• The arboretum can be seen in the Save Me graphic lyrics book!

    • I embraced my trembling younger self. I felt my damp body and racing heart. "Just wait a little more. When you get older you’ll meet some great friends. With them you'll become a better person. It could get better then. Just be a little bit stronger," I mumbled. When I was done talking, I hugged myself tighter. Tears welled up. I couldn't hold them back and started to cry.

      How much time passed? When I opened my eyes, my younger self had disappeared. I stood up and wiped my eyes, then looked up at the sky. The midday sky was bright and cloudless, and my surroundings were silent. In the distance I saw the entrance to the arboretum. There wasn't a single trace of rain.


      I faced the gates of the Flowering Arboretum alone. The weather was gray and a little cold, but I was in a good mood. It was the day of the picnic, but my mom and dad were both busy. I was a little disappointed at first. But at the flower drawing contest I had been praised, and my friends' mothers had said, 'Wow, Jimin is so mature.' I had seemed a little cool, then.

      "Jimin, wait here. Teacher will come soon." When the picnic ended, my teacher had asked this, but I hadn't waited. I was confident that I could go by myself. I grasped the straps of my rucksack with both hands and walked maturely. It seemed like others were looking at me, so I spread my shoulders even wider. Quite a while later, it started to rain. My friends and their moms had all left, and no one was looking after me, and my legs hurt. I covered my head with my rucksack and crouched under a tree. The rain started to come down harder, and there was nobody passing by. Eventually, I started to run through the rain. I didn't see any houses or stores. The place I arrived at was the back gate of the arboretum. The side door was open and through it I could see a storage room of some sort.


      When my mom said we were almost there, I used my sleeve to wipe away the steam that had fogged up the car window. Through the window, I could see a sign that said Songju Jeil Middle School. My mom had said that there were no more schools I could attend in Munhyeon. And that I didn't know what a relief it was that Songju Jeil Middle School had agreed to take me. I had transferred schools many times while in and out of the hospital. How long would I last at this school? While I was thinking, we passed through the school gate and into the exercise yard. There was nobody there, maybe because of the cold, my mom parked the car in a corner with a swing and a set of chin-up bars.

      I looked at the chin-up bars as I got out of the car. When I look back on my childhood, there's one memory that stands out clearly. A memory of a sky so clear it may as well be from a movie., and of white clouds flinging themselves at me with frightening speed. Before what happened at the Flowering Arboretum. I had liked playgrounds so much it was almost weird. My mom said I would go out in the morning and play at the playground until night time. What I liked the most was the swings. I would kick my feet hard and bring myself so close to the sky I'd get dizzy. I liked that feeling, exciting but a little scary.

      One day, I got curious about what it would be like to ride the swing all the way around. It was something none of the neighborhood kids had ever done. I told my friends to push my back with all their strength. And I used my whole body to go higher and higher. The blue sky and white clouds rushed toward me. At the highest point, I was overcome by vertigo and I fell off the swing. When I opened my eyes I was laying in the sand. I had a handful of sand in my mouth, and my knees were scraped and bleeding, but strangely, it didn't hurt. I was just mad that I hadn't managed to swing all the way around.

      I remember how I looked riding the swing, like I'm borrowing it from other people's memories. Maybe that Park Jimin, who swung that intently, is growing up somewhere I don't know, looking just like that. With just that personality. I looked at the swing with those thoughts in my mind. And then I heard my mom calling me. I headed toward the school doors. Songju Jeil Middle School. It was the fifth school I'd attended.


      I thoughtlessly ditched school, but truthfully I didn't have anywhere to go. It was hot, I had no money, and I had nothing to do. It was Namjoon who said we should go to the beach. The younger kids seemed excited, but I didn't particularly feel like it, nor did I dislike the idea. "Do we have money?" At my question, Namjoon made everyone shake out their pockets. A few coins, a few bills. "So we can't go." The one who said we could just walk was probably Taehyung. Namjoon made a face begging them to reconsider, but the kids just chattered away, laughing and pretending to roll around on the road before starting to walk. I wasn't in the mood to talk back, so I just fell behind. It was midday, so even the gingko trees couldn't provide shade, and the cars kicked up dust as they passed us on the sidewalkless road.

      "Let's go there." It was Taehyung this time too. Or was it Hoseok? I didn't care, so I didn't look carefully, but it would have been one of them. I had been walking along with my head down, kicking the dirt, but when I almost collided with someone I lifted my head. Jimin was standing there as if frozen in place. The muscles of his face trembled as if he had seen something terrifying. He was staring at a sign that said "Flowering Arboretum, 2.2 kilometers."

      "I don't want to walk." I heard Jungkook's voice. Sweat dripped from Jimin's face. His face went pale, as if he might collapse at any second. What is this? I had a strange feeling. "Park Jimin." I called, but as I expected, he didn't budge. I lifted my head again and looked at the sign.

