Semantic Error - Chapter 15.04
There was a huge mountain of small corrections and device-specific optimization caused by the change of the flowchart that needed to be conquered on the graphics side. However, since most of the creative work was over, they could mentally relax. On the developer side, there was a war with debugging. Sangwoo’s monitor was constantly full of red letters, and even Jaeyoung, who didn’t know anything about coding, knew it was a bad sign.
‘The resources aren’t complete yet, so… (blah-blah-blah) … In the case of universal variables… the code to distribute and manage data is… (blah-blah-blah).’
He asked what it meant, but since he couldn’t even remember where he put his money, he didn’t intend to try understanding again.
When Sangwoo returned to his seat after staring out the window for a while, he stopped working and looked at Jaeyoung. Jaeyoung guessed that he wanted to ask him something.
“What is it?”
“You keep looking out the window,” Sangwoo said.
“It’s just that I like the weather.”
“You can go out to have fun if you want.”
What was going on? Chu Sangwoo had never once allowed him to rest without a proper reason. Had he become generous after seeing him work hard for a few days, or had he softened up as their relationship progressed?
“For today, you may go. See you tomorrow.”
Sangwoo spoke while correcting his posture and then sat right down.
He wasn’t clever enough to realize it was a joke, but he was really narrow-minded. Why did it end with ‘I guess you want to go out and have fun?’ Couldn’t he imagine with whom he might want to have fun? Jaeyoung looked at the sky once more and spun his chair around.
“Play basketball with me.”
The sound of typing stopped. Sangwoo remained motionless for about 10 seconds before answering.
“I’m busy though.”
He was being so soft today. It was as if he were jelly.
Jaeyoung, who had expected to hear “I’m busy,” got up with a smile. He lazily stretched and pretended to check the monitor for no reason and quickly kissed him on the cheek.
“I’ll head out first. Wrap it up and come out.”
After hesitating, Sangwoo went out after a long time. They silently descended the stairs as if they had an awkward relationship, and headed outside where darkness had fallen. Sangwoo was acting as timidly as he had been when they had walked along the wall in Jeongryun-dong. This made Jaeyoung feel jittery, as if he were going on a date for the first time.
“Are you good at basketball?,” Sangwoo asked.
That’s what he had wanted to ask him.
“I don’t think I’m bad at it.”
He had humbly answered him, but the sport Jaeyoung was most confident in was basketball. He had gotten so obsessed with it in middle school that he joined a basketball club in college and even participated in a friendly competition.
“Then I’m going to lose against you. I haven’t played since I graduated from high school.”
“We’re just playing, why would you worry about that?”
“Still, I don’t like losing.”
Come to think of it, Sangwoo did tell him that he wasn’t even good at gaming. He had a strong desire to win and had much higher standards than others, but it wasn’t obvious at all. That’s why Jaeyoung thought he’d be fun to watch: both software and hardware.
“What about the ball?”
“I’m gonna go get it right now.”
Jaeyoung’s ball was in the club room. It was the second time going there with Sangwoo since picking out clothes for the Chinese skit. As they climbed the stairs, Jaeyoung asked:
“You’ve been here before. Do you remember?”
“It was on Friday, March 8.th I got mad that sunbae removed my cap in the dressing room that day.”
It was better not to bring up stories of those days. Jaeyoung was surprised that two months had passed already. If he had told himself back then that their relationship would be the way it was today, he would’ve sneered and not believed it.
He walked alongside Sangwoo and arrived at the door. Even if it was late, it was very noisy inside as if there was a meeting or something. He knocked twice thinking it was reasonable because it was the same amount of time used when preparing for regular performances. When he opened the door, the loud noise died down.
“I’m here to get something, so don’t mind me and keep doing what you’re doing.”
As soon as he entered, his hoobaes made a fuss.
“You’re here, oppa? I’ve been waiting!”
“Sit down here, sunbae-nim.”
He knew the club president, vice president, and the secretary, but he didn’t know the other four kids. Jaeyoung looked through the box, avoiding their attempts to touch him.
“You’re having a hard time these days, aren’t you, since you’re so busy with work?”
“Yeah, sure. Can you get that hand off, please?”
It wasn’t giving a massage, but it seemed as if his shoulder were being crushed.
