exobubz (exobubz) wrote,

As Long As You Know

As Long As You Know
Synopsis: (Just read it)
Genre: Slice of Life and a truck for your feels.
Author Info: Jesssi's Twitter | Jessi's Tumblr
NOTE: I did not write this. I'm merely posting it on here. This is my friend's christmas present to me and I couldn't be any more painfully happy that she was more than dedicated to writing one for me. If I could turn back time, I would, however, SPECIFY, certain things concerning my words in chemistry in which i said (apprently) "Make me sad". Anyways, enjoy. GIVE HER TONS OF LOVE, SHE'S NOT EVEN AN EXO / KPOP FAN. SHE'S A COLDPLAY MANIAC. She is not about this life, but she loves me, and I love her and it'd mean alot for you all to read this. Bye!

I clutched onto the last drop of the poison until the latest shot had swilled its way through my empty machinery. The light filtering through the thin crêpe curtains coated my skin, helped to wash away the grime of heartbreak and the swill of the drink. My eyelids rested heavily at the halfway mark, unable to be opened to any beauty that was supposed to be left. Repeated words ran through my mind. Any slight pin drop made me wince, yet I’m sure a seasoned bulldozer could not pry me away from my final resting place.

This was the day to define all days: graduation from university, the long awaited-award for a journey that lasted, almost literally, a lifetime. I greeted the bloated hand of congratulations with overwhelming enthusiasm, grasping the life-defining parcel in my free hand. My stupid smile must have miffed the owner of the bloated hand; he would be stuck there forever. Through a swelling sea of proud parents, mine were undoubtedly two supernovae in a solar system of white dwarfs. It would be a sin if the day were not as beautiful as it had been, though it was commonplace in Seoul. All eyes were on me as I took the stairs gracefully, one at a time, basking in the obvious attention being paid to me.

After a celebration dinner with what seemed like my whole family in attendance, I took a satisfyingly lonely walk through the city, all the while in hazy oblivion. I soaked in the reflection of the sun bouncing off the impossibly towering skyscrapers, angle of refraction set to theta Baekhyun. It was extremely late when I got home, but (and how exciting!) there was not a chorus of chastisement, no “WHERE WERE YOU BAEKHYUN WE WERE SO WORRIED” when I walked through the door; I was an adult now. My fixated smile began to diminish as I moved into the kitchen for water to aid my parched throat. My diminished smile turned further into furrowed brows and a slight grimace once I processed the reality of my previous realization. I was an adult now.

I had responsibilities like doing my own laundry; how terrifying. I could not expect anyone to carry out such responsibilities for me, and if I were to truly utilize my degree usefully, I couldn’t be bound to my parents’ house. I wanted to reach colossal heights in every reach of my life, especially since what I wanted to go into was music. I sat down precariously at the edge of my bed, nibbling my fingernails slightly and staring intently into my abyss. Talking to myself was one of my special skills, a market which I had almost completely cornered. “Seoul..Very populous. Someone here will have to need their music produced,” I whispered tentatively.

It was true, I had such a love for music, yet I stood on the comfortable edge of a record as impassioned artists sat in the lovely chaos toward the center. I would look for an apartment, most likely a grimy hole in the wall, but that was the experience I was supposed to have. I would look for one right then and there, for my anxiety was already begging to set my personal Rube Goldberg machine into motion. I snapped out of black oblivion and fully realized the goal at hand. With some sleight of hand and some rapid button pushing, my laptop was open and apartment listings were cascading before my eyes in a rapid-fire flurry.

Countless hours were spent in an estimated thirty minutes, searching obsessively and methodically for the perfect mess, the perfect run-down avant-garde. It finally came to me- a huge warehouse-like place that was located in the Seocho district. It didn’t have extraneous walls, appliances, or perhaps even indoor plumbing, but my naive idealism told me that those things were useless luxuries. Should I reveal the move to my parents? I ultimately decided to allow them to steep in the jubilant sentiment the day evoked, and drain them tomorrow.

