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Poetry for the Little Things

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Jeon Jungkook can be associated with a camera—the heavy device hanging around his neck all day, eyes wandering around the school campus looking for a subject to capture. At the same interval, the photography major can be seen with his jolly friend known as Hoseok—a social butterfly who landed on a white, innocent flower: a literature student named Yoongi, also known as his roommate.  His reputation precedes him, despite being a student he keeps on getting random photography jobs that sometimes pay too little or too well. There’s no in between.

     He’s willing to give all that up—except Hoseok, of course—just to get involved with Park Jimin, the cute literature student who’s been the subject of his eyes two tables away in the library.

     Jungkook and libraries—two separate realms that shouldn’t be linked to one another—and yet, Jungkook was here for Jimin, not for the damn books.

Speaking of Jimin, his nose is stuck on another classic novel written by a novelist whose name doesn’t ring any bell. Anyone can tell that Jimin’s head is focused on the fictional world the novel has got to offer. Jungkook watches Jimin’s concentrated stance, liking the view and the slimming possibility of being caught red-handed. Sometimes, Jimin wouldn’t move for an hour straight, too absorbed by the book he reads and Jungkook took advantage of it to the fullest, watching the literature student from afar with contentment.

Jungkook would get greedy, of course. There are days when he’s tempted to snap a picture, fingers itching to reach for his camera. He would resist the urge, letting countless opportunities pass away like how Jimin would make his way out of the library after a good read, much to Jungkook’s reluctance.

“You know, staring at him won’t do any good,” Jungkook almost drops a loud cuss when Taehyung suddenly whispers in his ear. He works as a student assistant in the library and he’s a good friend of Hoseok, that’s all Jungkook knows about the boy. “Just go and talk to him, really.”

“I thought talking to students isn’t included in the job description,” said Jungkook.

“Grumpy,” Taehyung snorts. “You’re here to read, not to ogle at Jimin.”

“He’s a great read,” Jungkook shrugs. “Besides you know that I’m not a reader.”

“I know, so beat it Jeon. This is the library, not a museum,” Taehyung shoos him away accompanied with the classic hand gesture.

“Grumpy,” Jungkook mirrors Taehyung’s word with a teasing grin. “You’re still working despite the exams coming up?”

“Exams can’t pay a concert ticket,” Taehyung stacks the books other students have left behind. “Besides, I can have the whole library for a whole night if I want to study. The librarian gave me a spare key. I heard from Hoseok that you guys have some exhibition coming up.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook sighs. “Hoseok already decided on a theme.”

“And you’re in a slump?” Taehyung inquires.

The photography student stole a glance at Jimin before answering. “Let’s just say that the circumstances aren’t in my favor.”

Taehyung seems to get the drift. “Oh.”

“Taehyungie!”

A familiar voice called Taehyung, it was Jimin’s. He’s holding the book that keeps him busy since the last hour. A wide smile etched on his face—so that novel is a good read, huh?—Jimin must’ve forgotten that he’s in the library for his voice was rather loud but luckily, the librarian is gone. There were only two people in the library aside from him: Taehyung and Jimin. However, Jimin’s smile falters when he saw Jungkook.

Taehyung gazes at Jungkook with a worried expression, and he only replied with a small smile. He stands up and waves a small goodbye to Taehyung. Before he made his exit to the library, Jungkook stares at Jimin who’s too quick to avoid his eyes. He left the place as pessimistic thoughts began swarming his brain.

If there’s one predicament on being Jeon Jungkook, it’s the fact that Jimin reacts way differently around him. There are times where Jimin would look at him like he’s someone out of his league: a hopeless gaze—which is ridiculous because all Jimin needs to do is reciprocate his damn feelings back.

Sometimes, Jimin looks sad or he doesn’t look at all.

That’s why he was more than willing to give it all up—because being Jeon Jungkook puts him into a disadvantage, the statement tastes bitter against his tongue.

Each step to the dormitory feels heavy, energy leaving his toned body with each effort he exerted. At this point, all Jungkook needs was his bed and pillows—moreover, his precious sleep.

Yoongi yells at him as soon as he made it to their shared room, giving Jungkook a chorus and disco of scattered shoes on the rack but he’s clearly not listening. His roommate stopped midway the lecture when he saw Jungkook’s desolate features. Yoongi wasted no time to grab his phone on the coffee table—damn it, Jungkook realizes. Not again!

