On my 18th birthday, my older brother died.
His name was Suho and the people in my neighborhood often called him Angel or Guardian Su because he went out of his way to make sure others were happy. His birth name was Kim Jihoon and growing up, he attained the nickname Suho, which meant “protector” or “guardian.”
He was so selfless and always cared about others before himself. He didn’t mind getting sick; he didn’t mind staying up at ungodly hours just so he could help others with work and whatnot. My older brother went through so much during his short 24 years of life.
Like me, he was also a sickly child growing up. He had the chicken pox, the measles, the flu and strep throat more times than I could count. The last illness he had that took his life was pneumonia.
I was born in the winter, December 24th. My mother was ecstatic that I’d made it this far without getting sick up to the point where I was bedridden. Most humans here are full of flaws. We get ill so easily, and it’s hard to get treated because hospital fees can leave a person deep in debt. The way this society works is inhumane because humans are deemed worthless.
It costs a lot of money to get one of us in the hospital because there are only a few successful doctors here. The perfects on the other side look down on us because we’re different. Unlike the perfects who already know, we have to learn and make mistakes along the way.
“Why heal a human when it’s going to die anyway?”
That’s the type of thing you’d hear if you’d cross and go to the other side. South Korea is divided into two parts: the perfects live on one side and the humans on the other. I live near the edge; the border to the other side is just about 50 feet from my house. There’s a field of grass and flowers that stretches across the middle of South Korea. If I were to walk across it, I’d get to the other side, where all the perfects live.
Perfects are genetically modified humans. Before birth, their parents handpicked their features, their personality, and even their life span. A perfect can be guaranteed to live up to the age of 85 while us humans can die at the mere age of 7. Living up to the age of 40 is an amazing achievement, if we’re lucky.
A perfect person will never fall, tumble, or trip while learning how to walk. They have beautiful skin, a flawless body and knowledge that we humans have to learn to acquire. They get everything they want and basically have their life handed to them when they’re born.
A perfect person can enjoy life to the fullest and will always be happy. They have everything while humans don’t. We are just inferior to them as we’re engineered to be selfish and erroneous. To them, we’re just a work in progress.
My mother always warned me not to cross the field to the other side, because I’d only be ridiculed and laughed at.
Society has put up an image of women––we’re supposed to be a certain height, have straight long hair, and curves in all the right places. At the same time, we’re supposed to be skinny, and smart, and maybe even a little witty. If a woman is physically attractive, no one even cares if they’re lacking in other places.
There’s even an image expected of men now––they’re supposed to be tall and handsome. They have to play sports, be manly, athletic, and having a nice body seems to be required too.
All these features and ideal key points of a person don’t exist here, but on the other side, they do. And it’s actually scary to know that every single person over there is flawless.
It’s said that no one’s ever met a perfect before, at least not on my side. Things changed when I turned eighteen, because that was the first time I met Park Minhyuk.