I took Taehyung and faced the police officer. "You've worked hard." Although my head was bowed and I spoke firmly, that wasn't my mood. It wasn't far from the police station to Taehyung's house. If he lived in some far-off place, would he not have been in and out of the police station this often? Why had Taehyung's parents chosen a place so close to the police station? The world was so unfair to such a foolishly kind and tender kid. I slung my arm over Taehyung's shoulders and asked if he was hungry, acting like it was no big deal. Taehyung shook his head. I asked if the police were so glad to see him they bought him food, but he didn't reply.

    We walked in the sunlight. In my heart, a cold wind blew. If I feel this way, how does he feel? How torn and broken was his heart? Did he have a heart left at all? How much torment must be inside? Thinking all these thoughts, I couldn't look at him, so instead I looked at the sky. In the blurry sunlight a plane was passing by. The first time I had seen the wounds on Taehyung's back was the first time I met him in Namjoon's container hideout. I didn't say anything to Taehyung, who was laughing brightly for having gotten a t-shirt, but a place in my heart had collapsed with a thud.

    I had no parents. I had no memories of a father, and my memories of my mother only lasted until I was 7 years old. When it came to pain regarding families, no one would be envious of mine. People said things like this. That you have to overcome your pain, accept it and grow used to it. That you have to reconcile and forgive. That only when you do that, you can live. It wasn't that I couldn't because I didn't know. It wasn't a refusal because I didn't want to. Nothing is achieved just because you try. No one told me how. The world gave me new wounds before the old ones had healed. I knew there was no one in the world who didn't have wounds. But why did anyone need such deep ones? Why were they necessary? Why did things like this happen?

    "It's okay, hyung. I can go alone." Taehyung said at the fork in the road. "I know, jerk," I paid it no mind and took the lead. "I said I'm fine. Look, it's nothing." Taehyung tried to smile. I didn't answer. There was no way he was okay. He wasn't okay but he couldn't stand acknowledging it. He was turning away. That was his habit. Taehyung flipped up his hood and followed. "You're really not hungry?" I asked as we approached the path leading to Taehyung's house. Taehyung smiled his foolish smile and nodded. I watched his retreating back, then turned away. The path he walked and the path I walked were both narrow and desolate. We were both alone. I suddenly turned to look behind me when my phone rang.


    I knew that something was going on with Taehyung for a long time. Even if he pretended outwardly that nothing was wrong, his momentary actions or expressions gave away his anxiety and the fact that he didn't know what to do. He was often in and out of the police station, I had seen the wounds on his body, and he had nightmares.

    The reason that I never pushed, asking what was wrong or telling him to just let it all out, was that I was waiting for Taehyung to say it himself. It was also partly because I doubted that I had the right to hear about those worries. I pretended to be a hyung, to be an adult, but in actuality, when my friends were having a hard time I couldn't protect them. They all hailed me for being so grown-up, but I wasn't really an adult. I only hesitated, unable to look directly at the reality in front of me.

    Yoongi hyung died. Taehyung had that nightmare again today. I grabbed his shoulder and shook him, and he startled awake and spent a long time sitting and staring into space. He didn't wipe his tears and mumbled incoherently. He said Yoongi was dead and Jungkook had an accident and I had been caught up in a fight. He said that he dreamed that kind of dream often, that it was so clear that it seemed as if it was real and even this was part of the dream. "Hyung, don't go anywhere." Taehyung's voice wavered anxiously.