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To My Ex-Best Friends

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Dear Min Karin,

Do you remember the first time we met? It was the first day of school; we had just started high school. Your hair was dyed a funky colour, which made you stand out. I knew then I wanted to be your friend.

We had fourth period tech class together, and I asked if you wanted to sit together. You looked nervous. I thought it was first day jitters. Mr. Bang sat us at the long tables in pairs, and you sat at the one to my left with Noh Hyojung. I wish I knew more about how you and Hyojung first became friends. I know you went to elementary together, along with Bang Sunhee and Woo Hyejun. 

I always felt that I was closest to you out of the four of us, the four of us being you, Hyojung, Sunhee, and I. I loved sharing music with you, freaking out when our favourite idols had comebacks or did new things. I remember counting down the minutes to when BLACKPINK’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” MV was released. Do you remember all the fun things we did together? When you sprained your ankle from moshing so hard at a concert, but at least we got to meet the drummer and the guitarist, right? I remember all the random play challenges we would do together in my basement, and how you always loved my dog. He always seemed to really like you, too. I remember us dancing and playing video games and watching shows together in June of last year when I drove you home with me when the schools closed. 

You had your faults, though. You liked to point things out about me that made me self-conscious. You’d laugh about my laugh lines, calling me a wrinkled old lady. You’d point out my dead and split ends. I know you didn’t mean to be mean by saying and doing these things, but they still stung. It made me feel like I could never fully open up to you. Although I’ve never seen you as tiresome or a burden, I do feel like I had to be careful with what I said and did around you because I didn’t want to be the reason you broke down and left school for another month.

Truly, I don’t have any ill feelings towards you. I know your struggles and I think you’re so brave and strong for being able to overcome them the way you have. I always tried my best to watch out for you. I’ve always wanted to see you do well. I tried to push you a little bit. I think it would help you. I hope you don’t let your past drag you down and keep you from doing things you want to do and things you want to be. You deserve the best, Karin, because you’ve not only deserved it, but you’ve fought for it. 

I’m sorry our friendship had to end the way it did. I really wish it didn’t. I wish you had taken it better than you did. I tried to reach out to you and explain this. I know you had nothing to do with the situations leading up to me ending our friendships. But you decided to call me a bitch and block me. I get that, but I don’t want you to think that I hate you. I don’t. I see everyone’s parts in this and I recognize that you didn’t do anything.

Although we don’t talk anymore, I’m still proud of you. Seeing you actually be at school the start of our senior year made me happy. I know school is tough for you, but the more you go and the more you do the easier it gets. It broke my heart every time you didn’t come to school or left at lunch. I get it, I understand, but I’m glad you seem to be stronger now.

If you wanted to reach out and be friends again, I’d be okay with that. You didn’t do anything wrong to me and I still love you. I still support you and I’m still proud of you. I still want to see you do well. I hope you continue to gain strength and be better than you were when I first met you. 

I hope you find better friends with better values. I hope you get and achieve everything you want in life. I hope you find someone who loves you for you and supports and understands you. Someone you can be happy with.

I love you, Karin. Please take care.

Love, Im Yeojin

Dear Noh Hyojung,

I’ve always said that hate is a strong word. A strong word I don’t like to use much, especially when talking about people. If I absolutely had to say I hated someone, I would say I hate three people: Park Jisung, Yoo Donju, and you. In that order. Maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic, but you’re definitely up there.

Yoo Dongju is elementary drama I’ve held a grudge against all these years. The way I see it, a lot of things that happened to me then is her fault. She is the reason I barely have any friends from elementary.

You should know why I hate Park Jisung. He is someone I would say I hate, even with it being that strong of a word. If you don’t know why, that just adds to the list of reasons why I hate you.

Park Jisung has ruined me. My life. And you (and Sunhee) let him do it. You let him say those disgusting things about me. You let him send those things to me. You were in the group chats he sent them in. I told you so many times how I felt about it, yet you excused it. You told me it was fine. You encouraged his behaviour.

Park Jisung is the reason I get a pit in my stomach and start to shake and feel so weak and vulnerable. He’s the reason I get someone else to walk me to class and he’s the reason I always worked in another classroom for sociology and why I always presented at lunch and he’s the reason I feel terrified in my business class. He’s the reason I’m scared to trust other boys and why I’m scared of those I’ll meet in university next year. He’s the reason I’m going to miss out on important opportunities and chances in my life.

But my hatred for Jisung isn’t wholly why I hate you. No, there’s more to it.

I always felt that out of the four of us, we were always the most distant. I tried to breach that gap. I tried to become closer to you. But the more I did, the uglier you became and the more I grew to hate you.

You were always horrible to me. Talked shit about anything I liked or did, even though half the time, a few weeks later, you would do the thing or say you liked the thing and act like you had created it. You always had a problem with anything I did. You always seemed to think you could walk all over me and boss me around, but if I dared say anything about it, you always somehow made me feel bad about it and make it my fault. 

