We didn't really keep in touch once we came back from the ocean. There wasn't any special reason for it. Seokjin hyung and Taehyung had argued, and Jungkook left a different way, but that wasn't why we became estranged. Then what was the problem? Even so, I didn't contact anyone first. The fact that there was no special reason seemed in some ways, to be the reason itself.

    When I look back on that day, I always remember the sandy wind that had suddenly started to blow. After Seokjin hyung climbed up to the platform and Taehyung followed him, the rest of us shaded our eyes against the sun and looked up. There was a sense of deja vu, like this had happened before, and underneath it a strange feeling of unease. “Hyung about the beach we went to before, the place with the rock that grants your wishes. Doesn't this seem like that place?” At Jimin's words, I looked around myself. It happened at that moment. It seemed like Seokjin hyung and Taehyung were staggering as if they were about to fall from the platform, and then the sandstorm started. I covered my face with both arms and closed my eyes. I was afraid, anxious about what was happening atop the platform, but in the swirling sandstorm I couldn't bring myself to open my pies.

    When the wind faded and I lifted my head, I saw that Seokjin hyung was coming down from the platform. He was looking up at Taehyung, who was standing atop the platform still with his head hung low when he reached the bottom. Seokjin hyung went to the car and left. I took a step toward him, but there was nothing I could do.

    That night, we went back to Songju. Since Seokjin hyung had left first, we had no place to spend the night and no transportation. Namjoon was the one who first suggested we go back. Everyone looked disappointed, but we forced ourselves to walk. Maybe we had all wanted Namjoon to say we should continue our beach vacation as planned. But Namjoon said we should go home, and so our vacation ended. The ocean vacation we had so anticipated had turned out to be a disaster.


    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.


    "It's barely a year difference. No, nobody said that. I'm his hyung. I know. But he won't always be a little kid. I'm asking if it isn't about time for him to know a little. Got it. I get it. I'm not mad. Sorry."

    I hung up and stared at the ground. A tepid ocean breeze swept through the pine forest. My chest felt so stifled it might explode. On the ground, half sand and half dirt, some ants had formed a line and were going somewhere. To someone far greater than me, both physically and symbolically, would it be obvious that I was going somewhere, why I was going and how it would turn out?

    It wasn't that I didn't love my parents. It wasn't that I didn't worry about my sibling. I wanted to turn away if I could, but since I couldn't help being myself, of course I wasn't entirely able to. And in that case, what point was there in struggling or being angry, or being frustrated, or wanting to leave?

    A little ways off I could see the back of someone else, standing transfixed just as I was. It was Jungkook. At some point, Jungkook had said something like this. "I want to be an adult like hyung." I couldn't tell him back then. That I wasn't that great an adult, no, that I wasn't even an adult. Saying something like that had seemed cruel. To someone who hadn't received the love and trust and interest that he naturally should have, how could I say that getting older, getting taller, and living a little more doesn't make someone an adult? I hoped that Jungkook's future would be a little kinder than mine, but I couldn't promise that I would be a help to him in that process. I approached him and put my arm over his shoulders. Jungkook lifted his eyes and looked at me.


    I came to the sea alone. In the viewfinder, the sea spread out as wide and blue as it always had. It was all the same, the light that sparkled from the water, the wind that came through the pine forest. The only thing that was different was that this time I was alone. As soon as I pressed the shutter and the scenery in front of my eyes flickered, a moment from that day, 2 years and 10 months ago, seemed to appear and disappear. On that day, we sat side by side and faced this ocean. We were tied and had nothing and were desolate, but at least we were together.

    I turned the car around and stepped on the accelerator. I went through the tunnel and passed by the rest stop. When I approached the vicinity of the school we all used to attend together, I opened the car window. The air was warm and cherry blossoms fluttered in the trees that lined the school's wall. I left the school and passed several intersections, took several left turns and several rights. In the distance, I began to see the lights of the gas station where Namjoon worked.


    All at once, the images in the photos on the floor appeared to move. Jungkook turned around to look at me, as if he had heard the sound of Hoseok and Jimin's laughter. In the next moment, I could hear Yoongi's piano. Namjoon and Taehyung laughed and ran on the beach. Those moments lifted from the photos and hovered in the air like a movie. There was music and bursts of laughter in the bright sunshine moment after moment overlapped and movie after movie played, and it felt like something unidentifiable was released from my heart. It flowed through my veins into each corner of my body. Some kind of dam in my head crumbled and memories gushed forth like a flood. They whirled around my head so furiously I couldn't come to my senses. The entire room was alight with memories. Sad memories, nostalgic memories, troubling memories, and enjoyable memories eddied around me. As I watched them. I felt something unbelievable. How could I have forgotten all of these moments? Then I saw it. Something was shimmering inside my pocket.


    When I opened my eyes, it was April 11 again. Sunlight was streaming in through the open curtain. When I picked my body up, I was overcome with vertigo and closed my eyes. My surroundings changed to a reddish after image and I saw Taehyung's appearance. He was standing alone atop the observation platform at the beach. That happened on May 22. It was the past and the future, something that had already happened and something that could still happen. It was the moment that I thought everything had been resolved.

    I had seen Taehyung climbing up the platform just as the sun had started to set. The sky was still blue, but it was starting to be touched with a deep red. When I lifted my head, I saw Taehyung climbing. When he reached the top, he looked down at us for a moment. Then he jumped. He leapt like a bird, like he had wings. Then it seemed as if he stopped for a moment in the air, and a mood came over me like the breaking of a mirror, like a cold wind coming in through the curtain.

