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Fortunately, what happened that morning was never noticed by our teacher since it happened before he arrived.
After that event, the classmates became more reluctant to approach Pork Belly.
On one hand I felt that it was the right decision for my classmates to avoid Pork Belly because he was the one who used rough languages and cause all sort of trouble. On the other hand I somehow felt anxious.
Now I think about it, the true nature of that anxiety was probably originated from the feeling I had right after I uttered those harsh comment on Pork Belly. It was the sense of guilt.
However, at the time I was too young and not mature enough to realize the hurt or the pain I caused on someone else.
At that time, I was merely feeling anxious and scared for the feelings that I could not overcome. Those overwhelming feelings became my subconscious which haunted me in my sleep and appeared in my dreams.
'No!! I…I am not lying..'
'Don't make me laugh. You are a liar! You told him that he was a son of a prostitute!'
'N..No…I …I ..'
"Jung…Can you draw me that too?"
After the lunch period, most of the students went outside to play soccer. When they came back for fifth period lesson, the teacher instructed Yun-Su to take charge of independent study since he had to go take care of few things first.
Yun-Su went to the front of the classroom and started to quiet the students down. Without nothing better to do, I took out my scratch pad and started drawing.
Nowadays, I was having fun drawing the characters from Dragon Ball.
My drawings did not resemble the characters one hundred percent, but they were decently similar. Because many of my classmates wanted my drawings, I practiced secretly at home to improve my skills. It was fun and I felt somewhat superior whenever my classmates praised and wanted my drawings.
Even though I practiced drawing at home, I pretended like it was my first time drawing the characters and I was rewarded with faces filled with admiration and shock.
"Ok. Give this to Min-June."
"Then draw Gohan for me."
Hyun-Ju came over from different section of the classroom to request for a drawing. I nodded my head in her direction.
I was about to turn back to my scratch pad when my eyes met Pork Belly's who was sitting in the very front of the classroom by the windows.
No, Pork Belly immediately turned his head away so technically our eyes didn't meet.
Pork Belly often missed school without any reason. This week, he missed three days of school and he just showed up today. Since our confrontation, one week has passed but he did not say anything to me.
It was true that we do not have anything to talk about and we certainly do not have any intention of apologizing to each other…It was also true that he was watching me. Pork Belly's attention reminded me of the nightmares I was having for few days which made my mood foul.
I don't deserve punishment. I did say something mean but he was the one who hit me. I only commented once, and he beat me up.
I was repeating the excuses that I came up with to ease the guilt when I heard Hyun-Ju’s question.
"Don't you think Pork Belly sucks?"
Hyun-Ju pointed at Pork Belly who was lying on his desk while whispering to me like we were having a secret conversation.
"Don't you know, Pork Belly is very stupid. He couldn't even get ten points from the last exam. I heard from a student who was in same class during the fifth year with Pork Belly that even the teacher gave up on him. He is stupid, but his personality is also bad. You got beaten by him, are you okay?"
Hyun-Ju went on bad mouthing Pork Belly while glancing at his direction, but I could not bring myself to look at neither Hyun-Ju nor Pork Belly.
"Also what you said last time…You know the one about his mother being a prostitute."
With an imaginary sound, my heart became a weight and dropped to the bottom of my stomach.
When I did not respond, Hyun-Ju brought her seat closer to me and whispered into my ears as she covered her mouth with one hand.
"What you said is true. You know that XX street, the one that's rumored to be really bad area? One of our classmates saw Pork Belly leaving from one of the buildings in that area."
Ah…What a relief. See, I wasn't lying. I don't have to feel anxious any…more…
I went over Vegeta's spiky hair with my pencil a few times as I reassured myself in my mind.
However, unlike my reassuring words, my hand could not continue drawing. They were tracing the same lines repeatedly.
"Hey, what are you guys doing being so close? Are you guys dating or something?"
Min-June who was sitting in front of me turned around to tease me and Hyun-Ju. Immediately Hyun-Ju retorted as she slapped Min-June's back.
"Don't make me laugh!"
"Hey! Your face turned red!"
"AAH~ Kim Min-June you suck!"
Min-June dodged Hyun-Ju's hands and continued make fun of her. I watched this scene with disinterest when a shadow draped over my table.
"Hey~ class president. Hyun-Su said she likes Jung-Yang*. Keke.."
"Min-Stupid! I told you not to call him that!"
*Jung-Yang is a nickname of MC. Letter 'Yang' attaches at the end of a name represents the owner of the name being woman*
Jung-Yang is a nickname that my classmates sometimes call me. It makes fun of my feminine sounding name.
Shit, Min-June that bastard..I was about bring my fist up to Min-June when Yun-Su approached the side of my table and stopped walking when he heard what Min-June said. Yun-Su looked down on Hyun-Ju.
"No!! Kim Min-June is blabbering nonsense!"
Face turned red, Hyun-Ju glared at Min-June once and looked up at Yun-Su as she denied Min-June's claim.
"Yeah…Jung said he will draw for us, so we were just talking. You know how Jung draws really well."
Min-June explained to Yun-Su. Without any word, Yun-Su looked over at Hyun-Ju then studied my scratch pad. After a few moments, Yun-Su lifted his head to meet my eyes.
That was when I saw his expression… What was his expression?
"I didn't know."
Yun-Su said in a curt tone of voice then walked backed to his seat (behind Jung). Min-June opened his mouth to speak.
"Ya, Ask him to draw on for you too. Jung-Yang can draw the characters of Dragon Ball really well."
I turned my upper body around so that I can rest my elbow on Yun-Su's table and see his face.
"Yeah? Then draw me one too later."
Yun-Su grinned at Min-June as he answered him…However, his eyes evaded mine.
No, Yun-Su wasn't avoiding me…he was staring at Hyun-Ju. Did I catch that wrong?
Even if I saw wrong, I noticed the stiff look on Yun-Su's face before he grinned. That hard-expression on Yun-Su settled in the corner of my mind and bothered me.
Did I do something wrong? Or is he in a bad mood? However, I did not have enough time to find the answer to Yun-Su's expression and my vague understanding of the situation before our teacher returned. I became distracted with the class and soon forgot the incident altogether.
TN: Samk is one of the classic BL writers in Korea. Pork Belly is one of his most well known work. Samk is master at showing the readers how his characters develop and grow over time. Subconscious guilt and realistic conversation are two of those well written examples for character-developing ingredients. It is difficult for me to translate his complex words but it gives me sense of satisfaction when I see the characters acknowledge their feelings and mistakes to grow slowly in English. This might sound confusing and weird but turning the Korean conversation to English one give me the feeling that there are two different versions of the character. One that speaks Korean, and one that speaks English. It’s like watching dubbed movie. This is my silly thought. Thank you for reading!
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