March from Innocence"A childish mind will turn to noble ambition..."
The last of a rapid succession in military brat children, Heedo never had a chance to straggle along. From birth the Yoo children were off like gunshots. They might not have had the greatest of destinations but they were flying all the same, heading wherever they were. With two parents occupied with their career it was hard to have time with anything but one another and yet they managed. In moving came trouble, headaches that Heedo doesn't like to remember on too much, but so too came the chance to develop the awkwardness that lead him to being a young man of a caliber he kind of enjoys these days. For that, this haphazard little tree trunk he landed in, the start of things is just fine.
Locations bleed together like the faces that didn't linger for long. The first seven years were like quick enough transitions that all Heedo has are pictures and videos of what happened, little memorabilia that he doesn't really have attachment to anymore. They're nice things and gifts he got, from parents and siblings and passing friends all, but they're memories of a life that he doesn't recollect. Because life really started in Plano, Texas, when Heedo settled down with his siblings and mother. It had been home base for as long as any of them could remember, really, but when they settled there most of the year starting when Heedo was five years old, that was where Heedo learned to start collecting memories.
Traveling still came and went for a while there after. It built the idea that Heedo had to stack himself up with little folded notions of self. Video games were fun, great, a little escape. But his father didn't like the way Heedo settled for games instead of something that could better him. So, he gave him books; for every three books he finished he could get a new video game. A fair enough trade for the father and one he grew one: every ten books a new accessory, every twenty books a new upgrade, every thirty books a new console. Joosang tried it with all three of his children, each gifted in their own way, but with Heedo it took best; Sejeong and Inseong both fell for their own crafts and specialty, classics for Sejeong and pulp novels for Inseong. Heedo, though, he swallowed them all for as long as he could remember.
Novels built a bridge between Joosang and his children. It made for time together in learning, in talking and, on special times, on trying to build their community together. Heedo considers it destiny, really, that all that lead him to who he is came from places of trying to be better; his father didn't even care much for hunting but it seemed like a thing to do in their community, some lavish gift for his children, and the one trip out is still likely the only regret that he has about his children. Their traveling amounted to nothing compared to his youngest son falling out of their vantage point and his other two children staring down at their brother with his skull cracked up. It was definitely a day to be remembered.
Heedo barely does, though. He recalls the fall, the impact, then he woke up a few days later in the hospital with a metal plate in his head and odd scarring. But that wasn't what was the worst. There was a tension in his head that his doctor didn't listen to, not until suddenly the hospital bed was floating and the walls were trembling. After sedation, Heedo woke again to his mother in the room that time with some strangers. She'd known what to do right away, who to call and get in touch with. His father stood in the corner, arms crossed and stern, but it didn't make things feel odd. That felt normal, more normal than the weird conversation he was given.
Training started immediately. It was difficult, working out of a wheelchair for the first two weeks but it made Heedo feel a bit like an X-Men leader; when he finally was able to walk around on his own two feet again he felt a bit of regret about not being able to learn to move himself around comfortably as Charles Xavier had. It was a necessary motion though because Heedo's power was too vast for a child to handle without conditioning; the first time he got angry about too much noise his neighbor's house turned to dust, all its belongings and structures destroyed. He rebuilt it, of course, with the guidance of his trainer and the Safe Haven helping keep it under wraps, but it was as clear a sign as any that he needed help keeping himself under control.
It was Heedo's own mother that did the brunt of the work. His father tried, of course, keeping firm lines and commands, but Heedo's mother lent her knowledge of the body and its build to her son so he could learn as much as he had to in order to keep control of things. The scar on his scalp repaired itself under her guidance with his own trainer at the Haven, the learning to heal process slow and deliberate. No child needed to understand complex surgery any more than they had to understand how to disassemble a house from the ground floorings up. Within the first year of his requite, though, Heedo was under control; there were less and less accidents as he found his system of living return to something a little more normal.
And the frustration, it found an outlet that didn't mean his desk was half sunken into the floor or his bed was suddenly gnarled into a fist.
Writing was new for Heedo at first. Borrowed phrases that seemed to fit the images in his head, astral realm and fantasy bleeding together into new stories and worlds he could put together. But every question he began to process changed the wording until things began to seem more like himself. By ten years old his stories, whether living in Texas or overseas, were more like intricate puzzles about himself than anything else. It was his parents insisting he try to do more with it, try to make them whole and sensible, that guided Heedo on. Because of all the short praise lists he got for surviving, for doing better now, it was writing that seemed nice and good.
