He was standing in a familiar place. It was a small, two bedroom apartment. It was not a fancy place; the floor boards creaked at every step. The ceiling was leaking and other than the table in the middle of the dining room, there was hardly any furniture.
He felt someone's hand slide into his. A small figure rested her head on his shoulder, her expression exuding the peace she felt.
"This is our home now," she said softly. "We'll live happily from now on."
She looked up at him, her green eyes beaming with joy. It was the happiest moment of her life. They can finally start their lives anew.
Her smile faltered a little upon seeing his face. He was not unhappy but he was not satisfied either.
"Let's clean this place up," he said nonchalantly. He tried to let go of her hand, but she held him back. She looked straight into his brown eyes.
"Aren't you happy?" she asked quietly.
"Am I supposed to be?" he shot back. Hearing his indifference, her eyes began to water. She turned away to hide her tears from him. He did not try to console her. How can she expect anyone to be happy in this dump?
"Stop crying!" he snapped at her. "We'll have to somehow manage living in this trashy place."
His words stung her like a needle. She knew he hated their life. But as a newly married couple with limited income, this was the best they could hope for. But Jiwon would not have been satisfied even if they had lived in a mansion.
"I'll go and buy some groceries," Jiwon told her, as he picked up his jacket. "Do you need anything?"
She shook her head. Jiwon shrugged and walked out of the apartment. As the door closed behind him, he took a last glance of those green eyes, which were now replaced with hurt and sadness.
The phone's alarm went off. KJ woke with a start. He was sweating profusely. Jade peered at him, wagging his tail lazily.
"Another flashback?" he asked.
"A nightmare," KJ brushed him off. He tried to look indifferent but inside, he was trembling.
"Stop pretending that it was a nightmare," Jade reprimanded him. "Those are memories. That was your life once."
"They are part of an erased past," KJ said coldly. "I chose to wipe it out of existence."
Jade snorted. "Yeah right! You wiped out the past from time but not from your mind. I sometimes wonder what was the point in doing that. It's not like you're any happier in your new life."
KJ ignored the cat's jabs. It was his choice to make and he has not looked back since. But those green eyes refused to leave from his head. Every night, he is haunted by those eyes. That smile, the disappointment and hurt in those eyes. Everything keeps haunting him, accusing him for leaving.
"She was a lively woman," Jade commented, purring on KJ's bed. "Your wife."
"She is not my wife," KJ said quietly.
"Oh yeah, you obliterated your relationship's existence when you chose to change the past," the cat said deviously. "I have to admit, I was surprised. Very few people choose that route."
"What's done is done," KJ replied flatly. "I removed that relationship from both of our lives. We have new lives now and I hope we'll never run into each other again..."
His own words stabbed him in the heart. It was true. He will never meet his wife again. After everything that happened, he took the chance to change their fates. Now, he is a complete stranger to her.
Jade sighed. "Humans are just too complicated," he concluded. "I'm glad I don't have to deal with such things."
With that, he began licking his paws. KJ got off the bed and headed towards the bathroom to take a shower.
The cold water calmed down his nerves. He leaned against the wall to steady himself. No matter what he said to the cat, in his heart, he knew he was lying. All these years, he hooked up with numerous women but he still pined for the one he left behind. Sometimes, he had the urge to reverse his decision, but he always held himself back. He was too ashamed to admit that he made the wrong decision by erasing the past. He still remembered that fateful moment...
Jiwon was wandering aimlessly through the alleyway. The pain in his heart was unbearable. He leaned against a wall and completely broke down. Never in his 21 years, did he shed a tear. But now his tears would not stop.
"WHY?" he wailed. "Why did you do this Mirae?"
He punched the wall. He kept on hitting the hard surface till his hands bled. At that moment, he hated her more than anything in the world. He gave up his dreams for her and she...
"I wish we had never met," he growled. "I want to erase our relationship entirely!"
"Be careful what you wish for," a voice came out of nowhere.
Startled, Jiwon looked around. There was no one in sight.
"Down here, moron," the voice ordered. Jiwon looked down to see a ginger cat staring at him with its big, green eyes.
"Yeah, I'm talking to you," the cat said.
"AHHHH!" Jiwon jumped back in fear. A talking cat?
"You look like as if you've seen the devil," the cat laughed.
"W-What the hell are you?" Jiwon stammered.
"A talking cat," it replied. "You can call me Jade."
"Am I dreaming?" Jiwon asked fearfully.
The cat laughed. "No," it giggled. "You're not dreaming. I'm real. So are my claws. Want me to scratch ya to show you that you aren't dreaming?"
The whole situation was bizarre. Why was a cat talking to him?
"What do you want?" Jiwon whispered. "Money?"
The cat laughed again. "The real question is, what do YOU want?"
"What do you mean?"
"Seems like you really hate her," the cat stated. "Your wife. What did she do?"
