"I get it now; I didn't get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible… and enjoying everything in between."
Insomnia is an insidious devil. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. Poisons you, steals your light, and throws you out the other side - much less of a person than you went in. Or at least, that's how you feel. The lethargy, the relative unstable stability of your emotions, the apathy and moreover, the never-ending feeling that it's never-ending.
It's all very dramatic, but it's exactly how 28 year old Jung Wheein feels. She's a restless soul, always has been. From being 7 years old and asking her mother if there’s a scary monster in the dark keeping her awake, to being just shy of 20 and accepting that broken sleep, loss of an appetite, dark circles that betray her façade of health and using alcohol to numb lull her into rest – is just a pill she had to swallow.
She’s understood for a while that it’s a real problem, chronic sleep deprivation isn't good for anyone, much less an artist struggling to produce art because every time she lifts her brush to create, it just stops happening. Her mind is blank, it’s an empty abyss that cannot control her hands anymore. All she needs is rest. Yet, it eludes her.
The only constant in her life was her love for art. Art has always been an escape for her, it allowed her to block out the mundane horror of daily life for a while. She could be anywhere, anytime and with anyone she pleased. When Wheein was painting – she had peace. It's why, as time passes and she suffers an ever increasing severity of insomnia, that she feels the most useless. Her one joy in life is suddenly the biggest effort. She feels guilty if she paints exhausted, and guilty if she doesn’t.
Currently, Wheein is stuck in another bout of not sleeping well. She tries to exercise, she tries to count sheep. Fruitless. She has decided that she’s going to start work on a new project, maybe it’ll mentally tire her enough to sleep. She’s planning on doing a portrait painting for a change, instead of the abstract art that she is used to. Something fresh is sure to satiate her and let her sleep. If it’s good enough perhaps she’ll even showcase the work in her favourite gallery. For this, she’s advertising for a model. She going for an intimate portrait that captures the beauty and the sadness of life. Now, restless or not, Wheein is somewhat famous and renowned in the art world. Showcasing her talents in London, Paris and NYC became commonplace for her. When it art is going well, it’s going well. When it isn’t? Best not to think too much on it.
Of course, The Jung Wheein has a plethora of models interested, however, none seem to catch the artist’s attention. She sitting at her desk, her short blonde hair tied in a low ponytail, glasses perched on the end of her nose. Eyebrows crinkled in concentration, she scans the applications, pausing on the picture of a very happy looking woman.
Kim Yongsun, Korean, 32 years old, average height, long black hair, 10 years modelling experience. Slim athletic build and mochi cheek connoisseur.
Mochi cheek connoisseur? Wheein chuckles softly, studying the smiling woman’s photo, it’s not hard to guess why she’s written this in her bio. She’s smiling so wide her cheeks are puffed out and her eyes have formed the cutest crescent moons she’s ever seen. If there was ever an unusual model bio, this was it. Sultry side glance? No. Piercing gaze? No. From the looks of it, this Kim Yongsun got lost, someone took her pic and posted it to Wheein as a joke. Not that the woman isn’t beautiful, her picture is just not what comes to mind when you imagine ‘Portrait Model’.
Wheein scans the rest of the woman’s bio,
Based in Seoul, open to artists and photographers, nudity is accepted if tasteful, payment in advance, call number below to arrange a first meeting.
“Nudity. Oh.” Wheein thought, she never really considered going down the nudity route, she was thinking more along the lines of a side portrait, on her roof, during the sunset. Nudity? She’ll think on it. Wheein is into woman. Always has been. Although her relationships never tend to last very long due to the apathy that creeps up on her. She bites her lip softly, she’s intrigued by this Yongsun. She can’t help but realise that this woman is her type. Dark haired, soft looking. No harm can come from at least meet her right? She grabs her phone from her nightstand and begins to dial the number to this Yongsun, mochi cheek connoisseur. Worst case? It really is a mistake. Best case? She invites Yongusn for an interview, a coffee. Understand if she is the right fit for project. Maybe dinner, a movie, sex. Sex? Wait no. Wheein get a grip of yourself. Clearly it has been too long for her.
She dials the given number and waits patiently,
“………..” dial tone.
Huh. Odd. Wheein tries again,
“………..” dial tone.
For fear of leaving so many missed calls on this strangers phone, Wheein tries a third and final time.
“…………………” dial tone.
Wheein sighs softly. Resigned that this mochi woman isn’t answering, She’s so engrossed in calling her that she could’ve sworn she heard a phone ringing outside her apartment door. Crazy. Lack of sleep is getting to her early tonight that she starting to hear things. She decided she’s worked late enough and closes her computer, rubbing her face a little and releasing her hair from its ponytail. She exits her study in her sweatpants and tank top and goes to grab some tea from her moderately sized kitchen.
As she heads to her bedroom with her tea to relax, she starts from sudden loud banging on her apartment door. It’s incessant. BANG BANG BANG BANG. Quick succession. Guys, Wheein is not a fighter, she’s never even been in a real life fight apart from the one time a desperately drunken girl accidentally head-butted her in a club. Wheeins’ nose was busted wide open and she felt the need to apologise to the girl, for being head-butted by her.
Slowly, she inches towards the stranger banging on her door. Replaying the memories of her short life and saying goodbyes to her family in her mind in preparation for the probable axe-murdering that is about to take place.
“Excuse me!” a woman’s voice shouts through the door. Soft yet direct. Wheein creeps forward, glasses in one hand raised up like a weapon. To scare who? Its glasses. She checks through her peephole to no avail. The shouting person on the other side of the door has their face pressed to closely for Wheein to see.
“I really need some help if anyone is home”, stranger shouts. Wheein listens.
The woman stops shouting, assuming that the occupier of apartment 225 is not in or not answering. She hears a defeated sigh and small footsteps as the woman moves onto apartment 226.
Wheein, in her rational mind thinks that it should be safe to open the door to help this woman right? Not that women can’t be axe murders as well. What does she have to lose? She unlocks her door, take a few steps out of her apartment and turns to the left to finally get a glimpse of this woman.
“Eh..hi…Excu-“, Wheein starts,
“OMG yes!” shouts the frantic woman, turning now to face Wheein directly. The woman in question has long silky black hair, a much toned body from where it is exposed by her shorts and tshirt, she's Korean and has the cutest cheeks Wheein has ever seen…..?
Wait a hot second. Oh. Omg.
Wheein knows this face, albeit in the picture the woman was a lot less frantic and a lot less wet. Wet? What is going on?
“Mochi connoisseur” Wheein blurts before she can think.
The gorgeous stranger approaches her, stops in front of her and cocks her head confused, eyebrows scrunched,
Wheein gulps. Oh great.