I breathed steadily and closed my eyes, then opened them to take in my room for perhaps the last time. There was the white antique chair in the corner, complete with a terrible paint job and oxidized nails to hold it together; a carefully crocheted blanket was draped over it that incorporated gentle hues of mint green and pale blue. That spot, I figured, would forever be my earliest moments immortalized.

There was the window on the adjacent wall that was large and complex; it had a long bottom panel, with a larger panel resting on top of it that was split into two smaller components. This version of the window had been relatively new, only replaced shortly after my sixteenth birthday when, after I decided the previous sixteen years of my life had been wasted on such activities as reading and cutthroat games of Dungeons and Dragons, I attempted to sneak out. The fact that my bedroom was on the second floor of the house was temporarily negligible as, upon careful speculation, planning, and scaling, my pant leg was caught on the window handle and I was smacked mercilessly against the side of the house. Unbeknownst to me, our house was of a particular age and the wood around my window had been rotting for some time, and the force of my body pulling down on the window had ripped it out of the wall completely, reducing me to a bloody mess in a pool of glass below.

My room had been generally plain, with splashes of memories to fill the void. Beside the chair and the long-replaced window, I had a simple closet, a simple carpet, and a simple bed where I had spent much of my time. My bed served to see me through my entire childhood, a happy flurry of ice cream and the absence of responsibility; my adolescence, where puberty and my subsequent sexual awakening had taken place, which was so overwhelmingly exciting I had to change the sheets thereafter; and my teenage years, where long hours of daydreaming and worrying took place, in that order.

I decided that I was satisfied with my musings, closed my laptop, turned out the lights, and settled softly in bed. The next day came swiftly via dreamy time travel and attacked me as my mother called me down for breakfast, a ritual she lovingly clung to as I had been living at home, yet was in theory a fully independent and grown man. I quickly inspected myself in the mirror behind the door- my short and petite stature was garnered with rustled honey-tinged hair and deep brown eyes, while my thin frame gave me a painfully androgynous air. My slouchy, earthy sweater almost consumed me and my old Christmas boxers, decorated with faded candy canes, demanded that no one take me seriously.

“Baaaaaeeeekhyunnnn!” My mother pleaded at the bottom of the stairs. I nodded to myself in the mirror and headed down the stairs, sitting down at the table with my parents expectantly staring me down. In front of me was cold cucumber soup and a side of bean sprout rice; my favorite. I reluctantly slurped a spoonful of the soup, but was too anxious to eat any more. My mother, watching me like a hawk, certainly took notice: “Is there something wrong?”

I sighed. “There’s something I need to talk to you guys about,” I could see them tense up as I said the dreaded words.

“Okay, go ahead,” my dad said, not able to suppress his apprehension.

“Well, um. . . I found an apartment that I want to go check out today. It’s really cheap, and I figured that if I really want to be independent, I can’t exactly be living with my parents. I love you guys, and you both know I’ll visit so often it’ll be like I never left.”

“Baek, your father and I understand, and we fully support you. If you should ever hit a rough patch, you know we’ll be here,” Tears were welling up in all of our eyes.

“Okay,” I continued, but with shaky voice, “well, I was thinking I’d head over to the place around three and get everything squared away- the lease, the rent, the down payment- and maybe you guys could help me move in over the next few weeks?”

“Of course,” they said in unison.

We spent the rest of the breakfast in happy conversation, and I headed up to my room afterwards to start packing my minimal possessions with an overflowing feeling of glee. After I had packed everything into my first generation Prius, (I had refused to upgrade for. . . sentimental reasons) I headed off to Seocho. I had spoken to my landlord, a genial and somewhat precautious personality, before I made the trip as to secure the promise he had made to me (I could move in immediately! How convenient). I arrived, and he greeted me with such enthusiasm it was painfully clear his lonely, repressed homosexual angst had gotten the best of him.

