Chapter 21: Chapter 21.
Woojin woke up late on Saturday morning.
He usually woke up early even on weekends, so this very late for him. He did have a lot of work this week with many late nights. He had no time to rest at all, so it made sense that he overslept. Woojin sighed and looked around to see that bright light was seeping in through the curtains.
Woojin buried his face in his pillow for a long time before he finally kicked the blanket away. The sudden cold air shocked him. It was almost September.
Nowadays, Woojin often found himself talking even when he was alone. It was one of the many changes that happened to him. Until now, he rarely talked to himself. There were even times when he didn’t say a word during the weekends. But recently, he talked much more.
Woojin had no idea that he could be this expressive. When he said these words, Woojin felt like he finally understood himself. What he felt, what he wanted, and what he needed. It was a very novel feeling.
Woojin slowly walked out to the kitchen. When he opened the fridge, he found that it was empty except for the paper bag. He remembered Shin telling him to eat it before going to bed. Woojin stared at it for a long time.
That night, Woojin masturbated for the first time in his life as he showered. He never even went through typical puberty; he never had a dirty dream before. One time during high school, Woojin happened to watch porn by accident, but he didn’t feel anything. He just thought that it had a strange plot.
Once in college, his classmate asked Woojin if he was asexual. Woojin vaguely guessed that he must be. He assumed that he would never feel a desire for anyone.
But now, just thinking about Shin’s breath was enough to make his body burn.
Woojin sighed in frustration. That night, he ended up not eating the rice porridge Shin gave him. After the shower, he fell asleep immediately, and when he woke up, he had to go to work. One thankful thing was that he had an easier day that day. It turned out Yeonwoo Ji called all the involved reporters herself.
Woojin initially felt confused as to why Yeonwoo took care of it when no one asked her to do it, but he was so busy that he didn’t think much about it. By the time he made the necessary adjustment for the paperwork, it was already time to go home. Woojin ended up arriving home around 10 PM that day.
Woojin looked at his phone. There were several messages from Shin that were sent yesterday.
-Did you get to work ok?
-You must be busy, right? A lot of work to do?
-I hope you have a good lunch.
-I’m done for the day. Going home now.
Woojin was so busy the day before that he didn’t get to reply. In addition… he also didn’t know what to say. Woojin poured the rice porridge into a glass bowl and put it in the microwave. Waiting for it to heat up, Woojin sent a message to Shin.
-Do you want to meet today?
Within a few seconds, he got an answer.
-Sure. I would like that.
When he read the reply, Woojin at first felt anxious because he didn’t know what he would do with Shin. Woojin had never spent much time with anyone outside of work. He was always alone, so now that he had the opportunity to spend time with Shin, Woojin felt perplexed.
‘What should we do?’
Woojin held the spoon in his mouth and carefully took out the bowl from the microwave. The aroma wasn’t as good as when he first smelled it in the car that night, but it still smelled delicious. Woojin even felt a little hungry.
Just then, Woojin’s phone beeped. It was another text from Shin.
-Do you want to go watch a movie? Or meet later and go to dinner together?
Woojin contemplated. He didn’t like movie theatres. Sitting in the dark felt uncomfortable. Dinner sounded better, but…
“I want to see him right now…”
He didn’t get to see Shin yesterday, which meant it had been a whole day since they last met.
Without thinking, Woojin texted him.
-Do you want to come to my place?
Shin didn’t reply for a long time. Woojin thought that perhaps Shin was very busy right now. He didn’t want to bother him, so Woojin didn’t send another text. He sat down quietly and finished the porridge. He cleaned the bowl, and feeling full, Woojin decided to take a shower.
Just then, his phone beeped again. Woojin checked it immediately.
-In about 2 hours?
Woojin felt a sudden ache in his chest. It was probably because his heart began to beat too fast. Woojin hoped that the next two hours would go by fast.
Woojin was watching TV on the sofa when the doorbell rang. It was very rare for anyone to visit Woojin at home, so it had to be Shin Kim.
Shin was standing in front of the condo main entrance. Because he was so tall, Woojin could only see his neck through the intercom camera. When Woojin buzzed him in, he could hear the footsteps coming up the stairs. Woojin lived on the 5th floor, and because the building didn’t have an elevator, it took Shin a little while before he reached Woojin’s home.
Shin knocked on the door and Woojin opened it for him.
“Assistant Manager Woojin, how are you? Have you been well?”
Tall Shin smelled of wind. He was holding two large paper bags, one in each hand. Woojin looked at them in confusion as Shin put them down on the floor. He took off his shoes and placed them neatly at the entrance. Shin then looked up at Woojin with a smile.
Shin’s hair was down, covering his forehead. It made him look much younger than usual. Woojin felt his whole body tingling, so he looked down.
Shin asked, “Can I come in?”
Woojin moved aside letting Shin finally walk in, and he went straight into the kitchen. When Woojin followed him, Shin smiled at him again. Shin was such a cheery guy.
Shin explained, “That night when we drank together and I came here, I opened the fridge to get you some water. Remember that?”
“I noticed that your fridge was empty, so I got some groceries for you.”
Inside the paper bags Shin brought were items like milk, juice, eggs, salad, and beef. There were also various fruits that were cut up into bite sizes in a plastic container. On his knees, Shin opened the fridge door and began to fill it. Woojin just stared at him quietly.
This was actually the first time someone visited Woojin’s home. When he got hungry, Woojin went to the convenience store for microwavable food. There were odd times when he would buy a carton of milk.
His home was where he slept. No one visited him. Many nights, Woojin had to take a sleeping pill to be able to sleep.
An empty place…
It was so barren that it resembled Woojin Choi.
Shin said to Woojin, “Go over there and have a seat. I will organize this and be right there.”
“Why are you just standing there? Your legs are going to get tired.”
Instead of going to the living room, Woojin touched Shin’s hair. Shin looked up at him, and when their eyes met, Woojin lowered his face and kissed him.
Woojin whispered, “I missed you.”
These new emotions Woojin felt in his life… He wanted to learn more.