Painfully Obvious

“So, it’s been what, five years now?”

“No, we met up about a year ago, remember?”

“I mean your relationship.”

“Ah, that,” I say, pausing to look at the clouds drifting by; it is an ordinary day. “What a waste.”

“If you’re not even sad,” Juro begins. He stops, then sighs. “Why did you even come out here?” He shoots me a glare.

I glance at him and shrug nonchalantly. “Why did you agree to let me come over?”

“Because you sounded sad over the phone and you said you needed someone to talk to!” He shouts this as if his intentions were obvious—no strings attached, just being a good friend. But I see that his ears are slightly flushed.

“You’re a good friend, Juro.” I pick up the quart of juice next to me and offer him some. “You want another glass?” He reluctantly holds out his cup, and I fill it to the brim with orange juice. The sight of his large hand gripping the tiny cup makes me laugh. “This is ridiculous!”

He takes a sip before commenting, “What’s ridiculous is that you said you’d help me unpack, but now we’re sitting on my driveway drinking orange juice.”

I pout. “Hey, you said you’d listen to me!”

“In exchange for your help unpacking—and remember: you suggested this deal.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“So, why call me; is it because I’m close?” He asks after a short pause.

“Hmm,” I sip at my drink. “It’s because your one of the few good friends I have…And yeah, you live closest to me.” I laugh.

“I knew it.” Juro pouts, but I can tell he does not mean it.

Since the conversation’s direction has gone this way, I decide to ask what is on my mind: “So, why did you move back?” It is a question I think I know the answer to, but I also want confirmation of my suspicions. Juro, I, and a few of our friends grew up in this part of the city, but Juro moved away after high school. We still kept in contact, mostly online, but once in a while we would meet in person.

“I thought we were here to talk about you.” His answer startles me out of my reverie.

It is unusual of him not to answer a question I ask, but I suppose the answer might be something he is not ready to say—or maybe there is something I want him to say. “Oh, right,” I respond, pushing the strange thoughts out of my head. “Well, I was sad for a while, but I think the anger is kicking in, so maybe that’s why I don’t seem so upset.”

“Anger?” Juro looks surprised.

“What.”

He simply states, “You’re rarely angry.”

“Wouldn’t most people be angry when someone cheats on them?”

“He cheated on you? That bastard!”

I nod, and then add, “Watch your language.”

“Sorry, I forgot how much you hate cussing…But even now you don’t seem very angry.”

“Sure, what he did was wrong, but I was happy when I was with him.” I hesitate a little before telling him, “I guess that’s why I turned a blind eye to it.”

“You mean you knew?” Juro’s jaw drops a bit, but he doesn’t say anything else.

“Yeah.” I decide, on a whim, to tell him everything. “Everything was great at first, almost movie-like…” I smile at the fond memories, still fresh in my mind. “But after the third year, we started arguing—over little things—and it scared me, because we never really fought before, but I thought it was normal, you know? Something every couple goes through.”

I can still hear our shouting voices in my head. “And we didn’t try hard enough to solve those problems. It was sometime during our fourth year together that I knew he was seeing someone else.”

I grip my cup tightly and look at the bright orange liquid, trying to keep my composure. “And I ignored it; I thought I could try harder then, so that he would leave her; I thought it was just some phase…But getting into our fifth year, I realized that he would never marry me, that we were just waiting for someone to come forward and break everything down. So, I stepped forward and did just that: I brought up the cheating, we argued, and broke up.”

There is silence for some time before Juro says, “Hana, it’s okay to cry.”

I didn’t realize until then that tears were welling up in my eyes. I swipe at them. I was done crying; Juro doesn’t need to know how many tears I already shed. I try to smile at him. “It’s okay; why don’t we talk about something else? How’s your love life?” I try to make it sound like a joke.

But he takes it seriously. “It’s nonexistent right now. I broke up with my only girlfriend about two years ago—we dated for about three years. I decided to focus on my career instead and then moved back here…There’s really not much more to say.” Suddenly, Juro stands. “Well, I’ll go in to start and unpack. Do you need some time alone? We can talk more later if you want.”

I suspect that he wants time alone, so I agree. I watch his back as he walks away—it is such a familiar sight, considering we could be called childhood friends. As soon as he is inside, all the thoughts that I have held back flood my mind. Before my meeting with Juro I met up with a few of our mutual friends, and we brought up old memories, leading them to ask me if Juro ever confessed his feelings to me. It was the first time I ever heard of Juro’s long-standing crush on me. So, I became curious; I never thought of him in the romantic sense, but it isn’t as if I wouldn’t consider dating him. Thus, I decided that out of all my friends I should talk to him about my break-up.

Am I the reason he moved back here, or is that too vain? Is it cruel of me to talk to him about this kind of topic? Still, I wanted to know if he still felt that way about me. But why? Is it because I broke up recently that I am looking for comfort? Human emotions are complex, but I think that everyone knows how true the statement is. I want to ask him why he never told me, but I don’t think there is a good explanation for it—the heart is fickle, after all, or any other cliché would work in this case. In the end, I couldn’t ask, but what if I did? Could I really date him, or would everything turn out to be awkward between us? Honestly, right now, I wouldn’t be able to date him—he’s right: I wanted to cry.

I look up at the sky again, blinking back more tears, and decide that it is time to go in and help him unpack.

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