    And then when I opened my eyes it was today, April 11.


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

    • HOSEOK YEAR 22 MAY 22:

      Hoseok calls Jimin to leave the lodge. Jimin takes a look at the mess they had left behind and starts walking outside. As he walks, Jimin realizes that the beach was the same one they had visited when in school. He calls out to Jungkook to share his discovery but Jungkook was already sprinting ahead. He thinks that Jungkook has grown up from the boy who used to lag behind and look up to others. He reaches the intersection- left will take him to the train station and right towards his house. Jimin realizes he has to confront his parents someday and own up to his lies and fears. He sees Yoongi exit for the left and turns right. Hoseok calls for him, but Jimin tells him that he is going home now.

    • TAEHYUNG YEAR 22 MAY 22:

      Taehyung says, “ Hyung, is that all, aren’t you hiding something from us?” . He glares at Seokjin and is about to press him harder when Namjoon stops him. Taehyung asks Namjoon to stop cutting in when he wasn’t even his real brother. He recalls Namjoon’s conversation that he had overheard earlier about his brother being only a year younger. Seokin apologizes and asks Taehyung to stop. Taehyung, still angry asks him to openly confess all of the secrets he was still hiding.Namjoon tries to take Taehyung outside to talk, but Taehyung pushes him , taking out his anger on him and telling him he had no right. Namjoon, shocked , lets go of Taehyung’s hand. At this moment Taehyung feels like the chain between them broke somehow. Embittered, he remarks on the uselessness of caring about each other, that ultimately everyone is alone at the end. Seokin hits Taehyung.

    • SEOKJIN YEAR 22 MAY 22:

      Jin is in disbelief that his plan worked and that the 7 finally were together, laughing and cracking silly jokes. His joy is dampened by the fact that he had something to confess. A few days earlier, Taehyung had asked him if he knew what Taehyung’s dreams meant. Jin had lied by refusing to admit that his dreams were real. He had wished to protect Taehyung from the reality that he had actually killed his father in multiple timelines.

      Jin gathers up courage and tries to confess to others about what he did in high school but Taehyung cuts him. With anger and resentment Taehyung exposes Jin’s act of ratting out to the Principal on him and Yoongi, and blames Jin for being the reason Yoongi got expelled. Namjoon tries to stop Taehyung. Jin mutters, “I am sorry” before Taehyung starts speaking again.

    • JUNGKOOK YEAR 22 MAY 22:

      Jungkook is at the beach with his Hyungs. After helping Jimin escape from the hospital, they had made an unplanned visit to the same beach they had visited in their school days. A strong wind blows, causing Jungkook to cry because of the sand getting into his eyes. They all goof off and chase each other around. Namjoon comments on how it is just like the hot summer day they visited earlier and someone asks the date, to which Jungkook replies instantly that it was May 12. He remembered because he looked at the photo of the beach visit often. Jungkook feels a rush of gratefulness thinking back on the day, and how he had felt that he had found a real family that day.

      He spots Taehyung sitting by himself and asks him why he is sitting alone. Taehyung instead points to the observatory and asks Jungkook if it was there the day they had visited. Jungkook answers that it wasn’t, and if it had they would have played on it. Seokjin comes up from behind and says, “Let’s go.”


      The 7 of them ditch school to go to the beach. Jungkook feels his emotions rise up on seeing the ocean. They decide to walk towards the rock on the beach, 3.5 km away. The myth was that if people stood up on the rock and shouted their dream while facing the sea, it would come true. Yoongi is reluctant to go but Taehyung starts walking ahead.Jungkook recalls an earlier day when he had asked the others about their dreams. He wonders why if none of them had any dream as such, were they walking so far in the heat towards this rock.

      As they walk, Jungkook gets scolded by Yoongi for the marks on his fingers. Yoongi tries to keep up a conversation by asking for Jungkook’s dream. Jungkook instead asks the meaning of a dream. Yoongi and Jungkook bond over this conversation. Jungkook looks at the marks on his fingers and remembers all the times he cut himself with a knife. Jungkook mentions how cutting himself helped him feel more awake, especially when he felt hollow.

      The 7 of them reach a place with a lot of pebbles scattered around, wondering where the rock had gone. They give up searching further, and later find out that the rock had been obliterated because a high end-resort was going to be constructed at the beach. The rock would have obstructed the view from the first and second floor. They look around to find yellow bands and excavator machines, signifying development. They try to cheer each other up by saying positive things like the rock wasn’t real anyway, but all of them are disappointed. Jungkook sees Yoongi trying to bite his nails, and shouts to stop him, but the drilling noise in the background interferes. As the drilling noise continues, Jungkook asks Yoongi, "Do you want to give up on this world too?”. They shout at each other but can't hear. Taking light of this situation all 7 of them scream their dreams into the sea, competing with the drilling noise.

      The noise ends abruptly, leaving them in silence, with Jin’s “Please!” being heard loud and clearly. They decide to commemorate the day by taking a photo against the beach. Jungkook asks Jin for the photo, and Jin hands him over by scribbling the date on the back. Seokjin assures Jungkook that the dream he yelled out will come true.Jungkook asks him if he knows what it is, but only gets a tap on his shoulder as they walk ahead.