Park Chanyeol promised the second lieutenant that he wouldn’t miss graduation. He never lied to her. He always kept his promises.
The first row of seats overlooking the green lawn stood absolutely empty. It was reserved for the celebrity future graduates of the 25th regimen. Nana scanned for Junsu thinking that next to him she would find him. He wore his hair short and black with a green beret, a new confident military uniform.
“Recruit Junsu is in the running for the Glory Forge Award against Park Chanyeol.”
Nana craned her neck. Drill sergeant Ma tapped her shoulder.
“The squad is sitting in the back,” drill sergeant Ma pointed out.
“Ah. How did you know that I was looking for them?” Nana replied as a bead of sweat traveled down her forehead.
“It’s obvious,” she replied as she furrowed her brow.
Was she allowing to show her true feelings in front of her platoon?
The second lieutenant pulled drill sergeant Ma aside.
“It’s my first graduating class. I’m nervous that they wouldn’t show up on time, ” Nana said as she tucked a strand of hair underneath her beret.
All of the Big Bang sat together except Recruit Choi Seunghyun who was excused and the squad leader, Park Chanyeol who she desperately expected and wanted for him to show. Where was he? He hadn’t arrived yet to his own graduation.
“Why are they sitting in the back? Bring them up front, drill sergeant.”
The sergeant murmured something to the squad and then she returned to inform the second lieutenant.
“They refused to move. Recruit Kwon Ji Jong said that they won't sit up front until their squad leader makes it.”
“Where is he?”
Drill sergeant Ma shrugged her shoulders.
The second lieutenant paced up and down the rows of lined white chairs. She glanced at her watch. The graduation was about to start in the next five minutes. The general, her father, walked to the podium to announce the awards. It was becoming late—too late.
Her father spoke to the graduating class of their achievements and their future in the nation’s army.
“I thank all of you and I am proud of the 25th regimen squad leader who displayed heroism in leading our recruits. I am proud to announce the leader and winner of the Glory Forge challenge, Recruit Park Chanyeol.
The second lieutenant flinched. Park Chanyeol’s name was mentioned. Omo. He wasn’t here. She stared at the ground.
After a prolonged silence, she looked up and noticed that Recruit Kwon Ji Jong sauntered up to the podium. He grabbed the microphone by its head and tapped it.
“Our squad leader was unable to attend the ceremony today, but under his behalf I accept the award. He led us to win this challenge building the strengths of our squad to work as a team and as something greater.” He glanced over at Nana. “As part of the Republic of Korea Army.”
The crowd applauded. The second lieutenant scanned the back row with her eyes and noticed a man with an outgrown buzz cut stretching out his legs. She quietly walked closer to take a look and noticed that it was Choi Seunghyun. He sat down next to Kang Daesung. Wasn’t he supposed to be with her friend Park Bom?
As the general, announced each of the names of the graduating class members to receive their certificate of c