The "Something" Series: Season 2, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2022

Something I Couldn’t Do: A Jamie Monologue.

The rain has gotten heavier these past couple of days since the seasons are changing. The leaves that fall from the trees have been drenched in rain; stuck on the streets, not getting a chance to dry up and blow away in the wind.

When I first arrived back in Korea, I couldn’t sleep for three days straight. My sisters kept questioning me by constantly calling my cell phone to check on me. After the first 10 calls, I forwarded them all to voicemail. Shawn went back to his apartment in Incheon; Kevin went to Seoul to be with JooAh at her apartment. They haven’t spoken to each other since leaving America, which worries me. They had arguments in the past, but they were always close enough friends to work things out. It makes me worried for Shawn; this wasn’t like him to keep a grudge or be so serious about something like this. It proves my point that he was truly in love with Skylar. Is.

On this particular night, I keep tossing and turning in my bed; uncomfortable. After a couple of failed attempts, I throw the sheets off my body and look at the window, watching the rain hit the glass and drip down.

It was only when I heard a knock on my front door that made me turn my head away from it.

I slowly get out of bed and grabbed my robe from behind my bedroom door. The knocks get louder as I walk closer to it. I opened the door, expecting it to be the landlord or a neighbor of some sort. Instead, it was Shawn. He stood in the hallway with an umbrella in one hand, dripping on the carpet in the hallway. His raincoat is soaked with rain; the hood is over his head.

“Shawn,” I huffed. I turned my head around to see the clock on the wall; it reads 3:45 in the morning. “It’s the middle of the night; what are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t sleep,” he simply answered. I sighed and opened the door for him to walk in. At the door, I take his rainwear and put them in the bathroom to let them dry off. When I got back to the living room, Shawn stood in the middle of it. Again, this wasn’t like Shawn to act this way. He turned around the look at me. I simply pointed my hand towards the couch.

“You could sleep on the couch,” I said as I slowly dragged my feet away from the living room, walking towards the bedroom.

“Hyung,” Shawn called out. I turned around and raised my eyebrows to answer him. Shawn picked at his hands; he was clearly nervous about something.

“What is it, Shawn?” I answered, coming off a little too harsh. This wasn’t the first time Shawn has come to my apartment unannounced in the middle of the night. Normally, he would quietly lay on the couch, and then he was gone before I woke up the next morning. I understand; maybe seeing Kevin’s stuff still in their apartment was making him even more angry or upset at the situation, but Shawn needs to learn how to pick his life back up and do what he was doing before going to California. I need Shawn to just makeup with Kevin, be his spontaneous self, and let the world feel right again for once.

“I’m not happy being back in Korea,” Shawn said. “I feel more of a foreigner here than I did in America. Why is that?” Because you found a home in a person. I walk back toward the couch and sit next to Shawn. He hasn’t moved or even looked anywhere else but forward; it was like he was trying to figure out the math behind this whole situation.

“It’s been a while since you’ve been here,” I lied. I didn’t want to get deep into the real reason, because I have no idea if Shawn has been drinking tonight or where his mind is. I didn’t want to add any more stress or pressure to what he was already going through.

“I didn’t feel this way when we were in New York,” Shawn emphasized and looked at me, clearly annoyed at my response. “I went to New York twice, and I was able to come back home and be a normal man living this normal life. I haven’t done that since coming back from California. But I don’t live in America. My English is subpar at best, and I was only there for 2 months. So, why is it that I feel like I’m not home anymore?”

“I think you already know the answer,” I said with honesty. I knew the feeling Shawn was talking about because I experienced it myself. The man that was in New York the first time was left in New York. He never came back, and it pains me to see that Shawn will never be back to what he was.

“Does it get any easier, hyung?” Shawn finally looked at me with soft, gentle yet tiring eyes. I don’t answer right away because the answer is no. It doesn’t. We know that there’s nothing for us to do to make this easier or better unless we leave our entire lives behind. It’s so easy to want to fight for something and say you will do whatever it takes to keep it, but what happens when the things that are keeping you stuck are things like your job and your family? What do you do when you feel like a leaf that is on the ground, stuck due to the heavy amounts of rainfall?

I simply shook my head, truly at a loss for words. Shawn looked down at his palms before speaking again.

“Kevin came by today,” Shawn started to say. “He was beginning to gather the last of his things in the apartment.”

“Shawn, you know he’s not leaving because of you,” I tried to reassure Shawn before any intrusive thoughts began to seep into his mind. “He’s going to be a father. He needs to be with JooAh during this time.”

“Kevin’s probably the only one out of the three of us actually sleeping at night these days,” Shawn mocked. “He’s happy he’s back home with the girl he loves…”

“You can’t be mad at Kevin for stepping up and coming back,” I said, trying to be stern with Shawn. I need him to understand that Kevin is literally doing the one thing I couldn’t do when I was back in America, and that was to be there for Grace when she needed me the most. “He got his girlfriend pregnant, and now he is owning up to his responsibility. You can’t be mad at him forever for doing just that. I mean, what would have you done if you found out that Skylar–” I immediately stopped talking. This had to have been the first time since coming back that anyone has ever said her name out loud. I wish I didn’t; but I did, and the wrath that is Shawn slowly pours out.

“I wouldn’t be as careless to get a woman in another country pregnant without marrying her,” Shawn spat out. I knew it was supposeto be an insult to me, but I won’t give Shawn the satisfaction knowing his insults affect me. Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing Shawn complain about al of this without actually doing something about it. Was this what Shawn and Kevin had to deal with whenever I had to come back from New York?

