Chapter 186: Chapter 186
‘What would be the appropriate response for now?’ as I had that thought in mind, Eun Jiho also sighed and swept his tangled hair back as if he didn’t know what to do. He then leaned against the headboard and continued his remark.
“Yeah, so the woman… made Woo Jooin send signals to her and used those when she gambled with her clique. She earned quite a lot of money with ease so much that I’d like to award her a Mrs. Scrooge prize.”
“That’s so… insane…”
“Do you know what’s even funnier? At that time, she complimented Woo Jooin as a genius and how brilliant he was. You know, Woo Jooin is highly developed in every aspect, which is rare among the extreme Woos? He shows excellent discernment in his choice of people. That’s why he tried to trust the woman as his stepmother. Thus, would he tell her not to at the divorce court when she kidnapped him? He’s not an idiot; he’s a ferociously clever kid. He had a quick mind back then, as well.”
Eun Jiho paused then heaved a short sigh.
“What happened next was even more ridiculous. That woman cried out to Woo Jooin at the court, ‘I never saw a kid as creepy as you are; don’t look at me as if you know everything; how awful it is, knowing that you remembered everything about me; is he a son of a human being or what…’ It was nasty inside the court when the woman yelled and bawled around.”
“She might have completed her sentence since she was released from prison. How could she be so shameless to come over here and talk and say, ‘My Jooin…’ Gosh, if a person can die of dumbfoundedness, then I may have stopped living at the spot earlier.”
“Holy Jesus Christ…”
I might have used all the interjections that I could have used in my lifetime. What I heard just now made me so speechless that I remained silent for quite a while.
My head felt dizzy. I put my hand on my forehead and turned back to look at Eun Jiho.
When our eyes met, he just shrugged as if nothing really happened. He had a look that was too calm for a person who spoke about such a story. I, however, felt like I had heard a worse crime movie script. I folded my stretched hand quietly. It was unbelievable that a person who went through all that was beside me for so long.
Woo Jooin, who was walking along the alley after passing Eun Jiho’s black entrance door, and his face, that looked as if someone drew him on canvas with orange paint, clearly appeared on a chilly autumn night.
How could he smile so brightly and purely like that?
It felt uncomfortable as if I accidentally found a secret diary after opening a drawer.
Since I was at a loss of words for quite a while sitting on the bed, Eun Jiho might have felt embarrassed about the heavy silence. Touching his own hands, Eun Jiho groped under the pillow and handed out something that he just found.
“Dude, do you want to see something new?”
He then pressed the power button on the black remote control in his hand. When my eyes followed where the device pointed, the middle of the shelf, filled with a bunch of English books, split into two.
‘What the heck is this sudden Miracle of Moses happening in his room?’ While I stood blanked out like that, an old jet-black TV came out through the separated shelf.
Looking at the scene with a blank mind, Eun Jiho, who was beside me, pressed a button again with a weird exclamation.
“What a waste of money…”
“My father told me ‘An object gives rise to the desire,’ so anyway if a TV is around at a reachable sight, we’ll get dumb from watching it habitually. Do you know how much I had to persuade and beg him to install that there?”
I stretched out my hand for him to hand me the remote control; however, something was strange. As I tried pressing a few buttons, I turned my head and asked him again.
“Hey, what is this? The channels are weird.”
“It only shows the educational channel and National Geography.”
‘Are you kidding me?’ I asked him through my eyes in fright, but Eun Jiho just answered back, ‘Do you think I’m joking?’ through his gaze too. The frustration in his eyes overlapped with his sick and pale face. I could hardly read from the way he looks that he was lying.
A moment of silence went by. I switched the channels again.
There was, for real, only two channels; from the TV, there came out a documentary of space that said, ‘The history of space began with the birth of light… blah blah blah…’
When I switched the channels again, I saw a green board with a verse written in a 40-pt standard font from traditional Korean poetry.
I pushed the remote control to give it back to Eun Jiho. He then put on a look of hate on his face.
“You keep it. I don’t need it since those are the only options I have. Well, is National Geography a little better?”
I dropped those words at last. ‘Oh, what the heck,’ as I flopped on his bed with that said, Eun Jiho giggled.
Watching a remarkably high-resolution video with computer graphics of space explosion, I also felt ludicrous that I tapped the bed and burst into laughter. Eun Jiho also giggled loudly while crouching on the bed with his comforter around his shoulders.
“Hey, your dad is really different… Wow, how can you live here?”
“I have no idea. What a life!”
With that said, Eun Jiho threw the remote control over his back, which made me giggle again. I then sat straight.
Looking at each other with gleeful eyes, I took out my last giggle and opened my mouth.
“Honestly, when I first saw you when we were freshmen in middle school, I thought you’re quite a weirdo.”
“Yeah, yeah. Since you see my family background, don’t you begin to understand me as well as the importance of a domestic environment?”
“Yup, very much.”
Suddenly, I opened my eyes wide and kept silent. When I looked across, I saw that Eun Jiho seemed to have recalled the same thing too.
The importance of a domestic environment had a significant effect on a person’s childhood.
There was loud laughter and fuss in the room just until now; however, a dusky silence soon enveloped the space.
I touched my hand, whereas, Eun Jiho turned quiet while looking at somewhere else. Going through an awkward silence for a moment, I stood up eventually.
“Hey, so I’m leaving now. I breathed the air for over an hour, so I might catch a cold, huh?”
As if he, at last, came across the reason why I came here, Eun Jiho showed a smile on his lips. I got up from the seat and took hesitant steps toward the door.
When I walked past the soft carpet and tried to reach the doorknob, he called me from behind. I paused and looked back.
“Did you call me?”
“Yeah, Khoff, Khak, Khak.”
With that said, I diverted my steps to get closer to him.
He raised his head without any movement and looked at my direction while wrapping the comforter around his shoulders. There I saw a swiveling smile on his lips. This time, it was a little different from what I saw so far.
“It’s about Woo Jooin.”
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s the difference between a person being smart and nice, as you know.”
The way he talked like that while considerately choosing the proper terms to put them together, felt unfamiliar somehow. It sounded like he was building a stepping-stone between his current location and designation. Drawing in my breath, I nodded.
Eun Jiho’s bitter smile gleamed under the beam of dim light that leaked through the shades behind him. Eun Jiho continued his words with a nod.
“He’s too quick-witted, and I think that’s what matters.”
“You mean, it’s his problem?”
“That’s what blocks him from confronting his real mind.”
Eun Jiho raised his index finger and pointed near his temple. His coal-black eyes seemed to have penetrated through my skin.
When this kind of moment came, I realize how sharply insightful Eun Jiho was to others. Perhaps this might become his biggest asset in his future.