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In the Evening Sky

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☾ ☾

The moon is a rock that cannot shine on its own. It depends, it is dependant, and it yearns for that attention so it can, maybe, be more than what it was born as—to pretend.

 

Yoongi had always wanted more. He wanted more food so he’d grow bigger and stronger hoping the other children would stop picking on him. He wanted new toys so that his fingers would stop getting cut on the old ones he’d found in the attic in his great-grandparents’ chest of mementos, metal so sharp and rusted because back then child safety wasn’t a concern.

He wanted his parents’ love, and to have someone waiting for him after school with healthy snacks or fresh baked cookies on the table but eventually that turned to wanting someone to just stay up, door unlocked, to make sure he got home safe when the clock ticked way past the witching hour.

He wanted a better apartment with a better job when he finally kicked the door open and strode from his family home and struck out on his own, taking up the first residence he could with his measly savings from selling. He wanted a water heater that wasn’t temperamental and a light bulb in his fridge that didn’t shock him when he jiggled it, trying to make it come on. He wanted neighbors that didn’t piss on his doorstep and a landlord that didn’t lose his down payment.

Yoongi had always felt like his life lacked but at least with Hoseok and Jimin he was able to forget just how much his life was shit.

His boyfriends were the ones who helped him patch up his apartment’s leaky ceiling, and changed his bedding when he’d soaked his pillow through with tears, and ironed his good shirt when he got a callback from the radio station that the younger two had sent his mixtape off to. They showered him in encouraging compliments and rubbed his shoulders and let him rest his face in the crook of their necks when all he wanted was to go back to his parents’ house, back to his single cramped bed and empty dinner table set with three settings but only occupied by a loaf of bread and butter and a note to do his homework for Yoongi. (He’d been out of school for years, for goodness’ sake.)

Instead of letting him go back, the two decided they should all move into a better complex. Together. And even though Yoongi had no confidence in keeping this new job, of starting a new music career and being able to financially hold his portion of the rent, they told him not to worry. They said they’d make it work, always would for Yoongi, and they’d take care of him if he weren’t able to take care of them (or himself).

Jimin was the one to write and rewrite note-cards and cue cards for his first press conference so that Yoongi would know what to say. Jimin was the one to lead him through breathing exercises when his anxiety made him feel like he could not, would not step up in front of a crowd of reporters, and then, later, in front of an audience for his first ever performance. Jimin was the one to wave at Yoongi’s fans from the darkened car window and tell them that he was feeling unwell but he was more than happy to have them all there.

Hoseok was the one to look over each and every one of Yoongi’s productions to make sure they sounded okay, that they were acceptable to release to the public even though Yoongi always thought they weren’t. Hoseok fixed Yoongi’s makeup when he sweated through his setting spray while in his waiting room. Hoseok controlled Yoongi’s SNS accounts so that his public figure was pristine, sociable and amicable. Hoseok kissed his nose when it would twitch and scrunch and his manager asked him to calm his face and Yoongi just couldn’t—couldn’t without the reassurance from his lover.

Yoongi had always wanted more, wanted to be more. He wanted to stop being overlooked and ignored. He just existed in a way that wasn’t extraordinary, always had. His life and personality and attributes were bland but—

But, Yoongi found, having his two boyfriends helped him pretend he wasn’t. He had them to help him seem, at least to the public, like he was more than what he truly was.

 


☆ ☆

A star starts to die the moment it comes to life. The closer one is to a star, the sooner it will blink out. Contrarily, the farther one is, the longer it will appear to be alive and well. But, either way, even after death it still shines for years to come.

 

Hoseok wished he could start to open up. All his life he’d been the same: smiling, laughing, and caring for the emotions of others. He was empathetic and compassionate.

To a fault.

He took it upon himself to always put the emotional wellbeing of others before himself. As a child his goal was to make sure his mother was always smiling, his father never disappointed in him, his sister proud of a little brother that followed her through the school halls and never embarrassed her. He gave his dessert to his best friend, Namjoon, because it was his favorite and even though Namjoon then had two (one from his own house that was less appetizing), Hoseok would insist the younger took it. He was just that kind of person.

