Voiceless

“I want this.” He pointed at his favorite ice cream flavor.

“What?” The vendor asked.

“I said, I want this.”

“Kid, if you wanna say it, then say it properly, don’t just point your finger cause I ain’t no genius to guess which one you want.”

“How many freakin times do I need to tell you that I want-.”

“Isn’t he pointing at what he wants? How dumb can you be?” A gravelly voice spoke from behind him.

He turned around and confusedly stared at the stranger.

“Man I was nervous…but it went well didn’t it Chenny?” Minseok asked.

“I was a bit nervous too myself, but it was cool. I did my best.”

“Hm, you sure did.”

“Where are we headed next though?” Jongdae asked.

“To celebrate of course!”

“Uh…We just gave an audition Hyung, we still have a long way to go for a celebration.”

“But we have to celebrate for not embarrassing ourselves in front of the judges right?”

“Well, In a way-yeah.”

“Then let’s go! Drinks on me!”

“But no drinking too much cause you have a part-time job to go to-HYUNG LOOK OUT!”

Darkness.

The car was spinning, and that’s all Jongdae knew. Maybe they were shouting, maybe Minseok had held Jongdae’s hand and maybe they had stopped somewhere.

He opened his eyes, and hopefully Minseok was by his side. Scratches of blood had scarred his face, but he was unhurt.

Everything happened so quickly, but moved on so slowly.

He could see people rushing by, and perhaps someone must have called 119 already.

And he didn’t feel pain, which was unusual to happen at what looked like a major accident.

“Hyu-.” And he choked, but halfway. “Hyu-.”

He couldn’t call Minseok.

“Jongdae…” Minseok shook his head and turned.

His eyes widened, slowly but in horror.

“Jong-dae…”

“Hyun-.”

But he felt breathless.

He felt pain. The kind that couldn’t be described, the kind that would scare you.

“Min–k–Hyu–g–“

His vision dimmed. Minseok was appearing distorted in his eyes, slowly and then all at once.

Darkness.

2 months later.

“You sure you don’t want to come?” Minseok asked and he shook his head.

“But don’t you want fresh air? How long will you be in your room Chenny?”

“I don’t feel like going out Hyung.”

“You have said that for last two months already. Don’t tell me you are scared of my driving!”

“No.” Jongdae chuckled. “I am comfortable living in this room, besides I have to study so…”

“Aish, can’t you study once you get back? We can grab your favorite ice cream and then head to the park.”

“I will pass.”

“So it’s no use arguing huh?” Minseoks brows arched.

“Most likely.” Jongdae shrugged.

“Whatever, though next time we are going to the amusement park! Got it?”

“Got it.”

4 months later.

Jongdae and Minseok were sitting at their dining table, eating their usual dinner.

The supper went in silence, however an hesitant Minseok shattered the quietness with a soft breath.

“Jongdae.”

“Hm?” He slowly munched down at the asparagus.

“I have something I have been meaning to talk to you about…”

“What is it?”

Minseok gulped a few sips of water and rubbed his hands with a heavy sigh.

“I…I have passed the audition.”

Jongdae’s hands threw the fork and knife onto the plate itself with a clink and clank.

His eyes shot open and words were twisting inside of him.

“Re-really?!”

“Yes.”

Jongdae got up from his seat and back hugged Minseok.

“I’m proud of you Hyung.”

“And they have called me to Gangnam-gu-.”

Jongdae excitedly sat back at his seat and listened to him attentively.

“For the next audition.”

“Then you should go!”

“I won’t go. I don’t want to.”

“What?! You can’t lose this chance Hyung! You passed the audition, this is your chance, take it!”

“Then what about you? I can’t just leave you and live my dream. You had this dream as well didn’t you?”

“Forget bout my dream, you can’t give up something just cause I couldn’t pass the audition. The train will leave if you don’t catch it.”

“What?” Minseok frowned confusedly.

