Semantic Error - Chapter 15.12
“How’s this one?”
“It’s ripped at the knees.”
It wasn’t even noticeable, but like a ghost, Sangwoo still found this and it got on his nerves. Jaeyoung completely gave up on the pants and looked at something else. However, whatever he showed him, he found a flaw with it. The shape of the pocket was weird, it had to be uncomfortable since it had two buckles, the zipper was too stiff, etc.
“Hey, this one’s alright, isn’t it?”
“That one’s fine.”
As soon as Jaeyoung was about to pay for a pair of plain ankle-length beige-colored pants and a pair of tight black jeans hanging on his arms, he saw an eye-catching outfit.
It was a pair of slim light-blue jeans that were nearly sky-blue in color. He eyeballed its size and quickly inspected it all over. There was just one buckle and there weren’t any tears. If he folded the pants horizontally so that his ankles slightly showed…the mere thought nearly gave him a nosebleed. Jaeyoung went into the fitting room with great excitement and came out wearing the pants.
“Sangwoo! Sangwoo! Look. Isn’t this pretty?”
Sangwoo, who had been looking elsewhere with crossed arms, approached him. His gaze carefully examined Jaeyoung’s lower body.
“The color is too bright, but… It looks good since you’re wearing it, sunbae. But it’s a bit small so buy a bigger size.”
That was unexpected approval. Jaeyoung grinned and changed his clothes again. He stood in front of the cash register with three pairs of pants. He pushed Sangwoo’s arm, who had already taken out his card, to the side, and handed his own credit card to the clerk.
“Go buy something more expensive.”
Sangwoo wore an unfathomable expression but didn’t have any time to waste. Jaeyoung grabbed his arm and headed towards another store. After walking around without success, they arrived at a store that sold quality T-shirts. T-shirts of various designs hung on hanging racks, walls, and mannequins. Jaeyoung grabbed Sangwoo by the shoulders and turned him towards a hanging rack, despite Sangwoo’s apparent lack of interest.
“Please look if there’s anything decent as well.”
“Whatever you wear is fine, sunbae.”
That’s not what he’d meant. Jaeyoung patted Sangwoo’s cap and looked over at T-shirts on the hanging rack. A bright red T-shirt, a cute T-shirt with a pocket on the chest, a modest T-shirt with buttons, a T-shirt that reminded one of yellow chiclets. Sangwoo criticized Jaeyoung for grabbing them.
“The pattern is poor.”
“The sleeves are odd.”
“It’s too thick.”
“It’s too thin.”
He was far more demanding and uncooperative than he’d thought. Jaeyoung didn’t have any choice but to give up and grab some white T-shirts. He put away things that were too thin or thick or had fancy prints or had holes, which left him with a V-necked one. Jaeyoung squinted at the T-shirt. It was a fresh design, one made out of thick material, that revealed the collarbone with a black line around the neck.
‘Isn’t this an outfit made for Chu Sangwoo?’
Jaeyoung put the T-shirt against Sangwoo’s body, then picked up a green and a burgundy colored one with the same design and immediately paid for it. Sangwoo, who missed the timing to pay again, left the store and complained.
“If you were going to do this, then why did you bring me along?”
“As a porter,” Jaeyoung replied and handed the shopping bags to Sangwoo.
Sangwoo looked displeased, but quietly followed him while carrying the bags. When he checked the time on his cell phone, he felt rushed. Jaeyoung went into a large casual brand store and looked around the men’s underwear section.
“Welcome! Who’s going to wear it?”
A male clerk greeted them cheerfully. When Sangwoo pointed to Jaeyoung with his finger, the clerk took out various styles and said there was something that would suit the customer perfectly.
“What are you looking for?”
“It has to be something pretty.”
“Then please check this one out. These days, they’re the trendiest boxers among young people. They’re made of microfiber and fit well over the butt. There’s something special about the band as well. Please touch the material. This underwear will make you feel sexy… I think it would fit you perfectly.”
Jaeyoung discovered that Sangwoo, who had put some distance between them at some point, and was acting differently, hadn’t run away, and pulled out the boxers the clerk was handing him. The quality seemed good and there wasn’t anything that stood out except for the brand name written on the band. The material seemed smooth and thus comfortable. Jaeyoung touched the part that supported the penis, the front pouch, and muttered,
“It’s big there, so won’t this be too small?”
