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DERANGER
certain things in life don't make sense to you.
 
emotions like sadness, disappointment, envy, greed. why are those emotions existing when they are only causing world problems?
 
on the other hand, are these emotions the cause of the problems, or is it the world causing those emotions to become problems?
 
and if those problems get eliminated, is having no problem not a problem by itself?
 
why does the pursuit of happiness results in loneliness?
 
and why did the supreme being above created homouals only to be bullied and ridiculed by people?
 
why were they born that way when the holy scriptures state that same- affair is a grave sin?
 
it is ironic, you think, how these people around you at the table keep claiming they are religious and righteous, yet they discriminate and talk meanly about people who are not their kind.
 
you could only shake your head at their conversation.
 
"and that bar taeyeon is running right now, i'm sure it'll go bankrupt someday," your dad says. "nothing as sinful as that would last long."
 
how come you guys lasted this long? you think to yourself.
 
"that's why you should never go back to that bar, irene," your mum says. "it's a dreadful place. you should never be seen hanging around there."
 
"well, she only went there twice." donghae glances at you. "one is during the opening, and another is when she can't say no to their invitation."
 
"better say no to them next time. what if someone in the church sees you going in there?" your mum asks.
 
"yeah. we don't want people thinking you're a lesbian," your dad says.
 
donghae laughs. "i'm glad irene's not, despite her growing up close with taeyeon."
 
and that's snaps the last string of your remaining patience.
 
"i don't think it's right to assume something like that only because one enters a certain bar," you say. "and if someone from church sees me in there, wouldn't that mean they are inside the bar as well?"
 
everyone becomes silent.
 
"taeyeon unni is one of the kindest human beings that's ever lived on this planet," you add. "i won't forsake her or ruin our relationship only because she's in love and married to a woman."
 
another silence.
 
"just saying you should limit your visit there, honey," your mum softly says. "people would talk about it."
 
"who are these people anyway?" you are pretty irritated by now. "i mean, do they matter with how we live our lives? they'll keep talking whatever we do anyway, right?"
 
donghae taps your leg under the table, a sign that means you need to slow down.
 
your dad clears his throat. "it's still better we keep our distance. homouality is a psychological abnormality. those people don't function the way they're supposed to. associating ourselves with them too much might ruin our lives."
 
you keep the words stuck in your throat, knowing that arguing won't make sense.
 
the dinner continues with donghae, your dad, and your mum talking about how they will be saved once the judgement day arrives as they live a righteous life according to the holy scriptures.
 
---
 
"are you alright?" donghae asks as he drives you back to your apartment. "you seem to be awfully upset during dinner."
 
you prop a hand against the window and exhales. "i'm fine. maybe it's just hormones."
 
"don't tell me you're pregnant?" he teases. "your dad will kill me for sure."
 
you spare him a glance before you look back out the window.
 
"hey. what's wrong?" donghae places a hand on your thigh. "is this about the conversation we had during dinner?"
 
"i just... i don't like how you all talk about taeyeon and tiffany unni like they are some plague that we need to avoid."
 
"we didn't mean it that way. we're just saying--"
 
"that they are abnormal? only because they are attracted to the same gender and not otherwise?"
 
donghae slowly pulls his hand away as he turns in the intersection. "well, as much as we want to accept them, the holy scriptures say they are sinners."
 
"and because of that, you think they deserved to be treated like that?"
 
"it's not my judgement alone. it's in the writings, irene."
 
"right." you shift on your seat to face him. "did it not occur to you that degrading and ridiculing others makes you a sinner yourself? and us having a ual relationship outside marriage, it's a sin too, right? which means we're sinners too."
 
it reduces donghae to complete silence. you can see him swallowing, a tell-tale sign that he's thinking of a comeback.
 
"look. i know how much your cousin is special to you," he says after a little while. "i'm sorry if you think this is unfair for them. but that's how things are."
 
"are you saying it's okay to treat other people indifferently, only because they are 'sinners'?" you quote with your hands.
 
"look. i get your point, okay? but we wouldn't be able to stop others from doing that. your cousin taeyeon and her wife are different. we're just lucky we're not like them. that we're normal and living a perfect life."
 
you roll your eyes at that.
 
but you know it's useless to discuss it with him nor to anyone in your family. they know they are correct, and they have a basis to prove it.
 
it's just sad that there's nothing you can do about it.
 
---
 
"are you still mad about that topic from earlier?" donghae asks when you reach the parking lot. he turns off the engine and starts unbuckling his seatbelt.
 
you spare him a glance, mentally debating whether to continue or not. you resigned with a sigh.
 
he reaches out for your hand. "irene, talk to me please."
 
you look at your arm he's holding. "what if... what if i'm not the perfect person you thought i was?"
 
"w-what does that even mean?"
 
you sigh. "never mind." you are about to open the door to your side, but he stops you.
 
"irene, please tell me. what's bothering you? what's this all about?"
 
"i don't think there's still a point discussing it with you when we're obviously looking at it from different perspectives."
 
"different perspectives like?"
 
"what if i'm not as kind, as good, as obedient like you thought i was?"
 
"what are you saying?" he chuckles. "we've been dating for fifteen years. fifteen long years! i know you in and out. and i know you're an angel sent to me to marry and spend the rest of my life with."
 
you look away, letting out a dry laugh.
 
"is this still about the things i said about your cousin?" he asks. "because if it is, i am deeply sorry for that."
 
"no." you shake your head, pinching your nose. "it's... not about that."
 
"then what is it about? why have you been acting weird around your parents and me?"
 
"because i guess i am weird?"
 
donghae brushes his hands through his hair. "irene, tell me what the is happening here."
 
you spare him look. and this time, you stare. you take in every feature of his face. from his hair, eyebrows, eyes, nose, lips, and even his jaw.
 
you try to capture every detail, appreciating his features like it's going to be the last time you'll be able to do it.
 
because tonight would be the last time you'll do it.
 
you press your lips together and look away, not wanting to see how his expression will change.
 
"let's break up."
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