Byung-Ho 1

There is a boy. He is yelling at my mother while I lay in my bed. He sounds like sharp thumbtacks in my ears, and I’m not sure if that is because he is saying such blunt and honest things that they pierce the mind or if it is just because he is yelling them with such a sharp tone. Either way, it is a bit unsettling and I curl myself into an even tighter ball beneath my sheets.

I have not slept in two days. That’s not so impressive compared to other things I’ve done. One time, I did not sleep for five days and I had only eaten a few scraps of food. This is probably why I had my two nicknames in school back in Korea: “Zombie” and “Fat Pig.” Sometimes it was “Ugly Pig” but usually, it was “Fat.” I am not sure why they called me that though, because I was and still sort of am very skinny. Or at least, that is what people are telling me as of now, that I am skinny.

I cannot decide which is more piercing: the sound of the boy’s harsh voice just a few seconds ago or the intense silence that followed it as of now. My mother only looks on with a dumbfounded look on her face. See, this boy’s name is Shaun, and he is over here, in my room, because he was going to hang out with one of my friends who is spending time with me. So in a way I suppose, he is an acquaintance, a friend of a friend of mine. And he just happened to notice how ill I am and thought it necessary to utterly chew out my mother for not doing a thing to help me.

All I can really do is attempt to roll myself into the tightest ball and disappear, but that cannot happen, so instead I lay there and let my thoughts all fuzz together. My father has been standing behind my mother this whole time, and he grabs her shoulder now. No one knows what to say.

“If no one would have gotten me the help I need, I would have already killed myself years ago,” Shaun said. “This is not something that just magically goes away, this is not a silly teenager phase, this is a real, urgent phase that needs to be shown love. Locking yourself in your room all day and not sleeping or eating or socializing is not a normal thing to do. Have you seen his wrists? And what makes you think that his silence is normal? Does he ever talk to you at all?” he goes on. “Does he?” My parents shake their heads shyly. “Don’t you ever think about him? Aren’t you concerned…?” My mother nods, her eyes beginning to fog over with tears. “Then why the fuck haven’t you done anything?”

Even though I really do not like Shaun all that much, I am still happy that he was there in that moment because, if he hadn’t have been, I wonder how much would have stayed the same.



[Bonus: Line art of Byung-Ho, drawn by me]




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