Real Man - Chapter 10
After thanking the police officer, Yoo-hyun felt light-hearted.
Though, it could also be because of the cloudless blue sky above them.
“How refreshing,” Yoo-hyun opened his arms wide and shouted.
This look was never seen before on the old Yoo-hyun.
Perhaps because of that, he seemed to be much brighter than before.
He looked so free, as if a heavy load had been lifted from his shoulders.
Then, Kang Joon-ki and Ha Jun-seok wrapped their arms around Yoo-hyun’s neck from both sides.
“Now that we’ve gone to the police station, how about another drink?”
Yoo-hyun had to swallow down his laughter and put on a face of disbelief.
These guys were actually serious.
Time passed by and when Yoo-hyun got home, he was greeted by his nagging mother.
“Oh, the smell of alcohol. Good job, good job. What was a full-grown man doing until the sun came up?”
“We were just playing.”
“Okay, that’s good. You need to play with your friends sometimes.”
He thought he would’ve been severely scolded by his mother, but she just smiled and handed honey tea to him instead.
She wouldn’t have reacted this way if she’d found out that he was dragged to the police station.
That’s why ignorance is bliss.
Yoo-hyun drank the warm honey tea, sobered up a little, and suddenly remembered the story Kim Hyun-su had told him yesterday.
“Ah, mother. Are you sick?”
“No, I don’t have any illnesses. I’m very healthy.”
His mother raised her arms like a bodybuilder to show that she was really alright.
Her appearance was so comical that Yoo-hyun covered his mouth and laughed. His mother then got up from her seat and said, “Don’t say weird things, come out and eat.”
After a while.
Rice was served on a small table in the living room.
The salty soy-braised beef side dish goes well with warm dried pollack soup.
(T/N: Pollock/pollack is a variety of white fish similar to cod. The soy-braised beef is called Jangjorim and the dried pollack soup is called Bugeoguk [Mentioning any food makes me hungry.])
Yoo-hyun did thumb-ups to his mother throughout the whole meal.
His mother laughed at this action continuously. It’s possible she was concerned about her son’s thin appearance.
Then it was about time that Yoo-hyun finished eating.
Yoo-hyun took out a white envelope from his back pocket and held it out to his mother.
“And this… take it.”
“Huh? What’s this?”
“My mother’s allowance. I collected quite a lot of money from my scholarship and my part-time job.”
“No, I don’t need it. Your mom makes a lot of money, too. Don’t worry about me and spend them on your friends.”
Yoo-hyun naturally changed his tactic as if he were expecting his mom to say that.
“Then, get a checkup with that and buy me a suit with what’s left.”
“Why would you need a suit…?”
“Well, I have to wear it to my interview with Hansung Electronics. I don’t have much time left.”
Was it something she had been waiting for?
When Yoo-hyun nodded, his mother could barely contain her happiness.
Soon, she even slapped her thigh with her other hand.
“Oh, my. Hyun-ah, I’m so proud of you. Hahaha, yes! We don’t have much time. Let’s go.”
“Right away? What about the side dish shop?”
“It’s okay. The owner is actually managing the side dish shop today. Hyun-ah, you’re so lucky. Your mother is really good at choosing clothes.”
His mother looked so excited about shopping with her son.
They prepared quickly.
Yoo-hyun went down the alley and took a bus with his mother.
He couldn’t even recall the last time he took the bus with his mother.
It was probably when he was very young.
Yoo-hyun sat on the seat near the exit of the bus and talked a lot with his mother.
“Mom, the side dish shop…”
“Hey, about your employment…”
From his mother’s side dish shop to Yoo-hyun’s employment journey, the conversation between the mother and son continued until the bus stopped.
They got off the bus and came face-to-face with a newly-built outlet building.
Then he carefully looked at the information board placed in front of the entrance.
At that time, his mother pulled him away, beaming.
“What are you looking at? Men’s clothes are on the second floor.”
“It’s just… Mother, let’s go this way first.”
Yoo-hyun deliberately moved to the elevator and pressed the floor he wanted.
When the elevator door opened, women’s clothing stores lined up under the bright lighting.
To get to the men’s clothing store from here, they had to pass through the long corridor of women’s clothing stores.
Yoo-hyun walked slowly and looked at his mother’s expression.
She pretended not to be aware, but her eyes were roaming around quickly.
‘Clothes must be those that can be worn comfortably while working, yet look stylish.’
In Yoo-hyun’s mind, he already set his goal for the day.
After a long time of dealing with the company’s bosses and people from major companies, his preference for stylish attires couldn’t be changed that easily.
He believed that his mother would want the same thing.
“How about this?”
“Ahh, not really.”
Again, his mother shook her head.
However, she couldn’t hide her eyes that kept wandering.
Even if she pretended that she didn’t care, she blinked faster than usual when Yoo-hyun asked her about it.
In addition, he sensed her gaze shaking, and her raised heartbeat could be felt from their linked hands.
The subtle change in the position of her hands and feet facing toward Yoo-hyun all revealed his mother’s hidden desire.
“We’re just looking around. How about this?”
When Yoo-hyun picked up a primary-colored shirt among the branded hiking clothes, his mother took a slight pause.
“…I don’t like that either.”
“What about this?”
“I don’t think so. I work at a side dish shop, so what’s the use of having clothes like these?”
As expected, it must not be fancy clothes.
His mother wanted more practical clothes.
“What about this?”
“Hey, Hyun-ah, let’s just go to see your suits. Okay?”
In response to the continuous questions, Yoo-hyun was dragged away by his mother.
However, he already had something in mind.
As his mother entered the men’s clothing store, his mother straightened her hunched shoulders and walked around the store as much as she wanted.
Even if she couldn’t buy her own clothes, it was clear that she wanted to buy her son’s clothes properly.
