After the accident and Kyuhyun is recovered. In China with the Sub-Group.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I whisper into the quietness of the room. I am alone with you, holding your hand tightly in mine, trying to reassure myself that you are still here. There is no answer from you, except the steady beeping of the machine that tells me you’re alive. I just want a twitch of your hand, or your eyebrows, just something that tells me that you heard me. Looking at your face, so pale, it brings me back to that day – that fateful day that changed our lives. Can I turn back time? Can I return to the day before it all happened?
It was that fateful day that changed us all.
It was splashed all over the news.
“Four members of Super Junior involved in Car Crash!”
“Super Junior in Car Accident, Youngest injured most severely”.
I dropped the phone when Manager-hyung told me the news. I froze. Kangin-hyung approached me with a worried expression. “Who called?” I was in shock. I couldn’t say anything to Kangin-hyung. No, it didn’t happen. Manager-hyung didn’t just tell me that. No. I don’t believe it.
“Calm down. Calm down.” Kangin mumbled by my side. I was hyperventilating as the words repeated in my mind.
“We’ve met with an accident. We’re at the hospital right now.”
“Tell me what happened.”
I didn’t remember what I said to Kangin-hyung. All I remembered was seeing Ryeowook’s teary face in front of me in the van.
The wait at the hospital was agonising. No one told us anything about any of you. All we could do was waiting. I knew that someone was sitting beside me, engulfing me in his arms. But I had no idea who. All I wanted was to hear news about you. Someone guided me to another room. Eunhyuk and Shindong were sitting on the hospital bed. We all pounced on them, relieved that they were fine. They broke down. I could tell that the horror of the crash was still fresh on their minds. My heart stopped when they said you weren’t reacting to their calls at the scene. I wanted so much to hold you in my arms then. Kyu…
When Teukie-Umma woke up asking for you, I left the room. I didn’t want to show him my tears.
I felt as if I’ve lost one part of myself watching you on the hospital bed. You didn’t belong there. You still don’t.
When I heard that you woke up, all I wanted to do was to abandon the radio show and rush to your side. I couldn’t figure out why I was so happy that you woke that I wanted to drop everything to be by your side.
When you were released from the hospital, you wore such a brilliant smile on your face that made me believe that every thing was fine. I should have known better. You are an actor.
We threw a party when you moved back to the dorm. Everyone was jumping around not caring that we were idols, not caring that we were twenty. It heartened me to see the smile on your face, but I loved the time when it was just the two of us in the room. I missed your presence in the room, though you were always quiet.
As I watched you sleep on your bed, curled up in the blanket, I felt the sudden urge to kiss you. I wanted to kiss away the pain that was visible on your face. I wanted to kiss away the hurt that you felt. I leaned forward, planting a kiss on your forehead, watching as you relaxed a little more. “Welcome home, Kyu.”
It was then that I realised that I love you.
When you announced that you would be participating in the second album, I was happy yet worried. Being your roommate, I knew that you tried to always be brave. You tried to pretend that your physiotherapy sessions were nothing that it didn’t bother you that you had to stay in the dorm while each of us headed out on our individual activities and as Super Junior. But I knew that it hurt. You secretly cried into your pillows when you thought that no one was at home. It hurt me to know that you were upset. I tried to comfort you, but you refused to tell me anything. I held you in my arms, feeling how you fit perfectly in my embrace even though you’re of a bigger size. Only if I looked harder, only if I had forced you to tell me. You wouldn’t be on the bed again right now.
After every dance session, after every recording, you were always so tired and pale. Then I attributed it to you still recovering from your illness. I made sure that you were comfortable in your bed. I cooked ramen for you to eat. I thought we grew closer to each other then. You began to tell me slightly more about how you were feeling each day, asking me to teach you the dance moves. I felt so much joy in my heart to know that you trust me enough to tell me your problems. What I didn’t know was that those were just the surface. You hide so much more within your young frame.
On the day of your comeback, of Super Junior’s comeback, I was really nervous. It had been a long time since we had performed as thirteen. It was almost like our debut all over again. As usual, you looked totally composed and at peace when most of us were running around like headless chickens. You smiled at everyone around, and I could distinctly feel your happiness of being back there with us again.
When you were on stage singing that line, dancing that few moves, I felt whole. Super Junior was back again. I beamed at you as you walked off the stage, not caring that we were supposed to be cold during Don’t Don’s performance. You noticed my smile, returning the favour to me as well. I was lucky that Henry was performing his violin dance then that no one spotted my lack of attention.
After the performance, we celebrated. You laughed at all the little actions from the rest of them, leaning on my shoulders as the two of us sat on the sofa. I loved how your head seemed to fit perfectly on my shoulders. When no one was watching, I kissed you. It was just a quick peck on your cheek. I blushed, turning my face away from you, pretending that nothing happened at all. You didn’t seem to have noticed it as you were laughing at Eunhyuk’s imitation of Heechul-hyung.
The party soon died down as we had another performance coming up the next day. I was helping you onto your bed when you tripped. Gravity pulled the two of us on top of each other. It was just like our scene in the Super Junior mini drama, but the positions reversed. And because I wasn’t expecting it, I couldn’t stop my fall. I froze when I felt my lips hit yours.
