Genre: Angst, romance
Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you.
Take my hand (and take my whole life too)
Transcript: Kim Jaejoong—part 1
Q: As of this day, you have released eight albums as a solo artist. That is an astonishing achievement for any musician. What are some emotion that come about when you think about this?
A: When I look back upon the last ten years, the feeling is melancholic. With this achievement also came the struggles and many sacrifices that I, as well as others who were around me, had to go through. So although the feeling of accomplishment is great, there is also the remembrance of hard times. But that only makes the accomplishment even more worthwhile. I would say overall, the feeling I get is bittersweet.
Q: What would you say is the sole element which might make this album stand out from the others?
A: As a writer and composer of most of my own songs, every single one of my albums are connected with me on a personal level. This one is no different. However, I would say that the latest one contains more of me than any other albums I have released. It’s sort of an exposure [laughter] of myself, I guess. So please listen to it well, everybody.
Q: What are some of the troubles you ran into when working on this album?
A: I would say… [pause] the constant struggle I had to come to terms with myself. As I said before, this album is an exposure, a revelation of me. So at times it was difficult to be completely truthful with myself. It was hard to be so vulnerable and transparent.
Q: You’ve taken a shot at covering an English song, Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. What made you decide to take on an old song like this?
A: [sigh]… [laughter] I’ve never really mentioned this before, but this song has always been a favorite of mine. I had never really understood the meaning of the lyrics until I was older and had Yoochun explain it to me, but once I did understand I felt like the song was filled with so much honesty. Honesty from someone who can’t control their feelings. It’s something we all know about, an old cliché but not everybody knows how it truly is like. To not have the ability to control our emotions, whether love or hatred. Because it’s so overheard in romance, this idea of can’t help but to fall, that all the pain and sweetness of the phrase is gone. [Pause]…but with this song I could experience it, as if I had been there before.
It’s something that Yunho used to say to him all the time, Jaejoong had heard it a lot. The words sort of became a part of their conversation, casual and relaxed without much to hide. The first time he’d said them was at the backstage of their debut. A minute before their performance, Yunho gathered everyone into a circle, clasping their hands together. Jaejoong was chewing on his bottom lip and running the lyrics over in his mind.
He whirled around, palms frozen and fingers rigid, “What?”
“Take my hand.”
“Quickly,” Yoochun urged.
Jaejoong hurried over and slipped his hand into Yunho’s. It was damp with sweat and cold, he could feel tiny tremors.
“This is all we have worked for,” Yunho’s voice however boomed strong and steady over the top of their heads. “I know we can do this, guys. This is our beginning. Are we ready?”
“Ready!” They all yelled, Jaejoong’s words cracked a little, he hoped that no one noticed. He’d climbed onto that stage still holding Yunho’s wet palms, and didn’t let go until the last moment. It was just a small performance. Don’t expect too much. Don’t expect too much. They were nobody special.
Who knew that a few years later, they would be conquering the world.
Japan was a pleasant place, sure.
Besides the fact that they didn’t speak a word of Japanese and had to communicate using hand gestures and weird noises. There were translators, but they couldn’t stick around all the time.
Which was how Jaejoong had gotten completely lost for the first time in his life.
Yunho was trudging along beside him, staring at the road signs and trying to figure out where on earth they were. Walking on the streets was like trying to swim through limbs and bodies, waves after waves of workers rushing home for dinner.
“Take my hand,” Yunho said, clasping onto Jaejoong’s fingers. That time, his hand had been warm and dry. It surrounded his completely. Jaejoong held on tight because the last thing they wanted was to be separated.
“I’m starving,” he couldn’t help but complain. The sushi they’d had for lunch seemed like a distant dream.
Yunho patted his pocket, letting out a frustrated sigh, “I only have a few bills on me.”
They ended up sharing a bowl of hot noodles, cramped up in a tiny restaurant with grease stains on the tables. Jaejoong slurped noisily, his lips were burning but that had been a small issue at the moment. Yunho kept on placing the thin beef slices on his spoon, which he ate without a word.
They surfaced for air after the entire bowl had been drained. Yunho smoothed a few crumpled bills onto the table. He stood up, and extended a hand out to Jaejoong.
“Come on, let’s go home.”
When he fell, he hadn’t felt a thing. The pain came moments later. It ripped through his leg as if splitting it clean open, Jaejoong had to bite his lip.
“He’s hurt,” Changmin breathed, still recovering from the dance steps. Everyone crowded around and the air suddenly became minimal. Jaejoong shut his eyes tight to will away the nauseous ache which rose in his throat. He inhaled through his nose. In and out. In and out.
“Can you move?” He heard Yunho say, “We need to move him. Take my hand, Jaejoong.”