“Nevermind, you won’t get that anyways…What I’m trying to say is, go. Just go. Don’t think about me. Don’t let go of what you love just cause of me.”

“But Jongdae-.”

“I don’t want to live my life in regrets Hyung. I can’t. The burden is just too much.”

“You’re over-exaggerating.” Minseok sighed.

“I might be, but let’s face it, I will just keep dragging you away from your dreams and in the end you will just be the typical business man who works from nine to five and comes home with a heavy head.”

“I despise those types of people. Yes. They are miserable.” He nodded in agreement.

“That’s why. Take the ticket. Fly to your dreams Hyung.”

Minseok thought hard. Thought deep, but the only thought pulling him behind was Jongdaes solitude after he leaves.

“You sure..?” Minseok doubtfully twisted his lips.

“One hundred percent sure.”

6 months later.

Their house was cold and empty, like a well without water.

Like black and white paint, like a town without sun and like a year without rain.

Minseok left to L.A to live his dream, while Jongdae stayed behind hoping that someday his would come true as well.

He wasn’t used to living alone, at-least not without his Hyung.

It was difficult but somehow he managed, he had to.

Minseok had left enough money for Jongdae until he would come back, however, Jongdae was as much careful in using them as a miser.

He wouldn’t go out much, but when he did, it felt like the world around him was soulless.

Soulless and scary and desolated.

He would stay in room, for days, for weeks and eat what little there would be in the house.

A feeling of insecurity crawled up on him, a feeling of uneasiness whenever he thought of going to to bring his usual necessities.

Nevertheless, once in a while he would try.

The world wasn’t cruel, but it wasn’t kind either.

Rude people lurked around, which made it even harder for Jongdae to live the way he lives.

8 months later.

Jongdae saw Minseok for the first time on the television, singing with all his heart, with perfect high and low tones and with flawless endings.

He was becoming known, he was becoming something he had always wanted and Jongdae was happy for him.

Though a stream of clear water rolled down his cheeks.

Why? He thought but only to find out how much he envied Minseok of catching the train before it left.

He wished he would have been there as well. Singing, flying with wings and being known to the people around him.

But he had stopped wishing.

After the accident, after two months, after four months, he had stopped hoping.

10 months later.

He saw Minseok again for the nth time on the television.

He somehow changed, he was wearing a bit of a make-up, wore clothes one would only imagine and sung like a prideful lion.

Jongdae wanted to eagerly meet Minseok, wanted to ask him about his life was going on even though he could judge that it might be better than his.

Minseok hadn’t given his number to Jongdae so they weren’t in touch.

Jongdae argued to himself that at-least he could send a letter but perhaps he was busy, so busy that a memory of Jongdae might have slipped by his mind.

“Kim Minseok, the recently famous singer said to have been dating someone.”

A curve appeared on Jongdaes lips as he slowly grabbed the T.V remote and switched it off.

Maybe that’s how it was going to be, maybe that’s how life continues on, it doesn’t wait for anyone, it doesn’t give a hand to pull you too, it just moves and it’s hard to grasp it really.

A year later.

Kim Minseok had become world famous and Kim Jongdae was living his repetitive life.

Everything went like it went everyday.

Nothing had changed, except for the dust that had covered Jongdae’s house.

In actuality it was their house, but now that he was used to living a dead man, he called it his own.

He had stopped watching television as well, he had stopped looking at their albums every week, stopped going to their favorite spots and stopped reminiscing.

Jongdae was like now like a doll abandoned by its owner, but it’s okay. He can live alone, he can-

No he can’t…

Warm but cold tears ran along his bony cheeks.

He missed Minseok. A lot.

So much that he was afraid of looking at his photo.

Afraid that he wouldn’t survive the huge waves of happy memories.

Afraid that if once he looked, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from crying.

2 years later.

It was summer. Hot wind, but cheery and active days.

Jongdae got out of his house and had decided to head to the park.

The park having bits and pieces of souvenirs of the past like a trail of bread crumbs.

