- a person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect
Heejin wakes up in a pool of sweat.
It was another nightmare again. She doesn’t recall what it was about this time, but she knows for sure it’s horrible. Heejin wipes away her tears and her sweat and slumps back down on her bed.
She turns her head to the side. The other side of the bed is empty, just like the hollowness she feels in her chest.
She still isn’t used to it.
Tears flow out of her eyes once more, and she flips over to bury her head deep into her damp pillow. She punches and punches the soft material, wishing with all her might that she’ll be over it one day, that it’ll stop hurting so much one day, and eventually move on one day.
A liar. A heartbreaker. A nightmare dressed as a dream.
Stop dwelling on it, she tells herself. She isn’t worth it, she tells herself.
She clutches the sheets tightly, and another headache bombards her. Her eyes are expectedly swollen from crying. Heejin just wants to cry some more, but crying will just make her even more exhausted.
It’s been seven months. And for seven months, Heejin couldn’t escape the nightmares that haunt her in reality and her slumber.
Her mind just refuses to give her a break— it’s like Heejin’s soul and brain are separate entities.
Falling in love is a bliss, but falling in love with the wrong person is a misery.
She was gone for good. Heejin still couldn’t believe that her best friend just left when Heejin came out to her. Heejin had put so much trust in her, yet the trust was shattered at the moment she gave her a slap.
And the worst thing was that the person that she fell for was her best friend.
“I can’t believe I’ve been friends with people like you… disgusting.” She barked.
“You. Are. Sick. In. The. Head.” She poked Heejin’s forehead every time she muttered a syllable, mocking her.
Heejin’s head was spinning, and she couldn’t really see anything properly as her eyes threatened to shut at anytime. Her cheek was tingling from the impact before, and the back of her head felt wet.
“Rot in hell, you atrocity.”
The same scene repeats and repeats in her mind, and Heejin still hears her voice clearly resonating through her ears every single time the scene flashes through her head.
She never knew about Heejin’s feelings. Where could Heejin get the courage to confess when she won’t accept her for who she is? It’s appalling to see someone you love turn into someone you fear.
She was scary. No, she was petrifying .
She moved out as soon as she knew about Heejin’s feelings. On the bright side, at least Heejin doesn’t have to face her ever again. On the other hand, Heejin lost possibly the love of her life.
Heejin regrets not telling. Maybe it’s best to leave it unsaid, but it doesn’t exactly feels the best to bottle it up.
Heejin suppresses her feelings, her sexuality, and everything else that is deemed as unacceptable. For now, that will have to do. But how much can the bottle hold before it overflows?
The owner of the apartment calls Heejin, telling her to expect a new roommate today.
“Hi! I’m Kim Jiwoo. I’m your new roommate!”
“I’m Jeon Heejin. Nice to meet you.”
The energetic woman took Heejin’s outstretched hand and shook it firmly and warmly. Heejin’s first impression of her was definitely how cute she is.
Jiwoo steps inside the apartment and stumbles. She stepped on a mechanical pencil that is lying around.
Heejin then realises how much of a mess the living room is. The dusty floor and coffee table, the oily pizza boxes piling high up, the used tissues scattered everywhere, the empty junk food packages, the list goes on.
Heejin smiles sheepishly. She doesn’t remember the last time she did a thorough cleaning in the apartment.
“Sorry for the… unsightly scene. You can go to your room first!” Heejin apologizes.
Heejin guides Jiwoo to her room, formally her room. Heejin hesitated before she twists the doorknob, and Jiwoo notices.
She opens the door, and thank goodness the room is in a way better condition than the living room. She did her cleaning well.
“Here’s your room. If you need anything I’ll be in my room.”
Heejin nods, and left the room quickly. The air inside was suffocating her for some reason.
Heejin sighs, and begins picking up the trash lying around the living room.
Jiwoo comes out of her room not long after, changed into something more comfortable, and tied her air up into a bun. She, too, starts to pick up the litter.
“You don’t have to.” Heejin says.
“We’re living under the same roof now. It’s my responsibility too.”
Jiwoo replies with a tiny smile. Heejin unknowingly smiles back. This woman’s smile is sure contagious.
So far, cheerful and nice. Heejin is relive that her new roommate isn’t someone unpleasant.
It is that time of the day again. Night falls, and Heejin stays up late, like she always does, no matter how much her body screams for her to rest. She picks up her pencil gingerly and tries to draw, but her hand trembles whenever the tip of the pencil touches the paper.
