There are some stories that blow you away before the first line’s over. You read the first sentence and you think, “Man, I wish I would have written that” or “Whoa… this one’s gonna be a big hit” or “This is gonna be an underground classic.” I love those stories… As a reader, I always appreciate a good read. As a writer, I really appreciate such fics because they push me to be a better writer.
To kick off the new recommendations “corner,” I present to you Lines by Kna aka algebra > geometry.
This fic was written for ficaholics’s Secret Santa 2009. The word prompt that Kna got was “Lines” and I love how she interpreted it. Jiyong’s character was really charming. There was something that was delightful about him… his way of speaking, Kna’s description of his thoughts and actions. I also loved how she handled humor in this piece… it was present in a goodhearted fashion, but it was never overbearing. I really love this piece because you can feel a sense of conflict within Jiyong, but you can see how he’s trying to make do and overcome in his own way. Then again, I have a thing for dreamers (; All in all… I reread this fic from time to time because I love the feeling it gives, and because I love the writing style. I definitely recommend it!
*Thanks to Kna for letting me re-post her fic here ^^
by Kna (algebra > geometry)
There is a secret he’s keeping inside of him, and it remains hidden, tucked away into the corners of his minds because that’s where it belongs—because something like this is nothing that’s normal, nothing that’s allowed to be real. It’s a figment, probably, of his imagination, a figment that haunts his dreams every night, twisting every fired neuron to follow a different path to his brain, triggering signals that shouldn’t be activated, making him glad he never sleepwalked.
Sometimes, though, he lets it out—and that’s when all is set loose. It’s mostly unintentional, the moments where he loses control to his senses—to this secret that’s usually locked by a lost key—to this insanity that drives him over the edge—sometimes, though, he lets it out, and, despite the world verging on the brink of destruction, he is at peace. And so sometimes he lets it out on purpose, curious at the way it eases him.
One day he sits and wonders what’s wrong with him that he feels this way.
It’s a clear day, the kind of day dogs run free and birds peck at sandwich bits and the old fellas are playing chess with each other. The kind of day that lets him sit on a bench and watch everything unfold, because one dog starts to pee on the fountain, and one bird walks up to the feeder to beg for more, and one old man is frustrated at losing and tips the whole game board over. He likes these days the best, because it’s these days where he’s pretty sure his secret doesn’t need to unleash itself to the world.
“Jiyong, what the hell are you doing, huh?”
“Yo, Seunghyun,” Jiyong says, looking up at the clouds. “That one looks like Boa’s rack.”
Seunghyun stares at him, wondering if he’s serious. And then, despite himself, he dips his head up to peer at the clouds. And then he says, “Oh,” because it really does, trust Jiyong to know that.
“I’m right, aren’t I?”
“More like you’re late for cram session,” Seunghyun flippantly comments, looking back down at him. “I was looking for you everywhere dude. Don’t tell me you’ve seriously been sitting here looking at clouds.”
“Nah,” Jiyong says. He points up again. “Havin’ a talk.”
“With God?” Seunghyun’s eyes grow wide.
“With Boa’s rack,” Jiyong says cheekily, and Seunghyun’s gaze flattens immediately.
“Seriously.” Jiyong grins. Yawns. Stretches. “Skip cram.”
“Not looking at Boa’s rack.”
“Shut up about that already dude!” Seunghyun punches Jiyong on the arm, who simply scoots over and pats the extra room on the bench.
“Tan with me, yo.”
Seunghyun, against his better judgment, plops down on the bench. Jiyong sighs. Seunghyun does the same, only a second later.
“You’re gonna fail,” a third voice says, and Jiyong’s arm shoots up into the air.
“Midget!” he says, and Youngbae, walking by, rolls his eyes.
“At least I’m going to college. Seunghyun, you’re dipping too?”
“Huh? Yeah.” Seunghyun shrugs. “Bye, Youngbae.”
The two of them sit in a momentary peace, where the dog is still pissing and the bird is still starving and the old man is still in a fit of rage. This, Jiyong decides, is better than the days his secret comes out. Because the world is right as it is, with every story telling itself to any ear that’s willing to listen.
Jiyong nods, satisfied with his conclusion.