“My point being is that you would do whatever you need to do to be with Skylar because you love her,” I continued to say. “I hope you would understand at least that; as a man that loves someone, you would understand Kevin putting JooAh above all else.”

“I don’t love Skylar,” Shawn snapped back. “How can I love someone that I fucking can’t be with?”

“Shawn, please,” I said as I grew more frustrated at the situation. “You’re obviously still in love with Skylar and you can’t come to forgive Kevin because he was the one that shortened our trip, that shortened your time with the woman you love; but, has it occur to you that even if Kevin didn’t have to come back to Korea, you would still have to leave Skylar behind because you were meant to come back.” Shawn stood up to be face-to-face with me, clearly angry at where this conversation was going.

“Then why fall in love with Grace if you knew that was always the result?” Shawn asked. I didn’t budge. I didn’t want Shawn to know that his words are getting to me because I didn’t owe anything to Shawn. I can always kick him out of the apartment and tell him to deal with his broken heart on his own. But I don’t. Maybe I don’t because I need to hear this. Maybe I don’t because I want to tell Shawn all of the things I wished someone told me when there was still time to amend things. Maybe I don’t because I know Shawn is capable of doing the things I couldn’t do. Shawn scoffs before he speaks again. “I don’t know, maybe you never loved grace if you were able to leave her all those times.”

“If you are claiming to love Skylar, then why not do something about it?” I said, angry now at this conversation. “Seriously though. Why not get your visa, go back to America, get your woman, and then live there to be with her since you clearly love Skylar more than I ever loved Grace.” I get up from the couch, ready to leave Shawn to dwell in his thoughts.

“Would she forgive me if I do?” Shawn said, almost inaudible. I looked at him to see his face completely turn soft. Worrisome. Debatable. I sit back down on the couch and didn’t say anything.

“If you do what?” I asked, even though I know exactly what he was talking about. I just didn’t want to believe it right away that he was serious in what he was thinking about doing. Shawn-ah…? Shawn sighs and answers to the air.

“If I go back to America for her,” he answered. I thought the insomnia was just talking but this was the most coherant I’ve seen Shawn be in the last month since being back in Korea. He was serious. I know he was serious, because I use to have these thoughts all the time every time I came back from America. But, I never had someone to actually talk it out with. Maybe that’s what makes Shawn and I different; he was able to voice out the things he was planning to do or wanted to do. Maybe tonight, he just wanted to tell me that he was thinking about going back and just needed someone that was once in this situation tell him if it was worth it or not. Shawn knows my answer. He knows what I’m about to say, and I don’t know if what I’m about to say would even matter to Shawn. I know he’s made his mind up already about this.

“What about your life here?” I asked. “I mean, you’re leaving your whole life behind to be with a woman you spent two months with–“

“Don’t give me that shit, hyung!” Shawn yelled. “You fell in love with Grace as soon as you started to spend all your time with her! You spent all hours of the day and night with Grace in New York! You spent your last hours in New York with her! You were amess every time you had to come back here! For fuck’s sake, you had it all with her and yet you fucking left her again for this?!”

“I had to think about what made sense instead of my emotions, Shawn,” I spat back. “My career is here, my family is here; apartment, friends, and everything else that I built here! This is my home, and I couldn’t leave that behind. We are not the same, Shawn–“

“We aren’t,” Shawn snapped back. “I don’t have a family with this huge hold on me to literally stay in a place where you don’t fucking feel like you belong anymore because the happiest version of yourself is in another country,” he stated. Shawn’s family consist of his parents and younger sister, and even then their family dynamic is different than the one I had with mine. Maybe Shawn is able to leave his life behind in Korea for Skylar. What is here that is truly holding him back? Me? Kevin? I know Shawn doesn’t care about that. I know he would take the next flight out to America tonight if it meant he would be with Skylar.

The first time I came back to Korea after meeting Grace, I thought about going back to New York at least 3 times a day. I eventually wanted to leave my life behind for Grace, so why didn’t I stay when I went back for her? Why did I get the one-year work visa and didn’t marry Grace and be with her? Would have she wanted that? Would she think I was only marrying her to stay in the country? Would she even care if that was the main reason why I wanted to marry her, aside from being completely in love with her? Why the fuck didn’t you stay, Jaemin-ah?

“Then go,” I said, defeated. “Go after Skylar, Shawn. If you love her, you have to show her that you do. Be her girlfriend; show her that you are serious about her, because we all know you are. And the language? You’ll pick it up quick. You might have to take some English language classes to speak English better. I know you would, because I know you. I know you would do anything for Skylar, and at least showing her that you want to be with her and make a life for yourself in America.” Shawn just looked at me, not really saying anything every time I gave him a chance to say something. Maybe he was just exhausted. Maybe he really is considering everything I’m saying. I don’t know anymore, because this Shawn is a Shawn that is a product of what he left behind in Californina, and at this point I just want my friends to be happy in their lives, even if that meant that it was too late for me to fix what makes me happy.

“I want to go back to California to Skylar,” Shawn finally admitted. “I want to be with her.” I smiled at Shawn’s decision. This was the most mature thing Shawn has done at least in the years I’ve known him. I was happy to see him make a decision for himself. I was happy to see Shawn do what I couldn’t do, and I can only hope that Shawn is serious enough to not hurt Skylar again.

“Then go be with her,” I said. “You both deserve to be happy.”

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