Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Cho Min Joon quietly stared at the clock inside an empty kitchen.
‘Don’t go. Stop ticking.’
No matter how much he screamed at it, the hands of the clock wouldn’t stop ticking.
11:59 and 57 seconds, 58, 59, 12:00…
It was finally the new year. It was also the end of his twenties and the start of his thirties. The feeling of being washed out made Cho Min Joon sigh deeply. He thought that in contrast to the passing time, what he had in the palm of his hands was little.
Cho Min Joon was a high school teacher. To be more exact, he was an English teacher. Just like all teaching positions, none succeeded, but almost none failed either. Well, that was the case until the Spring of his 28th year. Unfortunately, in March, Cho Min Joon ended up quitting his job.
He sensed that being a teacher wasn’t his calling. He had never wanted to be a teacher before to be honest. What he wanted to become as a kid was a cook. However, his parents were opposed to it. Cho Min Joon had decent grades, and he had already been accepted to multiple colleges. So, it was no wonder that his parents refused to support his dreams of becoming a great cook.
And then, time passed. According to his parents’ wishes, Cho Min Joon would became a teacher, but that was the end. His parents always said that he would understand someday… but that was not the case. He had stability, but what Cho Min Joon also felt was pure emptiness. Hence, he decided to quit.
After that, he went straight into working at a restaurant. He first got a job as a dish washer at a famous restaurant in Gangnam. He washed dishes for half a year, and only after a year, did he first place salad onto a dish. That was all he accomplished at 30 years old. In the new year, he just watched the time pass by in a dark restaurant kitchen.
There was no point in complaining. This was the choice he made. Which meant that he had no right to complain about his frustrating life. At that moment, the hall lights turned on.
“Oh, Min Joon. You’re still here?”
Park Yoo Seok was younger than him by two years, but he had seniority over him. In a few years, he was to become a head chef.
“Oh, Yoo Seok. What are you doing here?”
Cho Min Joon spoke to him respectfully. He had no choice but to do so in the cooking industry. Park Yoo Seok pretended to be uncomfortable, but he actually enjoyed it. Park Yoo Seok took out his wallet and shook it in front of Cho Min Joon.
“I forgot this here. Oh, I’m glad you’re here. Can you peel the garlic? There are no unpeeled pieces right now. It’s probably better if you peel them right now rather than later.”
“I’m a little tired right now.”
“Sigh… Min Joon. Please help me so I don’t have to be rude to someone who’s older than me. None of the other guys talk back to me like this.”
“I’ll be going then. See you tomorrow.”
Park Yoo Seok then left the hall. He then mumbled to himself on his way out, “Is he acting all tough because he’s older?” Cho Min Joon simply watched Park Yoo Seok gradually leave. He was mad, but he couldn’t say anything. If he did, he would really look like someone who acted out just because of his age. He had no choice but to hold it in.
“What a load of bullshit.”
He then took out the garlic from the fridge. Cho Min Joon peeled some garlic and then turned his phone on. He entered his own blog. The only thing that made him feel better was his cooking blog. He uploaded stories about the dishes he made, and reading the comments on his posts made him feel a little better.
Cho Min Joon started making a new post. The content was simple. A happy new years greeting. It was simply a greeting of formality.
The post didn’t take off for more than 10 minutes. After all, Cho Min Joon wasn’t a power blogger. While he looked at the cooking recipes of other bloggers, he got a comment. It was a familiar nickname.
Cooking Leader: Happy New Year, Chef Cho. This is my first New Years greeting.
Chef Cho was Cho Min Joon’s nickname. As soon as he got one comment, he felt a lot better. Cho Min Joon then quickly replied.
Chef Cho: Happy New Years to you as well. This is my first New Years greeting as well.
Cooking Leader: Haha, you didn’t upload a dinner recipe today. You didn’t skip, did you?
Chef Cho: I did…
They continued their friendly conversation. The chat then become deeper after about 10 messages.
Cooking Leader: Then, have you been at this for 2 years now?
Chef Cho: Yes. I try to look like a cook on my blog, but I just peel garlic at the restaurant I work in. Haha…
Cooking Leader: That’s too bad. You should have changed your career a little earlier.
Chef Cho: There’s nothing I can do in my current situation. I didn’t have the courage to chase after my dreams back then. I realized it way too late. That is, the fact that everyone has their own path to take.
Cooking Leader: If you could turn back time, would you go straight right into cooking?
Chef Cho: Yes, definitely. I’m certain that this is my path. Although I’m having a rough time these days…
He waited for a response, but he didn’t get one for a while. Maybe he was tired of the long conversation. Then again, the conversation was a little too deep for a New Years greeting. Cho Min Joon laid his head down on the table and closed his eyes. He was tired. He didn’t want to think about anything.
And just like that, Cho Min Joon fell asleep for over 10 minutes. Only then did his phone turn on with a new comment notification.
NEW Cooking Leader: If so, you should go back in time. I’d also like to see you attempt it at a younger age.