabbing her arm softly to make her stop walking.
She had been ignoring me for weeks now.
Ever since I confessed.
Hell, she wasn’t even looking my away anymore.
I was already running out of ideas to make her acknowledge me, to be honest.
“Let go of me!”
“I read your letter to Rj.”
Her eyes grew wide.
“You what?” she hissed. “That’s invasion of privacy!”
She was fuming mad.
I hate it.
I hate that it meant that much to her.
I hate that she was so affected.
I hate that she already had her eyes on someone that wasn’t me.
“You’re wasting your time.”
She knitted her eyebrows in both confusion and annoyance.
“Quit it with the nonsense, Kim!”
“You won’t get her attention,” I said. “Rj has her priorities straight and romance is not included in the list.”
She yanked her arm away from my grip.
“What I do is none of your business.”
I lessened the distance between us, leveling my lips close to her ears.
“Fall for me. Fall for me instead.”
She was quick to pull away as if burned.
Her neck was painted in a dark shade of red; breathing noticeably had gotten shallow.
My mind went blank.
That did something to her.
She felt it.
She was affected.
Her eyes were darting everywhere to avoid my gaze.
Anyone with functioning eyes could tell that she was nervous.
She may be trying to hide it, but she could never deceive me.
A smirk etched itself on my lips.
I had a chance.
Damn, I had a chance.
“I am going to make you fall for me so hard you will not be able to save yourself, Jimin.”