She just can’t focus, and she is really tired. But anxiety will keep her up at night, like it has always been doing.
A knock on the door.
Heejin spins her swivel chair around, and sees her new housemate standing at the entrance with a mug in her hand.
“It’s almost one. Why aren’t you sleeping?” She asks.
“I can’t sleep.”
“Oh, how’d you know?”
“I just… sensed it.”
“Nothing! Go to sleep. You won’t have nightmares today.”
“I most definitely will.”
“No. Drink this.”
Jiwoo passes the mug over to Heejin. It’s hot chocolate. Heejin thanks her, and sips it slowly.
Her heart calms, and her eyes begin to droop. She places the mug on her table and lets out a big yawn. She places her head on to the table, and the moment her eyes shut, she is off to dreamland.
Jiwoo took the mug away and grins to herself.
Sweet dreams, Jeon Heejin.
The blaring of Heejin’s alarm jerks her up from her position as she gropes blindly for her phone. When the annoying sound was gone, Heejin stretches her back and arms. Everything is in a blur, her mind is barely awake. She rubs her eyes and lets out a yawn. That was a good night’s sleep.
A good night’s sleep.
You won’t have nightmares today.
Heejin furrows her eyebrows, and racks her brain to recall what did she dreamt about. Did she even dreamt at all?
She doesn’t remember anything, and if there were nightmares, she would’ve remembered. But she doesn’t.
She puts on her rounded glasses and scurries out of her room. To her dismay, Jiwoo isn’t in the house. A note is on the table, along with some bread.
I’m off to work. Bet you slept well. The bread is for you :)
The sides of her mouth curves up, and Heejin feels… good. She hasn’t felt this good in a long time.
Maybe, just maybe, Heejin wants to know Jiwoo better.
However, her mind wanders off to her again. Heejin sits down and chews on the bread tepidly. She loves bread.
Reality is one never ending nightmare.
It’s Saturday, so Heejin doesn’t go for lessons. She spends the rest of the day cramming useless information into her head for an upcoming test. It was close to evening before she shuts her laptop in frustration and pushes her notes aside. She sinks into her chair and a huge sigh escapes.
All she wants is someone to hold her and tell her that everything is going to be alright. She used to do that.
Heejin opens the drawer and takes out her sketchbook. Her sketchbook that is filled with sketches and drawings of animals and portraits.
Most of them were her and cats, because for obvious reasons and she loves cats.
Heejin really should get rid of those.
But she spares them because one, she can’t move on, two, it’s all her hard work.
Heejin jumps from her seat by the sudden voice and she hastily stuffs her sketchbook back into the drawer and pushes it with a loud slam. Jiwoo is a little taken aback by her reaction.
“Sorry, was I not supposed to see that?”
“No, it’s just- never mind.”
Heejin almost spilled the bottle. But she stops herself, because she’s afraid that the same thing will happen again. She excuses herself and stands up, but a sharp pain strikes her on her head.
You are sick in the head. You are sick in the head. You are sick in the-
Heejin leans backwards, and would’ve collapse on the floor if Jiwoo didn’t support her in time.
“Are you okay?”
Heejin nods weakly.
Jiwoo helps her to her bed, and puts her hand on Heejin’s forehead. She’s having a fever.
Jiwoo walks out of the room, and comes back with a wet cloth folded neatly into a rectangle. Heejin feels the coolness on her scorching forehead and all she sees is a silhouette through her half closed eyes.
Heejin starts to tear up. She lifts her hand limply and cups the human’s cheek. She rubs the thumb slowly across the skin, and forces her words out despite the tightness in her throat.
“I’m sorry… Hyun.”
Heejin feels the other hand’s contact before she falls into complete darkness.
Jiwoo’s heart aches seeing her painful smile.
An hour later, Heejin wakes up from her nap.
”Ah! You’re awake!”
Heejin tries to sit up, and the cloth that sat on her head falls, reminding her that she has a fever.
“Sorry for troubling you. I’m such a great roommate.”
“Yeah, and really pretty too!”
Jiwoo slaps her hand over her mouth. Heejin would’ve burst out laughing at her reaction, but a chuckle will do due to her weak body.
“I was being sarcastic. But thank you, Jiwoo.”
“Anyways… are you hungry? I made some porridge.”