Quickly, I pushed myself off the bed. I mumbled an excuse and left the room in a hurry. I shut the door behind me, hearing my heart pounding in my chest. It was beating so fast that I wondered if I was still alive. I touched my lips, still feeling the lingering warmth of your lips on mine. A silly grin formed on my face.
I can still taste your lips on mine right now.
When you sang A Whole New World with the little Filipino girl, Charice Pempenco, on Star King, I truly felt that the year was going to turn for the better. It was the start of a new world for you, for Super Junior. We were going to realise our dreams.
When you first joined us for the filming of the Exploration of the Human Body, I was delighted because you were. You had looked forward for so long to join us on set. You had watched every episode that had aired many times with a wistful look on your face when you thought that I was reading my book. The book was just a object infront of my face. I was instead observing you. It was a fun episode to film, although you and Heechul-hyung were unable to participate in most of the activities. When you asked to try out, I was worried but Teukie-Umma beat me to saying it. You insisted, wanting to do something instead of just standing there. Being the soft Umma that Eeteuk was, he gave in. We supported you from behind as you tried to touch the floor. Although you stopped eight centimetres above your foot, you still couldn’t stop the huge smile that appeared on your face when Kangin-hyung exclaimed that he was worse than you. I loved that smile.
And I wish I could see it on your face now.
When I found the time to watch our comeback performance on the net, I frowned at how pale you looked. I knew that spotlights tended to make people look paler, but not that pale. Then it occurred to me that you had been very pale since the accident. Even after four months, the radiance still had yet to return to your face. Why?
When we filmed the episode on tears for the Exploration of the Human Body, you cried so hard. Although you knew about the plan, you still cried the hardest. Your words touched us all and for a moment I wondered if you were just acting. It was because of your words that Ryeowook cried; that Kibum was sniffling beside me. I wanted to comfort you, but I had to collect Ryeowook’s tears. I had to comfort Ryeowook with Yesung-hyung. You continued to cry even after they had stopped filming unable to stop your tears. My heart cracked at the sight of you sobbing. Teukie-hyung had you in his arms, crying into his shirt. I wanted you to be in my arms. I wanted to snatch you over from Teukie-hyung.
Now I understand why you were crying so hard.
When the management dropped the bombshell that you together with Hannie-hyung, Hae, Siwonnie and Ryeowookie were going to form a sub-group together with Henry and Zhou Mi that was targeted at China, my heart dropped. It meant that we would be separated. It meant that you and the rest would spend so much time far from home. There were conflicting emotions from all of us. When we were alone in the room, I didn’t know what to say. There was nothing I could do to change the management’s decision. And Hannie-hyung was so glad to be able to promote Super Junior in his homeland. We sat on your bed, silent. Then I reached over to kiss you deeply. I broke off the kiss, looking into your eyes.
“Kyu, I love you.”
Your eyes widened when you heard that. But that was the only reaction that you showed. I looked at you, waiting for an answer. “Hyung, I love you. But not the way that you love me.” I felt the bed lightened as you climbed off and exited the room, leaving me alone. Tears welled up in my eyes, falling freely down my face. I didn’t bother to stop them. I cried. I wept. Why don’t you love me?
It started the drift between us. You pretended that nothing had happened between us. You went about the days just like before – going for vocal training, practicing the dance moves and studying once in a while. But I knew something had changed. You no longer looked for me when you were upset. You no longer told me the little things that happened to you during the day when you were unable to attend the shows with us. Instead I watched, as you got closer to the people from the sub-group. I watched, as you got closer to Donghae. Did you choose Donghae over me?
It didn’t matter to me who you choose. All I wanted was for you to be happy.
But I was so upset over the rejection that I didn’t notice what was happening to you.
When our concert date arrived, we were all shaking. It was our first concert and we all wanted to do it well. When you wished me good luck, I wished that you could spare me more than just one look. Because before I could take a good look at you, you had turned to face Kibum. The only time I could stare at your face was when you were asleep.
The first sign of trouble I noticed was after our first concert stop in Korea. After the first concert, we were all tired. But you were almost knocked out. I frowned at how you collapse straight onto the bed when we returned home. On the second night after the concert, you didn’t even manage to stay awake till we got back. It was the first time since the accident that you had fallen asleep in the van. I was worried yet jealous. You were using Donghae’s shoulders as a pillow. On the last day of our concert in Korea, you had zoned out during the interview session. It was not like you to do so. But I convinced myself that it was the entire workout during the concert that had made you so pale and tired.
If only I faced the truth that was staring at me in my face.
When you left for China, I wanted to tell you that I would miss you. I wanted to ask if you would miss me. But I didn’t. I held back, your answer still ringing clearly in my mind. Instead I gave you a hug, like what I gave the rest, just longer and tighter. You felt so skinny then, even skinnier than the last time I had hugged you. You should not be that skinny.
When you called back from China, you had called almost everyone but me. I wondered if I would ever get a call from you.
