I’m Better off Blind

Do Kyungsoo and Byun Baekhyun, best friends since middle-school, would give their life for each other, live with each other and vowed to be each other’s side forever.

But, Kyungsoo was blind since birth and Baekhyun was his eyes.

“On the left is the tiny fruit shop which has the tastiest mango’s I have ever eaten, and on the right is a weird antique shop. There’s a rumor that there lives a fortune teller who could see someone else’s future, though not the type with electrical globes or such.” Baekhyun chuckled.

He held Kyungsoo’s hand as they both walked together in a busy street. Informing what all he was seeing; be it a cat passing by or a man throwing his coffee cup in the dustbin.

He wanted Kyungsoo to see what he was seeing, experience the view by hearing.

“-And here we are, to our usual spot.” Baekhyun carefully made him sit on the bench and sat beside him.

The reason why Kyungsoo never holds a stick was because he himself didn’t want to be called or seen as a blind man. He was happy with Baekhyun making him see the world around him, and as a matter of fact, he had gotten used to it.

According to Baekhyun’s description of the shops, he could feel himself looking right at it.

“Do, you know what tomorrow is right?” Baekhyun asked.

“Baek how many times do I need to tell you, I don’t want to do it.”

“But you have to, I can’t always be around you, you know that don’t you.”

“It’s okay, I can still take care of my-.”

“And how will you do that?”

“Somehow…I will just wait for you to come back.”

“Do…” Baekhyun sighed. “Please…he’s a good doctor and you need to do it. You can’t stay blind forever, when you have the chance to get something you had always wanted, please grasp it, don’t let go of it or else one day you will regret it.”

Kyungsoo kept silent. He was contemplating, whether he should get new eyes, whether he should start seeing the world on his own rather than his best friends help, but as the same he was afraid.

Afraid of something he couldn’t put his finger on.

“I beg you Kyungsoo…Do it. For me. For you. For us.”

“For us” was the word Kyungsoo had always heard from Baekhyun, “For us” was a commitment, a promise.

Slowly, he placed his hesitant hands on Baekhyun and tried to smile, at least.

“Alright…I will do it.”

“You will?”

“For me, for you, for us.”

Baekhyun chuckled and intertwined his hands with Kyungsoo’s.

“Thank you. Thank you so much for agreeing onto-.”

A sound, sharp and terrifying to Kyungsoo was heard as Baek’s words vanished into thin air and for a moment, the world became noiseless.

The cars honking, the baker screaming to take his freshly baked bread, the newspaper kid yelling the breaking-news and the chattering of people had all sunk in deep water.

There came another similar sound, this time more than once. Frightened of the unseen, Kyungsoo held Baekhyun’s hand even tighter. His heart beat gradually speeding up for an unknown reason, and his palms forming perspiration.

“What is it Baek?” Kyungsoo asked in a breathless tone.

Ever heard of gut feeling? The feeling when the stomach turns, and when your hands and knees freeze in place knowing that something bad might take place, this was exactly how Kyungsoo was feeling.

“It’s nothing…” Baekhyun slowly let go of the latter’s hand. “Kyungsoo, wait here. I will be right back.”

“No!” He quickly grabbed his hand, bony fingers touched the soft, long fingers. “Don’t.”

“I’m just gonna check what’s going on alright, wait for-.”

Once more the sound emitted and Baekhyun’s knees brushed onto Kyungsoo’s. His footsteps disappearing as he ran to a place Kyungsoo was veiled of.

“Baek…” The sound of people clicking their heels quicker, gasping for lost air and dogs barking horrified him.

He waited in a state of restlessness, his hand rapidly tapping his right thigh and his breathing getting heavier by each milli-second.

Kyungsoo was hoping, hard and fast that Baekhyun would be back soon and they will go back home.

However, more and more footsteps passed, but there was no sign of Byun Baekhyun.

His heart cringed, his hopes were shattering, and his mind began to think all sorts of scary things.

A couple of minutes later, as Kyungsoo was still hanging onto the ledge of the cliff, hoping that Baekhyun would save him, he heard the sound of an ambulance, and a police siren.

