The day finally came. The day that I have been dreading since the very beginning of my K-pop journey, five years ago.
Literally the moment I learned about the mandatory military service in South Korea, I thought that I was never going to be able to say goodbye to Donghae. Then as one by one members of Super Junior started leaving, I grew even more distressed, thinking “How am I going to handle that? Losing Donghae for two years?” I was in complete denial that it was ever going to get to that point, where he would actually be leaving for such a long time.
I was literally in tears when Leeteuk left back in 2012. I was young and emotional and didn’t understand yet that nothing really dangerous happens in the Korean military. When Leeteuk enlisted, I was seriously scared for his life.
But of course he came back safely just like Kangin, Heechul and later Yesung.
I guess at the back of my mind I never really believed that this day would actually come for Donghae and Eunhyuk. I always thought “It’s okay. It’ll be years before they have to leave. I’ll probably be over Super Junior by then.” Or “I’m going to be an adult by then. There’s no way I’ll still care about these Korean singers when I’m in college.”
Oh High School Me, you had no idea.
Within the next year, I will be the age that Donghae was when I first started noticing him. Gosh, he was so young; I never realized just how young he was during the Bonamana days. I always thought of Donghae as so much older, like a real adult compared to little teenager me. Now that I’m at this age, Donghae’s childish personality back then makes so much sense. We’re still kids.
That’s how old Ken was last year. OMG, I have a thing for 22 year olds.
I digress. Back to EunHae.
I remember sitting in my living room chair in front of the family computer – no one in my house even owned a laptop back then – hoping and hoping that I wouldn’t still be into Super Junior by the time Donghae and Eunhyuk left. I was sure that K-pop was just a phase and that the intense love I had for these two singers would fade by the time 2015 rolled around.
Now that it’s here, most of what I feel is sadness, but also awe at how fast time has passed. So much has changed in my life since then. I graduated high school. I lost a grandparent. I discovered what I wanted to do as a career. I started an entire blog dedicated to K-pop and it grew to having over 200 followers.
But what has remained the same all of these years is how much I care about Donghae and Eunhyuk. In fact, while Donghae has been my bias since the beginning, my love for Eunhyuk has only grown over the years.
I’ll admit, lately VIXX has taken up a lot of my attention, at times even more than Super Junior. They never surpassed Super Junior, but the love I have for Ken, my now 3rd ultimate bias, is in that intense stage that I was at with Donghae in the beginning and sometimes I find myself more interested in him than Eunhae. Just during these past couple of months, I considered making Ken and Eunhyuk tied for 2nd ultimate bias, or just putting all three as tied for first.
That all changed when October came around and the announcement of EunHae’s enlistment was made and I realized that Donghae and Eunhyuk are definitely #1 and #2 for me. Sure, the thought crossed my mind that one day Ken too will grow up and have to join the military (*shudder* I can only take so much heartbreak in one week), but these past couple of days, even the most adorable and funny updates of Ken that showed up on my feed did nothing to distract me from the hurt and sadness that I felt watching Eunhyuk reveal his shaved head and Yesung tweet his last selcas of the two of them and Donghae make that post about how Eunhyuk is his best friend and Heechul say on the radio that he’s worried about how Donghae will cope being alone without his hyungs or the fact that Leeteuk of all people wasn’t able to say goodbye in person to Donghae on enlistment day because he had to be out of the country.
While I definitely feel silly at times about getting so sad, I’m not ashamed of how I feel. Donghae and Eunhyuk have been in my life since I was a kid. More than any boy I saw in high school, Donghae was the love of my young life. When I was sad, his voice would help ease the pain and remind me of happier times. Even if you have never met the person, if you bond with his personality or story for that long, it becomes an important part of your life.
Though the intensity of my high school infatuation has faded, I am still really going to miss the random instagram and twitter updates that Donghae posts. I am definitely going to miss not having a D&E comeback for two years. That was the highlight of my ELF life, hands down.
I will miss Eunhyuk’s presence on stage. Donghae may be my favorite member, but Eunhyuk is my favorite performer. Natural talent aside, he has come so far since his debut. He has really made me so proud to be his fan. After Mr. Simple, his popularity skyrocketed, but I am proud to say that I was a fan of him long before that.
What is probably the saddest part of all of this is that two years from now, I really don’t know how much of a K-pop fan I’ll be. It’s risky for me to say that here on my K-pop blog, but it’s true. In 2017, I’ll be done with college. I’m going to be an actual adult. Who knows where I’ll be in my life. Who knows if I’ll still be in this same room with my Super Junior Bonamana poster on my wall and my D&E poster hanging right underneath.