“Alright, spill it kid. I have to finish printing those pictures,” Hoseok stared at Jungkook worriedly, contrasting the urgency his voice held.

“Jimin is being Jimin again,” Taehyung replies, eating a big spoonful of Yoongi’s chocolate ice cream that earned a glare from the owner. “I trust you guys won’t tell him that I called him a dumbbell.”

“I don’t get it. You guys don’t have much of an interaction,” Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Yet Jimin is acting like you broke his heart or something.”

“You can’t bother people like this whenever I feel down, hyung,” Jungkook mumbles stubbornly. “Everybody has their cold days. It’ll pass.”

“No, this is the last time. I have to talk to Jimin. He can’t let this whole charade going on, whatever that is.”

“Yoongi hyung!” Jungkook protested. “Don’t make things as awkward as it is!”

“Jungkook’s right,” Hoseok says as he eyes Yoongi. “Besides, you have your own assignment to worry about.”

“Damn, I forgot!” Yoongi exclaims, retreating to his room. He carries a laptop bag and set everything up in the living room. “Fuck Namjoon and literature.”

Taehyung chuckled. “Did you just diss Professor Namjoon and your major?”

“Stop playing innocent,” Jungkook manages to feel a little better by teasing Taehyung. “You’ve had your own share of pent-up complaints, too.”

Yoongi continue to rant, not minding the two boys. “We’re supposed to post a stanza on Twitter under a specific hashtag while tagging Professor Namjoon for two straight weeks. I have to apologize in advance for the high quality poetic content you’ll see later on.”

Hoseok reached to Yoongi, kissing his forehead. “Sweep me off my feet with your work, babe. As much as I’d like to stay, I have to develop those photos. You better start with your project, Jungkook.”

He gave Hoseok a thumbs-up despite not having a single idea on where to start. Jungkook lies through his teeth. He already has a plan on mind and it’s on the verge of getting trashed—because it involves Jimin’s participation. Damn his greed for getting what he wants.

Jungkook lays on his bed, evident with the comfortable smile on his features. Taehyung left his room an hour ago after narrating his Jimin experience, which left him wishing that Jimin could talk to him freely like Taehyung. The wishful thinking is supposed to drive Jungkook all sentimental but recalling all the hours he could freely watch Jimin in his natural and unguarded self was enough to drive the bad thoughts away—momentarily.

He grabs the phone on his bedside table and scrolls to his Twitter feed. He follows five people in total: two professors and three students—including Jimin.

He saw consecutive tweets of selfies from Professor Kim Seokjin, his photography teacher. Jungkook acknowledges that the man is indeed blessed by the Heavens but the #WorldwideHandsome tempts him for countless times to unfollow but figured out he’d do it after graduation.

Taehyung tweets a picture of his dog filled with violet heart emojis along with the #Yeontan.

Hoseok tweets a stolen picture of Yoongi and Taehyung replied whipped.

Jimin, as usual, doesn’t tweet much.

He hasn’t heard from Professor Namjoon.

So in conclusion, it was normal per se.

Jungkook isn’t a social media enthusiast but he got a good number of followers despite not tweeting anything—the sorcery.

He locked his phone and drifted into a deep slumber.

He didn’t hear the phone vibrating against the table, his screen lighting up as a notification pops up from the only Twitter account that matters to him.


 

 

     “Good morning. We have a surprise quiz today. Take out your notebook.”

     Whines filled the room as soon as Professor Seokjin dropped the bomb. He’s always been a top banana in the shock department.

Jungkook takes out his notebook, silently praying that he can at least attain a passing score. Hoseok, on the other hand, looks collected and calm. He can see the anger Professor Seokjin is trying to hide. Who dared mess up Mr. Kim’s morning? They’re the unwilling victims of his wrath, someone take responsibility!

     “Don’t even think of cheating your way on getting a high score,” the professor warns with a warm motherly smile. “I’ll get back at you on the exhibition next month. Trust me; it’s not going to be pretty in your records.”

     The warning was more than enough to put the whole class in their best examination behavior.

     Jungkook crinks his strained neck as soon as the bell rings. Professor Seokjin skims through the notebooks with a small smile when he left the room, Hoseok trailing him from behind.

     “Damn,” Hoseok cusses as soon as they’re a good distance away. “I don’t know the answers at all!”

     Jungkook shoots him a confused stare. “I thought you know all the answers.”

     Hoseok only laughs.

     In a distance, he can see Yoongi and Jimin making their way to their direction. Jungkook hits Hoseok rather hard, leaving the other yelp in pain.