Two months passed after I moved in. I was still struggling to amass the right furniture to fill the lonely space of the giant warehouse, which I had deduced was most likely utilized by a mass murderer who could be best described as sloppy, considering many questionable stains that were scattered throughout the space. I had still failed to paint the painfully drab walls, but deliberately left the cold concrete floors bare because I cherished the slight masochistic thrill I received from being in contact with the sub-zero slabs. I admittedly had a sort of fetish for light fixtures; opulent, ornate, minimalistic, simple, large, miniscule. The present of an omnipotent light source gave me superficial comfort and defense against sloppily slaughtered ghosts.

My landlord (his name being Do-yeon) visited me every day, each day he bore bizarre gifts that had the most minimal effect on my moving process. My makeshift kitchenette was subsequently littered with bread baskets, juicers, and rice. The bread had a lingering taste of death and the rice had been unmarked and uncooked. His charity, while misplaced, was still appreciated nonetheless.

My parents offered to cover the first three months of rent, which Do had surprisingly lowered once I moved in on the grounds that I had been an exceptional tenant (though at the time I had been residing at the residence for a ripe three days). This three-month charity meant that I had to somehow find a job in that span of time. This was a facile challenge; I had an university education and a winning smile. Reality, however, knocked me onto my frigid concrete floors as I entered the music industry not as a respected producer, but as a temp for a respected producer. Though the details of employment were humiliating, I was exuberant that I could even get a job.

Three weeks of coffee demands and meaninglessly monotonous tasks left my dignity worn down to mere grains of sand, and not once did I receive any advice or guidance from the heavy-hitters in the industry; the truth was that the people I worked for were self-satisfied assholes. I had to keep my wits about me, though, because I knew that a majority of them likely started out as lowly temps like me, and as they climbed the rungs of success, they shed a concept of human dignity. Perhaps I didn’t think through my degree enough. My boss, famed Nam-sun, (who had produced the likes of Exile, Girls Noise, and 4PM) never looked me in the eye. Eyes were class barriers never to be crossed. His façade was indeed brilliant: a charitable, smiling, professional businessman. Behind closed doors, he had the wit and generosity of a rotting horse.

After a particularly taxing day, (Nam’s choice to bring his infant nephew to the studio backfired as I was left to clean up his nervous vomit in the midst of such glamor) I came home to nothing to eat. My pay as a temp wasn’t exactly spectacular and would barely cover my rent with the aid of my parents, so I found myself having to eat at Do’s often. I hung my head and headed over to the quaint one-story next door to the warehouse, which is where Do’s father had apparently managed a car repair operation. I knocked on the door, aware that this might be the day Do’s charity would run out. He opened the door: “Oh! I am so glad you showed up tonight, I was expecting you, and I made extra.”

“Are you sure it’s okay? I mean, I feel like I’m taking advantage of your charity,” I offered, head still hung.

“Oh, Baekhyun, you know it’s always a pleasure to have company. I mean, you know I don’t have anyone to take care of except myself.”


“No! No more ploying. Come inside, and please take your shoes off this time, will you?” I had been defeated.

Dinner was surprisingly excellent, considering the last few dishes consisted of overcooked rice and scorching Kimchi. After the meal, we lingered at the table and I could tell he yearned for conversation. His eyes twinkled. “Damn it, Do, what is it?” I queried playfully, and a smile spread across his deeply wrinkled face.

“Well,” he started, “you know, I see you working so hard, never having enough money to do anything, and you never go anywhere. At least tell me you have someone special to share you time with, Baekhyun.”

I was startled by his frankness: “Well, no. I just don’t have time. I’m trying to break into the industry, and it’s just. . .”

“So, you haven’t met anyone?” He prodded further.

I sighed. “No, no I haven’t.”

“Well, that’s too bad. I think it’s important to have someone you like, and who likes you back. Relationships, I find, are the best cure for stress.”

“HA!” I fell into a fit of laughter.

“Yes, I know, they can cause stress, but that’s only if you let them,” he paused, “you know, I used to have someone. This was years ago, but he was the most beautiful, special, lovely person I had ever met.”

My ears perked at the precarious pronoun, thinking he had made a mistake: “He. . . ?”

