The last person Jimin expects to see at the door of his rundown apartment is Min Yoongi’s ex-wife.
“Good morning, Jimin-oppa,” she says with a smile. All Jimin does as a response is blink.
It’s been nearly two years since he has last seen her. Her hair is longer that he remembers, reaching past her waist, and she has bangs now, which frames her face. Her large eyes, one of the features Yoongi fell in love with when he first met her, looks at his ragged appearance with amusement. Even at 35 (or was it 34?), she looks as young as ever, as if she hasn’t aged a day since she got married to Yoongi.
“Ji Hyun-ah,” he finally says after finding his voice. “Ah, um. What are you doing here?”
“I’ve got something for you,” she replies, gesturing to the box in her hands. “Can I come in?”
“Ah, sure!” He steps aside to let her pass. “Sorry. I wasn’t expecting any visitors, so my apartment is a little…”
“No,” Ji Hyun says with a shake of her head, “I should have called you first. I was a bit in a rush, so I forgot. Sorry about that.” She places the box onto the coffee table, and turns to face him. “I won’t be long. I just wanted to give you that,” she continues, with a wave towards the box. It seems to be filled with things now that Jimin takes the time to look at it.
He looks at the box for a second longer before turning to Ji Hyun with a questioning expression. “I could have picked that up for you…but what is it?”
Ji Hyun smiles, though her smile is soft around the edges. “Yoongi’s things.”
“It’s not all of them,” Ji Hyun says hurriedly, quickly noticing the shadow across Jimin’s expression. “Just some things from his old studio and other personal things that I don’t know where to put at his parents’ house.” She shifts on her feet a bit uneasily. “There are…” She takes a deep breath, and looks at Jimin properly. “There is something. For you, oppa.” She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, a habit when she’s nervous (another trait Yoongi fell in love with). “It’s from Yoongi.”
Jimin raises his eyebrow. “For me?”
Ji Hyun nods. “Anyway. I better go now. I’m actually late for work.” She moves towards the door, gripping the knob before pausing. She turns to Jimin. “How are you, by the way?” she asks, her tone careful. “We haven’t kept in touch since…well, you know.”
Jimin knows. Of course, he does.
He returns the smile, trying to be as sincere as he can. “Never better.”
Ji Hyun says nothing in reply, other than a hesitant smile, and twists the knob, pulling the door open. She closes the door behind her after she got out from the apartment, leaving Jimin alone once more in his tiny apartment.
He takes a glance at the box.
Sure enough, there is his name written on the side, in Yoongi’s familiar handwriting.
Jimin was barely 27 years old when BTS disbanded.
The disbandment hadn’t been dramatic as most disbandments of successful groups tend to be. Instead, it was a result of a quiet agreement from the members and the producers. On June 11th, an official statement was released, and a press conference was held the next day to address any lingering questions and issues. On June 13th, BTS was no more.
They disbanded on the same date of their debut, which made it terribly ironic.
He isn’t angry about the disbandment. Frustrated, maybe, but anger is strangely absent when he wakes up on June 13th and realize he couldn’t call himself a BTS member anymore. He is now just regular old Park Jimin. Not even BigHit Park Jimin, since his contract will end the next day and he has no plans on renewing it. Just plain, normal Park Jimin. When he padded to the living room of their dorm, he saw several luggage, along with his own, lined up at the doorway, waiting to be taken. He was to return to Busan that day.
He half expected Jungkook to follow him, but the kid had signed a contract with another company to become a solo artist along with Taehyung, so the two of them will remain in Seoul. Hoseok was offered to become a fixed dance instructor at a dance studio at his hometown. Seokjin had left for his home the day before, choosing to take a few weeks off with his family before he returned to Seoul for his acting job. Namjoon was the only one who remained at BigHit, becoming a full-time music producer instead of opting for the solo artist career.
Yoongi, who returned to Daegu on the same day as Seokjin, last Jimin heard, was offered a job at Gwangju. He didn’t remember whether Yoongi accepted the offer or not, but all he knew that he wouldn’t be signing back with BigHit.
Some thorns were too much to bear, apparently.
Jimin remembered laughing bitterly when he recalled the reason behind the disbandment.
The media had called it “Personal interests in other things” but the pain in Yoongi’s eyes will continuously remind him of why they disbanded, and why Namjoon and Yoongi were no longer on speaking terms ever since the group split.
BigHit had left Yoongi on the ground to fend for himself when he needed his company the most, and Namjoon chose that one particular day to not side with his friend.
