Sunday, January 6, 2008
Last night I finally got around to watching No Regret, the 2006 Korean movie about the tortured relationship between an 18 year-old orphan who works in a male brothel and a twenty-something son of a rich businessman. Straight folks were up in arms about its graphic scenes and taboo themes; the gay ones, about how cute the two main characters were. A lot of what I saw, incredulously, was a reenactment of my own sordid past. How I used to frequent the brothels to ease my loneliness. How I became attached to one of the guys who claimed to have no family. How I let him move in with me for a while. In hindsight, I wish I could have done more to hold on to him. Not because he looked well in the Jilsander clothes he favored, or that he was tall and handsome with a strong physique. But because he genuinely seemed to be alone in his life. As I was, but couldn't bring myself to admit. Which is why our relationship never had any chance of succeeding. I told him he had to leave my apartment. He ended up taking refuge in a Buddhist monastery. Some months later, I got a call from him. He said he wanted to see me again, to see how I was doing. But he was the one dressed in a monk's garb with his head shaved. And I was the one feeling that the stranger taking tea with me was my own confused shadow. If only I had known then what I realize now. Love isn't always about finding someone who makes you happy. Sometimes it's about being with someone who simply understands your sadness.