Sure, he could have fun with his siblings throwing things around, but writing was personal and whole and completely his own. So he followed through with it until his parents surprised him with a friend of theirs they'd made along the way, a literary agent who was over for dinner just to see and tell Heedo from a professional place if there was ever going to be a normal place in this world for him and his odd thoughts, his little views into things that weren't completely his own anyway. To everyone's surprise, he gave them more than they expected: an offer to get one of the short stories published. Not as some children's story, not as some fantasy, but a real short story. The pay wouldn't be great but that didn't matter. Not to Heedo or his parents. It was the ability to know that his stories could have a place that mattered. So, for ten dollars a story, Heedo spend his year writing, studying, gaming and getting published between his training sessions. Eventually, everything stopped getting high and out of control.
Everyone was happy about it. And happiness grew when things began to make more sense; when Heedo was getting praise as a young writer and even won a few competitions for his short stories. The awards weren't all astronomical, of course they couldn't be at his age, but they all seemed it to him. Every letter he got in the mail, every certificate, until he had enough solid thoughts strung together of loneliness and absence in this world to try and make a compilation. The publishing house wasn't all too excited to try and take the risk but his agent fought and fought hard for him; he was so young, it was more about a spark he saw in Heedo and what was to come. It paid off, it worked out, because Heedo's first collection was met with acclaim and successful sales, building up over the year until Heedo was graduating middle school with a best selling collection under his belt already.
After, things rolled. School was a difficulty with his two siblings so close in age but he managed; it only got worse when he started to write more and his works were all met with much more reception than Heedo had ever expected. By his freshman year of high school he'd already been on television and made more money than he really understood what to do with. And his siblings adored it; they used every chance to get parties going, to get crowds coming by. Which was fun at first until the first time Heedo tried to drink with them and another freshman girl tried to get him into the bedroom. Things were, well, going, but when they started really going Heedo found out the butterflies in his stomach wasn't that at all. And what was in his stomach ended up all through her hair and down her back.
Money and success couldn't really shake that off of him.
So, Heedo dove into writing even more. No parties for him, less parties in their house, and he worked his ass off. Through Jasper High until he was starting a new school with new people, money and acclaim and now a few real awards under his belt. Millions of books sold and a few awards already in his name didn't amount to anything when it came to being able to date a girl like Claudia. The picture perfect kind of girl, she held everything together. On days when Heedo couldn't make it to class she'd been giving him notes and guiding him. And come junior year, she confessed, asked him if he wanted to try being her boyfriend for a while. Stuttering, he said sure and that was that. A picture perfect kind of couple. She did everything to save his image and his sense of self for a while because every time he had to run around on a new temporary tour, or his summer and winter breaks were spent working promotional junkets, it was Claudia who would call every night to check on him.
And she didn't even care that they never got to go all the way. Not for a while, at least. Prom night is where things changed: in the running to be prom king and queen, Heedo had done a complete turn around in school with Claudia at his side. But after prom, she wanted to party. He went with her like the proper date and even got them a nice room for the night. The message wasn't clear, though, and Claudia ended up trying to get them further than Heedo wanted to be. Because she was drunk and he was sober, because that wasn't right, but all it did was finish flipping a switch he'd been ignoring in her picture perfect head.
An acid laced tirade bombarded him in company of the heels, the bag, the pillows, the lamp and the alarm clock that came his way. Heedo tried to deal with it, hearing how they could have been perfect, an ideal couple, and how she'd wasted two years with someone who couldn't even fuck her. Heedo wasn't man enough for it, she said, and Heedo finally found it in him to leave. He thought that'd be it: he paid off the room and extra charges with a generous tip and Claudia would be off to Princeton in two months so she needed to get herself ready. He was wrong, though, and time lingered on while she was away constantly finding reasons and ways to run into him again. On Facebook, in emails, phone calls, even showing up to a few of his book signings to give passive aggressive smiles.
The effort to go started to rise in him. Being stationary for the better part of a decade finally had gotten to him. But Heedo didn't know where to go. Until he started reading his international reviews and he saw how he had been selling because of the way he'd chosen his name: Herbert Yu. It was harmless, almost, and just washed enough that both China and Korea hadn't really believed they were buying their own kind of person. The idea came to mind to embrace who he was. To learn about his homeland and try to build a fiction base in Korea again where he could only see floundering charts and clinging to foreign ideas. So, he talked to his publishing house and his agent and things worked out.
It's been two months now, living in Jeju and teleporting into Seoul each day to meet with Gunmin to travel and learn and meet people. The Safe Haven is still a good visit too, giving Heedo time that feels familiar. Writing comes slow but he's been lucky enough to get a column in the magazine that first published his short story a dozen years ago. So, it'll happen, this place he's getting to because where he is now, mostly avoiding of Claudia and trouble, is good. And he's come far from the boy who melted a house or the kid who fell out of a tree with no real friends in sight. So, tomorrow always seems like a better chance for a great, great day.