I went quietly into the entryway. As I slowly turned the handle, I looked around for signs of anything amiss. I couldn't hear a single sound. I put my head in and looked around but the house was dark. I took a single step inside. "Mom,” I called out, but there was no answer. I started to reach for the light switch, but then I looked around again. It was past nine. There was no way nobody would be home. “Mom,” I called again, but it was silent.

    I was home a little later than usual. Ordinarily I had to help my mom as soon as school ended, but I wanted to play with my friends at least once. That was why I was home so late without even calling but there was no one at home. A strangely chilly feeling came over me, and I held my arms in my hands and stood in the dark living room.

    Suddenly the phone rang. The chill spread. The phone was ringing, but for some reason I felt like I shouldn't pick it up. It was an anxious feeling like if I answered it, everything would change-like I would never be able to go back to the person who I was right then, but the phone kept ringing, and I eventually made my way to it. Then I lifted the receiver.


    As we entered the alley, I saw furniture and household goods piled up on the street. "Namjoon-ah, what's going on” my father asked. Breathing with some difficulty we were on the way back from the hospital. It was only a hundred-odd meters from the bus stop to our house. But my father struggled even with that. I ran toward our house. My mother was crouched against the wall behind the piles of household goods. And when she saw me she straightened up "Namjoon-ah, what should we do," she said that she had fought with the landlord's son, who had come to collect the rent that my younger brother hadn't paid.

    I brought my father to the storeroom behind the neighborhood supermarket. As I moved the furniture. My mother cleared up the dishes and food items. Soon, the storeroom was full of all the things from our two-room apartment. There were things I wanted to throw away, but to do that we needed money. When it was all done, it was nighttime. My back ached and I was sweating. My mother gave me chopsticks, telling me to eat at least a little, but I couldn't force anything down.

    It was stuffy in the storeroom. So I went out to sit on the wooden benches by the supermarket my mother asked. "Namjoon-ah, where did Namhyun go?" I shouted back “how am I supposed to know?” Namjoon-ah. Namjoon-ah. Namjoon-ah I was tired of it. I regretted telling him to live without being discouraged. Even if we could withstand a few days in the storeroom, what were we supposed to do after that" I couldn't think of anything. The supermarket ahjusshi set down a can of beer and went back inside.


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

    • NAMJOON YEAR 16 JUNE 21:

      Namjoon darts down the stairs of an apartment from the 13th floor. He collapses in the shadow of the entrance. He explains how he had started working part-time in order to pay for electricity, gas and hospital bills. His mother has already quit her job at the restaurant , so Namjoon convinces his boss to hire a middle schooler in order to pay expenses. He gets up again and motivates himself by saying “ I can do it.”