When he was in his late teens and all the other students in his year were begging their parents for money to go to prom, to buy their first starter cars, to splurge on coins in the arcade, Hoseok was helping the homeless man downtown collect cans from garbage cans at the crack of dawn to exchange for change at the bottle return, was donating all his old (and even some of his new) clothes to charity after seeing a young mother and two children in threadbare attire, was seen on Christmas singing cheerful carols in the cold to people who closed the door in his face before he even got through the first verse.

When he was poorly clothed, fingers frozen in the snow, legs aching from walking and carrying parcels for seniors, exhausted from late nights covering shifts for coworkers who wanted to party or were sick and called out last minute, feeling like he had no time to himself, ever, Hoseok still smiled. He smiled when he was wary, when he was sad, when he was ill, when he was angry. He smiled when he broke his arm, when his dog died, when he failed the math class that kept him from getting into the school of his dreams. Hoseok didn’t see a point in letting others know that he wasn’t always one hundred percent. He couldn’t focus on helping them when they were distracted by their concern over him. He put himself second and he wanted others to as well.

It just made his job easier if no one was aware he was suffering.

Hoseok was born selfless, in a way, and that didn’t change when he met Jimin, then Yoongi.

He was working as a freelance backup dancer when he started dating the two. He spent his days bouncing from company to company, to whoever needed a dancer with a flexible schedule and was willing to negotiate wages. He stayed long hours to go over choreography with artists and other backup dancers to make sure everyone was on the same page, wasn’t struggling.

All his money he spent on his boyfriends: on rent for their more luxurious apartment, money towards Yoongi’s secondhand music equipment, indulging Jimin’s insistent craving for name brand ice cream. It was not like he’d ever get to go to college like he’d wanted so the least he could do was put in work to make sure Yoongi and Jimin were comfortable.

He wanted to spoil his boyfriends, make sure they had everything they ever wanted and needed, especially if it made them content or further themselves in their life goals. Whenever he saw one of them looking at a new shirt or bemoaning a medical bill or hungry because their job just wasn’t bringing in enough, Hoseok would sign a new temporary contract. The time Jimin said he saw an opening for singing lessons online but there was a steep down payment, Hoseok looked for a new lease to work for another dance team. When Yoongi’s new agency said he would have a debut debt he’d have to repay before he’d be paid for his work, Hoseok decided to choreograph for a new company. Every day pushed him to limits he never set for himself so that his loved ones would be happy.

When he got off work he rushed home, fragile grin on his face, exhaustion pulling at his eyelids, to find Jimin sprawled on the couch with feet swollen from his shift at the restaurant. Hoseok would always drop his gym bag and lift his younger boyfriend’s ankles to rest on his thighs and rub the soreness up and down his calves. Afterwards, he’d go to the kitchen and put on the kettle, Yoongi’s favorite mug prepped with a dollop of honey and a spoonful of sugar, two tea bags like the eldest liked it. He’d knock on Yoongi’s office door and push him to drink, to relax his voice after hours of recording and redoing tracks. Hoseok would cater to them, checked up on them before he’d even wiped the sweat from his tense brow.

There were many nights Hoseok wanted to take a day off, to go home and rest his mind and his body—to give the smile on his face a break before it broke. He wanted to ask for the knots in his shoulders to be kneaded out by Jimin’s soft fingers, to whisper his insecurities to Yoongi as he was held from behind, to have a few extra dollars to buy new dance shoes that had better insulation. He wanted to tell someone—anyone—that he had bad days too, that his dreams were slipping from his grasp a little more day by day and it hurt.

Being honest with himself, he didn’t see if he could ever start being open. It was just too late. Too late to go back on the persona he’d crafted for himself.

He wasn’t the person his boyfriends thought he was. Who was he to break the illusion, to make their happiness crumble?

 

 

☼ ☼

Light wouldn’t be special—wouldn’t even be noticed—if darkness were not there to contrast it.

 

Bad things seemed to always happen to Jimin.

