He was standing in front of the wall-length window of his Los Angeles penthouse looking at his reflection. Hazel brown, ideally disoriented hair. Creamy, impeccable skin. Pretty, little pink lips and a cute button nose. He knew he was attractive, tempting to numerous. He grimaced.
It was late, the city sparkling vividly beneath him appeared satisfied from this far above. He could make out tiny frames roaming the streets, nothing more than little spots, trivial and inconsequential, but people nevertheless. He was isolated.
His phone vibrated harshly on the glass of his coffee table causing him to flinch. He intended to turn the TV on to swamp out the taciturnity of his vacant home. He retrieved his phone, anticipating the picture to process as he retreated to the window.
The image was of a tabloid cover, the headline reading ‘The Golden Boy Has Done It Again’. Under the bold red letters was a comparably unflattering photograph of himself stumbling out of a nightclub with a scarcely dressed girl coiled in each arm. The corner of his lip seized, threatening a grin because of the wittily worded caption, he let out an indolent sigh instead. Another message blinks on his screen. ‘Nice job kiddo, you’re fucking great at this’, he reads from his manager, Jihoon. He practically rolls his eyes and flings his phone behind him on the sofa.
Jeongguk skids over the seat in front of his piano and shuts his eyes, pressing the tears tightly between his eyelids. With eyes still sealed he skims his hands softly against the keys, “Why can’t I just be happy?“, he mutters to himself and begins to play a slow harmony.
He mindlessly presses the keys as he thinks.
Where did I go wrong?
How did I let everyone else control my life for me?
When did my music quit being mine?
His eyes snapped open suddenly as he recognises he was playing a song he composed with a friend before he became famous. He smiles gently as he walks to the couch and picks up his phone once again, going to his photos and scrolling to the top. The first picture that was ever taken on his phone, and the only one like it within the over 2000 pictures on his phone. Him and his best friend, grinning with arms around each other’s shoulders. He was winking with his tongue stuck out and his best friend looked appalled with wide eyes.
He almost giggled.
A scheme kicks him and he immediately places his phone aside, substituting it with his laptop. He goes to Facebook and gawks at the sign-up screen. He enrols his information but abruptly hesitates before clicking the sign-up option.
He backspaces his name letter by letter, realizing it would be a faulty idea to apply his real name.
He comes up with something he’s sure no one will figure out and continues. He types his best friend’s name into the search bar at the top and he’s the first one to show up. He feels a genuine smile smeared across his face.
His best friend looks remarkably happy in his profile picture. Arm slung around a very little guy, both of them laughing. He can almost hear his friends laughter.
He contributes an hour scrolling through post after post of his friend’s life. There was so much he had missed out on. Summer trips and late-night drives with pictures to prove how fun it was.
Aesthetic polaroids and pictures of fancy foods. Pictures of the sky and clouds from God knows which mountains.
His friend relocated to New York for school and business. He was in a relationship, with whom he didn’t know, but he really hoped he could meet him.
And after all the scrolling, when he finally slammed his laptop shut, he realized he had been replaced. His best friend had new friends and a new life without him in it. His best friend now had the faint, brown-eyed, dark-haired boy from his profile picture as a best friend, Jeongguk had cast out and long forgotten.
He lamented, knowing it was his mistake. He grew too busy, too promptly and never made time for his friend. He got mopped away in dazzling lights and notoriety and wealth and it was all too much. He deeply missed his best friend that probably didn’t miss him and just wished he could see him again.