Birthdays–A short story

So I had an awful week. First I see some super acephobic stuff on Goodreads (seriously be normal, people, it costs you literally nothing) and then right after that I found out that a bunch of far-right people broke into the capitol, with the encouragement of our president (it costs people NOTHING to be normal, but here we are). Currently I would like to live anywhere except America.

The Uyghurs are currently undergoing a cultural genocide in China, so here’s some a Tumblr post about that. It lines up with what I know, and includes some ways to help, too.

Anyway, this is just a short story I wrote about a girl and her brother, set in Joseon. It was mostly written as a way to use the phrase ‘war criminal husband.’ Hopefully you like it. I dunno if it’s good or not. It was mildly inspired by a drama I watched, My Country, but it’s absolutely its own thing. I got the idea from a prompt.

Text reads, "you kidnapped me."
"Course I did, It's your birthday. No fun unless I ruin it."
"Dad didn't remember."
Yeah, they were well aware of that  fact.

I let out a long, long sigh and slumped down onto the ground, my skirts spilling around me. Dirt smudged the yellow silk. It would be murder for the servants to clean. If the skirt was ruined, I was killing my brother.

The trees blazed with color above me, red and green and yellow. The forest smelled of the sweet scent of damp earth and greenery. The tension eased from my shoulders. Anything was better than being stuck in my house. I was still murdering him.

“How’s the war criminal husband?” I asked him. It was a low blow. He deserved it.

Beom-Seok waved his hands. “He is neither a war criminal nor my husband,” he assured me. “All I wanted is to spend time with my sister on her birthday. I didn’t come here to get attacked like this.” He crossed his arms and tilted his head, giving me a look that suggested I was being unreasonable.

“You kidnapped me, orabeoni.” My voice contained immeasurable disappointment. “And he’s not your husband? I guess you must have just eloped with yourself.” I glared daggers at him. What kind of idiot did he take me for?

Beom-Seok sat down next to me, stretching out his legs. He threw an arm around my shoulders. I wanted to shake it off, but decided against it. “Would it be your birthday if I didn’t ruin it?” he asked. “And yes, my war criminal husband is doing just fine,” he added with a sigh.

I looked at my hands. “Father didn’t remember,” I said, too quickly. “His servant had to remind him.” I coughed.

I didn’t have to say it, I guess. We both already knew that Father would not care. That was the real reason why Beom-Seok did something stupid on each of my birthdays. But he’d never do the stupid thing I wanted him to do, which was come home. Father would probably refuse to see him if he tried, but sometimes I still almost resented him. I was not able to leave, and Beom-Seok was not able to come back.

The wind blew through the trees, creating a whistling sound. I paid attention to that, instead.

“Yes, well.” Beom-Seok coughed, too. “He’s always like that, isn’t he.” It wasn’t a question. He fumbled with his sleeves, looking for something to do with his hands. “I brought soju!” he remembered. He produced the bottle. “Does this make up for accosting you in the street?” He cast me a teasing smile.

“No,” I said, grabbing the bottle. I downed the contents, savoring the sting the alcohol left in the back of my throat.

“The idea was that we would share it,” he said patiently. I wiped my mouth and shrugged. He sighed.

I shook my head. “You can tell your husband he’s now my favorite family member by default.” Not that my other family members made that extremely hard. I scowled at the bottle.

“I’m sure he’ll like that very much,” Beom-Seok said, patting my shoulder. “How was your birthday? Before the kidnapping,” he added before I could say something else sarcastic.

“Boring,” I said. My fingers dug into the damp dirt. I looked away.

“I imagine so,” he said drily. “You never seem terribly disappointed to see me despite all your harsh words, Ye-Won.”

I let out a little laugh and rubbed the back of my neck. “Maybe not,” I admitted.

He squeezed my shoulders in an approximation of a hug. “Let’s go to town,” he said. “We’ll think of something to do there.”

“What will I tell father?” I asked, wrinkling my nose. “I don’t know what he’ll do if he knows I met you. He’ll either jump for joy or die of apoplexy.”

“Probably die of apoplexy,” he murmured. He grinned at me. “You are a very good liar, sister. You’ll think of something.”

I nodded and stood up, brushing off my skirts. “Let’s go see a play. Or go to a gibang,” I said with a wink.
“I’m not going to a gibang with my sister,” he told me, rolling his eyes. He gave me a hand as we walked down the hillside. I ignored it. “Let’s go get something to eat.” He patted my braid.

I wished Beom-Seok would come home, eat dinner with our family, make up with father. I wished everything in our family could go back to normal. But until that happened, this was the next best thing.

I hope the rest of 2021 goes better, lmao. There’s no harm in hoping. So, while I’m doing this, I hope that the story wasn’t terrible, and I hope that it might have made some small part of your day better. All this may be too much to possibly hope for, but that’s the point

7 thoughts on “Birthdays–A short story

  1. I have heard of this drama, would like to check it out now huhu. Sorry you had been stuck in a loop of bad news and rude people this last week. Truly, I wish people would be more kind to each other. It’s harmless, doesn’t stink and it boosts our dopamine levels. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for us. Sighs. Big hugs and wish you a relaxing weekend. Hopefully things get better from tomorrow onwards. 🤗💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this story, you are such a talented writer, I’m in awe. I really loved how there was such a feel for the family relationships in the past and present, I could definitely feel the emotions behind it. Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry it has been such a hard week for you, I can’t believe some people. I hope you feel better soon 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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