     “What’s the matter with—oh,” Hoseok grins as soon as he saw the two incoming literature majors. “This is so much fun.”

     “Hoseok!” Yoongi shouted loudly despite his small figure and the close talking distance. Jimin follows behind like a meek lamb. “Professor Namjoon gave us a surprise quiz.”

     “Well, Professor Seokjin did a number on us, too,” replies Jungkook.

     Jimin looks at him and grins, catching Jungkook off guard. “The two Kims must’ve argued on something childish again.”

     “That confirms my theory,” Yoongi licks his lips. “This is downright injustice.”

     “Cool down, babe,” Hoseok chuckles. “Don’t be a theorist. All you need is an iced americano.”

     “Why don’t we all go to the coffee shop, then?” Yoongi suggested.

     “I don’t drink coffee,” Jimin and Jungkook say simultaneously, staring at one another but Jimin was the first to break the session. The younger hides the distress he feels.

     Hoseok gave Jungkook a teasing look before holding Yoongi’s hand. “Suit yourselves, then. I’ll be stealing Yoongi for a bit. Enjoy each other’s company.”

     Jungkook watched their figure on the hallway getting small as they walk further from where he stands, suddenly regretting his honest outburst about coffee. He would endure the bitter taste for all that he cares. As much as Jungkook wanted to be with Jimin, if it means sharing an awkward atmosphere, he would rather distance himself away. If there’s one thing that Jungkook wanted in the whole wide world, it was Jimin’s smile.

     And Jungkook is willing to do anything to make Jimin happy.

     Even if it means sacrificing his own.

     “I’m sorry, hyung,” Jungkook muster a friendly smile. “Something came up.”

     It was all lies. He’s aware that Jimin knows, he’s not dumb enough to buy such dense propaganda. The older’s face fell into disappointment, as if he’s expecting something from Jungkook. It was too late for the younger to amend the situation because Jimin replied.

     “You can say directly to me that you’re not available to keep me company, just to let you know,” it was meant to sound like a joke but Jimin gave Jungkook an offended stare, making the younger regret twice in one day.

     Jungkook wasn’t able to defend himself because Jimin walked away, leaving him speechless.

     He ends up skipping the rest of his classes as he runs back to his room, tossing his shoes aside and buried his face into his favorite pillow, just in time for his tears to cascade.

Jungkook wonders why Jimin looks at him like he’s the last thing he wanted to see—like he’s the one driving Jimin sad.

Soon enough sleep catches on him—forgetting his messed-up day, indulging on a peaceful illusion away from the upcoming exhibition and Jimin.

“What the fuck did you do this time?”

Jungkook stirs from his sleep as he hears Yoongi’s angry voice outside his room. He was about to answer his roommate but he heard another voice retorting that sounds so calm, collected, familiar—Jimin.

“That’s none of your business, Yoongi.”

“This is partially my business,” Yoongi hisses. “Because I’m getting involved even though I don’t want to.”

“Let’s talk some other time,” Jimin replied, feigning sarcasm. “Clear your head a little, then we’ll talk. See you later.”

Jungkook hears Jimin’s footsteps and the sound of closing the door. Yoongi cusses for a good minute before retreating back to his room, based on the loud bang of the door. He pretends not to hear everything and seeks for his phone instead. After fishing it out of his slacks’ pocket, he placed it on the bedside table before changing into his comfortable clothes: a white, oversized shirt and basketball shorts—nothing out of the ordinary.

The younger opened the Twitter app, scrolling for tweets that don’t interest him until he sees one that changed his mood for today.

Jimin tweeted.

Park fucking Jimin remembered that he has a Twitter account and he finally tweeted last night.  Jungkook saw Yoongi’s reply under said tweet. His roommate’s words from last night flashed on his mind like a subway. Jimin tweeted because his project requires him to but that’s the last thing Jungkook was concerned of—the stanza of the poem beguiles him the most.

Jungkook’s expertise isn’t written pieces of art, it was photography. Yet Jungkook doesn’t need to be a genius to realize that Jimin dedicated a whole verse to someone—a man.

His mood quickly changed from 100 to 0. Jungkook coolly admits, he’s a little jealous right now. Just the thought of Jimin writing the poem with a man in his mind was enough to drive Jungkook more jealous.

As much as he wanted to retreat to his dreams, it wasn’t even dark outside yet. It’s too early to go to sleep again.

