“Jaemin-ah,” Seohyun’s voice whispered. I snap back to reality; I look up at the ceiling and then to my side, where Seohyun lays next to me, in her pajamas. I look at her, who then smiles at me. “What should we do on our weekend off?” I wrapped my arm around her, bringing her closer to me.
“Seohyun-ah…” I started, then sighed. I didn’t need to say anymore; she knew what was coming. Her smile faded away.
“You have to go in today? It’s Saturday, though,” Seohyun protested. I kissed her on the forehead, trying to reassure her.
“I have to, it’s my trial case,” I explained to her. She shifts in the bed and puts the covers over her. SHe’s clearly upset at me. This wouldn’t be the first time I had to leave this bed to go into work. I turned over to Seohyun, trying to unravel her from the covers.
“Seohyun-ah,” I playfully said her name. I begin to tickle her, which makes her giggle and surrender. She turns around and smiles at me, and I smiled back. Nothing was said for a moment until she took a deep breath.
“Come back quickly,” Seohyun said. I nodded my head.
“I will,” I answered.
I stood in the door way of Ari’s apartment, not knowing what to say next. Here I was, just missed my flight back to Korea to come and see Grace, and she’s not even in New York anymore. Where the hell would she be? Why would she leave? What was happening?
“Jamie?” Ari asked. I snapped out of my thoughts, immediately focusing in on Ari. She looked back at her partner, who nods his head. She turns around and leads me towards the hallway of her apartment. She closes the door behind her before saying anything to me.
“Did she not tell you she was going?” Ari asked. I was confused. Why would Grace tell me where she was going? I didn’t say anything back, but Ari immediately rolled her eyes. “Of course she didn’t.”
“We haven’t spoke to each other since–” I couldn’t say it. It was like every time I mentioned our last conversation, it reminded me that it was the last time I spoke to Grace, and most likely will be the last conversation I’ll ever have with her. Ari’s face begins to feel unsettling. I may not know Ari that well, but I know that no matter what, she keeps a strong and confident face on. She doesn’t look that way at this moment, and because of that, I’m now worried.
“Jamie,” Ari started. “You and I both know that Grace was in a much better place when things were… better…” She struggled to continue. I couldn’t understand where she was going with this. What was she implying? She sighed before continuing.
“You know Grace has been struggling with… a lot, and she left for… herself. She’s been through a lot these last couple of years–“
“–With me?” I spat out. Ari was taken back. Her hard exterior appeared once again.
“I think Grace has been the best version of herself when she met you,” Ari answered back. “But,” she continued, “She’s struggled with a lot since then and she left to figure some shit out.” I didn’t know what Ari was implying. She looked at me like I was foreign, like I had something to do with Grace’s departure.
“I don’t know what Grace has told you about me–” I began, but Ari immediately cut me off.
“Jamie, this really isn’t about you at this point,” Ari bluntly said. I was taken back at the remark. If this wans’t about me, then why would she just up and leave her life behind in the city? “Grace needed to do this for herself and… I don’t know, if you really cared about her, you’d be happy she made this choice.”
“If I cared about her?” I said more angry than concerned. I was upset that Ari, who is Grace’s best friend, would even question if I cared about Grace. Of course I did. I care about her more than anything else in this world, and I wanted to tell her that personally, to let her know that I do more than just care for her. I love her.
“Yeah, Jamie; if you cared about her you would let her go,” Ari coldly said. I couldn’t contain my anger anymore. It was like I had to prove myself over and over again, and it was tiring. “Maybe things are better off this way. I don’t know where she went, and quite frankly it’s better off that way. She needs to take space for herself or else she would’ve gotten herself hurt, Jamie. I wouldn’t– and I know you wouldn’t– want anything to happen to her.”
I didn’t say anything; I had nothing else left to say. At this point, nothing I would say to Ari would matter, and quite frankly, I was tired of talking with Ari. She wasn’t the person I wanted to talk to, and there’s just no reason for me to be here. I surrendered, nodding my head as I began to turn away from Ari’s door.
“Jamie,” Ari called out. I turned around slowly, not really interested in what she had to say; then again, she’s the only connection I have with Grace at this point. “Give her space.” I nodded back, and turned away and began to walk down the hallway towards the elevator.
I don’t know how I feel in this moment. Kevin was right; I didn’t want to leave New York before talking to Grace. It was a mistake to let her sit within everything she told me without even reaching out to her. I should’ve said something. I should’ve went to her sooner and told her everything I wanted to tell her. I needed her to understand that I couldn’t do this back and forth anymore. I couldn’t allow myself to keep coming back and leaving her behind. Maybe this is what I needed to feel; how she felt every time I had to leave.
But this time, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay.
But that doesn’t matter anymore. I’m just amiing something out of nothing.