Chapter 2: Chapter 2.
“Assistant Manager Choi?”
The human resource department’s general manager called out Woojin’s name. It was lunchtime and Woojin was eating alone and reading “Regarding the Pain of Others.” When Woojin needed, the general manager, who was wearing an old fashioned gold-framed glasses, continued to stare at Woojin and asked, “Our company isn’t very big, so why does it feel like I have never seen you before?”
“We had an orientation for the new recruits, and I think you, Assistant Manager Choi, are going to help us out.”
Woojin looked at the general manager quietly. It was a well-known fact that Woojin wasn’t good at saying no. That was why any complicated paperwork was often given to Woojin. On the other hand, because he did so much complex work, his work reputation was flawless.
Woojin worked efficiently and his documents were always very neat. It appeared that the general manager of the human resources department heard the rumor about Woojin’s talent.
When Woojin narrowed his eyes, which was his habit whenever he contemplated something, the general manager frowned slightly and explained, “Assistant Manager Jihoon Kang was supposed to take care of this, but he had an unexpected business trip…”
“It’s a very easy task. All you have to do is to provide some mentoring on our company’s accounting system, groupware guide, and office rules.”
“Are… you very busy?”
“No, it’s ok.”
Woojin remembered the time when one of the members of the human resources team asked him if he was always annoyed. Woojin always thought his face was unmemorable, but it seemed that he had a resting bitch face. On top of that, he was fairly well-known among his coworkers.
In a workplace, good quality work alone was not enough to remain unnoticed. One needed to get along well with others and be not too close but not too distant in order to be hidden in the crowd.
Woojin clenched his hands slowly. He stared blankly for a while before leaving a note on his desk and walked out of the office. As he walked the hallway, he sighed.
It was hard for Woojin to understand people. Having a social life was a mystery to him.
Not too close but not too distant either.
Making sure not to cross the line.
It was very hard for him to figure out where the “line” was.
An invisible line between people. The concept, which probably came easy to most people, always confused Woojin.
When he was a child, Woojin was tentatively diagnosed with mild autism. He was always quiet and his face was always blank. His mother thought he was odd, so naturally she took him to a clinic.
In elementary school, Woojin often got in trouble for not answering teachers’ questions. It happened so often that his parents were called to the school, and it was only then Woojin realized that he had to answer when his teacher asked him something.
It was similar with his friends. Woojin was very different. Even though they spoke the same language, he still couldn’t communicate with other kids. The main problem was the fact that Woojin simply didn’t want to talk to other people. He didn’t want to laugh or smile. It was no wonder he became a loner by choice.
Thankfully, Woojin was a passive boy and was an overachiever. He was a good student, and his classmates mostly ignored him.
Woojin was an unnoticed kid. Time passed meaninglessly for him, and his life remained colorless and vague. It felt like if his life continued this way, no one would notice even if he died.
And his life went on like this for 30 years.
No meaning. Nothing.
As he waited for the elevator to go to the first-floor auditorium, Woojin bit his lips. One of the things he hated the most was meeting strangers. This was why he applied to the policy department where most of the work was done individually rather than in groups.
Whenever he had to do unexpected and unplanned tasks, like now, he felt overly exhausted. The elevator finally arrived, and after he got in, he pushed the first floor button.
He was starting to get a headache. He closed his eyes and was about to place his fingers on his temples when suddenly, the elevator door opened. He was going down from the 9th floor, so this couldn’t have been the first floor already. He felt annoyed, and when he opened his eyes, he was greeted by a pair of distinct eyes.
Eyes that looked like the night.
Woojin became breathless as he stared at the man’s eyes. The night in those eyes wasn’t black but rather blue. A damp black night.
Woojin bowed lightly and calmly, but the sudden feeling he had was so fierce that he felt like he might be dreaming.
Those eyes felt like huge waves coming after him.
That night when he was surrounded by the scent of grass and water…
That day… That voice was so hot and breathtaking…