Do let out a sonorous burst of laughter. “Oh, my dear boy, you didn’t possibly think I was straight, did you? You’d think, with such a distinguished university education, you’d be keener.”

I laughed and suddenly felt closer to this old man, whose eyes were suddenly dancing and, for once, didn’t seem so empty. His bald head bobbed as he laughed with me, and it was then that a friendship had been forged.

Time flurried as I worked tirelessly to move up in the unrelenting industry. It seemed, however, as time dragged on, people paid less and less attention to me; I was the coffee mule. On one such excursion in search of the perfectly balanced cup of coffee, I encountered an endless stream of street performers. They were common in this district, but it was evident that they were out in full force on that day. I would sometimes stop to observe their art, as I appreciated and respected street artists more than anyone. There was one, though, who first caught my ears, then held my eyes.

Leaning against a shop, guitar in hand, cigarette in mouth was statuesque, lanky magnificence. He glided over the strings like he was born to melt the hearts of short, androgynous boys. He seemed to be galaxies away, perhaps contemplating the perfection of his tousled brown hair. At first frozen, I inched my jellied body over to this mysterious man and leaned over to put some change- and quite possibly my regurgitated heart- into his grimy charity can. I looked up, quivering in my schoolboy jacket and airy button-up, and he was smiling. “I- uh- is- um-” I collected myself, “is that an original?”

He stopped, a sly smile plastered on his stupid face: “If you consider a sloppy mash-up of Exile and Girls Noise ‘original.’”

“Well, having some part in the production of them, I can certainly attest that even a simple cover of their work is admirable,” I nodded a bit too enthusiastically.

He took a long drag off of his cigarette, then slowly turned his head to release the carcinogen, so lucky to be in such a perfect mouth. “You work at DMB Records?”

“Well, in a matter of speaking, yes.”

“In a matter of speaking?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m a- a temp,” embarrassment flooded my face.

He stopped for a second, then smiled so big his face was drowned in smooth lips and pearly teeth, subsequently offering, “That, my small friend, is amazing. You are amazing for even cracking into the industry.” He had all the strange sex appeal of Labyrinth-era Bowie and James Dean, but was, in reality, a cutesy teddy bear who happened to be a guitar virtuoso. “So,” he continued, “are you working?”

That’s when I remembered my frustratingly menial duty at hand: “OH! The coffee. I have to get coffee. I mean, I’m late. Really late. I would love to stay and listen some more, but. . . I really have to go.”

“Well, considering I’ve stopped playing for five minutes, I think you want to stay for other reasons,” he smiled.

I blushed, I was so taken aback. “I-” I choked out.

He pulled out a pen from his pocket and rolled up one of the sleeves of his electric blue flannel. Offering me the pen, he said, “If you could be so kind and write your contact information on my forearm, I would be so grateful and happily contact you for any musical ventures I should be interested in.” I nearly died, and barely managed to scrawl my number in wobbly letters on his forearm.

Running off, I briefly turned around to spout out a goodbye while he nodded at me. What a sexy nod.

I understood that this stranger was probably interested in my position at the company, and he was most likely holding out hope for his big break. I was in conflict because I knew this reason was most likely the explanation for the kindness he showed me, but the fact that it had been a week and he didn’t call me was curious. If he was so eager for a break, wouldn’t he want to call me immediately? He also understood that I was simply a temp, and it would be a miracle if I could get Nam to listen to my pitch of the Adonis. Notwithstanding, I waited by the phone like a hormonally encumbered teenager. I waited. And waited. And waited. . .

In an effort to keep myself busy, I took up baking. My oven, a step up from an Easy-Bake model, did not welcome the new hobby kindly. After I decided that there were not enough baked goods in the world to deflect the influence of this new boy, I was left with a forest of bread and enough cupcakes to feed a large country. On my last batch of some chocolate-and-buttercream concoction, the phone rang. I rushed over to the receiver with a speed that would put the Flash to shame.

“HEL-lo?!” I cracked out.

“Where do you live?” the familiar voice said.

“Um, why?”

“I have musical inquiries.”

“Oh. . .” My excitement had been extinguished.

