Warning & Disclaimer: Contains mentions of child neglect. This fanfiction draws from real people, places, and events however its connections are purely the work of the author’s imagination. Talayiah is an original character and is completely fictional, although some aspects are based on true stories.
My Playdate with V
by J.H. Pyo
CHAPTER 3: BABYSITTER G
We dropped the boys off on the corner of Ocean and Pine. In order to make plans for the day, I was given the knowledge that the boys will be meeting Mr. Warren G, but was under strict instructions not to let them know. Since Talayiah was only 6, I didn’t feel the need to go into details about who Mr. G was so I just gave her simple instructions about staying out of the camera’s view. I told her she will be sitting in the front seat with Carlos while I sat in the back with the boys to translate. She nodded in understanding.
We stood a few feet away from the boys while they filmed their meet up. Mr. Warren G drove up in a white SUV limousine and the boys were surprised when he greeted them. Soon after, we all packed into the limo and headed for VIP Records.
The filming at VIP went by pretty fast. We were able to find Talayiah a corner where she was able to stay pretty well hidden. V of course was a constantly distracted. I think the mere sight of her made his heart break but whenever she looked at him he’d immediately bring a smile to his face and do something silly to make her laugh.
While they were filming Warren G had bought the boys Long Beach caps so when we were wrapping up, Taehyung wanted to buy Talayiah one too. As he was picking out a hat, I went to check on Talayiah. Yoongi was standing above her and noticed she was asleep. “잠을 충분히 잘 못 자서 그런가보네 (Probably from lack of proper sleep,)” he mumbled while shaking his head in anger. I am not sure exactly how to describe Yoongi’s relationship with Talayiah. He had this strange push and pull type of emotion towards her. It was as if he was really angry for what had happened to her and wanted to save her, but he was also hesitant and avoided her. I had asked him to carry her to the car but instead of picking her up himself, he called out to Kookie, “국아, 얘 잠들었어. 차로 데리고 가. (Kooka, take her to the car. She’s fallen asleep.)”
Although Kookie was still a baby himself, he stepped up and acted like a proper 오빠 (Big Brother). He gently put one arm under her head and one under her knees, lifting her like a feather. I think he has always been a strong boy. Even now the boys share their fears of being punched by him.
Our next stop was 21st and Lewis. Although Kookie’s gentleness did not wake Talayiah, the drive did. It was just too cramped in the front seat for her to have properly rested. Mr. G was kind. He suggested that Talayiah sit in the back so she could lie down and sleep. I told her I would be busy translating while the boys filmed so she would have to stay back with the limo driver and just rest. At that moment Jin climbed into the limo with a bag full of snacks he had packed for her. She jump at the sight of it and gladly took it.
“다음에 더 많이 사줄게, 알았지? (Slowly, I will buy you a lot more later, ok?)” said Jin as he patted her on the head.
Since Talayiah seemed pretty content there with all the food, V felt more reassured to leave her there. As we headed down the street, Jimin had counted heads and called out, “남준이 형 어디있어? (Where’s Namjoon hyung?)” I look back and saw Namjoon closing the trunk of the film crew’s van. He had jogged back into the limo. I told the others to go ahead, “제가 남준씨 찾아서 따라갈게요. (I’ll get Namjoon and catch up.)” I walked back to the limo and poked my head in and saw the sweetest thing. Namjoon was sitting in the back of the limo with Talayiah snuggled up close. He was giving her a children’s book to look at.
For those of you who might not know, Namjoon loves to read. He must have had books growing out of him because I could not figure out for the life of me how he managed to get a hold of much less carry around a children’s book for Talayiah to read! I could not get myself to interrupt them though. I waited by the door. He noticed I was sitting at the edge and gestured to me that he will be right out.
Once Namjoon came out, we went to rejoin the rest of the group. As we walked, I asked, “이 애들 보는 책들은 어디서 났어요? (Where did you get the kids book from?)”
He smirked and laughingly said, “제가 항상 아이들이 보는 책을 쓰고 싶었거든요. 그래서 우리가 Third Street Promenade에 있었을 때, 이 책을 찾았는데 삽화가 너무 좋아서 나중에 참고하려고 샀어요. 근데 이게 이렇게 유용하게 쓰일 줄 누가 알았겠어요? (I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book so when we were at Third Street Promenade I spotted that book and really liked the illustrations so I bought it for reference. Who knew it would come in so handy?)”