“BAEKHYUN!” Kyungsoo shouted as loudly as he could. “BYUN BAEK WHERE ARE YOU!?”

And though he tried to held back his tears, fear didn’t let him.

He grasped the bench handle tightly, so much as hurting his palms, but he could care less.

Baekhyun wasn’t coming, and Kyungsoo didn’t know the way home.

“DO!”

Kyungsoo jolted from his seat and turned to the direction of the voice.

“Sorry to make you worry!” He breathed heavily.

“Where have you been?! I got so scared…” His voice cracked into bits and pieces.

“I’m sorry, there were these goons who were trying to snatch a old lady’s purse, and a couple of people were trying to tackle them so they got hurt. Fortunately, somebody had called the police and the ambulance so there’s no need to worry now.” Baekhyun wheezed, and Kyungsoo felt his soft, long fingers wipe his fear away.

“I-I was really scared…I thought something might have happened to you-.”

“Do your over-exaggerating now, I’m back aren’t I and I also said I’m sorry, so lets go back home cause I’m damn hungry.”

Baekhyun held Kyungsoo’s hand and they both began walking to their home.

Their walk back home was filled with talks, chuckles, and street lamps.

When the hour of the dead arrived, when the moon was nigh, Kyungsoo and Baekhyun shared a hug.

Not the “I love you hug” or “Take care hug” but the “Good luck for tomorrow’s eye transplant hug”.

Kyungsoo had finally raised the flag and Baekhyun was more than over-joyed.

A memory of the past were told before they slept, a dream of the future were spoken and the hopes of tomorrow were hidden behind cloaked eyes and cheerful smiles.

“Do let’s go! We will be late for the surgery if you don’t come out right this minute!” Baekhyun yelled as Kyungsoo unintentionally locked his bedroom door.

When the sun was up, anxiety took over Kyungsoo.

Last night he was assured by Baek that everything was going to be fine, but this morning things had changed.

He became nauseous, his hands trembled and his knees took a bow to gravity.

“Come on Do, it’s okay… Everythings going to be fine. I promise.”

“No…”

“Don’t you want to see the world around you?”

A few moments later, Kyungsoo spoke from the other side. Words soft and slow, but filled with hesitancy.

“Yes…I want to.”

“Don’t you want to see me?”

“I want to.”

“Then fulfill your promise Do Kyungsoo. Say I do.”

“I…” The feeling of hesitancy gradually disappeared as Kyungsoo unlocked the door.

In front of him was Baekhyun, but a sense that’s all. He felt him even if though were standing apart.

Despite the fact that he didn’t know how Baek looked, he could imagine a kind of smile on his face. An assuring one. One that would make you smile to a great extent.

“Do.”

“Mr. Kyungsoo, no need to worry, we are just going to apply a few drops in your eyes and it is for the surgery purposes so please co-operate.”

All the way until Kyungsoo was taken to the waiting room, he had held Baekhyun’s hand, never once letting it go.

As patient as Baekhyun was, he kept on talking to him, giving him words of courage, future promises, and a bit of excitement by tempting him of the world he could finally see.

But right before the operation, when it was time for Kyungsoo to let go of Baekhyuns hand,

Baek had an meeting he had to attend.

“My boss needs my help in something so, I will be back before you can open your eyes alright?” He said and left.

Moreover Kyungsoo couldn’t run behind Baekhyun to stop him could he?

The doctor was as much as ready to begin the surgery.

Baekhyuns soft, long fingers were no more to be felt.

Darkness covered Do Kyungsoo’s eyes as he opened them for the first time after the surgery.

He was confused. The darkness was still there, it didn’t go away but then slowly, when he came into conscious, he realized something was covering him up from seeing.

The doctor gingerly, but proudly began taking off the bandage around his eyes.

He was edgy, fevered but at the same time eager and excited.

At long last he could see the world he had always heard of, he could see people smashing cigars under their feet and he could see cats sleeping on the trash cans and he could see Byun Baekhyun.

“Alright, now slowly…open your eyes.”

