My entire world changed again after my nineteenth birthday passed. I was no longer a ward of the state and I couldn't stay at the orphanage I looked for my own place with the money I'd saved from working part-time jobs and from the stipend I got when I left the system. I couldn't bring myself to look near Two Star Burger. I tried going around near Songju Station, but there wasn't much difference. In the end, all I could do was walk up the slope. It was a rooftop room at the very end of a dead-end street.

    I dragged my thunking suitcase up the iron stairs. I had spent more than ten years at the orphanage, but I didn't have that much stuff all I had to do was organize a few articles of clothing and pairs of shoes and arrange the furniture I'd bought at the recycling center.

    But moving is still moving. So by the time I could stretch out. It was already night even in february, there was sweat on my back. When I opened the screeching iron door, a cold late-winter wind blew in. I went out and leaned on the banister. I looked down at Songju. I tried to guess where the orphanage was. I followed the river along to the left. Then to the left of the clover-shaped sign among all the neon and lights. I couldn't make the orphanage out.

    I lifted my head and looked up at the rooftop room. It was small, barely one room. It was shabby and poorly kept up. Hot as a sauna in summer and made cold by drafts in winter but it was the only place in the world that was mine. A place where I could be myself. A place where I could be foolishly afraid. Or have hope that others would sneer at. Somewhere I could laugh all I wanted and cry all I wanted.

    "Let's do well!' I shouted toward the room, this place at the top of the city, nearly touching the sky, would be my home from today onward.


    Hoseok hyung's house was in a very high area. A rooftop room of a deadlocked house at the end of a narrow, winding alley, some distance walking from a larger street--that was hyung's house. When I went into the house, which was only one room, hyung bragged that it was the top floor in the whole city, from which could be seen all of the places where we had grown up, laid out under our feet. As hyung said, all sorts of things were visible from his rooftop room. The nearby train station could be seen, and along the train tracks, the containers were also visible. Namjoon hyung was living in one of those. And if I moved my gaze a little more, the school we had all attended came into view.

    After finding the school, I lifted my head and looked at the other side of the city. At the foot of the mountain, there was a line of large apartment buildings. There was my--no, my parents' house. I had run away from the hospital without a word. My parents would have been contacted. Maybe they were looking for me now. I didn't yet have the confidence to see my parents face to face. I had left the hospital but I couldn't yet go home. That didn't mean I wanted to go back to the hospital. But I had nowhere to go and no money. I had stood hesitantly, and hyung had told me to follow him, then led the way. The place we had arrived was here, hyung's house.

    I returned my gaze to the apartment buildings. I had to go there eventually. I had to see my parents and tell them I wouldn't go back to the hospital. I took a deep breath. It seemed like that thought alone would cause a seizure. Truthfully, I didn't trust myself to endure any place other than the hospital. I could be rushed to the hospital again. I was so afraid I couldn't stand it.


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


      Hoseok arrives back in Songju which he left Songju a month before because his ankle was injured and he couldn’t work or dance. On that day, he had been waiting for the other boys to contact him. He realized that he always contacted them first, but did not want to this time. He remembers how he met Yoongi that night. On a whim, he packs a bag and decides to leave Songju for the first time in his life. But his mind was still there. He ends up in a larger city and gets a room at a guesthouse. He wanders around the first two days, and on the third day he ends up at a Citizen’s Hall’ where dancers are rehearsing. He watches a man dance and feels many emotions from his performance. A staff member asks him to leave because outsiders aren’t allowed in rehearsals, so he goes back to the guesthouse and thinks about the performance alot. He receives message from Jimin but he does not respond and neither do the other boys.