Heejin’s stomach growls. She realizes that all she consumed for the day was the bread and some coffee in the morning. Perhaps that’s why her head was spinning. Heejin nods in reply, and thinks about how lucky she was to get a roommate like Jiwoo. Heejin could have some help around the kitchen at times — she’s not exactly the best cook around.
(One time, she almost burnt the kitchen down.)
Jiwoo comes back with a bowl and spoon in hand, and sits on Heejin’s swivel chair again. She takes a spoonful of the porridge and blows it gently, before feeding it to Heejin.
Heejin bites on to the metal awkwardly, and she feels her body heating up even more. But Jiwoo’s smile washes away the awkwardness and leaves a more comfortable warmth in her, and Heejin couldn’t help but smile as well.
Oh, and the porridge tastes pretty darn good.
“Hey. Could you stay? I want to know my new roommate better.”
Jiwoo has all the time to talk.
They first told each other their ages. Heejin is surprised that Jiwoo is a year older. She sure does seem younger with the energy that she has. Their birthdays are just a day apart. What a coincidence. Could you count that as a coincidence? Heejin suggests that they can celebrate their birthdays together, and Jiwoo agrees with that idea enthusiastically.
They first talk about basic things, like their favorite color, hobbies, food they like, songs they listen to, you name it. They then got into deeper topics, going on and on for hours, and they probably already know ten years worth of each of their life stories. Like how when Jiwoo’s fingers almost became penguin food when she went to the zoo (ironically her favorite animal is a penguin), and Heejin doing her naruto run and couldn’t stop herself in time before crashing into a lamppost.
They laugh at each other’s silly stories. Heejin thinks that laughter really is the best medicine.
“It’s getting late. You should rest.” Jiwoo says with concern.
“I-I don’t wan- want to sleep. I’ll see her in my nightmares again.”
Jiwoo puts her comforting hands on top of Heejin’s trembling one. Heejin raises her gaze, and she meets with Jiwoo’s twinkling orbs with a tender smile that spreads across her face.
“Is it someone named Hyun? Or something like that?”
“How do you know?”
“You mistaken me for her just now before you passed out.”
Heejin clenches the fabric around her.
“Can you tell me who was she to you?”
“She was my best friend. She used to be my roommate but she just… left.”
“You won’t have nightmares today, because I’m here.”
A warm feeling creeps up to Heejin’s head, and Jiwoo realises how odd her words may have sounded.
“I- I don’t mean it in a weird way! Like, er…”
God, she’s adorable.
“Yeah, I get it.”
“Oh. You do?”
“Wait how do you know my powers…”
Heejin squints her eyes and looks at Jiwoo weirdly.
Jiwoo just chuckles nervously and stands up. She greets Heejin goodnight before she heads back to her room.
Cute, kind, and a little weird. But not the bad kind of weird.
Jiwoo shuts her door gently before pushing her back against it. So much for keeping her identity a secret. But Heejin wouldn’t spread, right? Jiwoo hopes not, if not it’ll make it so much easier for them to find her.
The tone from Jiwoo’s phone startles her and she picks it up without looking at who is calling. Jiwoo smiles as she immediately recognizes her best friend’s voice on the other line.
Jungeun asks, “How was your day?”, and she gets a million answers back from Jiwoo as she shoots out everything that she can remember right from the moment she gets out of bed.
“... and then I came back to my new apartment and found my roommate- oh wait. Got to go, Jungie, sorry. I’ll call you back tomorrow.”
Jiwoo drops her phone on her bed and rushes over to Heejin’s room. The moonlight that dimly lits the room is enough for Jiwoo to make out Heejin’s disturbed expression.
From the tip of her fingers, tiny golden particles form, and she gathers them into her palm before blowing them towards Heejin’s eyelids. The sand-like material swirls above her head before disappearing into thin air as Heejin’s facial muscles relax.
Jiwoo’s magic goes a little like this: She replaces the horrible thoughts that are causing people nightmares with the nice things that’s available in their minds.
So far, Heejin’s mind is constantly occupied with horrible things. And the only light in the darkness happens to be, well, Jiwoo.
But Jiwoo doesn’t know that, yet.
So Heejin sees her everyday, every night, and even when she’s sleeping. It’s hard not to fall for someone like Jiwoo. The more time she spends with her (regardless in reality or in her dreams), the more she falls for her.
Jiwoo becomes more than just a distraction and solace.
Jiwoo is like a breath of fresh air, the personification of cuteness, and someone Heejin really likes.
