Chapter I

It is exactly 4:37am and I am not sleepy. I am still working on my sounds. Besides, I have to post my next EP on Soundcloud soon. I am fine-tuning the remaining mixes. I am both stressed and excited. I’m aware of what I’m giving off. This cold and indifferent air that some people like so much and yet causes me more harm than good. I try as best I can to protect myself: from everything, but especially from them. Beneath this impenetrable shell is a beating heart, a boy just waiting to be loved. I dream of a true and reciprocal love. It’s true that I’m not the type to give in. I would like to be able to give it all: to offer my heart and share all of my secrets. But with every disappointment, I understand that the women I attract are often all the same. They all promise me eternity but disappear once night falls. They all leave me waiting and indifferent. To love them is never enough, you always need more. Also, I understand that in love, it is always the one who gives the least who wins. But I would sacrifice everything for one of them: sell everything and burn everything. On the condition that she would end up choosing me. Because I’d rather be the only boyfriend than the first. I no longer want a love that is indecisive and that turns out to be hurtful. STOPLINE is certainly one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. From now on, I will choose myself. From now on, it will be me or nothing because I will no longer be the one who bitterly accepts to be one among many. I so often feel disillusioned. Sometimes I even feel that my own values are working against me. I have the feeling that music deserts me. The more popular I become, the more love escapes me. It’s as if it’s refused or even forbidden to me. « I don’t want you anymore » is the only sentence I can think of. No, I will never wait for your calls again. And yes, I won’t think about you anymore.

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Jaebeom grabs his phone to check the time and at the same time he receives an unknown call. Surprised, he hesitates to pick up the phone although he is curious to know who it could be at such an hour. But before the call went to voicemail, he picked it up.

“Hello?”

“Jaebeomi, it’s me.”

“You?! You what? At this hour? Why?”, he said in an emotional voice.

“I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, I’d like to see you again. I have many things to tell you, I have so many regrets Jaebeomi. My heart is pouring into my chest every time I think back to that day. I know that I have hurt you lots. I’ve been away for far too many years. But I’ve changed, I’m not the same. Now I am ready to talk. Besides, you’ve grown up, things are different now. Say yes to seeing me, please. I’ll answer any questions you may have. I won’t hide anymore. Jaebeomi, please say something.”

He hangs up. Jaebeom is in shock. This call was more than unexpected. His breathing is getting heavier and heavier. His phone vibrates again, this time it’s a message.

To: +82 75 05 13 73

Time: 05:12am

I will be in Seoul tomorrow, waiting for you at your favourite café at 16:00. If you are not available, text me. You have my number now.

That’s it, she’s back: the one who has haunted my nights and days so much. I never thought I would see her again. She who left me bruised, or rather abandoned me for another. The sound of her voice, I thought I had forgotten it. And it’s the watery eyes that I find hard to imagine. My hands are still shaking. She’s back, that’s it. I don’t know if I should be happy or angry about it. Should I laugh or cry about it? After all, it seems like a joke. A good joke in bad taste, isn’t it? Such audacity to come back into my life without warning. What nerve to have dialled my number. How ironic that I said the words she should have said to my face on the phone. Alas, my tears are now flowing. I am panicked, tortured at the thought of being face to face with her. Her name, my demons, her memory, my suffering. My heart no longer beats in my chest, in my head the countdown begins. She’s back, that’s it. What can I say? Where to start? What to do? Maybe I should have accepted her appointment. Maybe I should have given her a chance. I’ve changed so much since then. I was no longer whole as soon as she turned her back on me. She left without a word, without a caress, without a look. I was young and naive, certainly. No doubt I wouldn’t have understood anything. Well, then why does it still hurt so much? Can it be much more than a wound that only needs to be healed to recover? She is so much more than a love, to simply fall in love again would be easy. She is more. She is back. The truth is a bloody weapon as sharp as words. Of course I (still) love her. Probably stronger since she disappeared. Bitterness has never tasted so sweet in my mouth. Seeing her again, hugging her one last time. This time will be the last encounter.

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With these last thoughts, Jaebeom decides to pull himself together. He is now convinced that he must find her again, face his old demons. In a burst of adrenaline, he grabs his phone, ready to put an end to his ordeal. And yet it is so close to the end that he fails. He slowly lets his phone slide to the ground, his eyes no longer moist but red with anger. He can’t do it, hatred is overwhelming him. His cries can be heard as uncontrollable as an avalanche, they disfigure his face. They flow and drip on the ground. His powerful cries of pain, frustration, helplessness awaken Jow-Han, his best friend.

“Jae, what’s going on? It’s 4 o’clock in the morning, why are you in this state?” Jow-Han snaps.

Jaebeom doesn’t answer, too busy channeling what little dignity he has left. He feels ashamed to be seen in this state. He knows he shouldn’t, Jow-Han is his childhood friend. Together they have been through everything. But this time is different. Jow-Han knows it, he can feel it. He has never seen his friend in such a state. Something bad has happened. Something terrible has happened. Jow-Han feels that tonight is unique. He can’t express how, but he is certain that this evening will have consequences. What are they? How could he know, he’s not a mind reader.

“She’s fucking back. Jow, she’s back. You can understand that it’s killing me on the inside. I just can’t… I can’t see her, I can’t die a second time.”

« Who’s she? Who’s back?” Jow-Han innocently asks.

« Do you dare to ask me that question.” He gets angry. “Think! Who do you think can put me in such a lousy state? For whom would I have given my life, however insignificant it may be? Who do you think I would have given my life for, eh? « Jaebeom yells. He gets more and more agitated and then angrily gets up from the sofa he was sitting on. He is now standing up, his nose red. His eyes pierced with pain. He continues, « Who do you think I’ve been suffering for so many years? You’re my best mate, you should know, I shouldn’t have to explain this to you. If you don’t understand, if you don’t feel, if you don’t see what’s happening now, then we’re not as close. Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t know who I’m talking about Jow.”

“Kim. » Jow-Han utters shyly. With a fleeting look, he has just pierced the mystery. He finally realises. Kim, those three simple letters hold all the answers.

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