Fresh breeze of today brushed his face to reach the tomorrow.

Nothing much had changed, just the trees had become fewer and kids had become lots.

Jongdae spotted the tiny ice cream shop he and Minseok used to go to eat all the time, but the owner seemed to have been replaced.

Taking exciteful steps towards it, Jongdae decided to eat his favorite flavor.

He bowed to the vendor and looked at the collection of the colorful flavors.

“I would like this please.”

“Huh?”

“I want this.” He pointed at his favorite ice cream flavor.

“What?” The vendor asked again.

“I said, I want this.”

“Kid, if you wanna say it, then say it properly, don’t just point your finger cause I ain’t no genius to guess which one you want.”

“How many freakin times do I need to tell you that I want-.”

“Man, mute people are so annoying, just get lost from here will you?” The vendor grimaced.

Jongdae’s eyes swelled, not because he was called mute but because he was feeling helpless.

Helpless and out of reach.

If only Minseok had been there.

“I said get lost geni-.”

“Isn’t he pointing at what he wants? How dumb can you be?” A gravelly voice spoke from behind him.

Jongdae turned around and confusedly stared at the stranger.

“If you want your tiny little good-for-nothing ice cream shop to work, I suggest you give this man what he wants cause sorry to say, I have all the rights to sue you.”

Jongdae noticed the vendors eyes widening, and cold sweat dripping from his temples, though it was mixed with confusion of the heat.

Quickly, the vendor took out the ice cream Jongdae wanted and had decided to not take a penny from him.

Perplexed Jongdae thanked him anyways and turned around towards the stranger.

He was staring back at him, the tall man with a black hood and cap.

“Hi I’m-.” However, before he could introduce himself, Jongdae deeply bowed and walked past him.

“W-wait!” The man followed behind. “Even though you said thank you, doesn’t mean I would let you walk away!” The husky voice yelled.

Jongdae, as careless as he would be with unknown people, tore open his ice cream and began licking away the heat off of his tongue.

The stranger sprinted and stopped in front of Jongdae.

“You seriously gonna ignore me?”

“Who are you?” Jongdae asked with his hand gestures.

“I’m Park Chanyeol. Nice to meet you. Let’s be friends shall we?”

The latter confusedly and hesitantly shook hands with the unfamiliar individual.

“And you are? Oh sorry…What do I call you though? Can you spell out your name?”

Jongdae nodded and spelled his name with his hands, although he expected his newly-met friend Park Chanyeol to not get what he spelling out, unexpectedly he did.

“Kim-Jongdae?”

He nodded.

“Ah, nice to meet you too Jongdae-shi, you heading home?”

He nodded again, almost forgetting about his ice cream.

“Then let’s go, I’m really hungry so I hope you can cook, if not that’s alright as well since not to brag, I’m a really good cook myself.”

Jongdae wondered who this person could be? Why out of the blue, someone could finally understand him and why in the world he was following him to his house, but all those questions, all those doubts sunk beneath when Park Chanyeol began talking about himself.

So, he let him follow him.

It was like finally, the lonely Jongdae found someone he could open up to.

Finally someone who he could talk to after Minseok.

A year ago.

“Hm…I wonder how Chenny is doing, he must be angry on me for not sending him any letters…or sad, but damn I can’t leave yet…I even talked to my manager but he wouldn’t let me. This isn’t quite fair, why do I feel like I’m being trapped here?”

Kim Minseok was walking on an endless street. Directionless, but with piles of scribbled thoughts.

The warm coffee in his hand gradually turned cool, so he threw it with a sigh.

The memories he was recollecting were jumbling with the stress he was having of performing live in front of millions of people.

It was after all, his first time.

“Jongdae must be having a hard time without me right…or not. He might have already learned to live his life.”

Glancing around aimlessly, he suddenly stopped in his tracks and tilted his head.

“Center for learning sign language.”

Minseok’s eyes shot open in bewilderment.

It was somehow perfect.

