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some questions have no answers

“so, karina, have you given this any thought at all?” ms. ramsey crosses her legs and looks at me sternly, as my eyes hesitantly look at the folder she has her fingers wrapped around. 

“uhm..” (i’m 17 how am i supposed to know what i want to do with my life) “well, you know,” (can she please stop looking at me like that it’s making me nervous) “i’ve been thinking about… uh,” (i wonder what lily’s doing right now?). i hear her click her tongue and i know that definitely means its time for me to shut up. 

“karina, dear.” she says on the verge of sounding condescending, “you come from a notable family. this isn’t something to be all willy nilly about. i hope you understand how important this is.” 

“well, you asked me if i’ve given any thought about it. you never asked what my parents thought about it.” i respond feeling witty, and her incredibly annoyed face gives me satisfaction. 

“okay, karina,” she sighs as she takes off her glasses and gives them a wipe, “what are your parents planning for your future?” 

“law school in the east coast. but i don’t really do well in the cold so i’m trying to bargain for west coast instead.” i try to peek into the folder she obnoxiously keeps on flipping through, but i sit back down in defeat when she glances up at me in disdain. 

“i’m looking at your record, which you should be more familiar with than me.” she finally puts the folder down and returns her eyes to me, “look, you have good grades and excellent extracurriculars. i can recommend you a number of colleges in the west coast that offer great law programs. but karina…” she switches to a softer tone, and i get taken by surprise as i reposition myself in my seat. “i know there must be a tremendous amount of pressure put on you by your parents. i don’t really know much about your situation, but i want you to put some thought into what it is you want to do with your future. entering the field of law is an incredibly difficult commitment that you can’t do with one foot out the door- i don’t know how much flexibility you have, but if you do want something different than what your parents want for you, i’d urge you to voice out your opinions on it.” i smile at her intentions, but know that conversation would lead nowhere. 

“thanks ms. ramsey. i promise i’ll give it some thought.” (i should really stop lying). 

“i really hope you do karina.” she says sincerely, and with picture perfect timing the bell rings. i give her a small bow as i rush out the door- i’d really prefer not to think about things until i have to. 

“how’d the meeting with the demon slayer go?” giselle walks up to me with an obvious face of exhaustion, a clear indicator she probably came straight out of chemistry. 

“she was surprisingly nice.” i say unsurely, as she responds with a face of astonishment. 

“i’ve never heard that said about her before.” in the distance, i spot minjeong struggling with the vending machine which was essentially the school bully for her- it always ate up all her money as she had to watch her snacks get stuck in between each other. 

“i should probably help out min.” 

“i better see you at tennis practice later.” she says as i playfully roll my eyes, and i run up to minjeong who’s now resorted to kicking the vending machine. 

“are you feeding it fake money or something? this only happens to you, i swear.” 

“oh shut up,” she laughs as i try to examine how three sour patch kids packets are tangled up together. “can you please just help me?” i give it a good kick, but it somehow only makes things worse. 

“do we just like beat the machine up?” 

“oh, let’s just go i’m so tired of its .” we sneak into the elevator (but made sure to wave at the camera inside) which takes us to the roof, and we take a seat comfortably on one of the empty benches.

“you had your talk with ms. ramsey earlier today right?” i ask her as i take out my lunch and the pre-emptive snacks i packed for her fully expecting the vending machine to not be cooperative yet again. 

“yup. scolded me when i told her i wasn’t sure about anything yet.” 

“that’s why you should study in the east coast!” i say half serious, and she glances at me with an eyebrow raised. 

“any particular reason why the east coast?” she asks jokingly.

“they have really good burgers.” 

“i’d just be cooking myself rice everyday.” 

“good, because i wouldn’t be able to live off burgers either.” she looks at me with a smile, and unconsciously i had been smiling too, from the vending machine to the roof, and we bask in silence as the skyline beamed at us. 

“jimin, i have something i need to ask you.” slightly alarmed at the change of tone, i shift my body towards her and gesture for her to go on. “what does it feel like to be in love?” 

a wave of confusion goes through my body, and i pause for a second to wonder what exactly she means by that question. 

“you’re definitely asking the wrong person,” i respond, choosing to keep things light hearted instead, because i’m not exactly ready for the conversation that i have in mind. 

“oh please, you’re the only person i’d listen to anyways.” 

“well, what makes you ask that?” i mentally prepare myself for the multitude of conversations that can come to existence. 

“because…” she hesitates for a second, which makes me feel uncertain, “william told me he was in love with me, and i didn’t know what to answer.” out of all the possibilities i had in mind, this was second to the worse one. 

“when??” i ask without even thinking, evidently confused. 

“this morning,” she starts shyly, “he caught me right before i was about to walk into bio, and he just kind of blurted it out. you don’t know how relieved i was when i heard the bell ring.” she laughs, and i try to force a laugh too. i try to read her face for what she thinks of it, but it feels as if i’m back in the 1st grade and i’m having trouble distinguishing my letters apart. 

“i see you’re in quite the predicament.”

“please just help me with this.” she drags the last word as she clings on to my arm, “i really don’t know what to do.” i pause and genuinely put in effort to try to put myself in her shoes. 

“well, i think it’s something you don’t have to think about.” she leaves her grip on my arm but nods at me to continue, “i think that if the answer isn’t clear, then the answer is no.” she hums in response as she redirects her gaze to the skyline. 

“that’s what i thought too. but i was thinking about how it just isn’t fair to him. he’s been nothing but great to me, but i just can’t seem to ever reciprocate the magnitude of his feelings.” at this point, i was struggling to come up with objective responses- i mean, what am i supposed to do in this situation?

“do you remember max and giselle?” 

“i had to see them make out whenever i exited class, i think i’ll never forget.” 

“well, remember why they broke up?” 

“oh yeah, it was because,” her eyes slowly look away as she realizes the reason why, “yeah, i remember.” 

“i’m not saying it’s the same circumstances or anything. but in a relationship, things have to be balanced. you guys need to be going at the same pace. having a turtle and a hare are not couple goals.” she lets out a small giggle at my metaphor, and sighs in her seat. 

“yeah, i know you're right. i think i just needed to hear it.” 

“well, what are you gonna do?” i brace myself for her answer.

“i don't know yet. but i’m seeing him after school so i kind of have to know.” 

“good luck, min.” is all i can think of. william and lily are cute together, they match each other in the way hollywood movie couples do- in a conventional way. in a way that when people pass by and look at them, they think of how they look perfect for each other and how cute their kids would look like. i softly sigh as i continue eating my lunch. 

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