Heejin swears she does not think about Jiwoo that much, but her dreams tell her otherwise. She can never remember her dreams in detail, only knowing that Jiwoo was in it, and doing things like going on outings (or dates) together.
Maybe her dreams are telling her something. Maybe she should confess.
If only she can push her fears aside.
The doorbell rang, followed by “Heejin! Open up!”, which make Heejin scurry towards the door and opening the door wide for an… oversized teddy bear? Then she notices a pair of arms wrapping around its waist and Jiwoo’s head peeks out from behind.
“Woah. What’s the occasion?” Heejin asks in awe.
“It’s confession time!”
Heejin’s heart drops. Jiwoo? Confessing? To someone?? Oh no.
Jiwoo’s phone rings and she answers it.
“What? Now? Argh, so much for bringing it to my apartment, now I have to lug it down again. She sure is fast.”
She? She?? SHE???
The pronoun repeats inside Heejin’s mind over and over, and Heejin smacks herself internally.
There was nothing to fear in the first place.
Well, at least Heejin learns that Jiwoo isn’t homophobic. One of the things that Jiwoo told her was to look on the bright side even in unfavorable situations.
But of course, there’s always two sides of a coin.
Now, Heejin drags down a human-sized stuffed toy with Jiwoo holding on to the upper body, climbing down the stairs as carefully but as quickly as possible. The elevator is under maintenance of all times.
After what felt like an eternity, they reach the ground floor, panting heavily. To Heejin, the hardest part isn’t the stairs, watching her crush confess to her own crush is.
Add that to the list of regretful things she had done in her life.
A beautiful stranger Heejin has never seen before rushes towards them, and Heejin fakes a smile. So she’s Jiwoo’s crush? She can see why Jiwoo likes her. Jiwoo passes the gigantic bear over, smile brighter than the sun.
“Thanks, owe you one.”
“Go get your Sooyoung, Jungie!”
Jungeun turns around, and runs to another lady a distance away. They couldn’t hear their conversation, but by the looks of it, Jungeun is confessing to the other woman. The taller woman puts down her present, before giving the shorter a tight hug with the happiest smile plastered on her face.
“Those two idiots are finally together.” Jiwoo mumbles. Heejin keeps turning her head towards the new couple and then back to Jiwoo, with her jaw open. She’s a fool.
Heejin scoffs. There was nothing to regret in the first place.
“Do you really drive away my nightmares?”
Heejin queries, lying down on her bed with Jiwoo in her room. Jiwoo stays silent, before speaking.
“Why do you ask that?”
“Because you told me that if you’re here, I won’t have nightmares.”
“So I want to know how.”
Heejin sits up, and locked eyes with Jiwoo. She waits patiently for the answer that she seeks.
“I’ll exchange a secret for a secret.”
Heejin ponders. She bites the insides of her mouth, digging into the dark pits of her mind, where her deepest secrets lurk.
- she’s homosexual
- she likes jiwoo
The first two that comes to her mind. Should she just admit that she likes her?? Jiwoo isn’t homophobic, so she’ll definitely not stay away from her like she’s got the plague or something, but that’s kind of giving two secrets out by saying that she likes her, a girl.
“Ok. I might sound crazy, but I swear whatever I’m going to say is true. I kind of know… magic. Basically I can chase away bad dreams and replace them with good ones.”
Heejin nods slowly, absorbing the new information, even though it sounds a little far-fetched. Jiwoo has expected an incredulous reaction, but is relieved that Heejin didn’t start laughing in her face telling her that she’s a grown woman.
“So do you just make them dream about you?”
“No. That’s weird. Dreams happens because your mind is still awake when you’re sleeping. I take out the good things that’s in your mind and kick out the bad things.”
So it’s Heejin’s (brain’s) fault for making her dream about Jiwoo all the time.
“Why? Do you dream about me everyday?” Jiwoo gives a playful wink.
She receives a light punch on her arm, and Heejin denies it. Heejin starts to become wary about what she thinks. Jiwoo might have telepathy and is able to read her mind.
Jiwoo doesn’t need telepathy to know that the blushing girl in front of her possibly likes her. Thinking about that, she feels her face burn a little, and she turns her head away biting her lips.
The feeling is mutual.
what should you give your crush on their birthday
Heejin clicks the search button, and hundreds of results comes out.