When Yoo-hyun came out wearing the clothes she chose, delight was evident on her face.
Yoo-hyun already knew how much she liked the suit even without her saying anything.
“Whoa, you look so cool. Hyun-ah, you look so good in a suit.”
“Yes. I like this one, too.”
As expected, his mother had a good fashion sense.
What his mother chose was similar, though a slightly less saturated version, to the clothes he enjoyed wearing until he became the CEO.
Although the navy-colored styles were slightly different, the jacket’s arms and pants were similar.
His mother picked exactly the right suit.
Then, when the clerk and his mother were discussing the length of the pants, he told her, “I’ll go to the bathroom for a second.”
“Come back quickly,” his mother responded indifferently.
Yoo-hyun immediately headed to the women’s clothing store.
He entered the hiking suit store that his mother stared at the longest and chose clothes immediately.
He also chose a purple shirt with a small logo on its chest and beige hiking elastic pants that do not stain easily.
“It’s about this size.”
Thanks to the similar body shape of the clerk and his mother, he had no problem choosing the size.
There were also quite a few discounts, so it wasn’t much of a burden.
Although even if it were expensive, he had enough money to pay for it.
This was all due to the money he saved frugally from his small income.
What was the point of saving money?
He had to use it at times like this.
“Please give me these,” after Yoo-hyun picked them up, the clerk thanked him.
Then, Yoo-hyun walked with the shopping bag hidden behind his back.
He saw his mother in front of the store waving at him.
That was quite friendly.
What kind of expression would his mother make?
Yoo-hyun’s expectations grew for his very first surprise gift to his mother.
“Why did you take so long? Are you feeling unwell?”
“Hey, why is my mother like this? Let’s get going now.”
“Okay. You’re going to buy the meals because your mom worked hard today, right?”
“Of course, and that’s not all. Here you go.”
When Yoo-hyun handed out the hidden shopping bag, his mother’s eyes widened.
This was because she saw the name of the store printed on the shopping bag.
“Just because. I bought it just because it looked pretty to me.”
“Why did you buy this? Let’s hurry up and go. We need to get a refund.”
Yoo-hyun had already expected that his mother would say this, “I already removed the tags, so I can’t get a refund. If you don’t like it, you can just throw it away.”
“Why did you do that?”
“I thought it would look good on you.”
Actually, all the tags were in his pocket.
He kept it there just in case his mother really wanted different clothes.
However, his mother already liked the ones he chose.
Even though she was puzzled about it, she kept on glancing at the shopping bag.
Yoo-hyun breathed a sigh of relief when he knew that the size was right.
Suddenly, his eyes were starting to swell at the thought.
He also couldn’t keep his feet rooted on the ground because he felt so anxious.
But a smile crept up to his face as soon as he saw his mother.
This is why there’s a phrase describing it as, ‘the joy of giving gifts.’
“Think of it as a pre-employment gift.”
“Huh? Are you already employed?” his mother suddenly retorted back with a big smile.
As expected, this was his mother.
She still had her sense of humor until the very end.
“Hey, this is just the first one. Hurry up so we can go eat something delicious.”
It was a very pleasant day for Yoo-hyun, too.
Yoo-hyun was hanging around at the entrance of the alley near the front door of the house.
There was something he really had to do now.
It was to reconcile with his father.
“What will I say when I see my father?”
He came up with one idea after another, but couldn’t think of any suitable words.
Still, confronting his father was difficult for Yoo-hyun.
However, he didn’t want to waste any more time like this.
He wanted to improve their relationship somehow.
What he needed at times like this was alcohol.
Yoo-hyun waited for his father for a while, recalling that the alcohol he drank yesterday had let all his inhibitions go.
How long has it been?
His father was walking home, exhausted.
“Huh? What’s going on? Why are you here?”
“Just because. I was waiting for you.”
Were his words unexpected?
His father frowned and looked at Yoo-hyun.
He was checking if Yoo-hyun was drunk or something.
Yoo-hyun noticed and opened his mouth as smoothly as possible.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a drink.”
This was a reaction that he had expected.
But he couldn’t back down now.
He quickly changed the atmosphere and said quite seriously, “I passed the Hansung Group’s document screening. I want to hear my father’s advice.”
“I don’t have any advice.”
Yoo-hyun’s mind went a bit hazy, but he could understand his father’s feelings.
He tried to hide the hurt he felt, which could’ve been obvious as his face slightly trembled.
But he had to persist a little more.
Yoo-hyun crossed his arms despite the awkwardness and said, “Hey, don’t say that. Let’s go drink. I forgot everything you taught me about drinking, so I don’t think I’ll be able to properly manage my social life.”
Did his father like these things?
It was very surprising that a smile could be seen on his father’s face.
He finally felt a bit better.
“Let’s go, father. I already told mother about it.”
His father eventually followed him as if there was no way out of it.
The start may have been good, but Yoo-hyun still didn’t know what to say.
He tried to pluck out the words from his head, but he simply faltered.
As soon as he saw his father’s stiff expression, his mouth automatically closed.
The walk was very awkward.
It was like being with a demanding boss.
In terms of difficulty, it was definitely on the highest level.
As he walked and organized his thoughts, he saw a line of drinking stalls on the side of the street.
He noticed that his father’s gaze lingered on those stalls, so he must like those.
“What do you think about this place? It’s refreshing here, so I think it’d be nice to sit at the table outside.”
Yoo-hyun noticed his father’s eyes looking at the menu and picked it up first.
Because of his father’s personality, it was obvious that the question would be reflected back to him if he asked anything.
“What about chicken feet?”
One serving of chicken feet and two bottles of soju were placed on the table where they sat.
Yoo-hyun poured alcohol for his father and silently handed over the cup.