Blindly he reached out and grasped onto a palm. A throb jotted through his knee. He squeezed Yunho’s hand and gasped.
“It’s alright, it’s alright,” Yunho muttered by his ear. “I’ve got you.”
He was picked up from the ground and loaded into the back of a cab. He could feel others shuffling in behind him. Yunho’s hand was slightly sweaty, hot from the practice. Jaejoong held on tight and breathed. In and out. In and out.
Transcript: Kim Jaejoong—part 1 continued.
Q: You said that the meaning behind this song is very strong, have you ever had a similar experience to this, then?
A: No, unfortunately I have to say that I haven’t.
Q: You have never fallen in love?
The studio lights were still on. Jaejoong checked his watch. It was half past midnight. He yawned as he climbed up the stairs and pushed open the door to the practice room.
“What are you still doing here?”
Yunho spared him a glance in midst of a turn, “Have to get this choreography down by tomorrow so that I could help you guys.”
Jaejoong crossed his arms over his chest, “Sometimes you underestimate us. We can handle the step ourselves, you know.”
Yunho shot him another look, “Who’s the one who always asked for my help? You couldn’t even get the steps to Balloons correct.”
Jaejoong wrinkled his nose, “I don’t have much interest in dancing.”
“It’s something we have to do, Jaejoong. It’s a part of us, as artists. You can’t always back away from what you don’t like, you know.”
He walked forward and stood next to Yunho, facing the mirror. Their reflections looked so different. Jaejoong wanted to change that.
“Stop lecturing me, help me,” he pulled his sweatshirt over his head and shrugged his tank back into place. “I don’t want to drag everybody down tomorrow.”
One and a half hour later, their reflection finally looked somewhat identical. Jaejoong picked up his towel and patted it across Yunho’s face, who closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall. Jaejoong let the rough fabric scrape gently across Yunho’s nose, cheeks, jaw, running the towel down his neck, across his shoulders.
“Thanks, bro,” he held up a hand.
“Anytime,” Yunho clasped it with his.
“Repeat the list to me.”
“Baking powder, baking soda, icing sugar, frosting, rice cakes, fish cakes, green onions, carrots, mushrooms, and pepper paste.”
“Good, now make sure the pepper paste is the mild kind. He doesn’t like it too spicy and you can’t handle it well anyway—“
“I got it,” Junsu sounded impatient. “I’m going to hang up now.”
“Don’t forget anything,” Jaejoong chided into the phone. “If you do I swear I will—“
“Throw away all my video games, alright.”
“Buy the rectangular fish cakes, he likes those better.”
“Bye, bye, bye.”
Four hours later, they were gathered around the table. Jaejoong walked out of the kitchen and the lights dimmed. He could see candle lights dancing across Yunho’s features, each and every one of them lighting up his eyes, lips, and nose. After Happy Birthday had been sung, the five of them dug straight in with spoons. They had decided a long time ago that there was really no point to cutting the cake.
“Thanks for doing this,” Yunho said to him. Jaejoong shrugged, smiling, then held up a spoonful. Yunho leaned forward and opened his mouth. Jaejoong watched as Yunho’s lips were smothered in frosting. He beamed, lifting his thumb to wipe away the excess by the corner of his lip. Yunho grinned back sheepishly before turning to get more cake. Jaejoong pressed his thumb to his own mouth silently.
Jaejoong wished that their stylist had more sense than to put him into pieces of cloth which barely covered his body when they would be sitting for hours in a large, air-conditioned stadium. His chest was completely exposed, and the feathers on his shoulder wasn’t helping at all. He envied Yoochun who was practically stuffed to the neck, and looked like he was wearing a neck brace of some sort. He envied Changmin whose chest was also exposed but at least he had two layers of clothing on.
Yunho sat beside him. Jaejoong could feel heat radiating off of his skin. When he leaned over to talk, his warm breath would tickle Jaejoong’s ear as his lips brushed against his lobe. Jaejoong edged closer because it was freezing in the stadium. He hoped that it was their stage soon.
“I’m cold,” he complained absentmindedly.
Yunho chuckled and stuck out a hand, “Take my hand.”
Jaejoong grinned as he slipped his own palm against Yunho’s, and squeezed their hands together. He saw Yunho smile out of the corner of his mouth. When they let go, he rested his fingers against his lips, letting the warmth linger there for a while longer.
Transcript: Kim Jaejoong—part 2
Q: You say that you have never fallen in love, then is it difficult for you to write songs? How do you write the lyrics if you have never experienced heartbreak?
A: I guess that we don’t have to have experienced heartbreak to understand it. I have friends who have been in relationships that have ended in pain, and from their stories I could somewhat get a taste of what it’s like to love someone so much that it hurts.
Q: But it is not difficult to convey the emotions if there wasn’t a personal connection? Yet you convey the emotions so well when you perform, why is that?