“And by ‘musical inquiries,’ I mean I want to take you on a date.”

I tried my best to play cool: “Okay, well, what makes you think I even want to go on a date with you?”

“You were sweating profusely when I met you and you would only do that if A) you liked me or B) my amazing guitar abilities rendered your sweat glands erratic.”

I sighed; I had been defeated. “Well. . .” I began, “how about I come and pick you up?”


“Where are you?”

“Finishing up on the corner.”

“Are you that strapped for cash?”

He laughed. “The place where we met.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Oh, and one last thing,” his voice was soft, level.


“What is your name?”

“Baekhyun. And yours?”

“Chanyeol.” After he said this, I heard silence on the other end, and I take it as my cue to get ready. I rushed over to the armoire by my bed to try and pick out something decent. I didn’t want to agonize, and my thoughts were too scrambled to even make an intelligent decision. My choice was a soft blue button-up with some intentionally well-fitted dark slacks. One last mirror check revealed how much of a mess I really was, but a quick tousle of the hair quelled all worries I had and I bounded out the door. Do was resting on his well-lit porch in a rocking chair that dwarfed his existence in both size and detail, and was curiously aroused by my quick departure. “Where are you off to?” He shouted this as I had my hand on the door handle.

“I have a date!” I shouted back, and we shared a smile for but a split second before I was off. I took corners dangerously fast and had no time to marvel at the majesty of Seoul at night, as the skyscrapers light up and the nocturnal creatures come alive with a chaotic energy. I finally arrived at the corner he had been playing at, where he was waiting with a cigarette in his mouth and a smile on his face. As I came to a stop, he opened the back door and gingerly laid his guitar across the backseat. He suddenly turned his head in my direction.

“A first gen, really?” He scoffed.

“It has sentimental value,” I said, my eyes following him until he secured himself in the passenger seat.

“What kind of sentimental value?” He looked at me, tilting his head.

“You have to promise you won’t laugh.”

He held up his right hand: “Scout’s honor.”

I looked straight ahead and started to drive, though I didn’t know where we were going. “Well, this is the car I, um, lost my virginity in,” my voice had become exceptionally small at the last few words.

He threw his head back and laughed, but the fact that he broke his promise didn’t bother me because his long neck revealed a glorious Adam’s apple, and I nearly got into an accident because of the unwanted (but wanted) distraction. “Turn left here,” he said, apparently somewhere to go in mind.

He directed me where to turn and when to stay true until we arrived at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. “See, I didn’t want to put the burden of a fancy restaurant on you for our first date. Maybe in the future, but this restaurant has exceptional food with the added price of guilt,” he explained, but I was perfectly content with his choice.

The establishment smelled of sweet vegetables and pepper, and the atmosphere was very dim. The space was cramped, but the area was welcoming and the workers were friendly. He chose a booth in a corner, and his happy face sat down across from me. He stared intensely at me as we both ordered water, then asked, “So, what is it that you want to do?”

“I want to hopefully go into music production,” I said, confidently.

“No, no. What do you really want to do?”

I didn’t understand what he was trying to ask me. “Uh, music production. That’s what I went to university for.”

He looked visibly frustrated and said, “Most people don’t do what they truly want to do. They do something that seems safe because they don’t have enough confidence in themselves to do what they really want to do. What is it that you want to do?”

I paused. No one had asked me that question before. “I. . . would like to be a musician, but I’m not exactly talented. I like to paint. A lot.”

He nodded his head. “Where can I see you in action, then?”

“I do need to paint my walls sometime. Maybe you could come and help me?”

“You’re cute.”

“You really think so?” I was internally screaming.

“And what about this virginity story? You didn’t elaborate.”

I feigned disinterest. “Huh? Oh. Right. I got the car for my sixteenth birthday and I was thus known at school as an absolute boy magnet.”

“One day one boy was attracted straight to your backseat, eh?”

“In a matter of speaking,” I felt so, so alive.