With each heavy breath, he commanded his eyes to move. Stuck eyelids, unstuck. Wet lashes, dried.

In front of him was a blurred lone, thin figure in a blue hospital gown.

Bony hands and legs, average in height but and with big eyes.

“Now blink a few times.”

He blinked.

Blink.

Blink.

The figure got clearer. Wide set of round eyes, reddish cheeks, and heart shaped lips were Do Kyungsoo’s features.

He looked down at himself, body too weak and fragile.

He looked up at the doctor and the nurses.

He looked around him.

This feeling, this strange feeling Kyungsoo was feeling, he couldn’t express it but could only sense it.

And then there came this sudden urge of seeing Baekhyun.

The faceless friend he was so close with.

He looked around, searching for an exceptional smile which he imagined.

“My boss needs my help in something so, I will be back before you can open your eyes alright?”

He sighed.

Maybe that’s why no smiles matched the one around him.

But he had already opened his eyes, and Baekhyun wasn’t there.

For hours Kyungsoo waited at the reception for him.

The clock ticked away, the nurses even questioned him whom he was waiting for, however all Kyungsoo said was, “My friend.”

Twelve am and Byun Baekhyun hadn’t shown up.

“You remember our address right?” Baekhyun asked as they were headed to the waiting room.

“Yea.”

“Repeat.”

“Street no.5, Jung Shik society, door no. 08.”

“Bravo.”

“To street no.5, Jung Shik society, door no. 08.” Kyungsoo said and sat in the cab.

Everything was so new to him, and he stared outside the window like a new born baby who had just opened its eyes.

The speeding cars, the different types of people, the animals, the shops, the scenery, the buildings, the views, the air, the lights, the beautiful night, he noted each and every one of them.

He even scrutinized the insides of the cab, and the cab driver.

The society was as Baekhyun had described, friendly-looking, greenery and civil.

“There’s a spare key under the mat so if my friend comes just say its under there.” Baekhyun once said.

Flipping over the welcome mat, he found the silver key and unlocked the door.

The directions and the steps were familiar, the strange feelings were distinct and memories were discrete.

The walls he had been living in, the couch he had been sitting on, and the room he had been with Baekhyun seemed all like broken echoes of the past.

New, but old. Different, but same.

He couldn’t sleep. He wanted to see Baekhyun after all.

He opened his eyes, and the brown ceiling greeted him for the first time.

Bright and colorful shades of everything, jingled in Kyungsoo’s eyes.

“Baekhyun?” He called out, lethargically descending the stairs, but as hopeful he was as last night, there came no reply.

“Baekhyun are you there?”

No response answered his question.

Leaving a note at the dining table, “I’m headed out to explore the world, if you read this then find me at our usual place, hopefully I would find it myself – Kyungsoo.”

“On the left is the tiny fruit shop which has the tastiest mango’s I have ever eaten, and on the right is a weird antique shop. There’s a rumor that there lives a fortune teller who could see someone else’s future, though not the type with electrical globes or such.”

Kyungsoo chuckled as everything was as it was as Baek had described it.

“-And here we are, to our usual spot.” A black bench, with rough but pretty handles was in the middle of the footpath.

Kyungsoo sat on it, and yes, it was the very bench.

He knew the texture of it, the bumps on it and the little scraped paint on it as well.

He touched the handles and yes, he had held it a million times to forget it that easily.

A breath of animated relief escaped from Kyungsoo’s lips as he closed his eyes and took in the noises, the chatterings, the yellings and the barkings, and he opened them again, only to feel all of it differently.

The newspaper kid, who would always yell the breaking news was now in sight.

He threw the papers inside shops, gave them to the passer-bys and threw one on the bench beside Kyungsoo.

It was the kids last job working at the newspaper factory, so he had decided to leave it free of cost. As luck would have it, someone had gotten him into a school for him to study and work hard.

Reading the paper for the first time, Kyungsoo took his time to read what little he had learned.

Words and numbers were similar to Braille, but difficult to implement.

Head-lines-Dancer Kim Jongin meets with an accident.