He moved a bunch when he was young, always forced to start anew with new friends and new schools, leaving behind his best friend Taehyung who he’d never forget. His cat ran away from home when his cousin was supposed to be pet sitting one weekend and the poor baby never came back. By the time he was seven his eyesight had diminished enough to need thick glasses. His favorite bike was misplaced in one of their moves and none of the movers could locate it.

But good things also came Jimin’s way.

As much as his father’s job moved them around the country, the Park family, for some reason, always ended back in Daegu where Jimin and Taehyung were reunited for a few months every couple of years, always with the promise to stay best friends. He had lost his cat but was given a pet bird, which was easier to manage with travel anyway. His vision was poor but he convinced his parents to get him a pair of very attractive emerald-framed glasses that made his face look cute and his eyes look wide and he received many compliments, especially from his second-grade crush. He no longer had a bike but that made Jimin walk around his new neighborhoods more often and that led to many opportunities to get to know the people he lived near and their friendly children.

After a few years, though, the bad started to outweigh the good.

When his grandmother, the woman he loved and admired most in the world, said she wanted nothing to do with him because he wasn’t as straight as she’d hoped, because Jimin had finally found a boyfriend after years of not even being in one place long enough to create lasting connections with anyone—well, Jimin was devastated. All through his early teenage years his parent’s stopped taking him to family reunions, stopped making detours to visit his grandparents’ farm on their drive to Daegu, stopped reporting on how Jimin was doing when they updated his grandmama about their recent move.

Which wouldn’t have ever happened if his classmate hadn’t betrayed his trust, hadn’t blurted out at the school festival in front of all the parents, all the staff, that Jimin couldn’t participate in the kissing booth because it was for girls only, that customers were girls and the fundraisers were boys and Jimin could neither be a customer nor a helper since Jimin would only kiss one person, the guy one year above him that he was dating. Jimin had never been more embarrassed and never again told outsiders about his relationships.

When Jimin was fifteen someone broke into his house and destroyed their kitchen and living room. It was the middle of the night, around three in the morning, and he was petrified as he lay in bed, blanket fisted tightly and covering his head, hearing the sounds of crashes downstairs and screams from upstairs as his father ran down the hall and past his room towards the stairs, as his mother frantically told the one-one-nine dispatcher that they needed help, that they thought the thief had a weapon, that they were new to the city and didn’t have any clue who it could be. Even though it was illogical, a tiny voice in the back of his mind kept saying it was a hate crime, that his house was targeted because of him. Why else would someone choose their house if not because they caught wind of Jimin’s sexuality? Fifteen-year-old Jimin was just young enough to convince himself that his being gay brought all of this on: his grandmother denouncing him, his family never being able to settle down, and now danger literally knocking on their window.

In his twenties, Jimin had had enough and decided in a misconstrued daze that it was time to tip the balance, to do something in his life that he could control. And, it worked—kind of.

He met a man in a grimy alley, the cover of night thick and cloudy over the city of Seoul, Jimin’s forearm pressed against the taller man’s throat as he growled out a warning to cooperate, to not scream or he’d be forced to silence his victim forever.

Jimin didn’t really have a weapon, had no intention of hurting the stranger, to be honest, but there was no way for the guy to know that.

Which is why it shocked him when, rather than fear, or fighting, or even trying to beg, the guy just… smiled. He smiled a toothy smile that took up his whole face, which stunned Jimin into silence instead, loosening his hold on his target in confusion.

The man—Hoseok, he’d learned—gave Jimin his wallet and a pat on his shoulder, a whispered word of wished happiness and some closure, before walking off into the night.

Jimin had wanted a thrill, had wanted to push the balance to see just how much his life could spiral into the darkness, but instead he found a light, one that was blinding and pulled him in.

Months passed with a few more encounters that laid a path for his future.

Yoongi was an enigma, one that drew Jimin in but he also was wary of. How could one person be so talented, have so much potential, yet still struggle? How could someone live such a complex life when Jimin’s was neatly categorized into columns of good and bad, light and dark, mistakes and successes? Jimin was intrigued, enraptured by the musician, and had a hard time coming to terms with how he felt about him, of letting someone in that was multifaceted.

Jimin’s world was solidly black and white and he was beginning to think meeting the two put them solidly in the white lane.

