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September 13, 2016

if one goes into kim taehyun’s room, these are the things one would find:
01. three cats: one black, one white. one black and white.
02. a guitar and a violin. the second immaculate, the first filled with scratches and old stickers
that he now regrets.
03. a black notebook, as old as he can remember. it used to always be at his reach not it’s now
closed deep inside of his drawer. he sometimes takes it back, reads it. it used to make him
uncomfortable, but now it makes him laugh.
04. another black notebook, this one new. in its pages there are the following:
04.1 a letter to a boy he once loved. never sent.
04.2 a letter to a boy he once hated, never sent.
04.3 a letter to a boy who once was his best friend, also never sent.
04.4 recipes
05. anxiety pills
06. sleeping pills.
07. still a lot of pills, actually. very little development here.
08. more than a hundred of physical albums. not as many books. there’s very little you can
manage to bring on your own when you’re kicked out of your house over night.
09. pictures, a bunch of them. most of them new, but a lot of them old. his favorites would be:
09.1 one of himself when he was a 5-year-old staring at the camera, middle part on, a
pout and the look of a kid who definitely didn’t want to have his picture taken
09.2 one of his mother, smiling
09.3 one of his father, reading
09.4 one of his new home
10. a ghost
and the ghost is probably the thing he likes the least.
( there is a pile over the sink; dirty, rotten food reminding him of something that he should
have taken are of a week ago but never did. taehyun doesn’t have the time )

his steps are quick as he walks out of the subway in this new town of his, guitar on his back,
its case dirty with paint. he runs long and thin fingers through his black hair just to have it fall
back on its usual middle part, small eyes scanning the streets as he walks. this is a stupid habit
he developed, there is always an old, lingering feeling that he is being watched. that just like
in his room, there are ghosts in the city too. and taehyun sees one in every corner. never the
ones he wants to, of course. never one of them.

( “where are you going?” another boy; his eyes red, and not because of any crying. very few
tears in this new future of his, only debts. “you should stay.”
“another day, maybe.”
he never goes back )

the university welcomes him in with a hint of nostalgia. not that it is in any way similar to his
old, traditional high school, but it still hits him every time. hits him with insecurities, fear. hits
him with the idea that he can’t be who he is inside these walls. this is not the future his father
had envisioned for him once, that taehyun is sure of. no. kim taehyun was not born to be a
music undergraduate, but much has changed. his father was not the one paying for his tuition,
his grandmother is. his father doesn’t even know where taehyun lives now and he’d rather
it stays that way. what would he say, though, he wonders, in the quiet of the night. what
would kim sungsoo say about his son studying music, having a part-time job, sharing a small
apartment with another boy. he can’t help but wonder what would his father and mother say.
or if they even still care.

( you have 7 missed calls from: father
[ delete ] )

the smell of onions always makes him slightly nauseated, but the smile on her face always
makes him slightly better. there is a slap on his back, a frown, “you’re almost late, kim
“almost,” he echoes, “almost is the key word here, mrs. song.”
“just get to work,” she tells him, hitting him again with a piece of cloth. taehyun just nods,
apron ready. working on a restaurant has never been his dream job but it’s part time, and it
was what his grandmother helped him with. “it’s to build character,” she had said, smiling,
and taehyun wasn’t going to complain. it wasn’t all that bad of a job, all things considered,
except for the moments he had to play with mrs. song children. he doesn’t remember playing
nanny being a part of his job requirements at the least, but went along with it. maybe because
she’d always give him dinner after his shift.

maybe he just likes her, but that’s a very weird concept.

( the pills are kept in a drawer now, only taken when the doctor said he should, safe from
hungry hands. the money is low now, also safe and sometimes he even forgets about it. he also
forgets who he is, sometimes. but just sometimes )

“you never talk about yourself, taehyun,” his coworker says one day as the two of them clean
tables and plates.
“what do you wanna know?”
“i don’t know. like,” she stops, thinking, “where are you from?”
“around,” is his reply, and he smiles, simple.
he’s free.

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