Jimin looks at the box apprehensively, and peers inside.
The first thing he sees is Yoongi’s old checkered shirt, folded neatly and placed at one corner of the box. He sees a clutter of things he recognizes; old hip hop albums, his worn out “BTS Epilogue Stage” beanie (Yoongi still kept that after all these years?) and his (probably broken) mp3 player. Jimin’s gaze finally lands on the video camera that sits on top of the pile.
It looks old. Jimin wonders if it still works.
He takes out the things and arranges them on the coffee table, considering on whether to keep them. He could probably save the shirt, beanie and the albums, but his mp3 player was from their early years of debut, and a part of it is chipped off from years of neglect, so it was probably best he’d throw it out. He glances at the video camera apprehensively.
It wasn’t as old as the rest, (it had been a wedding gift from himself to Yoongi) so unless Yoongi had been careless with it which he doubts, it probably still works.
He reaches out and takes it, examining it closely. He slips his hand into the holding strap and immediately feels something rough against his skin. Raising his eyebrow, he withdraws his hand and peers at the strap.
There is a paper taped to it.
Upon closer inspection, he sees his name scrawled across it.
Out of the seven of them, Yoongi had been the only one who got married.
He met Ji Hyun when he was 31 and Ji Hyun was 25, and despite the nearly startling age difference, the two had hit it off well. Ji Hyun had been a student at the small community music centre Yoongi worked at, and was assigned to him for piano lessons. He couldn’t remember the rest of the details, but Jimin remembered receiving a phone call from Yoongi a month after their meeting, who frantically asked him to teach him the old Fire choreography to prove to Ji Hyun that “he can still dance, thank you very much.”
Out of all the things.
Ji Hyun was a nice enough woman; a little shy but had a pleasant personality, and her cooking was up to par with Seokjin’s (though Seokjin would disagree). Her eyes were the most striking feature about her, and Jimin could see why Yoongi was attracted. Jimin would have been attracted too if he wasn’t...who he was.
They dated for a year, and on July 5th the following year, Jimin received an invitation to their wedding,
The reception had been fairly simple, strictly for family and close friends only. One significant pro of attending it was he could finally see his old friends together again. Jungkook and Taehyung, now successful solo artists with sold out concerts and a legion of fangirls, clapped him on the back as greeting, with Jungkook teasing about his height like he usually did in the old days. Seokjin was also successful in his own right; in the span of three years, he had appeared in several dramas and starred in a musical once, his melodic voice getting the recognition it deserved. Hoseok was still his old cheerful self, though a bit subdued than before, and he wore his hair a bit longer, with his bangs swept up to expose his forehead. He was now a choreographer for a recently debuted boy group at one of the smaller companies in Seoul, and was starting to get recognition for his abilities by bigger companies.
The only one who wasn’t there was Namjoon, though Yoongi swore he had (begrudgingly) invited him, but there had been a large bouquet of flowers addressed to Yoongi which he received a few hours before the reception, with a short note attached to it.
(Yoongi had looked at the note with a wistful expression before neatly folding it in half and stuffed it in the pocket of his tuxedo.)
Jimin and Jungkook sang for the couple (“Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lione Riche because it’s one of Ji Hyun’s favourite songs and Jimin is a sucker for old love songs) and as Jimin sang the last lingering note, he saw the pure happiness that shone in Yoongi’s eyes as he gazed at his bride. His expression had been tender, which is a rare expression for him to have. He looked genuinely happy that night, and while Jimin had been so glad for his hyung, because Min Yoongi deserved that happiness,
Jimin’s heart ached.
It was a strange feeling, and Jimin was afraid to know why his heart felt that way.
(Maybe it was because he knew the reason all along.)
So he clapped and joined the rest of his members to smear cake on Yoongi’s face, smiling and smiling and smiling until he felt his face was splitting in half.
He ignored the ache in his heart for the rest of the night.
Jimin inspects the video camera, looking for more clues, but so far, his name written on the sticky note is the only one. He clicks one of the buttons to unlatch the LCD screen. The screen is dusty from misuse, but otherwise in good condition.
He spots the memory card slot and is surprised to see a memory card in it.
“Did he use this camera?” he murmurs to himself.
He finally finds the power button and presses it. The video camera switches on, and to Jimin’s further surprise, the battery is full. He wonders if Ji Hyun charged it before she gave it to Jimin.
He scrolls through the menu to find the list of possible recordings and finds only one. It is 10 minutes long.
Recorded two years ago.