As soon as we caught up with the rest of the group, they began filming. Mr. G showed the boys his old neighborhood and the famous 21st and Lewis location.
V, Kookie, and I got to the limo first. V eagerly wanted to see how Talayiah was doing but when he got there, she was fast asleep. When he saw her little body curled up, probably because of the a/c, he immediately took off his outer shirt and placed it over her. For a moment, I thought I saw jealousy flash across Kookie’s face, realizing he is no longer the maknae of the group. But he turned that moment into one of growing up. He too, took off his outer sweater and laid it over her. V gave Kookie a proud smile.
Since we were done filming, we let Taliyah continue to sleep in the back. V placed her little head on his lap while everyone else squeezed into the limo. The ride back was pretty calm. Namjoon and Yoongi talked with Mr. Warren G. Hobi, Jin, and Jimin talked about all the amazing things they had seen that day. Kookie and V played silent thumb wars while trying not to wake Tae Tae. It made the game that much more challenging and fun when they could not move much or laugh too hard.
Halfway through the drive, Talayiah woke up and of course the boys included her in the game, doing a three way thumb war. When the limo arrived at Ocean and Pine, V told Talayiah to stay in the limo and watch them from the window. She did just that, her little nose pressed up against the tinted glass. It’s wonderful what editing can do cause V was so distracted. Fortunately the editor was able to find angles that didn’t record V constantly looking over at the limo and making faces at Talayiah.
The boys were given instructions by Warren G to rewrite the lyrics to his song Regulate, telling their life story. He wished them luck and left. Off camera however, Mr. G had offered to take Talayiah and I home to the dorm. The boys had to film more and I thought it best to take Talayiah back because she had been with us all day. I was worried the aunt might be upset even though she seemed like she didn’t care. I reassured V that it would probably be for the best, especially if he wanted to bring her out again. “오늘은 이 정도로 하는게 좋을 것 같아요. (Let’s not push our luck, ok?)” I told him. He agreed and we said our good-bye.
While in the limo with Mr. G, he asked Talayiah a lot of questions about her home life. Her answers did not seem to surprise him, as if he had seen these sort of situations a lot. When Talayiah was distracted with the TV in the limo, Mr. G explain that he grew up with many families in similar situations and that he hoped it does not get worse for her. He said she had a strong base to her, he speculated that it was due to the strong bond she had with her mom.
“Hopefully that will help her through worse times,” he said.
“Worse?” I asked.
“Yeah…I’ve seen girls in her situation get taken and put into one foster home to another. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a good home that wants to adopt her but that is hard, man.”
After hearing all this I did not know which was worse-to have her removed from this terrible home or have her be in a place of unknown in the foster system. When we got to her unit I was so scared to knock. When the door opened I was surprised to see an elderly woman.
“Hamo!” shouted Talayiah as she ran towards the elderly woman. “This is my grandma!”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Where have you been, child?” said her grandmother in a worried tone. “I can’t believe your aunt just let you leave with a bunch of strangers! No offense, you seem like a nice lady but how could she!” The last part was yelled over her shoulder at the aunt who was lounging on the couch insolently. She looked over to me and thanked me for watching over Talayiah.
I gave her a brief explanation of what had happened and she was very grateful. She expressed her sorrow about Talayiah’s circumstances and that she wished so much that she herself was able to care for her but she was too old.
“I’ve been trying to get some sense into her aunt, hoping that caring for Talayiah might make her grow up but it’s looking like I’m just putting Talayiah through more hardship instead. I just don’t know what to do,” she cried. “This isn’t how you care for a child!” she tossed back at the aunt.
I had no words to comfort this woman. I too was so sad. I told her that while I was here I would come and visit Talayiah as often as I could. She thanked me and I said good-bye to them. “I’ll see you tomorrow Tae Tae!” I explained to the grandmother this was a nickname given to her by one of the boys next door and she smiled.
“Thank you so much for taking care of her. Please come as often as you can,” she begged.