“A+,” he says to himself, and Seunghyun ignores him because Jiyong’s always stupid like that, he’s always talking to himself, even when the world is passing him by and moving on without him. There’s always something occupying that idiot’s mind, and sometimes, while Seunghyun is curious, he really doesn’t want to know.
The deepest corners of the mind are certainly the darkest. This he knows.
“Well,” Jiyong says. “I’m going.”
“To cram session.” Jiyong almost snickers at Seunghyun’s face, but he schools his impression just in time. “Wanna go?”
“Oh my god, Jiyong, I hate you.”
“You go on first.”
“What?” Seunghyun stares.
“I’ll meet up with you.”
“Okay, you know what? You can just sit here and stare at Boa’s rack. Don’t even bother coming, dude.”
“Okay,” Jiyong says. “I agree.”
And he waves at Seunghyun’s flat look.
“Jiyong, I know you’ve—okay, just. Make it to session next time, okay?”
“I promise, sir.” Jiyong salutes. “Bye bye Seunghyun!”
And Jiyong is left alone again, watching the dogs and the birds and the old men, and he wonders if watching the world is worth it. And as he wonders, he stares—and as he stares, he sees. Except he’s not quite sure what he’s seeing, because the sight is an odd one, completely contrasting with the world that tells stories—because there’s a girl, and she has wings, and she’s not telling a story because his mind is blank and he has no idea what’s going on.
She’s writing a story, he thinks, and Jiyong stands and wants to walk to where she is, but he’s frozen, cemented to the ground, and all he can do is watch as she looks around, watch as she smiles at an inside joke, watch as she watches what he was just watching—the dog, the cat, the old man.
She’s beautiful, he realizes, even though from distance he can’t even make out the shape of her lips.
Jiyong blinks and she’s still there. So why is it that his feet are unable to move? He wants to go to her, to ask her how is it that she can just create so freely, because won’t others see? Won’t they see and wonder, and won’t they tell her that she should just keep it to herself? That something like this isn’t meant for public eyes?
Jiyong can only watch as she makes her way away from him. As she disappears into the horizon, off creating—and he has to let her go, because she’s moving way too fast for him to catch up. There’s no way he can run after her, not when he’s so immobilized.
It is at night when his secret comes out—when he puts on his fitted cap, his Nike hi-tops, his scarf with the skulls. It’s when he trapezes down the street, almost drunk off of the idea of letting himself loose—and absolutely ecstatic at the thought of being able to unleash his burden onto the street, because if that girl with the wings could do it so carelessly, then shouldn’t he also be able to be guilt-free?
It’s when he’s on stage, in front of faces that look at him for inspiration—it’s these moments when his secret releases itself his heart and onto the world. Deep, dark, tormenting him during the day—and finally he’s able to let it out, let his heart untwist from the weight of carrying it around.
And when he finally does let it go—that’s when he realizes that his secret should never be kept a secret.
Jiyong throws his arm in the air, spitting rhymes to the beat, rocking his body to the bass, the hard beats, feeling everything envelope him, and—and while during the day, his mind is afraid of this—of entirely letting go, of entirely losing himself—during the night, when everything is shrouded in shadow except for those few illuminated by the spotlight—
he feels okay.
Jiyong caresses the crowd with stories—stories of dogs and birds and running and flying—of old men and old loves—of girls with wings and hopscotch and rocks—of girls and old loves and running and flying and maybe even touching the clouds, because stories let people do that, and Jiyong understands this—the crowd eats it all up, and he’s pretty sure they don’t understand.
It’s more of an inside joke than anything, this rhyme he made up, because he’s the only one laughing when it’s over, and he throws his cap to the crowd, watches it become swallowed within the sea of hands. And Jiyong saunters off stage, ready to exhale and take in his secret once more—his secret of beauty, wrapped around his mind in the form of lyrics, twisted around his heart with the persona of beats—
He prepares himself for the next day. For more cramming more containing, more of Seunghyun and Youngbae, who know nothing about what he keeps inside him, what keeps him sane. He prepares himself for another day at the park, staring up at the sky listlessly, trying to hold within himself the desire to break free and just rhyme, damn it, write a story and make it mean something, because to hell with cram sessions and school, why care about any of that when what he has inside him is much more precious?
Jiyong wonders, briefly, if maybe he should wear wings around. That way, he muses, it’s never a day without a line.