Chanyeol looked down and shook his head, but the gesture couldn’t mask the smile he was trying so desperately to hide. The meal, as promised, was greasy and satisfying. More smiles were exchanged, and there was even (oh my!) the contact of hands. We had been done with the food for ages, but we sat there for an eternity before the owners had to shoo us out at closing time. We stood on the street under the full moonlight, lingering next to the infamous Prius. He produced a cigarette from his pocket and carefully lit it, looking up at the moon and nothing else.

Without looking away from the ethereally lit sky, he asked, “I can come over in about three weeks to help you paint, is that okay?”

“Sure, but. . . why three weeks?”

“It’s my day off,” he took this opportunity to look at me and wink, however brief the moment was. I drove him home to a tiny flat across town. It was surrounded by equally small flats in an intimate cluster. He bounded up to his, and I waited to see if he got in safely. Before closing the door he turned around to look at me, simply giving a knowing nod and then he was gone.

Within the three weeks he proposed as a waiting period, Chanyeol called me every single day, and I would regularly come to see him play on my coffee treks. He had gotten accustomed to calling me ‘Baek,’ something only my parents did. I knew Do was exasperated with the way I would visit every day and only babble helplessly about my newfound happiness, but he wasn’t too elderly to forget what it was like to be in a relationship.

Relationships are fun. They are exciting. They are new. Sometimes, they give you a purpose and a reason to live without having to be dependent on that person for happiness. Relationships are a springboard for a larger truth- happiness- in its pure, unadulterated form.

The three weeks were finally up, and they slid along agonizingly slow, like watching grains of sand drop consistently and painfully in an hourglass. I was still in bed when I heard a sharp knock at my door at an even sharper time of 7 A.M. I answered the door in my reindeer pajamas, my hair sticking straight up in a chaotic mess. The crust was crowning in my eyes. “You look ravishing!” Chanyeol said with a sticky smile. Oh, I hated him.

With him he toted a full set of painting supplies, with an array of hues and primers to choose from. Honestly, the sight of it excited within me a long burning desire to artistically express myself. I remember the day being light, breezy, sunny. It was of existentially awakening substance. I opened all the outdated and dangerous windows, cringing as I remembered my own history with plexiglass.

We started by blanketing the whole surface area with tarps, very diligently I might add. The warehouse was soon a blue-tape-and-tarp dream. Before we actually started painting, Chanyeol put all the paint buckets in a neat line, stirred it, and sat down. He saw the puzzled look on my face, which prompted him: “I want you to paint me something.”

“Like, a mural?”

“Yes, on that wall over there,” he pointed to the wall my bed usually rested against.

“It might take a while. . .” I protested, only slightly.

“That’s fine, I’m on my day off,” he gestured me to begin.

I was soon engrossed by the task at hand, sometimes using brushes, sometimes using my hands. I had not paid attention to the fact that I was completely covered in paint, sorry reindeer pajamas. Hues of the deepest blue, the richest purple, the lustiest red were being flung in a mad fury. I didn’t quite know where I was going with the project, or if it would turn out well, but I loved it. I loved it.

An undisclosed amount of hours later, yet with the breeze still wrapping itself around the trees outside, I was finished. I paused, paintbrush by my side, while paint dripped like molasses onto the tarp I was standing on. I said, almost to myself, “It’s how I see you, Chanyeol,” and it was true. Before me was an impressionistic, almost unrecognizable face of sheer beauty. Within the face was a myriad of colors bursting and complimenting each other, a large and honest tribute to someone I was quite sure I was falling in love with.

Behind me I heard the unmistakable sound of crinkling tarp and soon felt the warmth of Chanyeol’s hands on my biceps. I froze and dropped the paintbrush as he began to plant kisses on my neck. I closed my eyes, and he moved his hands down to my hips, wrapping them around my waist. “I have paint all over me,” I whispered, to no avail. He spun me around and we were looking intensely into each other’s eyes, his being the steelier, more reserved version of my own. I reached up to his face with a hand, his presence completely dominating and dwarfing mine. My hand smeared paint on his face as I ran it along his squarish jawline. With his hands slipping down to support me, he lifted me up and I wrapped myself around him as the breeze had done to the trees outside. We never broke our gazes.