After the door closed I crashed right against the wall. What a day! I was glad that I did not have to talk to the aunt. I was also glad that the grandmother gave us permission to take her as often as we would like. While talking to me she had kept looking back at the aunt and yelling at her, tell her she’s should shape up. It was a bit awkward to say the least.
Once I got my bearings together, I went home to crash. It was such a stressful day trying to juggle the schedule and hiding Talayiah from the cameras. But it was all worth it to see the smile on her face. She had so much fun with the boys she did not want to leave. I had to convince her just as much as I had to convince V that it was for the best.
The next morning when I arrived at the boys dorm, Talayiah was already over playing. J-hope was doing one of his usual crazy dances and had Talayiah on the ground laughing. She was having such a great time I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen when the boys had to leave. I think Suga thought the same. Standing next to me, he sighed as he watched them play with her.
It was a quarter to ten when the driver arrived. We all headed towards the door except Jimin. He went to the bedroom and came back with a box in his hand. When he and Rap Monster were at King Taco the day before there was a shoe store nearby. He had noticed Talayiah’s torn shoes and bought her a new pair. He knelt down and took off her old shoes and slipped the new ones on. He even remembered to buy socks! I had noticed Jimin was a considerate person but did not think he would go this far. My heart melted.
As he finished tying her shoe, I had to ask, “신발 사이즈는 어떻게 알았어요? (How did you know her shoes size?)”
“아… 어제 차에서 잘 때 손으로 쟀어요. (Ah, I just used my hand and measured it when she was sleeping in the car yesterday,)” he said with a proud smile.
I was impressed.
We headed for Warren G’s studio so the boys could practice. Talayiah and I relaxed in Mr. G’s studio office. He showed us around and even tried to explain the basics of mixing but I think Talayiah and I were both pretty lost.
“What are they doing?” asked Talayiah.
“They are practicing a song they wrote for Mr. Warren G,” I replied.
“Would you like to write one too?” asked Mr. G.
“Yeah!” shouted Talayiah.
After several minutes of asking Talayiah about herself, Mr. Warren G came up with a short verse:
My name is Talayiah and when I was three
My mama watched kdramas on MBC
She said she gonna marry Mr. Minho Lee
So she taught me Korean since I was three.
It was amazing how fast he came up with that. I guess true rappers can do that. Talayiah was excited about recording her own song. She went that told all the boys while they were practicing. They all said they would sing one with her too. That just added to her joy. I was getting worried.
I know, I’m a worry wart. After the conversation I had with the grandmother and Warren G, I just could not imagine what was going to happen when the boys left. I tried to shake it off and just appreciate the moment so I smiled and cheered for her when she came back to tell me.
We sat in the corner behind the camera and watched the boys record. Mr. G let Talayiah sneak over to the soundboard to watch through the window once in awhile when the camera was on the boys. She was so cute standing next to Mr. G, a tiny girl and a big man.
After we finished filming, the boys fulfilled their promise to Talayiah. They sat with her in the sound booth and whipped up a quick rap with her. Although Suga contributed greatly to the song, he refused to sing it for some reason. I had yet to figure him out. She sang the one section she had practiced while the boys somewhat winged it to the rhythm of Warren G’s Regulate.
Regulators, We regulate the tragedy these children face and we damn good too.
You give them pain, we give them comfort.
You give them grief, we give them joy, you know what I mean? Mercy Please! REGULATORS!!! MOUNT UP!
It was a clear bright morning, a clear bright day
Suga, V, and Jungkookie met a girl Tae Tae
She spoke Korean, it took them by surprise
They ask her why? She’s chillin’ all alone.
My name is Talayiah and when I was three
My mama watched kdramas on MBC
She said she gonna marry Mr. Minho Lee
So she taught me Korean since I was three
It may not have been objectively the most profound song ever, but for me that moment it was the most amazing song I had ever heard. They were being true regulators for her, taking the tragedies in her life and bringing joy and comfort to her. There was more to the song, but I do not want to give it away. Who know, maybe one day they will release it.
The more time I spent with these boys the more I was inspired. Not just by their talent but by their action and heart.
CHAPTER 4: MISSING
Illustrated by: Sandee
Edited by: Telumiel
There have been many theories given about the Spring Day MV, from “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” to Sewol Ferry tributes. There is one theory no one has ever explored. Why the Laundromat?