When the news that you had collapsed before a show reached my ears, I immediately called Ryeowook to ask about your condition. The heavy dread lifted from my body when Ryeowook told me that the doctor suspected that you had collapsed of heat stroke. But something lingered. What if it was something more serious?
When Super Junior-M returned to Korea, you were pale and thin. You looked as if you belonged to the hospital right there and then. Eeteuk-Umma immediately fussed over you, insisting on you resting and eating more. He didn’t let anyone interfere with his mothering. But you didn’t show much of a reaction to all his attention, which turned on warning bells in my head. You weren’t one to be mothered. I yearned to be the one doing the mothering, but I knew that you would not let me.
During the Dream Concert, I distinctly saw the pain in your face that you tried to hide when you danced. I could see the hurt in your face when you did a certain move. I could see the lethargy in your arms as you tried to keep up with us in the dance. The secret was revealed when you collapsed backstage after the Dream Concert.
“Kyuhyun!” Heechul-hyung’s scream attracted every single person’s attention in the backstage. We all rushed towards Heechul-hyung, who was kneeling with your head in his lap. Donghae immediately patted you on the face. “Kyu, wake up. Don’t scare me. Its Donghae, your Hae-hyung. Come on.” I dug for my hand phone in my bag to dial for the ambulance. I couldn’t stand staring at you and doing nothing at all.
The wait at the hospital was reminiscent of the wait more than a year ago. But it remained fresh in my mind. We were all worried, not knowing what was wrong with you. Donghae was crying. He held onto Eunhyuk, crying into his arms. I didn’t understand why he was so upset. You simply fainted from exhaustion right? I tried to reassure myself.
“He has leukaemia.”
The doctor’s words echoed in my head as I collapsed onto the floor. No one bothered with me as they were all in shock. No. No. No. That can’t be possible. How can my Kyu have leukaemia. I shook my head as I stared blearily at the floor.
“Hyung, you can go and see Kyuhyun.” Donghae said to me. I shook my head.
“He would want to see you, not me.” I refused to budge from my position.
“Me? Why would he want to see me? The one he loves is you.” I laughed lightly at my words.
“Sungmin-hyung, believe me when I say he want to see you. He doesn’t love me that way. I am his hyung and he is my dongsaeng. That is all we are to each other.”
“Really? It sure doesn’t seem so to me.”
Then I felt my collar being pulled up and closer to Donghae.
“Lee Sungmin! Don’t you dare say that!”
“Say what? His actions clearly tell me that the one he loves is you. He rejected me.”
“Do you know why he rejected you? Because he knew that he had leukaemia. Because he didn’t want to break your heart if he died. Do you know that he cried so badly after he rejected you? Do you know how many times he cried in my arms when we were in China because he missed you? Because he didn’t want to call you so that you won’t get your hopes up that he accepted your feelings. Because the foolish boy believes that it would be better for you to not know that he loves you so that you won’t feel the pain of his death. He believes that the pain of rejection can be eased much better. He deliberately distanced himself from you hoping that you would turn your attention somewhere else. It hurt him to do so. It hurt him to know that he may not have much time to spend with all of us. That was why he chose to do the comeback. That was why he was so upset with the management’s decision for the sub-group. It wasn’t because he didn’t like Henry or Zhou Mi. It wasn’t because he didn’t like China. It was because he wanted to spend more time with us, with you Lee Sungmin when he could. I thought he was foolish to do such things, but you are the idiot who couldn’t see past your own jealousy to see someone who loves you so much.”
Donghae let go of me, stalking off towards your room. Eunhyuk stayed back a while saying, “What Hae said is all true. Kyu really loves you.”
That can’t be true. How can Kyu love me?
“Come on Sungmin. Let’s go see Kyuhyun.” Hankyung-hyung spoke from my left side, sliding and arm under mine to help me up. I walked numbly with Hankyung-hyung guiding me.
“Kyu ah, wake up soon okay? Don’t worry your Hae-hyung like that. Don’t leave your Hae-hyung alone.”
I looked up to see you being dwarfed by the hospital bed, hooked up to various machines. I ran towards the bed.
“Kyuhyunnie…” I said, running a hand across your face. Tears flowed down mine as I noticed the unnatural paleness of your face. The rest slowly left the room, providing me with privacy.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I repeat my question, hoping, no praying, for an answer, although I know in my heart that it is because you are just too kind-hearted, too concerned about others. It is your character to keep it a secret from all of us.
“We will not abandon you. I will not abandon you, silly boy, just because you are ill. If you are ill, I will find a cure to make you all better. I promise that I, we, will find a cure for you. Just hang in there Kyu. Just hang in there. You can’t leave me now. No you can’t.”
I stop my words, as I know that I am getting hysterical.
“Kyu, I still love you. I never stopped loving you. I know that you want protect me. But you are not protecting me this way. I’m hurting and so are you. So just let me be by your side, supporting you.”
I squeeze your hand.
“I love you.”
I whisper another time, letting it echo in the room.
Like before, only the beeping from the machine answers my statement.
Then I feel a slight squeeze back in my hand.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Forgot to mention. Sungmin POV.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.