Chapter 30: Chapter 30
“Oh, I lose here every day,”
Scratching his head as if to vent his anger, Kim Hyunwoo stood up after playing game.
At that moment the front door opened.
It was Suhyuk that came in.
Kim Hyunwoo laughed slightly saying, “Oh, you just got here?”
“Yes, but I don’t see your mother.”
His mother was always waiting for him at the door whenever he came. He did not see her on this day.
“Well, she played hide-and-seek with me until early this morning, and she’s taking a nap now. By the way, what’s the matter with Dongsu these days?”
Dongsu used to come to Kim’s home with Suhyuk every day.
Yet it was hard to see him for a week recently.
Suhyuk laughed sheepishly, saying, “I think he seems to have to take care of some work at home.”
Dongsu often left school during school hours. Though he said he was sick, he looked fine in Suhyuk’s eyes. He questioned Dongsu thoroughly, but he would avoid it giving reasons of having an illness.
“Man.. the SAT is just around the corner. Can’t believe his discipline has become too relaxed like this…” said Kim.
He expressed such worry briefly, and then looked at Suhyuk with a grin.
“Play with me today.”
Kim Hyunwoo and Suhyuk grabbed a joystick to play game.
After tutoring, Suhyuk did not go home. Instead he moved to a place where Dongsu could be found. A shabby-looking restaurant that sells hangover soup. Suhyuk opened the door.
Dongsu, who was clearing the tableware, burst into a laughter when he looked at Suhyuk.
“Why did you come here instead of studying?” asked Dongsu.
Suhyuk sat on the floor and looked around. His mother was not seen anywhere.
As he had expected, Dongsu was subbing for her mom who was sick in bed.
“I’m hungry. Give me something to eat!”
“Are you a beggar? You’re going around without eating anything?”
In no time, Dongsu put on the table an earthen pot with rice and soup.
Suhyuk began to eat silently, and Dongsu went into the kitchen to do the dishes.
There were no customers at this time partly because it was late.
After doing the dishes, Dongsu sat in front of Suhyuk, washing his hands.
The earthen pot was clean as if it had been washed.
“Didn’t you eat anything at Mr. Kim’s house?”
Suhyuk drank the water at a gulp with a smile.
“What are you doing here when you said you’re sick?” asked Suhyuk.
“Just go away if you’re done eating!”
Dongsu began to remove the dishes from the tables.
“There are 50 days left before the SAT.”
Dongsu stopped moving at that moment, but moved again.
After doing the dishes, Dongsu locked the store door.
“As you’ve come here, drink some soju!”
Suhyuk received the cup he gave out. He had never drunk alcohol before. It smelt pungent. Dongsu giggled as if Suhyuk’s reaction like that was funny.
“Even if you drink it, you won’t die. You should learn how to drink it like a man.”
Suhyuk, with a slight laugh, drank a cup of soju at once. It tasted bitter but mystic, spreading its odor into his mouth. Dongsu also drank soju, telling him that his frowning looked good.
“I know why you’re here…” said Dongsu.
“Here, take it,” said Suhyuk, cutting off his words.
They drank up as many as four bottles.
Dongsu shook his head as if he was trying to recover his sense.
“Ha, I thought you were just a nerd, but you drink really well,” said Dongsu.
At his words, Suhyuk glared through his half-closed eyes.
‘Do I drink well? Is my blood alcohol concentration more than 0.10%, given I’m talking strange?’
He felt that if he drank more, he would likely pass out until the next day.
‘No, that’s wrong.’
Alcohol interferes with the ability to transmit information between brain cells. It is true that you will not be aware of the situation. In short, the hippocampus (responsible for memory, learning, and cognition) is unable to transfer information to the brain due to alcohol having penetrated into the brain. Therefore, it can not be converted into long-term memory. Therefore people think they have forgotten this moment or say they passed out.
“Come on, drink it,” said Suhyuk.
“You drank a lot already. Stop here!” retorted Dongsu.
Nodding with his half-closed eyes, Suhyuk drank without hesitation.
“There are 50 days to go before the SAT.”
At Suhyuk’s words, Dongsu smiled a bit.
“Hey, I thought about that. A pine caterpillar should live on pine needles. I got only 20th place in class during the past three years.”
Then, he recalled those 60 students who did not beat him.
‘How unfortunate for those guys…’
Dongsu, who was blaming himself, took his hand to the cup.
Suhyuk looked at him quietly. A pine caterpillar? pine needles? It is a lie.
He knew that Dongsu’s mother collected whatever money she could to open a store specializing in hangover soup. A guy with filial piety to his mother. It was Dongsu who often said his mother was sick, and now she was hospitalized.
“Don’t go the wrong way. Let’s take the SAT,” said Suhyuk.
“Hey, studying is not for me.”
Suhyuk staggered to rise from his seat and took out a few bottles of soju from the refrigerator.
“Let me make a bet with you.”
“What kind of bet? You’re drunk. Stop it…”
Suhyuk uncorked a bottle of soju, and put it on the table.
“The one who gets drunk and out of it first is the loser. And the loser has to accept the winner’s request.”
Dongsu laughed. Even without listening to his explanation, Dongsu already knew it. Suhyuk wanted to take him to do the SAT to the end.
As a friend, he is a pretty good guy you can go together to the end with.
But Dongsu did not want to follow his request at all. To him, his mother’s health was much more important than his future.
“Don’t complain when your head is splitting apart tomorrow!”
Both of them bumped bottles of soju as if they were making a toast.
Did it last more than an hour?
Both of them were just about managing to stay awake, with their heavy eyelids with a flat face.
They drank up as many as eight empty bottles.
Dongsu, whose face turned red, barely began to say, “Just close your eyes, dude. You’ll feel relaxed then.”
Suhyuk’s head continually moved to the left and right.
“Drink it, come on!” said Suhyuk.
“Ok, you stupid boy. Let’s see who’s really winning.”
The moment the two clinked each other’s soju bottles, there was thump!
Dongsu’s forehead fell to the table first and fell asleep as if he had fainted.
Suhyuk rubbed his hot face with both hands and looked at Dongsu.
“Come on, let’s go do take the SAT..”
Suhyuk, barely holding fast to spirit, touched his cell phone.
He could hardly see the letters, and the fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling were moving round and round before him. At that moment, a thump could be heard, and Suhyuk fell asleep just like that.
On Monday, Suhyuk, who was sitting in the classroom, took a deep breath because Dongsu was absent from school.
‘Who said a rod is the best medicine for a disobedient man? But can I beat him?’
Suhyuk touched some photos of Dongsu stored on his cell phone.
On his LCD screen was exactly the picture of Dongsu being overtaken with drink.