Jimin hesitates, gulping. He is not sure to expect, and in the loneliness of his tiny apartment, wearing clothes from yesterday and his black hair dull and unkempt, Jimin feels an emotion he hasn’t experienced in a while.
With shaking hands, he reaches to touch the play icon.
Yoongi’s marriage, like a lot of things in his life, Jimin realized, went to a downward spiral after their third year.
The reason had been a combination of multiple, small but significant issues that cumulated over time (Yoongi’s workload, Ji Hyun’s stress over her studies and managing the household, miscommunication), and what had pushed the tip of the iceberg when Ji Hyun had come home, her face streaked with tears and anger and resentment dancing in her eyes.
Ji Hyun, who had failed to conceive after several tries, had gone to the doctor for advice. She was told, as gently and as careful as a doctor could ever hope to be, that she was in fact, infertile.
While Yoongi took the news with grace and comforted his wife to the best of his abilities (“We’ll adopt! We can adopt as many kids as you want. We can even have dogs or cats if you want!”), Ji Hyun was mostly inconsolable. It had taken a strain on her mental health, and her physical well-being grew worse so much she eventually had to take a leave from her studies to recuperate.
Three months later, Yoongi lost his job.
The community music centre he worked at had been bought off by a larger scaled company and most of the employees had been laid off due to it. Yoongi included.
Too frustrated and angry at himself, and ashamed to face Ji Hyun back home, Yoongi went to the bar.
Jimin had received a phone call from a very drunk Yoongi that night, who giggled like a high school and breathed heavily into the phone.
“Hyung, you sound drunk. Are you?”
“Mmm…maybe. I don’t know. I lost count of how many shots I took.”
“Jesus. Where are you? I’ll pick you up.”
There was a giggle. “Some bar…at Daegu. Near my house. Jimin, you can’t…pick me up,” Yoongi slurred. “You’re all~ The way in Busan.”
Jimin was already grabbing his keys and shrugging on his jacket. “Watch me.”
He arrived in less than an hour, and found Yoongi at the bar he used to frequent. His hyung had been asleep, and Jimin practically had to drag him to the car. He drove him home in silence as Yoongi snored at the backseat.
(Ji Hyun had taken one look at her husband and barely said a word as she let Jimin dump Yoongi onto the bed.)
Yoongi told Jimin the truth the next day, along with an apology.
That was the last time he heard from him for a long while.
(Two months later, Hoseok had called him, his tone terribly subdued, and told that Ji Hyun and Yoongi had divorced and Yoongi will be living with him from now on.)
The first thing he sees is Yoongi.
The pain that was long buried in his heart flares, and Jimin nearly gasp at the sudden intensity of it.
Yoongi is wearing that familiar black jacket that Jimin remembers from a distant memory of him in his cluttered, tiny, music studio. From the plain blue wallpapered background, he guesses that the video is filmed in the living room of Hoseok’s apartment.
“Jimin-ah. Long time no see.”
Hearing his voice after so long intensifies the ache in Jimin’s chest, and he takes a deep shuddering breath.
“Sorry we haven’t talked in a while…I wasn’t…Well. You know why.”
Yoongi continued, his lips quirking into a half smile. There are shadows underneath his eyes, and Jimin wonders if Yoongi had slept at all before recording the video. He was also remarkably thinner than Jimin remembered, the jacket making him look smaller than he already was.
“I want to talk to you…for a bit. Let’s talk about the old days, eh?”
For two years, Yoongi’s life just continued spiralling downwards.
Jimin often wondered if life had something against him.
While Jimin had hoped that living with Hoseok could cheer him up after all the events in his life, Yoongi continued to struggle with himself in ways Jimin couldn’t hope to understand.
He couldn’t find any interest to hold a job anymore, even when Hoseok offered him one as a producer at the company he worked at. Yoongi declined, saying that he doubted he could produce any more music with the way he was. He barely touched the keyboard (bought by Taehyung who hoped that it will cheer him up), and seemed to be in a constant state of listlessness.
Yoongi barely cared about the things happening around him, anymore. He turned almost completely apathetic, so much that it frightened Jimin.
Depression, Jimin learned, was a truly frightening thing.
Then, one day, Yoongi found comfort in one thing.
“I dreamt about our idol days a lot lately. The screaming fans. The bright lights. The loud music in the background. It makes me feel reminiscent of the past, and I was in a nostalgic mood for a while.”
A dry chuckle.
“I even missed the gruelling dance practices. Can you believe that?”