Chanyeol leaned in to kiss me, something I had been waiting for since perhaps the beginning of my pitiful existence. The moment was slow burning; he was taking a long drag off of me like a priceless cigarette. I was somewhat worried that I was too heavy, but in reality I was likely less of a strain than his guitar was.

Our lips parted, and I made the decision to free myself from my enshrinement to undress him. First came his v-neck, perfect until my stained hands shimmied it off of him and threw it on the still-wet tarp. He took no time or effort to discard of my clothing until all that was left was him in his khaki trousers and me, completely naked and trying to contain my nervousness and breeze-induced shivering. I crouched down to remove his pants, a move anticipated by Chanyeol and intentionally maneuvered by me.

I tipped my head to look at him, then broke position a bit to kiss the perfect flesh just below his belly button. His frame was thin, but it was evident that he had a regular exercise regimen, and every time he moved to run his long fingers through my hair, his arms would flex and twitch in insanely attractive spasms. I slid his belt out of its designated loops, tossing it to join the messy sea of clothes and paint on the tarp. After unbuttoning and unzipping the pants, (an annoying barrier) I combined two steps and simultaneously stripped him of his underwear and khakis.

I nearly fainted.

My glassy eyes gazed upon what should be deemed the eighth natural wonder of the world. The shaft, being considerably long, was perfectly sculpted and circumcised. Subtle veins popped out just under the surface, and he was obviously ready for what was about to happen next. I took his cock in my hand, keeping it momentarily stationary at the base as I wrapped my mouth around his shaft. I kept a slight rhythm with my hand as I pushed my mouth onto him; his soft moans radiated through my body.

He allowed me, however, to keep up this routine for only so long as a wave of impassioned ecstasy struck him. Chanyeol gave me the signal to stop, dropped to his knees, and kissed me on the forehead. He turned me around and pulled me toward him, then gave me a slight push to communicate what he wanted from me. My chest laid on the messy ground as he bent over me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. He finally entered me, and I pushed against his body as my body made an erotic, inverted arc. He would alternate between kissing my shoulder blades and grabbing my hips for support.

Slow at first, I was insistent on pressing myself against his cock, thus cueing Chanyeol to be more vigorous in his efforts to satisfy both his and my appetite. The sounds emanating from the both of us were part primal, part wounded vulnerability. In the space where my member hung, I felt an irresistible energy building quickly; inside of me, I could feel a pulsating, fiery explosion on the precipice. I was the first, however, to be tipped over the edge. I blacked out for an eternity when I reached the closest point to heaven one could reach. Only moments later, the pressure that had been building in Chanyeol exploded, and he let out an ear-splitting, cosmic groan before collapsing next to me.

At this point, we were covered in paint and each other. As living pieces of art, we were more valuable to each other than the most coveted Van Gogh piece was to the most avid collector. I crawled next to him and dug my head softly into his chest. He had begun to sing to me as gentle as a Spring breeze. “Life tends to come and go/ that’s alright, as long as you know/ life tends to come and go/ as long as you know/ I won’t share you.” He only hummed the rest, but the words he did sing floated around in my emancipated brain like specters in a long-abandoned cemetery.

Our two month anniversary consisted of a surprise visit to the Seoul Arts Center. We paraded proudly around Hangaram and drank in the fascinating and vast arrangement of art. While stopped at one particular piece, I placed my head against his arm while my hand was intertwined with his. “You know,” he breathed, “you could be doing stuff like this. You could have your work in a museum.”

“Isn’t that an exciting thought?”

“Baek, I’m going to force you out of your stupid shell of insecurity if it takes me a lifetime.”

“Now that is an exciting thought.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, what? Nothing,” I said as I nuzzled into his cardigan.

After dropping him off, I went back home and briefly marveled at my mural before heading off to Do’s, as per his invitation.

“You really like this boy?” he started over some barbecued beef.

“Oh, yes. . .”

