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Times lost

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The today he thought he would never see the end of has become yesterday.

Seunghyun enlisted, learned to march, shoot and take care of his uniform. The discipline and taking orders is not something unfamiliar and he does fit the army life. His letters home says nothing about his want for times lost.

Yesterday was summers, sunny and quivering with heat, filled with sweat and work. When he lived for that moment in the middle of the day when he looked up to see his sister coming towards them from afar, a basket in hand. When the sun was burning with its most intense heat, to be able to rest under the trees bordering the fields. That first taste of cold water from the well. That first bite into the sandwich. The minutes of stretching out sore muscles before his father decided to get to his feet, a silent sign that their short rest had come to an end.

Yesterday was winters, cold shoes, running noses and too few layers of clothing. Breath coming out in fumes, blending away with the white of the world, its only contrast the naked brown of the trees. Logs thick and icy-glazed, the grip always almost slipping when loading them onto the sledge. The heavy snow falling from the sky building thick layers on the horses backs and Seunghyun pulling his cap down over his red ears, only to have the snow on top of it fall down into his jacket, melting down his neck.

Yesterday was his father hitting Seunghyun with a belt and sending him to bed without dinner when he had caught him playing pranks on the neighbours wife involving missing underwear and strangely clothed lambs. His mother coming to his room under the cover of darkness with cold potatoes and a glass of milk. His sister not being able to hold in her giggling during breakfast and his fathers almost invisible twitch round the corners of his mouth when looking out the window to see newly washed girdles swaying in the wind.

Yesterday was sneaking out in the middle of the night, meeting Daesung by the creek with fishing rod in hand, sitting close beside him, whispering words of love and nothingness into thick brown hair, not even pretending to care about catching fish, until the sky began to lighten. Daesung rising his head from Seunghyun's shoulder to press a kiss to his neck, his cheek, hesitating a short trembling moment while looking at him from under thick eyelashes before slowly kissing him on the mouth, fingertips caressing his lower back, only to disappear into the faint light of dawn a few moments later, leaving Seunghyun with butterflies in his heart, fluttering above the heavy weight of their sins, low in his stomach.

His letters home says nothing about the hopelessness he feels when thinking about a future he can never have or his fear of being forgotten.

***

It is autumn and the sky is high and the air cold and clear when he steps out of the bus. His posture straighter, his face more serious than when he left. The afternoon sun warms his back and he directs his steps towards home, the empty road following the edge of the forest.

Halfway, he is met by a rattling bike. The young man offering him a lift looks little older, his eyes a little more grown up and his hair is a little shorter, no longer falling into his eyes. The smile, however, beaming from a sun-burnt face, is still the same. The smell of his hair, when embracing Seunghyun with strong arms, is familiar and the shiver down his spine when leaning down and kissing those soft lips brings back all the long lost butterflies, relief skittering across his skin.

All in a matter of seconds and lost times are found again.

Tomorrow with all its futility is somehow still not there, how could one race time? To people sharing a secret, there is always today.