I walked on top of the rooftop railing. The building had been abandoned in the middle of construction. When I stretched one foot out into the air, the darkness bubbled up from the bottom of my foot. The night city spread dizzily out below the railing. Neon signs, the honking of horns, and smoky dust eddied in the darkness. For a moment I felt dizzy with vertigo. I stretched out my arms to regain my balance. Then I thought. It was only one step. If I took one more step, everything would end. I leaned my body a little more toward the darkness. The darkness that had started at the ends of my feet now came up as if to devour my entire body. When I closed my eyes, the dizzying city and sounds and fear all disappeared. I stopped breathing. Then I slowly leaned my body further. I didn't have any thoughts. No one came to mind. I didn't want to leave anything behind. I wouldn't remember anything. This was just the end.

    That was the moment at which my phone rang. My clarity returned as if woken from a distant dream. My dulled senses returned in an instant. I pulled out my phone. It was Yoongi hyung.


    In the end, it turned out how I wanted. I purposely ran into the thugs I met on the street and got beat up to my heart's content. Since I laughed while they were hitting me, they called me a crazy bastard and hit me even more. I leaned against the shutter door and looked up at the sky. It was already night. There was nothing in the pitch-black sky. I saw one clump of grass at a distance. It was lying on its side in the wind. It was like me. I felt like I was going to cry, so I forced myself to laugh.

    I closed my eyes and saw the image of my stepfather clearing his throat. My step brother kicked me and laughed. My stepfather's relatives looked elsewhere or talked about meaningless things. They acted like I wasn't even there, like my existence didn't matter. In front of them, my mother was at a loss. I placed my hands on the floor and stood, but dust rose up and I coughed. It hurt as if I'd been stabbed in my solar plexus. I went up to the roof of the construction site. The night city stretched out in terrible color. I climbed up on the railing and walked with both arms spread out. One leg lurched, and I almost lost my balance. I thought that I could die with just one step. If I died, it would all be over. Nobody would be sad without me.


    I stopped walking at the clumsy sound of a piano. The only sound in the empty construction site was the popping of a fire someone had lit in an oil drum. I knew the sound of the song I had just played, but why had I thought of that? My drunken footsteps stumbled. I closed my eyes and walked even more carelessly. As the heat of the fire grew stronger, the piano sound, the night air, and my intoxication all grew fainter.

    I opened my eyes at the sudden sound of a horn, just as a car grazed narrowly past me. In the confusion of the headlights' brightness, the wind of the car's passing, and my own drunkenness, I stumbled helplessly. I heard the driver curse at me. As I came to a stop, prepared to curse right back, I suddenly realized I could no longer hear the sound of the piano. Amidst the sound of the fire blazing, the wind, the silence left in the wake of the car, the piano sound was gone. It seemed to have stopped. Why had it stopped? Who was playing it?

    The sparks from the fire surged forth from the drum barrel with a sharp noise. I looked at it for a long moment, spaced out. My face became hot with its warmth. It was at that moment that I heard the clanging sound of a fist slamming down onto the piano keys. On instinct, I looked behind me. For a moment, my blood rushed so strongly that my breathing became erratic. The nightmares from when I was young. It was like a sound I had heard there.

    In the next moment, I was running. Without any will of mine, I ran toward the music shop, my body turning of its own volition to look behind. I felt, somehow, like this was something I had repeated countless times before. It was a sensation of having forgotten something important.

    The music store with its broken window. Someone was sitting in front of the piano. Although many years had passed, I recognized them in an instant. They were crying, their hands curled into fists. I didn't want to be concerned with someone else's life. I didn't want to comfort anyone else's loneliness. I didn't want to become a person who meant something to anyone. I had no confidence that I could protect that person. I didn't have the confidence to be at their side til the end. I didn't want to hurt them. I didn't want to be hurt.

    I walked slowly. I intended to turn back and leave, but I approached before I knew it. A wrong note rang out. Jungkook lifted his head and looked at me. "Hyung." It was our first time seeing each other since quitting high school.