The clock in his phone displayed 11:30 am, reminding him that he didn’t eat his lunch yet. He’s not in the mood to go out and was about to call delivery when someone knocked his bedroom door.

“Jungkook?” Yoongi calls out. “You want to eat lunch?”

“I was about to call for a Chinese takeout,” Jungkook replies.

“Someone was kind enough to give you ramen at this hour,” the older says.

Jungkook went out of his room and Yoongi was right. A big bowl of unopened ramen lies on the coffee table, waiting to be eaten.

Jungkook thinks of someone who could’ve bought him ramen. Not Taehyung—he’s been saving up for a local concert of a band he keeps track of (but Jungkook don’t). Not Hoseok—he spoils Yoongi with his riches. And definitely not Yoongi—that hyung buys lamb skewers whenever he feels like treating Jungkook.

So who could’ve given him ramen?

“Jungkook,” Yoongi calls him twice this day, snapping out his reverie. “If you’re not going to eat, then I will. I have afternoon classes. Spare me with your moping snippet.”

He eventually laughs at Yoongi’s antics, as he gets a smaller bowl to eat the ramen in portions. As he chews the noodles, Jungkook’s mind wanders about the poem. All of the possible interpretations that the poem offers only fuel his jealousy. After a second helping, he decided to ask Yoongi who is quietly eats his food.

“Hyung, is there some sort of poem interpretation?”

“Literary analysis,” Yoongi corrects him. “There are a few approaches that I’m aware of.”

“I’m curious about Jimin hyung’s poem.”

Yoongi chocked on his ramen. Jungkook passed a glass of water to him, immediately gulping the cool liquid in one go.

“You should’ve told me at a proper timing,” Yoongi was still coughing. “If we’re going to have this kind of talk, we need a pen and a paper.”

With that agenda in mind, both boys ate in silence. As soon as the dirty dishes were deposited on the sink, Yoongi sat cross-legged on the floor with a pen and paper on the coffee table while Jungkook sits on the couch, facing Yoongi. Jungkook let the older borrow his phone, displaying a screenshot of Jimin’s tweet.

“The first line,” Yoongi began. “There are two plausible interpretations: someone was watching Jimin with that kind of expression or it’s the other way around: Jimin was watching someone with the same expression.

Staring at you like a headline is a bit tricky to explain. Headlines are usually the important and the eye-catching part of the newspaper. Basically, you can say that Jimin is staring at someone because of their striking features or that person was important to him in one way or another. Then again, it can be the other way around because the perspective isn’t defined.

The third line is an irony. So good to be true as reality is a neat way of stating that truth is stranger than fiction. The final line simply says that the man can do things well, defying gravity was an exaggeration. Do you understand?”

Jungkook nods, despite having additional questions. He realizes once again that he wasn’t cut out to understand literature. How could Yoongi derive such analysis from a stanza of poem? Literatures students must be pure geniuses.

“I have to go to class,” Yoongi grabs his bag with a noncommittal stare. “Don’t get holed up in here and attend your classes!”

He retorted. “I’m free for the rest of the afternoon.”

“Then you better get your ass moving on that exhibit project of yours. Hoseok will beat you like what he did last year,” Yoongi wears his shoes and went out of their shared space.

Jungkook used to be motivated whenever Yoongi cheers for him instead of Hoseok but the thoughts of Jimin writing a fucking stanza for some other man riles his jealousy to the highest peak. He gets competitive over Hoseok on every single thing that allows competition but he’s not in the mood. He heaves a cuss as he gather his camera, moping won’t do him any good.

However when Jungkook opened the door, he didn’t expect Jimin leaning on the railings of the dormitory. The older clearly don’t give two fucks that Jungkook lives on the fourth floor; the height didn’t faze him at all. He can feel his fingers slowly working on his camera. As the lens aimed directly at Jimin, he looked through them just in time Jungkook presses the button.

He already let go of the camera, let it hang around his neck while fixing a gaze at Jimin, expecting the older to look away but he didn’t.

Jimin stares at Jungkook still—like he’s the only one he sees, like he’s important— staring at him like a headline.

His eyes were filled with intensity that Jungkook can’t grasp, much less describe it. The atmosphere was tight with tension, but it wasn’t awkward. Jimin feels it as much as Jungkook does; nevertheless both are cowards for not taking the risk.

But Jungkook had enough.

He’s tired of the push and pull. Maybe it was right to be a tad bit greedy all along.

“Hyung,” he musters the courage to ask the magic question. “Will you be my muse?"