A perfect gift Minseok could give to his Chenny, as an apology and also as a surprise.

Albeit he had learned the basics of sign language with Jongdae, he wanted to become a professional in it so that talking with him would be much easier.

Before he realized it, he found himself crossing the road.

Park Chanyeol was the teacher, but his main occupation was known by ladies and gents alike. He was the famous son of the CEO of Korea’s top bank and a multimillionaire Park Minwoo.

A hobby, passion and a bit of helping nature had made Chanyeol open the center for all those who wanted to communicate with the voiceless.

Upon seeing Minseok determined to learn for Jongdae, Park Chanyeol taught him eagerly as well than the rest of the students.

Soon after, they became close friends. So close that Chanyeol would drop by Minseok apartment for a week or more to spend time with him.

Months passed and Minseok had learned all he had to learn from his teacher.

He was now confident in his sign language and remembered the gestures Jongdae made when he said that he had to catch the train before it leaves. Now he understood what he meant.

Minseok once told Chanyeol about his voiceless friend Jongdae.

“Chan, in case…just in case alright, if anything happens to me-would you go to my friend and inform him about me?”

“Sure.” Chanyeol nodded. “But why do you think anything will happen to you?”

“I don’t know…just a feeling.” He said.

On a winter day, when Jongdae was asleep on his bed, Chanyeol called him saying that it was urgent, that he wasn’t feeling well and that he felt like he was going to die.

Quickly, Minseok grabbed his car keys and coat and hurried to Chan’s place.

Chanyeols voice was deeper than usual and the fact that anything would happen to him made him feel nauseous. Made him frightened.

He sped up, and he was speeding and he was distracted by something on his mind which made him ignore the traffic signal.

It was still on the red light.

It happened all so suddenly.

The death of Kim Minseok.

His last words weren’t heard by anyone but the droplets of water falling on the damp grass.

A tragedy.

A piece of a picture torn from Jongdaes album because of Park Chanyeols little lie.

He just wanted to surprise him since it was Minseok’s 26th birthday.

But in return, he got the dreadful surprise.

Months passed again, like nothing but a cat passing by.

Park Chanyeol had completed his teaching and was ready to move back to Seoul, however, the guilt, the regret, the loathing for himself for doing such an imbecile thing made him rethink his trip.

“Was it right to leave the grave of  Minseok in a cemetery only Chanyeol knew about?”

Not at all.

He wanted to pay for what he broke.

Stitch for what was torn.

And then he remembered, those words of Kim Minseok.

Still as fresh as the daisies in his backyard.

“Chan, in case…just in case alright, if anything happens to me-would you go to my friend and inform him about me?”

3 years later.

Kim Jongdae and Park Chanyeol were living in the same house.

Everything went as it when Minseok was there for him.

The morning amusement of the headlines, the wheezing of the kettle, the sizzling of the eggs and the incessant nattering of television gossip.

Jongdae was happy, he didn’t forget Minseok nor was he angry at him for not coming to meet him for straight three years, however he knew.

That one day he would catch the last flight home and surprise him at his door.

Nevertheless, not a day passed for Chanyeol with deep feeling of sadness of Jongdae.

No matter how much he wanted to tell him that his Hyung was dead, that he was no longer connected to this world, the happy, bright face of Kim Jongdae’s would stop him.

Because when he first met him, he was mirthless, depressed and dejected by the world but now, he had a voice.

Not the one to tune or sing, but the one to easily communicate with others through sign language.

An invisible yet powerful voice.

He could have just said it, sure, and Jongdae would cry a day or two or three or four weeks, but all he would say is that “Being a singer isn’t easy, lets’ just wait for him.”

And that’s the second mistake Chanyeol ever regrets saying.

The lie kept on prolonging, each day, each month and each year, it kept on building yet he didn’t have the courage to break down that wall.

“I’m sorry…Minseok.” Chan used to say everyday.

Slowly and then all at once, the remorse ate him from inside.

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