      Hoseok watches the rehearsal the next day secretly, and then he comes back for the performance the next day. He notes that the man he saw at rehearsal didn’t perform. Later, Hoseok helps the staff to move stage equipment onto the train. The staff member recognizes him and sits next to him, revealing that the man Hoseok saw is their artistic director who used to be a dancer, but he was injured and couldn’t perform again. Hoseok ends up tagging along with the group and goes to three other cities with them. The director finds out Hoseok is also a dancer. Hoseok recounts how he got into dancing when he was twelve and his friends had dragged him up on stage. Hoseok thinks about how dancing makes him feel refreshing and rewarding because he could be happy and free. The director tells him that you have to go to your lowest low , escape it so that you can find your driving force, and hold on to it. Hoseok thinks a lot about those words. He also comes to know that the director is from Songju. Hoseok recalls the fireworks he saw from his orphanage and later from his apartment.

      Hoseok turns down the offer to join the dancers on tour and decides to go back to Songju. He thinks that he might have not hit his own psychological low point yet, but maybe Yoongi had the day that Hoseok abandoned him when he was in despair. He messages Yoongi to ask if he’s okay. Yoongi responds with a music file the next dawn. Hoseok listens to it and thinks it's the most beautiful song Yoongi has ever made and resembles Yoongi. Yoongi asks Hoseok when he’s coming back. Hoseok returns to Songju and sends a message to the group chat asking them how they are and telling them he’s back. Hoseok thinks of the day he left Songju and how his ankle isn't the only thing that has healed since then.

    • JIMIN YEAR 22 JULY 28:

      Jimin checks the inside of Two Star Burger. It had been 4 days since Hoseok had stopped coming to the dance practice. He had heard that he went on a break, but Hoseok had stopped replying to any messages or calls after that. Jimin wonders if it is because of his ankle that got hurt the night Jimin crashed into the girl.

      He asks the employees of Two Star Burger, who inform him that he had taken a three week leave. He rushes to Hoseok’s house on foot, but his door was locked. Jimin leaves a message in the group saying, “ Hoseok, where are you?”. By the end of the day there was no reply.


      Hoseok is on his way to the practice room.. His ankle had been put in a plaster cut so for the first time he had skipped dance training and instead headed home earlier than usual. While walking on crutches, he sees a drunken Yoongi staggering on the road. Two days after he heard of the accident, Hoseok had gone to meet Yoongi in his workroom after Yoongi had not picked up any calls. He banged but only heard the sound of music coming from inside. He leaves after giving up.

      Hoseok has known Yoongi since middle school. He knew about the impact of his mother’s death on him, and tried to be a reliable friend. He knew even then the others did not mean that much to Yoongi, but he thought Yoongi would have at least cared for Jungkook and visited him in the hospital. Even Yoongi’s partner had come searching for Hoseok saying she was unable to contact him.

      Hoseok tries to walk ahead but cannot help but look back at Yoongi, who had collapsed in front of a vendor.

      Annoyed, Hoseok scolds him harshly. He asks if he ever thought of others who were suffering just as much as him, if he ever thought of composing again because he couldn't live without music, and about why he did not see Jungkook when he knew what he meant to him. Hoseok feels as if he is perhaps pouring the frustration of his own injury on Yoongi. He thinks of how detrimental a hurt ankle is for a dancer, and how a hurt ankle would always make him conscious in dance, even then he could not think of giving up dancing. Before leaving he tells Yoongi to stop running away and that if he still wants to run away, he should run and never come back.

    • JIMIN YEAR 22 MAY 16:

      Jimin is at Hoseok’s house after the escape from the hospital. Hoseok remarks how his own house is a comfortable space for him, and how he never had narcolepsy attacks at his house. He joins Jimin at the terrace who seems to be searching for his house. Hoseok also points out his own orphanage , next to a clover sign beyond the river. He thinks about how the orphanage was his only real home and tells Jimin how he had lived there for 10 years. As he tells Jimin, Hoseok thinks that he is not the type of person to ask questions of his friends-probably because he hides so much himself. On that note he decides to confess to Jimin that his narcolepsy is fake. Jimin is shocked. Hoseok adds that he did not do it on purpose , but because he did not know that there was a way for him to be alright, and that he still can’t explain it clearly.

      Jimin asks him if he is okay now, to which Hoseok replies cheerfully that they will figure it out as time goes by, and both Jimin and Hoseok burst into giggles.