Yoongi grew more and more dependent on alcohol as the days passed.
He frequented to a lot of bars in Seoul until his face was starting to get recognized by the bartenders. The mini fridge in his room was filled with soju bottles, which littered the floor after he was done drinking.
As his alcohol addiction grew, his appetite worsened. He barely ate, and couldn’t be bothered to remember to. Despite Hoseok’s pleads, Yoongi barely touched the food on his plate, only eating a spoonful or two before he threw up the food again, his stomach too weak to take any proper substance.
Every passing day, he grew skinnier.
One day, Namjoon finally came to visit.
“Namjoon…that brat. He visited me a while ago, did I tell you that? He looked slick, with his hair dyed dark purple. He even wore glasses and a freaking’ beret. He looked like some fucking intellectual who wrote poetry and shit. Bet he painted in his spare time, too.”
Namjoon, whom Jimin had rarely heard from other than occasional emails and texts (he’s a head producer now, and like Hoseok, was in charge of a new boy group from BigHit) arrived at Hoseok’s apartment without warning.
He took one look at Yoongi, and the disappointment (and concern) was immediately clear on his face.
But Yoongi didn’t see the concern. His focus was only on the disappointment.
“Hyung,” he whispered, “What have you done to yourself?”
The details were blurry to Jimin, but Jungkook later recounted the story as one filled with a lot of screaming. There was a huge row, and if Jungkook remembered correctly, someone broke one of Hoseok’s vases.
(“You fucker,” Yoongi hissed angrily, resentment clear in his tone. “Don’t you fucking dare tell me what to do anymore. You don’t have the right!”)
Jimin watches Yoongi take a deep breath and buries his face with his hands.
“I was…angry, at a lot of things. I realize now that Namjoon-ie was probably trying to help. But I was so…angry and resentful and hurt when I looked at his face. It reminded me of that time when everything went wrong with us.” He laughs bitterly. “I’ve considered many times whether to forgive him, or forgive myself, but neither seems appealing most of the time.”
“Go back to that company you loved so much!”
“You loved that company, too, way back when. It brought your dreams to life!”
(“Well,” Yoongi had snarled after a long glare towards Namjoon, “It fucking destroyed it too when it didn’t help me when I needed it to the most.”)
“Man, I miss the old days. I miss Jungkook-ie and Taehyung-ie. You and Seokjin-hyung. Hell…I might even miss Namjoon.” A pause. “I don’t miss Hoseok. I see him every goddamn day.”
Yoongi started turning away a lot of people. Hoseok. Taehyung. Jimin. Seokjin. Especially Namjoon. His parents. He barely glanced at Ji Hyun when she came to visit, and the girl went home ten minutes after she arrived.
Hoseok and him had a huge row when Hoseok suggested Yoongi to seek some professional help, because he was clearly suffering on his own and Hoseok needs him to get better, because he couldn’t bear to see his friend waste away like this-
His pleas were met with a door slammed to his face.
“I realize…that I was being a selfish prick these past two years. All I’ve done is hurt you guys, and thinking about it now makes me hate myself even more.”
Then, Hoseok called Jimin one day to tell him that Yoongi was suddenly feeling a lot better.
He started smiling again, and ate properly. He talked more, and even started laughing at some of Seokjin’s (lame) jokes. He seemed to be talking to Namjoon again, since Hoseok saw a text conversation between the two of them, and the conversation had been harmless and light-hearted enough. One Sunday, he came to Jungkook’s show, and after that, he had stopped by to the music store to buy one of Taehyung’s recent releases.
It was if a switch inside had been turned on inside of him, one that seemingly fixed whatever problems he was struggling with.
It almost seemed unreal.
When Jimin finally came to Seoul to visit Yoongi, the latter had been the one who greeted him at the door. He was grinning widely, showing off his gums.
Yoongi looked happy enough, but there was an unsettling feeling in Jimin’s gut as he looked at the smile on his hyung’s face. He couldn’t shake the terrible feeling off no matter how hard he tried. As Yoongi started chatting animatedly to him about Taehyung’s recent showcase, Jimin finally understood the reason behind the discomfort in his heart.
Yoongi’s smile, no matter how wide it was, had no sincerity in them.
“I feel like I should apologize. Yeah…that’s the reason why I recorded this video. The others may not have noticed…but I know you do.” Yoongi’s smile is wan. “You’ve always been perceptive.”
Yoongi shifts his weight, adjusting his position on the sofa.
“A few days from now, I’m going to do something that will hurt all of you. And probably…Jimin, you will be hurt the most.”