Chocolate, flowers, makeup, free massage, a drawing of them, your attention, a kiss (for the brave ones), to name a few. Is she one of the brave ones? Most likely not. A drawing sounds better, and it doesn’t require money or strength or courage.
She had been so busy with her exams she would’ve forgotten that it’s Jiwoo’s birthday the next day if she had not set up a reminder on her phone.
Heejin takes in a deep breath, frustration building up in her. She can’t remember enough details to produce a decent piece of drawing. And she doesn’t have a picture for reference. There are no selfies of her on her social media, either.
Heejin closes her sketchbook. She figures if she can’t remember, she’ll have to just draw on the spot.
Suddenly, the lights turned off, and her room plunges into darkness. The only light source is from her open door, from the lit candle sitting on top of the tiny cake Jiwoo has in her hands.
“Happy Birthday, Heekie!”
Heejin’s stomach flutters as the nickname. And she may have forgotten today’s her birthday.
“It’s a little late, but I’m glad I could make it in time.”
Jiwoo comes back later than usual because of extra work, and she was so relieved that she made it to the bakery in time when they’re about to close for the day. She used all her remaining cash left in her pocket, so she couldn’t get herself dinner, but it’s worth it because it’s for Heejin.
Jiwoo sings happy birthday to Heejin, clapping with so much energy it was like Heejin is having a huge party, when it’s just the both of them.
Heejin makes a wish, and blows out the candle.
“What did you wish for?”
“You’re not supposed to say out your wish or else it won’t come true.”
Jiwoo pouts. It attacks Heejin’s heart, making her insides all soft. She throws herself into Jiwoo’s embrace, and Jiwoo let’s her stay there.
“Y-you’re, nice to hug…” Jiwoo stutters with her face hot.
Jiwoo is so nice and warm.
Heejin pulls away, grabs her pencil and paper, and requests Jiwoo to sit still. Jiwoo is a little confused at first, but smiles when she hears the graphite sketching on the paper.
Her hair is brushed to one side, and her eyes moves up only when she needs to take another look at Jiwoo’s features. Everytime she does that, their eyes will meet, and Jiwoo gets a little more shy each time. But Jiwoo enjoys watching the younger draw, admiring how focused one can be in their work, how each stroke is made gracefully.
It’s close to midnight, and Heejin is done with the final product, signing it off with her signature before showing it to Jiwoo.
Heejin sure can draw.
The minute hand strikes twelve, and Heejin mumbles a ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.
Heejin takes a box of matches and strikes one of them to light up the burnt wick. She passes the cake to Jiwoo, before singing the song to her. Jiwoo can’t stop smiling.
Jiwoo makes a wish and blows out the candle.
Heejin insist on paying half the price for the cake, and Jiwoo keeps refusing to accept her money.
“This is your present. Why should you pay for it?”
“We’re celebrating our birthdays together, so the cake doesn’t count as a present.”
“Then that means I didn’t give you anything at all.”
“Your presence is my present.”
“If you feel bad, then spend your birthday with me.”
“I will spend anytime with you.”
Heejin’s cheek blooms a shade of pink. Is Jiwoo flirting with her right now or is she just being playful?
“Are you asking me out right now?
“Am I not?”
Heejin laughs nervously. How is she going to reply that when she’s a gay mess right now? Jiwoo walks over and sits on her bed, with a shine in her eyes that Heejin finds endearing. Currently, her heart is beating a hundred beats per second.
Jiwoo cups Heejin’s right cheek with her palm and brings her face closer to her and Heejin feels like she’s going to explode. Is this what they meant by the butterflies and fireworks or whatever when you are going to kiss your crush? Heejin can pass out anytime, but she wants to be conscious during her first kiss and not make a fool out of herself.
Jiwoo swerves to the side and kisses her cheek instead, and smirks mischievously.
“You’re like a dream, perfect, wonderful, sometimes feel like you are not real.”
That only made Heejin’s face flushes a deeper red, and even her face feels warmer than Jiwoo’s hand now.
“You’re like a dream… literally and metaphorically.” Heejin mumbles, and Jiwoo hears it because their faces are so close together.
“Oh, so you do dream about me everyday. Interesti-”
Heejin shuts her up with a peck on her lips. If Jiwoo isn’t going to kiss her, then Heejin will. Heejin is one of the brave ones.
“You’re spending your birthday with me. Starting right now.”
They fall asleep in each other’s arms, and Heejin dreams about Jiwoo again, this time without the help from magic.
Their birthday wishes came true.