One day, Jimin had agreed to work overtime at the restaurant, promising to close for the night. When he returned back to his apartment he found the lock to the front door jimmied and handle loose. Cold sweat breaking out across his back, Jimin found his mind gripped with the memories of that break-in years ago, the one that still haunted his nightmares with images of the scar his father would forever have across his cheek from engaging the thief while Jimin did nothing in his room. Whipping out his phone, he called Hoseok in a panic, his boyfriend reassuring that he’d be over right away and to not enter the apartment, no matter what.

Luckily, whoever it was only took Jimin’s crappy ten-inch television but it could have been worse, he could have been waiting for him. Jimin had a newfound trust in Hoseok knowing that he’d come to his aid at the drop of a dime if Jimin called. A few weeks later and he and Hoseok had agreed to ask Yoongi if they’d all like to live together, and finally Jimin was able to sleep soundly.

When Jimin received the warning slip at work stating that the restaurant, the one he’d worked in since his arrival in Seoul four years ago, was being bought out by a bigger company, he didn’t know what to think. He had six months maximum to decide what he would do for money, which he really couldn’t do without with the high rent at their new place. When he told his partners he emphasized that he needed to pull his weight for finances, especially since he’d sworn to Yoongi that he’d help him out until he started making a profit at his new agency. They didn’t look happy but they did look resigned, acknowledging Jimin’s choice.

He was on his laptop looking up open employment, stressed enough that his eyes were starting to strain and a headache bloomed on the horizon, when Yoongi came knocking on their bedroom door. He suggested Jimin take being laid off as an opportunity, as a chance to look for a job he really wanted in the coming months. Six weeks later, Jimin was scheduled to begin his vocal lessons through Skype right after his next work shift.

Contemplating his life, Jimin accepted that in order to have happiness he had to have suffering. For life to hand him opportunities it had to take away what he already had to make room. There had always been good and always will be bad, but the only way he’d properly appreciate the good in his life was to never forget life’s lessons. He’d contrast the positive to all the negative he’d been through—and probably will go through in the future—because, with all that life has thrown at him, Jimin would not, could not notice the gifts and blessings if they weren’t constantly on the brink of relinquish. He wouldn’t know what he had until it was gone.

So, Jimin not only welcomed the bad but also encouraged it to continue to ravage him.

 

 

☾ ☆ ☼

The moon did not have the power to shine on its own but it had other special abilities. It was powerful—powerful enough to affect the tides, to create life and encourage evolution. Its power was in its own orbit, its own gravitational pull, its own movements and actions to create change. It has scars, craters and pits, but it still powers on in all its beauty.

“We didn’t make your dream come true, hyung. You did. We were just… the little push you needed in the right direction.”

 

 

Sometimes a star shined not for themselves but for others. Sometimes it shined to guide the way home. Sometimes it shined just because that was what it was born to do. It wasn’t limited to this one job, though, to this one existence. It was a powerhouse of energy and when this energy exhausted itself, it became something different, something new. It’s wise to find a new source of energy if it doesn’t want to become something else—to explode into a giant—when its running low, but change isn’t always bad. Loneliness created a lone star, but sharing its shine created a constellation.

“We don’t love you for how much you do for us, how often you put us first. We love you for you, Hoseokie.”

 

 

Light shows hope and chases away fear, gives off heat and energy. Unlike darkness, it is a physical matter and can be seen. Darkness’ only identity is in its absence of light. Darkness may be faster but light can go places where others cannot go, can make things visible that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Surprisingly, black holes are actually the brightest objects in the universe. Even in darkness, light prevails.

“Jiminnie, you don’t have to lose to be a winner. You don’t have to sacrifice all the time. Sometimes, good things happen to people just because they deserve it.

☾ ☆ ☼

 

 

A moon shines by reflecting the sun.
(Yoongi learns there’s no shame in having help.)
A star shines by exhausting itself.
(Hoseok, one day, is born anew, becomes himself.)
Light shines by chasing away the darkness.
(Jimin realizes that he is more than just his past.)

Galaxies change, galaxies evolve, but they never die. There will always be moons, stars, and light watching over from the sky.