A: I guess… [pause] you can’t say that I haven’t experienced it personally. I go through pain when my friends go through pain.
Q: However you, yourself, have never experienced it.
A: I haven’t.
Q: How then, do you inflict emotions upon your audience during a performance?
A: Everyone has their share of sad memories, I just trigger those.
Q: So simply?
A: Very simply.
Q: So there has never been anyone whom you have loved enough to be heartbroken for?
Q: No one special enough have come across your life yet.
He hated crying and drinking at the same time. The snot always clogged up his nose, which made it impossible to breathe and drink at the same time. He’d always end up snorting up some of the alcohol onto the table, which was a complete waste.
“You need to stop,” Yoochun was saying from beside him. “This isn’t going to fix anything all. You’re going to be sick if this keeps up.”
Jaejoong ducked his head and tried to lick up some of the spilled beer on the table. Yoochun grabbed him by the shoulders.
“You look pathetic, Jaejoong, stop.”
“It’s a waste,” he protested. “Just let me lick it up.”
“We didn’t leave for you to be like this.”
“Then why did we leave?”
There was a small pause, “For rights, for freedom.”
Jaejoong picked up a few bottles, stood up, and made his way slowly to the trash can. He dumped them in, hearing them shatter against one another, then turned and stared at the spacious apartment all around him. The leather couches, the expensive TV, the designer lights.
“I have my freedom now,” he said to the empty room. Yoochun sat watching from the hardwood floor. “I can hear its echo,” he lets out a shout. It rings and bounces through the walls, off of the high ceiling. “It’s so empty, can you hear it?”
Yoochun shook his head and slumped back against the couch. Jaejoong stood there for a while, contemplating.
“I have my rights, my freedom, my money,” he said to himself, calculating. “But what happened to my heart.”
Yoochun didn’t stir, Jaejoong saw his eyes gaze up at him.
“How do I live without it.” It was stupid question. He couldn’t.
You changed your number.
It’s late, are you asleep?
How was your day today, my was uneventful.
If you see this, can you please reply?
Yunho, can we talk?
I want to know what you are doing right now, are you two planning a comeback?
I want to say sorry but I know it doesn’t cut it. That doesn’t mean you can ignore me. How about you stop being a coward and let’s talk it out like grown men.
I didn’t mean that, I’m sorry. But I still want to talk. Please? Reply me when you see this, okay?
Please talk to me.
You don’t have to say anything.
Just send a character back. Or half a character.
I’m going crazy I don’t know what I’m saying.
You didn’t wish me a happy birthday this year L
We’re growing old too fast, aren’t we.
Remember how we used to fascinate about growing up quickly and become men.
Well, congratulations, you’ve become a good man.
One of the best I will ever meet in my life.
I’m glad that we met.
Can you please just reply.
So that I know you still exist in this world somewhere.
Your comeback was amazing. You two killed it.
I made you a cake, you know? If I knew where you lived I would show up at your door and give it to you, but I don’t L
I sang you a song and ate it all by myself. I need to treadmill for two hours now.
Happy birthday, Jung Yunho. I miss you. I miss both of you.
I miss you so much.
Q: You have been working in the music industry for over twenty years now, what would you say were some of the best times of your career?
A: I’ve had ups and downs, and of course the best times of my career would involve my members, Yoochun, Junsu, Changmin, and Yunho. We were and still are a close family and I hope that will never change.
Q: Fans are all very thankful that the five of you have made the effort to connect with each other again. There has been talk about Jung Yunho’s wedding, which had been a few years ago. You did not attend?
A: No, unfortunately I had some of my own family matters to attend to and couldn’t make it… [laughter] I still feel very sorry about that. I did send him my blessing, though.
Jaejoong rubbed at his chin while Yunho walked back and forth in front of the mirror. He tugged at his bow tie, pulled at his sleeves.
“I think this suit is good.”
“Really?” Yunho brushed at his shoulders.
“Yeah, it makes your shoulder look really broad. Manly,” Jaejoong held up a thumb.
Yunho chuckled then walked towards him. Jaejoong watched as he approached in his sleek black suit, and shiny black shoes.
“I’m nervous,” Yunho said. “I can’t believe you can’t be there on my wedding day. I wanted you to be my best man.”
Jaejoong picked at a piece of invisible lint on Yunho’s front pocket, “Changmin will do just fine. Believe me, I want to be there, but my sister.”
“I know, I know, you should go,” Yunho held up a hand. “Here, take my hand.”
Jaejoong grabbed onto it tightly. Yunho pulled them in front of the mirror.
“Rehearse with me,” he said, holding up their hands. He cleared his throat, and announced in a dramatic voice of a priest, “Do you take each other as husband and wife, to remain faithful to each other in life and in death, in sickness or health, in friendship and love, tomorrow and forever?”