“Have this at least,” the vice president said and gave him a canned drink.
On the surface of the black can, there was a logo that he had seen somewhere. He could only be surprised that there were still Blackholic in the club room. Was there no expiration date for that?
“… I’m good. I don’t drink that.”
Jaeyoung politely refused and picked up the basketball from the pile of shoes. He tried to exit, but they grabbed each of his arms and forced him to sit down on the couch. Sangwoo, who was outside the door, folded his arms and sneered at him.
“Why are you acting like this?”
The truth was, he very well knew why. Since the beginning of the year, they had persistently asked him to star in the regular performance and design the poster for it. At this point, they seemed to have given up on the poster, but they kept calling him about acting as the lead, so he had recently posted the president’s number as a spam number.
Jaeyoung obviously refused. Being busy with his part-time job, hobbies, and maintaining his relationships, were the first set of reasons. The second reason was that he had been the main lead, director, and designed the poster for Death of a Salesman last year.
Jaeyoung had a thick face1, but when he recalled it being promoted as his graduation performance, his face flushed. How on earth could he appear in the play again when he was this embarrassed?
“Sunbae… Can’t you help out just this once? You said you were busy so we even gave you a smaller role didn’t we?”
“Just once. Just this one time, please. Why aren’t you answering your phone these days?”
“You should make good memories before you graduate, hyung. Just make an exception in this case? Please? There were so many people who went to see your previous play, hyung. Should I post your signature?”
Jaeyoung got up, shaking his hoobaes off. He held the basketball in his arms to block them, breaking through them one by one.
“I helped you during the festival and told you it was the last time, didn’t I? You said that you thought of that person as having graduated?”
“But you haven’t yet!”
Jaeyoung slammed the door shut just as the chairman came running fiercely towards him.
He smoothed out his wrinkled clothes while driving out the chaotic atmosphere. When he put the ball on his hip and looked to his side, Sangwoo was covering his mouth with his finger while laughing. Was he imagining it or had his expressions diversified?
“What’s wrong with you?”
He responded that he didn’t understand.
Jaeyoung answered that he himself didn’t understand and started walking. After exiting the building, he carried the ball and walked to the court while playing with it. He threw it up high and caught it, dribbled it, then spun the ball on his fingertip to show off his skills, but Sangwoo didn’t seem interested at all.
After being silent for a long time, he spluttered, “what do they want you to do in the play?”
“They want me to appear for five minutes. Don’t be hard on me since I refused due to being busy.”
“What kind of role is it?”
“I don’t know. Was it a pirate? Anyway, it’s a character who dies within five minutes.”
Sangwoo went quiet again. Jaeyoung liked his dry voice, but he also liked silence. Perhaps it was because it was a beautiful night, but everything felt fine. There were days that were memorable despite not being hugely eventful. He had a feeling that today was one of those days. The dark purple sky felt rather like a fantasy world, and Jaeyoung liked the part of going to play basketball with a guy who didn’t have a single romantic side to him.
“I regret it,” Sangwoo suddenly spat out then.
“Not ever seeing a performance of the theater department. I don’t have another opportunity.”
Jaeyoung vacantly gazed at Sangwoo’s profile and turned his head. Unlike Sangwoo’s usual grammar, he used an incomplete sentence, but he didn’t ask him to continue. He couldn’t ask him like that. Jaeyoung bounced the ball before he felt the uneasiness he only used to feel when his head was under water, but only now started to feel recently.
They were stepping on the green court before he knew it. Jaeyoung walked to the midcourt line and looked at Sangwoo, who had fallen far behind him. Enveloped in dark ultramarine, his skin looked more pale than usual.
“Should we bet who gets to 10 points first?”
When he passed the ball, Sangwoo received it with both hands. He bounced the ball a few times and dribbled it while saying that he would practice for a bit. It was as standard as anything else he did. A stable two-hand shot by taking two steps and approaching the free-throw line. However, it wasn’t wasted.
He did it four more times like that. He failed twice and succeeded twice. It felt like he got the hang of it. Sangwoo picked up the ball with a straight face and dribbled it to the center.
“Ok. This way.”
- Having a thick face means that Jaeyoung usually is shameless and unphased by what other people think.