Chapter 19: Chapter 19.
Hongdae and its surrounding areas were always busy.
Shin Kim hadn’t been here since he graduated, so he felt a little nervous. Looking around, people seemed so much younger and fresher than him. He was here right after work, so he was still wearing his suit. Looking down at himself, Shin realized that he no longer suited Hongdae, which was predominantly inhabited by college students.
A small bar named RS was near Sangsu Station and it was a place Shin frequented during his university years. The tables were made from old trees and they lined the long narrow space. A giant cabinet covered one of the walls and it was filled with bottles of alcohol. It was not a well-known place; it was a secret heaven for the regulars. It felt very private, and that was why Shin liked this place so much.
RS’s bartender, Robin, was the owner of the bar. The second bartender, a very young man, was named Hidden, and the two made a good team. When they spotted Shin, they greeted him, “Oh, Shin!”
“Hey, how have you been?”
Shin greeted them back with a nod. He asked Robin, “Robin, you’re off today, aren’t you?”
“And is Siwoo not here yet?”
“He went to the washroom. Oh, there he is.”
When Shin turned around, he saw a sweet-looking man walking out of the washroom. He was as tall as Shin but thinner. He also looked pretty, especially for a man. His hair was very curly, giving him a young lovely vibe. When the man saw Shin, he grinned.
“Hey, Shin. Long time no see.”
“What the! Siwoo Jung! You haven’t changed at all!”
Siwoo Jung was Shin’s only friend in high school. They also went to the same college. They first met in high school and had the same classes all three years. It so happened that they attended the same university as well. They majored in different departments, but they ended up taking the same elective courses, so they remained close throughout their college years as well.
Siwoo pointed at Shin and said to Hidden, “Hidden, look at this guy! Isn’t he so handsome? I went to graduation just to see Shin Kim in a suit.”
Shin laughed and replied, “What are you talking about, Siwoo? We graduated the same year, so you obviously went because it was also your own graduation!”
“Ha! My father didn’t want to see me graduate, so I didn’t plan on going.”
Siwoo pouted, and although he was masculine, he still acted sweetly. He had long eyelashes, creating shadows on his eyes. Siwoo and Shin stared at each other before bursting into laughter.
They finally sat down at a table. Siwoo asked, “So what’s up? I was surprised you called me, Shin.”
“Well, it has been so long since we met each other. The last time was at graduation, right?”
They became friends easily because they had a lot in common. They were both very tall and good-looking. Whenever they walked around together on campus, they were the center of attention. Oddly enough, however, only one of them attracted countless girls.
Shin knew the reason for this for a very long time. One day, Siwoo calmly confessed to Shin that he was gay, and Shin replied that he already knew. When Siwoo asked when and how Shin found out, Shin explained that he first knew when he saw Siwoo going into the washroom to change into his gym clothes when all the other boys changed in the classroom together.
Siwoo smiled bitterly and replied, “I wish my own father would hurry up and figure it out too.”
Shin didn’t tell Siwoo that he knew earlier because Shin didn’t want to get closer to Siwoo. Or anyone for that matter. Siwoo knew Shin’s way with people, and although Siwoo didn’t approve of it, he also liked it too. When they were together, they had a lot of fun.
Shin added, “I actually called you because I wanted to get some advice.”
“What? The great Shin Kim needs my advice? What is it? Are you already sick of your work or something?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Then what? Are you dating someone from the office? Is it about workplace romance?”
Siwoo ordered a glass of gin and tonic with double gin and turned to Shin. When Shin remained quiet, Siwoo exclaimed, “What? Did I get it right? You? A playboy who sleeps with 30 different women every month? YOU need advice on romance?”
“30 women in a month…? You exaggerate too much, Siwoo.”
“OMG, I am so excited and nervous about what you are going to tell me. Let me drink first before you say anything.”
Siwoo grabbed the glass from Hidden. The gin and tonic had a piece of cucumber that was carved into a rose shape. Siwoo gulped his drink down in one gulp and sighed. He then looked up at Shin, who looked at him quietly. Siwoo exclaimed again, “OMG, I can tell that you are totally serious!”
“So what’s the girl’s name? What is she like?”
“It’s not a woman.”
Siwoo dropped his glass, but Shin caught it and put it down on the table calmly. Shin warned him, “Hey, be careful.”
“Are you kidding me? Are you making fun of me?”
When Siwoo frowned, Shin continued to look at him and explained, “Not at all. I am telling you. It’s a man. I’ve fallen for a man.”