“I do,” Yunho grinned stupidly at the mirror, mouth stretched impossibly wide.
Jaejoong stared at their reflection. Once again, they’re too different, but there was nothing he could do to change that. He held onto Yunho’s hand, as if he will never let go.
Jaejoong woke up bright and early to shower, taking special care to shave and style his hair. He put on a dress shirt, his most expensive tuxedo, and shoes he’d just polished last night.
Then he stood up in the middle of his room, eyes closed and he could see everything. He could imagine the crowd, the fans outside screaming and cheering, Yoochun, Junsu, and Changmin exchanging embraces with each other. He could feel the silence as the bride walked up to the Alter in her father’s arms, could hear the soft clacking of her heels against the wooden floor of the church. He could see Yunho standing, waiting, handsome and magnificent in the black suit Jaejoong had picked out for him. He could feel the excitement Yunho says the “I do” he had practiced with him so many times. He could feel his lips getting closer as he leans down to kiss his bride.
Jaejoong lifted his hands to clap with the rest of the congregation. He tasted something bitter on his lips. Must be wine.
“Congratulations,” he said. He eyes were still closed but he could see everything.
Transcript: Kim Jaejoong—part 2 continued.
Q: Seeing one of your friends get married, do you have any thoughts about your own marriage?
A: I… [chuckling] I’m afraid not yet. I still have many career goals to accomplish, so I feel like it’s not the time to settle down and have a family just now. I am keeping my eyes open, though.
Q: What would you look for in a wife or lover when you think about it?
A: As everyone knows, I used to be picky about pretty hands and appearance but now… [pause] I realize that doesn’t matter so much anymore. It’s the feeling that counts. I think I have matured [laughter].
Q: How many kids do you think you would want?
A: Two. A boy and a girl.
Jaejoong had always been very good with kids. He’s held too many of them thanks to his sisters. Yunho’s babies were different, though. Jaejoong was afraid to hold them. They were too fragile. What if he dropped them.
“Soohyun came out two minutes before Sooyoung,” Yunho said as he bounced the two of them in his lap. “He’s an impatient one.”
Jaejoong smiled and shook little Sooyoung’s hand, “It’s good. Girls are supposed to be more patient.”
“You want uncle Jaejoong?” Yunho nuzzled his daughter’s neck, “She loves you.”
Jaejoong pulled the soft body into his arms. She stared up at him with Yunho’s eyes and Yunho’s lips.
“I think I’m a little in love with her, too,” Jaejoong said. “Maybe I’ll steal her away.”
“I wouldn’t be worried,” Yunho chuckled. “You’re with us so much I think she’s going to start calling you daddy.”
Jaejoong tickled Sooyoung’s cheeks. She grabbed at his fingers.
“Here,” he offered his palm. “Take my hand, take my hand.”
Transcript: Kim Jaejoong—part 2 continued.
Q: Our time is almost up. I think our fans have one more request.
A: Mhm? What is it?
Q: Please select a small section out of your cover song to sing it for us, live on radio.
A: Must I do that? [Laughter]…this is so embarrassing. Okay, wait. [Pause]… [cough] Okay. Here I go. I will sing the last part of the song.
Q: Please go ahead.
A: [singing] Like a river flows so surely to the sea, darling so it goes, some things are meant to be. Take my hand, and take my whole life too. For I can’t help falling in love with you. For I can’t help falling in love with you.
Q: [clapping] That was beautiful
A: [Laughter] Thank you.
Q: Lastly, please say a message to your future wife, I’m sure all the fans are waiting to hear.
A: What? [Flustered laughter] I’m not prepared for this…
Q: From the bottom of your heart, anything.
Q: Go ahead.
A: My love… [pause] I’ve spent an entire life time waiting for you. I have not cheated, I have not looked at the others. I have spent most of my life loving you, even though you are not by my side, and I will continue to do that. So will you please? Take my hand, and take my whole life, too. I can’t help but to fall in love with you. [Laughter] that was so tacky!
Q: [clapping] that was cute! Thank you Kim Jaejoong for being here with us today. May your true love come to your side very soon. Have a good night, everyone.
A: Thank you, goodnight.
Jaejoong had forgotten when he had started to add a reply to the words Yunho had spoken so often.
Might have started twenty years ago.
Maybe fifteen, maybe ten.
It’s sort of silent so it didn’t matter so much anyway.
Jaejoong helped the kids blow out the twelve candle on their birthday cake. They formed a circle together. Yunho had an arm around his wife, and was laughing. He looked over to Jaejoong, and extended a hand.
“Take my hand.”
Jaejoong took it ever so naturally.
And take my whole life too.