      "Hey, it's so hot, why would we go to an arboretum? Let's go to the beach," I said, as if dragging my feet. I didn't know what kind of place the arboretum was, but it didn't seem like somewhere we should go. Whatever the reason, Jimin's expression was strange. "We don't even have money." Hoseok replied, "that's why we're walking." And Taehyung added, "if we just walk to the train station we can probably make it." Then Namjoon said, "instead we'll just starve at dinner." Jungkook and Taehyung pretended to cry, and Seokjin hyung laughed. Jimin only started to move again once it had been decided that we would take the road toward the train station. Walking with his head down and his shoulders trembling, Jimin seemed like a small child. I looked up at the sign again. The characters spelling "Flowering Arboretum" were gradually getting further away.


      By the time I returned to my senses, I had washed my arm so much that I was losing skin. My hands were trembling and I was short of breath. My eyes in the mirror were bloodshot. What had just happened came back to me in fragments.

      For a moment I had lost focus. I was dancing with a noona from the dance club, a collaborative dance, but I had lost my flow and we collided. I fell to the rough floor and my arm started to bleed. At that moment I had remembered what happened at the Flowering Arboretum. I thought that I had overcome it. But that wasn't the case. I had to run away. I had to wash it away. I had to look away. The me in the mirror was the same eight-year-old kid who had run away in the rain. Then all at once I realized. Noona had fallen down too.

      There was nobody in the practice room. Through the open door I could see that rain was falling heavily. In the distance I saw Hoseok hyung running. He was being rained on. I took an umbrella and ran out too. I ran, and then I stopped.

      There was nothing I could do. All I could do was fall and hurt someone, leave them behind and tremble at my own pain, and then run after them too late with an umbrella before stopping. Every time I took a step, rain water soaked my sneakers. Car headlights passed me by. It wasn't okay. No, it was okay. It didn't hurt. It wasn't that serious an injury. I was really okay.


      In the end, I had to go to the Flowering Arboretum. I had to quit telling myself the lie that I didn't remember what had happened there. I had to stop living in hiding in the hospital and stop having seizures. If I wanted to do that, I had to go to that place. With that intent, I went to the bus stop every day, but I couldn't ride the bus to the arboretum.

      Yoongi hyung came and sat next to me after I'd already let three buses go by. I asked what was up, and hyung said he was bored and had nothing to do. Then he asked why I was sitting here like this. I lowered my head and kicked the dirt with the toes of my shoes. I thought about why I was sitting here like this. It was because I had no courage. I wanted to pretend I was okay now, that I knew a little, that I surpassed it on my own, but in truth I was afraid. I was afraid that I might encounter something, that I might not withstand it, that I might have another seizure.

      Yoongi hyung looked relaxed. He slumped down like he had not a thing in the world to worry him, and said that the weather was nice, said all kinds of useless things. After I heard that, I realized the weather really was nice. I had been so worried that I didn't bother looking at my surroundings. The sky was so blue. A warm breeze blew on occasion. From far off, the shuttle bus for the arboretum was coming. The bus stopped and the door opened. The driver looked at me. On impulse, I spoke.

      "Hyung, do you want to come with me?"


      The Notes 1: 花樣年華 [The Most Beautiful Moment in Life]

      • JIMIN YEAR 22 MAY 11:

        Jimin has been transferred to the surgery ward since two weeks. At first he is surprised by the relative freedom of the surgery ward , but eventually comes to the conclusion that they are the same. The only difference was that he was allowed to roam freely in the hallway. Jimin would often run in the hallway or dance around in the lounge. While running at full speed in the hallway once, Jimin came to a grinding halt right in front of the exit door. He had to take only 5 steps more to completely exit the hospital through the door that was marked ‘off-limits’. No one came running to stop him either, but he couldn’t do it because this part of the hallway was too similar to the stretch of the hallway in the psychiatric ward.

        Jimin reflects on how he was a model patient in the psychiatric ward. Apart from a few seizures, Jimin rarely caused trouble. He wasn’t always like this though. When he was first admitted at the age of 8, he tried desperately to escape from the door as his Mom left. The nurses sedated him , and his efforts to escape continued for a while and life became a cycle of seizures, injections and injections induced sleep. He reflects back on the day he was brought to the hospital- how he ran in the rain with the backpack on his head and took shelter in the warehouse at the arboretum. The musty smell of the room and the screechy metallic sound haunts him. Jimin felt like his blood had turned to mud -and would often wash himself repeatedly because he felt ‘dirty’. When asked by the doctor, he denied remembering it and continuously lied to the point of becoming a model patient now who never struggled to escape.

        Occasionally he was sent to schools and he remembers the friends he made 2 years ago, who he had to say goodbye to because of the seizure at the bus stop when he saw the shuttle bus to the arboretum.

        Two weeks ago he’d gotten into a fight over a boy he calls stupid for trying to escape, and was transferred to a 6 person room. After some days he discovers that Hoseok is in the bed next to him, he gets happy but chooses to avoid him all day to hide his mental illness. While hiding he sees Jungkook and others who had come to visit Hoseok.At night, tired and hungry, he meets Hoseok who offers him bread- and asks him to not worry because he has narcolepsy too and thus not very different from him. Jimin remarks that Hoseok had not changed one bit.