Constantly, I had to tiptoe around you. Couldn’t say anything to you, couldn’t do anything around you. 

You tried to hold me back from things I wanted to do, no matter how big or small they were. But they were always only things you couldn’t do or didn’t want to do. In your mind, I couldn’t join or participate in any extracurriculars I wanted to do. I couldn’t travel or learn the things I wanted to. I couldn’t go places I wanted to or like things you didn’t like.

You always tried to control me. I’m sorry I’m my own person and won’t follow you around like the puppy you wanted me to be.

I know you talked shit about me to other people. Hyejun told me every time. I know you still talk shit about me to other people. Hyejun still tells me every time. 

The difference between you and me is that I have my own brain. My own thoughts and feelings and I hold myself accountable for them. I’m also responsible, and function properly in society.

When we were friends, I thought I pitied you for things. I thought I felt bad for you. I thought I wanted to help you; support you. But now, I know that that feeling is disgust. I looked down on you. You have so much talent and potential, yet you waste it all because you’d rather sit on your phone and waste all your time away. I’m sorry you’ll never do well in life or go places, because you let people hold you back. The majority of the time, though, people aren’t holding you back - you’re doing it to yourself. 

I wish I could say that I hope you realize this and get better, but, at this point, I honestly don’t  care. I don’t care what you do, where you go, where you end up. I don’t give a shit about you and your shitty personality and your shitty values. I care more about the dog shit on the bottom of my shoes than I do you.

The only way we would ever be friends again is if you seriously considered everything wrong with you and seriously changed, but I don’t want to ever be friends with you again.

This sounds harsh, but I feel like you don’t realize these things about yourself. Even if you do, you don’t care. I wish you did. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t care about themselves like you do. But you do it in a way differently than everybody else. Others who don’t care about themselves are like that because they’re either too busy living and are letting life take them where it takes them. You just can’t be bothered to care. About anything. Yet you want to be controlling of everyone and everything around you.

I complained about you so many times to my parents. One night, my father told me he thinks you have some sort of jealousy complex towards me. I told Hyejun once that he told me that, and she agreed. When I put myself in good situations or made big milestones, you got mad at me for it. You got mad at me because I slept with some guy you’ve never met and you’ve never had a boyfriend. You got upset that I had other friends other than you, and you got upset that I got along better with them because they actually treated me decently. 

I know I’m not perfect. I know I wasn’t a perfect friend. But at least I wasn’t a toxic one.

I’m sorry you pulled the short straw in life, Hyojung. But I’m even more sorry that for all of your eighteen years, you have repeatedly chosen to do nothing about it.

Sincerely, Im Yeojin

Dear Bang Sunhee,

I sat here for a moment, wondering what I wanted to say to you. Wondering how I felt about you.

Truthfully, it’s bittersweet. Unlike Hyojung, I don’t hate you. But I don’t think you’re as scot-free and innocent as Karin. Part of me thinks I should hate you, but the other part can’t bring myself to.

You had a part in the whole Park Jisung situation. You also sat by and heard everything he said. You sat by and saw everything he sent me. He told you privately things about what he thought of me and what he wanted to do to me. Yet you never told me. I had to see screenshots through Hyejun, because they were okay to send her but not me. Repeatedly, you defended and excused him. You even went out on a date with him. I thought you would have better standards for yourself.

Like Hyojung, you need to care more about yourself. I’m scared about where you’re going to end up and who you’re going to become. But, you have better values than her. You actually cared about me and our friendship. You tried to reach out. You knew me well enough to know that I was upset and that I was going through something. Thank you for that. I’m sorry I treated you shitty.

With Karin and Hyojung, I debated whether I’d be friends with them or not. It’s something Hyejun asked me once. I always knew I’d be okay with being friends with Karin again, and that I didn’t want to be friends with Hyojung ever again. But with you, I’m not sure. I blame you for what happened with Park Jisung. You, out of all people, could’ve stopped it. But it was you who said, “Oh, don’t mind Jisung. That’s just how he is; they’re just jokes.” It was you who made me think it was okay to be treated like that. However, part of me is genuinely afraid of you. I have an idea of where Karin and Hyojung are going to end up in life; after graduation. But you? I have no idea. I do know that I won’t be surprised if I read that you’ve gone crazy and murdered a bunch of people and are now locked in prison in the paper some day. It’s in character for you. At first, I thought those were jokes and laughed along with you, but the more and more you said it, and the longer amounts of time you said it, the more scared I became. I’ve started to believe you.

But part of me still does think that they’re just jokes and that you’re going to do well for yourself. The problem is that you just haven’t figured it out yet. And that’s okay; you’re still young.

However, you were still a good friend to me. You stuck up and supported me and made me feel loved. 

Thank you for that.

But, I think we’re better that we’re not friends. It’s better that we go our separate ways and grow then.

Im Yeojin