The mention of his wife made Jiwon freeze. "She aborted our baby," he finally managed to say it out loud. The pain resurfaced again. Once again, he broke down into tears.
The cat gave him a strange look. It stared at the pitiful man.
"Did you love her?" it asked quietly.
Jiwon looked at it, his eyes were red with anguish. "I don't know," he admitted. "I just want this pain to go away. I wish, I had never met her."
"Tell me everything," the cat coaxed.
Jiwon took a deep breath. "Two years ago, when I just turned eighteen," he began. "I was supposed to attend an audition. It was my dream to become an idol. But on the day of my audition, my grandfather suddenly fell ill. I dropped everything and rushed to my grandfather's side."
"My grandfather, whom I loved very much, was dying. On his deathbed, he made me promise to marry the granddaughter of his best friend. She was an orphan, you see. Her parents died in an accident that year and she was left all alone. My grandfather pitied her and wished that I marry her."
"So you two got married because of that promise?" the cat inquired.
Jiwon nodded. "I hated it," he said bitterly. "I married her out of obligation but I don't think I loved her. However, due to my grandfather's last wish, I tried to fulfill all my duties towards her. But she..."
The cat walked towards Jiwon and settled on his lap, as if to comfort him. "So what is your wish?" it asked. "What do you really want?"
Jiwon was quiet for a while. "To revert back to that day," he answered quietly. "I wish I had ignored Grandfather's wish and gone to the audition. I want to erase my relationship with her."
The cat smirked at him. Jiwon was surprised. Why was it looking at him that way?
"Your wish is my command," it said softly. Suddenly, Jiwon felt himself being pulled from all directions. A massive black hole appeared and sucked him in. He screamed as he fell into the abyss.
He opened his eyes only to find himself seated in a crowded room. Jiwon looked around, confused at the surrounding. The place looked very familiar. There were many teenagers, lining up in the hallway. He spun around in confusion till his eyes landed on a large mirror.
Jiwon stared at his reflection. He looked...younger. His jet black hair was longer like it was when he was a teenager. His muscles were leaner and he looked as if he was in his late teens.
"Wha-" his head was spinning.
"You're back in time," a nasal voice came from behind him. It was Jade.
"Back in time?" Jiwon asked incredulously.
"Yup," Jade smirked. "You're back to the day of the audition. You will be summoned in a moment, but your grandfather will also call you. What will you choose this time?"
Sure enough, Jiwon's name was called by one of the staff members. As soon as his name was called, his phone also rang. He stared at the screen. It was his grandfather.
"What will you choose Jiwon?" the cat whispered.
Jiwon looked from the audition hall to his phone. It was now or never.
He silenced his phone and walked into the audition hall. An hour later, he walked out of the audition, with a signed contract in his hand. In those few short moments, Jiwon became KJ.
Jade saw the young man coming out of the audition, ready to face his destiny. A mischievous smile was etched on the cat's face.
"And thus, your destiny is about to change, KJ," Jade declared.
KJ's thoughts returned to reality. He got out of the shower, wrapping a towel around his waist and stood in front of the mirror. The reflection of a tall, muscular man with amber eyes stared back at him. He was now in his late twenties and his previously light skin now had a tinge of tan to it. KJ was one of the most good looking idols in the country. For years, he had topped the most handsome men lists and surveys. He was rightly named 'The Nation's Idol' by the media. Fame, money and people followed him everywhere.
But very few people really knew him. Beneath the persona of KJ is Kwon Jiwon, a lonely man who is suffering the repercussions of the past.
All these years, KJ became distant and detached from everything. He felt truly alone even when he was surrounded by people. His smiles were fake, his happiness was mechanical and there was no real joy left in him. Even when he was surrounded by people, he felt alone. The only time he was at peace was whenever he performed on stage with his members.
KJ sighed heavily. He never admitted it out loud, but he missed her company. Her laugh, her smile and the green doey eyes. All he left of her were memories. He erased the past, but not his memories.
"Move on Jiwon," he told himself. "Forget the past."
He came out of the bathroom to see Jade snoozing on his bed. Careful not to make a noise, he poured some cat food in a bowl and kept it on the floor for Jade. He then put on his clothes and exited the apartment.
His phone buzzed. He took it out to check the message. KJ was so engrossed in reading the message that he did not notice a masked girl walking towards him. He bumped into her and she accidentally dropped the papers she was holding.
"I'm so sorry," he apologized as both of them bent to pick up the papers.
"It's alright," she said, glancing up. At that moment, KJ froze. He thought he saw a flash of green eyes.
The girl in the mask picked up the papers and hurried away, leaving KJ dumbfounded.
"It can't be," KJ shook his head. He was just imagining things.
Pulling himself together, he got up and made his way towards the elevator. Locking the encounter away in his mind, he headed towards the studio.
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