A month later, Jimin received a phone call from Seokjin.
Dread settled in his heart when the first thing he heard was the tremble in Seokjin’s voice.
“Jimin-ah…The doctors…They said- Pills…and alcohol. We were- Hoseok, he couldn’t-“
“Hyung, I don’t understand, I-,”
“He’s gone,” Seokjin says finally, breaking on the second word. “Yoongi’s gone.”
There is a heavy silence, from both Yoongi and Jimin.
Jimin’s eyes shine with unshed tears, and his chest feels heavier and heavier at each passing second.
“I wanted…” Yoongi continues, his tone subdued, “You guys to have a positive memory of me before I go. That’s why I acted the way I did this past month. I wanted…to be the Yoongi from the past, back when life was better. It wasn’t okay then; we had our struggles back then, too, but it was better.” He bites his lips.
“I know I couldn’t fully be him, that Min Yoongi who was a hell lot happier, because I couldn’t remember how he was anymore, but I tried. I wanted to at least resemble a fragment of him. At least…I could make you guys think I’m okay, for a moment.” He inhales sharply. “I wanted, even for the tiniest moment, for us to be happy again.”
Jimin didn’t want to remember the funeral that was held a few days later.
Out of all the memories he had of Yoongi, that was the most painful.
But as painful memories go, it was sharp and clear in Jimin’s mind.
Jimin mirrors Yoongi’s silence, tears already trailing down his cheeks.
“I…I’m sorry, Jimin. I’m sorry to everyone. Seokjin-hyung. Hoseok-ie. Namjoon. Taehyung. Jungkook-ie. Ji Hyun- ah. My family…” He pauses. “You.”
Life went on, even with Yoongi gone. Hoseok had moved out of his apartment, though, and gave all of Yoongi’s belongings to Ji Hyun. He kept none for himself. He couldn’t bear to.
Jungkook took a break from music for a month, and spent time with his family. He hung out with Jimin, too, and the two of them had taken numerous walks to the parks and beaches, talking about things and people of the past. They talked about BTS, and how they were glad to be part of it, even if for just a fleeting moment of their lives.
They didn’t talk about Yoongi, though. No one talked about him.
Taehyung, last Jimin heard, took time off to travel, finding new inspirations for his music. He had sent a text to Jimin, with a photo attachment. He was last seen at Norway, and the waterfall in the background looked awfully familiar.
Seokjin continued acting, putting everything into his work. He was improving by leaps and bounds, and eventually landed himself a role in his first movie, directed by one of the top directors in South Korea.
(During a press conference, when asked what was his biggest motivation in acting, Seokjin smiled softly and said “A friend.”)
Namjoon continued climbing the ranks in BigHit Entertainment, working harder than other, and at one point released a solo album of his own. It was meant to be a dedication, he claimed, and something he had been meaning to do for a long time.
(The album was released on June 13th, and one of the tracks was titled “B. T. S”.)
Life went on.
Surprisingly, the only one who had trouble doing so, was Jimin himself.
Jimin snaps out of his reverie, and focuses back onto the video. Yoongi is looking at the camera directly, and Jimin feels the heaviness of his gaze. It is as if Yoongi is staring at him.
The boy’s expression softens, and he smiles.
“I feel like I should end this video on a more positive note. So I just wanted to tell you…” His smile widens. “There was a time when I was truly happy with my life, and it was when I was with you guys.” Yoongi’s expression turns wistful. “From trainee days, to the day of our debut, to the comeback stages, to the day of my wedding, to a few weeks before when we had barbeque and ruined Hoseok’s oven.”
He laughs and it is the most genuine thing Jimin has heard from Yoongi in a long while.
“Every day, spent with you guys, was my happiest. Even when everything went downhill, the thing that remain on my mind was the thought of all of you.”
Yoongi smiles for one last time. “Thank you, Jimin-ah. Everyone. In spite of everything, I was happy to have met you guys.”
Jimin watches as Yoongi reaches out towards the camera, and the video ends.
Park Jimin, who had disappeared from the music industry following the disbandment of BTS nearly eight years ago, had signed a contract with his former company, BigHit Entertainment.
There have been speculations that he will become a soloist, following the path of his former bandmates, Jeon Jungkook, and V (real name, Kim Taehyung). No confirmations have been made just yet, but Jimin did give a hint about his future plans through a tweet on his personal social media.
“Keep looking forward to the future days, everyone. Something good will bound to happen. ;)"