If Super Junior were to finally come to my city while EunHae is away, I’m not sure how excited I would be to go. Obviously I would most likely go, but my two favorites won’t be there. When I imagine one day finally going to a Super Junior concert, never once did it cross my mind that Donghae and Eunhyuk wouldn’t be there.
But by the time they do come back, will I still be interested in concerts? Would I still be the type of person to go to one? Will I even have the money to afford a ticket?
I’m not gonna lie. The thought has crossed my mind that this could possibly be goodbye forever. And that’s what makes me sad.
The day that Donghae enlisted, I just blasted D&E’s album in the car on the way home from school. As sad as their enlistments made me, listening to the amazing album that came from them just a few months earlier made me so happy and proud. It is impossible for me to stay sad while listening to Sweater & Jeans. My happiness at the fact that they released that song and the entire album trumps my feeling sad about them leaving. They really left their fans with something to cherish.
To Donghae and Eunhyuk, who most likely won’t ever see this, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being there with me for these past five years. Thank you for all of the happiness and smiles and laughs you gave me. Thank you for sharing so much love for your fans, your families, your members, and each other.
There is one thing about K-pop that I have always loved beyond just the music, and now I finally know how to put it into words. Seeing two friends love each other so intensely is a form of joy and satisfaction in and of itself. Donghae and Eunhyuk have given me so much of that for the past five years and for that I am so grateful. I am really going to miss it.
Some Twitter & Instagram Message from SuJu members to EunHae:
Yesung: “[My heart] is clearly feeling empty..^^ Dongsaeng, be healthy. Let’s meet when you have holiday. And I’ll lead SJ [on behalf of you], don’t worry^^ #Eunhyuk #DoNotWorry #Yesung”
Yesung: “Thanks to Eunhyukkie, we had a gathering after a long time. Now, very soon Donghae and Horse (Siwon) will also be leaving temporarily but.. We will meet again while smiling right? During that time, compared to now we will be happier. #DongSuShiEx #MouseRabbit #SuperJunior”
Siwon: “I miss you, Hyuk”
Leeteuk: “..The place beside me will now be empty again.. We can coordinate our breathing (communication) just by catching the look in each other’s eyes.. Hyukjae-ah, I love you…^^.. Sigh.. sob sob”
Leeteuk: ..”I’m already missing him.. TT_TT just come back healthily!!!!!!!!”
Leeteuk: “Donghae-yah!!! Return safely! Don’t get hurt ~ don’t get sick~ let’s be happy!! I love you!! I have delayed my flight to see Eunhyuk off but I am sorry that I can’t delay my flight any further to see you off TT_TT.. My heart is heavy~ I love you!! Yesung too, Minho too, Joonmyeon too, Chanyeol too!!”
Leeteuk: “Joonmyeon-ah, Chanyeol-ah, Sehun-ah!! And Zhoumi-ah~ Thanks for seeing Donghae off!!^^”
Leeteuk: “..So handsome!! Our Donghae!!!!^^ I love you!! I get all choked up when I just think of you.. Let’s be happier in the future!!! If I go back to Korea now, what is Hyung going to do…”
Leeteuk: “..Both of them will be able to see my letter, right? …Sigh.. It keeps raining in Switzerland..” [The first letter is addressed to “Donghae” and the second addressed to “Eunhyuk”]
Finally, Eunhyuk’s hilarious goodbye Kyuhyun and Donghae’s sweet message to Eunhyuk:
Eunhyuk: “You punk! Your hyungs are leaving and you have released an album on your own and [you feel] good? Seriously. He is a kid like this. A guy who is called “maknae” pffffttt… Please repair the million pieces during the time that you are waiting for my return. [Link to A Million Pieces MV] #AutumnKyu #SoloKyu #GreedyKyu #DowellKyu #MillionPieces”
Donghae: “My dearest friend Hyuk-ah, we may be physically separated, but let’s always be together in our hearts ^^ I’ll support you from afar and pray for your health and safety so that we can meet again soon ^^ I love you my friend, Hyuk-ah. ELF, thank you and I love you all too!”
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What are your thoughts on celebrity enlistments?
#NowPlaying: Growing Pains by Super Junior D&E. My favorite song and comeback of the year. I have been playing this song on repeat all week. It’s one of my favorite Super Junior songs ever.
Wanna talk K-pop? Follow me on Twitter @mystification86!