Saved in the last minute, truck tries to runs over the CEO of Kim Company, Kim Junmyeon.

Singer Park Chanyeol scheduled to perform in Seoul on the eighteenth of March.

He flipped the page, and on the corner was a tiny article.

Old woman saved by a young boy at Gongtae downtown when a bunch of petty thieves were trying to steal the old womans bag.

However, when a witness had called the police, the young boy had been shot twice in the chest.

“An angel.” The old woman had said with unstoppable tears for the young boy.

A few other witnesses around the downtown plummeted in shock when they noticed the dead boy who was a regular at their shops.

His name they said, was Byun Baekhyun.

Kyungsoo froze.

His name they said, was Byun Baekhyun.

There was no photo of him, just the name.

Sure, they could be other Byun Baekhyuns, but the Byun Baekhyun that was in Gongtae downtown, that went to save the lady and that came back to Kyungsoo was just one.

I’m sorry, there were these goons who were trying to snatch a old lady’s purse, and a couple of people were trying to tackle them so they got hurt. Fortunately, somebody had called the police and the ambulance so there’s no need to worry now.”

But he remembers clearly, Baekhyun was there. He was in front of him. He held his hands, they talked, they laughed, they walked back home, they ate and they made promises.

This can’t be true.

It must be some other Byun Baekhyun, someone whom Kyungsoo doesn’t know.

It’s not his friend, his best friend, his room mate, his companion.

Its someone else.

Nevertheless, deep inside he knew that it was him.

His eyes swelled up, became as red as a cherry and hot tears slowly but surely fell.

His tears blotted the name of Byun Baekhyun.

“Baekhyun” He called out but there was no one respond him back.

“Baek…where are you?”

Kyungsoo cried and cried.

Today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the day after that when Baekhyun still hadn’t come home.

They weren’t stopping, they weren’t ever.

“Baek please come back…” He repeated for the last couple of days.

He missed his voice, his jokes, his chuckle, his assurance.

Days went by and Kyungsoo’s tears were still running.

Weeps of Baekhyuns voice, and weeps of unseen past.

His vision though, they were getting blurry once again.

Gradually darkness was yet again coating his eyes.

He had strained them, too much to get back what he wanted.

But the fact that he was better off blind than not see Baekhyun ever, made him shun the hope of seeing the world again.

He sat on his bed.

With nothing to see, but only to hear.

Drops of water, wetted his linen.

“DO!”

Kyungsoo jolted from his seat and turned to the direction of the voice.

“Sorry to make you worry!” He breathed heavily.

“Where have you been?! I got so scared…” His voice cracked into bits and pieces.

“I’m sorry, I just had some work I had to finish-but wait, can you see me?”

Kyungsoo became confused.

The voice, it was so near so real.

Was it really Baekhyun? Alive and in front of him?

“Baek…” He stretched out his hand, but felt no one.

“Aish Do, how can you not take care of yourself? You lost them once again…”

Baekhyun wasn’t there.

It was just Kyungsoo’s consciousness.

Just his mind playing games on him.

“I…I don’t care.” Kyungsoo was still trying to feel Baekhyuns hand.

His soft, long fingers were hard to grasp, they were hard to find.

“Now how will you see the world? How will you see me?”

“I don’t want to…I just want to hear your voice Baek.”

“Do, you shouldn’t have cried if I didn’t come. You should have lived your life. Continued on without me.”

“I can’t…”

“I’m sorry.”

“No…Don’t be Baek, it’s alright…I’m alright, I don’t want to see, I’m fine like this. I just…I just want to hold you for once…”

Kyungsoo searching for Baekhyuns hand was to no avail. He was only moving his hands in thin air to find no one.

“I wish I could too Do.”

And Kyungsoo felt his soft, long fingers wipe his fear away.

It was just a memory actually, just a sense of the past and a peek to the gone by.

“Don’t you want your eyes back?” Baek asked.

“No.” Kyungsoo replied unhesitatingly.

He would rather not see than not hear Baekhyuns voice ever.

Even supposing it was all in his head.

“I’m better off blind.”

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