The clerk looked at him like he was a madman and recommended a size L. When he paid for a set of five in each color and threw it at Sangwoo, the latter put the box in the shopping bag.
“Why did you buy underwear? You’ve taken two of mine, so you have plenty.”
“That’s up to me.”
There wasn’t really much time left now. As soon as he tried to return home feeling regretful, Jaeyoung got tied up at a baseball clothing store. The wall was filled with ball caps, so he couldn’t just walk past it. Jaeyoung dragged Sangwoo, who was looking at his watch, and stood in front of cap heaven.
“Whichever one you like, hurry.”
“You have a lot of hats, why buy more?”
What was he expecting from him? Jaeyoung looked at the shelves himself. The one with the big logo of the baseball team was excluded. The one with the unique shape was excluded. The one where the color stood out too much was excluded. The black one because he also wore that type was excluded. All were excluded. Then, there were only a few left.
‘This is the one.’
Jaeyoung grabbed the white snapback that was at the very top and inspected it. The baseball team’s initials were embroidered, but it was also white, so it wasn’t noticeable if one didn’t look too closely. It was neither thin nor too thick, and had a pretty shape.
“How’s this one?”
He hadn’t hesitated when choosing the clothing since he was confident he knew Sangwoo’s body size well, but it was difficult to estimate this without putting the hat on. Jaeyoung quickly removed the black ball cap and replaced it with the white one before Sangwoo could refuse him.
“What are you doing?”
Jaeyoung stared awkwardly at Sangwoo. The color of the hat had merely changed, but he felt like his aura had brightened. He thought it looked a bit big, but that he just could adjust the snap.
‘It suits him well. Cute.’
Jaeyoung held back his desire to embrace Sangwoo on the spot and just removed the cap again. He quickly paid for it and stuffed it into one of the shopping bags. Sangwoo kept glancing at his watch with an anxious expression.
“We’re done. Let’s go now.”
“You must have a lot of money, seeing that you can get so many clothes you don’t need all at once.”
“They’re all necessary, though.”
Sangwoo blatantly sneered. It was funny for a guy like him who wore seven T-shirts and three pairs of pants in rotation. There was only about half an hour left until the part-time job started. They hurried down the escalator to the first floor. Jaeyoung thought that Sangwoo would say he was late and leave, but he merely checked the bus app on his phone and didn’t say much.
“My legs hurt a lot, please get me a taxi.”
“Would a person with leg pain buy clothes for an hour and a half?”
Jaeyoung forced a cough while pulling a pitiful look. After bending over, he coughed for a long time, and when he got up again, Sangwoo was squinting.
“It’s your legs that hurt, not your lungs.”
“Cough. Cough! Cough… Cough!”
“Does it hurt a lot?”
“Got it. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Sangwoo stood in front of the road, grabbed a taxi, and motioned for Jaeyoung to hop in. Then, he looked like he was about to leave, so Jaeyoung pulled his arm into the taxi. When Jaeyoung quickly shut the door and said something about the subway station near the internet café, the taxi started rolling. As Jaeyoung lifted Sangwoo up, who was sprawled out on his seat, the latter began to fume.
“Jeez… Why are you so stubborn today? You keep not being straightforward either,” Sangwoo said.
“What have I done?”
“I know you’re usually like this, but it’s over the top today.”
There was nothing else he could do, was there? Once one thought they didn’t have much time left, they would feel rushed. Jaeyoung leaned back on his seat while feeling bitter. He suddenly felt suffocated when he saw the shopping bags filled with clothes. This wasn’t enough. Jaeyoung wanted to give Sangwoo more.
He turned his head away from him, who was fiddling with his wrist with a calm expression.
Jaeyoung wanted to dress him in a trench coat during fall, a padded jacket during winter, and a cardigan during spring. He wanted to buy sneakers in different brands, colors, and for different uses, and put them on his tadpole-like toes. He wanted to take him to a hair salon and see him with different hairstyles.
Since he had rice noodles today, he wanted them to eat jjamppong1 next time, and a meal with 10 side-dishes the time after that, and then burrito and enchilada, and then Beijing duck, curry, budaejjigae2, and monkfish stew together. Just the thought of it made him feel stifled.