“I really wish you two weren’t so loud, you do have an old man living next door.”

“Oh,” my face emblazoned with embarrassment, “Do, I’m sorry.”

“I’m just joshing, dear. The louder, the better.”

More laughing ensued, more good food was consumed, more stories were exchanged, him speaking of his lost love. It was cancer that took his partner, which left Do completely devastated. His radiating sadness sobered me, and made me appreciate Chanyeol so much more. I nodded as a gesture of understanding as Do related to me all of his wonderful adventures he had had with Lee, the ups and the downs. He explained to me that a relationship is not without flaw; a relationship is only a reflection of the people who share it.

After dinner I waddled my overstuffed body back to the warehouse, where I discovered something had been left at my door. Upon further inspection, I found the mysterious package to be a large area rug, with a note telling me that it was from Chanyeol in celebration of the two months we had shared. ‘Your floors are way too cold. Happy two months, C.,’ is what the note read. I spread out the carpet carefully in front of my bed, quickly realizing that the impossibly plush gift was a giant Starry Night.

Eight months passed, and upon my request Chanyeol moved in, helping to fill the empty, lonely space of the warehouse. For the first time in about a year, I felt at home. And, shortly thereafter, we had our first fight. The details: irrelevant. It was a fruitless bicker-fest that was a product of two separately experienced long and hard days. There was no physical altercation, but frustration was experienced in full. The useless argument ended in him storming out into the night.

I should have gone after him.

As I steeped in my stubbornness for the night, Chanyeol was discovered at 2:56 A.M. near the corner he always played at. The police told me that he was crossing the street, struggling to light a cigarette, as a driver rounded the corner too quickly and left his almost-lifeless body on the street, life escaping him into the freezing night only moments later. There wasn’t a funeral for him; his mother chose to cremate his remains.

My initial pain could be described as being in an isolated, dark chamber where I could see nothing but feel everything. I felt as if the air would be evacuated from the chamber at random intervals, and I would be reduced to my knees in a futile plea to breathe the fresh, breezy air of my beloved once more. I could feel invisible knives come from invisible places to pierce the darkest, most hidden part of me. The knives would twist until pain blinded me from recognizing my existence, thus I lost myself.

I don’t know if an eternity had passed, it felt like it. Though I had never touched a drop of alcohol in my life, I now swam in endless oceans of the liquid that makes you forget. Sitting in the warehouse, stroking forgotten possessions, I realized I resided in the loneliest place in the world: my pathetic conscience, where I was doomed to forever dwell.

I clutched onto the last drop of the poison until the latest shot had swilled its way through my empty machinery. The light filtering through the thin crêpe curtains coated my skin, helped to wash away the grime of heartbreak and the swill of the drink. My eyelids rested heavily at the halfway mark, unable to be opened to any beauty that was supposed to be left. Repeated words ran through my mind. Any slight pin drop made me wince, yet I’m sure a seasoned bulldozer could not pry me away from my final resting place.

An eternity and a half was spent in purgatory. On one fateful day, I awoke in a cold sweat to realize that I should not be living for grief, I should be living for Chanyeol. Self-pity and empty depression would get me nowhere, honoring the life of the man I loved was indeed the most honorable prospect. I sat bolt upright in bed until dawn, the faint scent of Chanyeol drifting up to me from where he had once laid.

I drove my sentimental Prius down to DMB and marched into the ridiculous edifice with the confidence and splendor of a military general who knew the sting of defeat, yet chortled in the face of death. I respectfully dealt a ‘fuck you’ to Nam and the pathetic promotion he had recently given me, the highly sought-after position of personal assistant.

After a trip to an art supply store, I brought back my tools to the warehouse. I opened the windows up for the first time in centuries, allowing the breeze to ravish and envelop the space as it once had. Donning splattered reindeer pajamas once more, I spread out my spectrum of colors, turning around to give a knowing nod to a spectator I couldn’t see.

Breathing in sharply, I graced the canvas with my paintbrush in pursuit of living art.
Tags: as long as you know, chanbaek, jessi heffington, oneshot
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