Chief Kim and Assistant manager Choi

Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Chapter 29.

Chapter 29.

“When did I ever tell you that I used to swim?”

Woojin breathed heavily as he remembered.

Even in high school, Woojin often blanked out as if he was dreaming. And every time when he became unresponsive, there was one boy who would wake him up with his voice. A low baritone voice used to knock on Woojin’s sleeping heart.

The way the boy held Woojin’s wrist was so strongly that it made him feel breathless.

A teasing smile, taller than most, clean white canvas shoes, a well-fitted school uniform, and a neat school nametag… The boy had a rather modern face and Woojin remembered it very well.

Shin Kim.

The first time Woojin saw Shin Kim was when he was 18 years old, about to turn 19. Until this time, Woojin firmly surrounded himself with a brick wall. He secretly thought that perhaps he would never turn 20. This made him feel indifferent. He didn’t feel upset and angry; Woojin just felt like his life was too dull. The word “happy” sounded bitter on Woojin’s lips.


“Good morning!”

The boys bowed as they saw their teachers standing at the school entrance.

Woojin attended a famous private high school in Seoul. It was one of the few left that was still an only-boys school.

The top 20% of the students and those with athletic scholarships were allowed to live in the school dormitory while the rest of the boys attended from their own homes.

The teacher ordered, “The swim team can go to the pool for morning practice. The rest of you can work on your lessons by yourselves.”

The dorm consisted of the top academic students, so it was always very quiet. There were odd times when Woojin encountered the athletic scholarship students, but it was rare. Those students tended to stay among themselves. There was a clear divide between academics and athletes.

Woojin’s parents were firm about him staying in the dormitory, which meant that he had to make sure to keep up his grades. His parents acted awkwardly around him, so Woojin didn’t go home even during the weekends. He remained in the dorm. To be honest, this was how he liked it as well. He felt more comfortable at school than in his own home. He resembled his parents in that way.

For two years straight, Woojin encountered the swim team every weekend. The swimmers had to train all year round for their national competition. Although they rarely met inside the dorm they shared, because Woojin practiced swimming during weekends, they ended up seeing each other during the weekends in the pool.

Time went by fast and soon enough, Woojin was in his last year of high school. It was the first day of school and there was a ceremony that welcomed the students back from vacation. Woojin didn’t like the cold weather and because he had low blood pressure, and he often found it hard to wake up in the morning.

With an unhappy frown, he got out of his room with a scarf and a heavy coat. The other boys passed by him in similar outfits.

“The representative of the new first-year students, Shin Kim, please come up to the stage.”

It was the first time ever for a student with an athletic scholarship to become the student representative. The teachers whispered among themselves excitedly, which made Woojin look up at the stage.

The thick scarf covered Woojin’s nose and mouth, but white breath still escaped from it and fogged his glasses. As he watched, Woojin saw a tall boy walking on to the stage. His uniform looked almost too short and small for this guy. Woojin’s eyes moved up from his shoes, legs, back, and finally to his face.


Woojin exclaimed quietly for the first time in his life. Like magic, the boy’s eyes lowered to the audience and suddenly, their eyes met. Woojin couldn’t breathe because the boy had such mesmerizing stare.


Woojin couldn’t see clearly because his glasses fogged up even more, but he could tell that the boy smiled at him.

It was perhaps Woojin looked absurd with his thick scarf, gaping mouth, and foggy glasses.

The boy read the standard welcoming speech and came down from the stage. He walked by Woojin, and Woojin felt like his heart skipped a beat. He touched his left chest to make sure he was ok. He felt breathless.

When their eyes met, Woojin felt like his heart was falling to the ground. It was rare for Woojin to meet someone’s eyes because he usually kept his face bowed. Thankfully, none of his classmates tried too hard to talk to him. His teachers barely remembered his name.

“Woojin, aren’t you going back to the classroom?”

His teacher spoke to him from nearby and Woojin flinched. He turned around to find everyone returning to school, so he began to run towards the building as well. His heart was beating too fast and he could barely breathe.


Woojin couldn’t stop thinking about him.

His strong face and the fierce color of his aura. Woojin felt like there were fireworks going off in his heart.

From then on, Woojin saw Shin Kim often on the stage. Ever time he saw Shin, it seemed that Shin was getting taller. Shin would run up the stage and bow so he could receive the medal around his neck. Shin smiled often, and when he did, his eyebrows formed perfectly round arches and made him look like a little boy.

Every time Woojin saw his smile, it made him feel odd. In the school hallways, Woojin could recognize Shin just by looking at the back of his head. Sometimes, Woojin looked outside the window during lunch time to see the swim team in the field to train. It was too easy for Woojin to spot Shin Kim immediately even from afar and among similarly dressed boys.

To Woojin, Shin Kim was like a clear color. Woojin knew it wasn’t a dream, but Shin always seemed like a mirage to him.

Before Woojin graduated high school, he had to move to Germany with his mother. As he got onto the plane, Woojin had already begun to slowly forget Shin Kim. It was a conscious effort to do this because Woojin knew that if he continued to remember Shin, he would not make it.

Especially the memory of their encounter at the swimming pool that evening…

The first word Shin said to him.


And when Woojin saw Shin again at work, Woojin felt like his world had stopped. Shin appeared in front of him with an even lower voice.

A fully grown man now.

10 years ago, Shin’s hand touched Woojin’s wrist. Just once.

After Shin handed him his nametag that fell on the ground, Woojin returned to his dorm room. He placed the nametag on his desk and stared at it for a long time. It looked very different for some reason after Shin touched it.

The sun was setting and for the first time that night, Woojin learned that there were many colors in a sunset. Orange, violet, and navy.

And despite Woojin’s skepticism, he did turn 20 years old the next year.

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