📢Try To Re-load or Re Log-in to Show Loves

    Loves Error

    Please support the author by purchasing the raws on Ridibooks

    As we left the restaurant, I heard a trembling voice behind me.



    “You said before that I was pitiful, right…? Are you doing this because you still find me pitiful?”

    What did he want me to say when he asked in such a straightforward manner? Should I say no? The tongue that shot out words one after another, the glaring eyes, and the rough hand that grabbed him. I want to pull them out, stab them, and cut them off.

    “Yeah. I think you’re pitiful. You’re frustrating and pathetic.”


    “I don’t really know, but a glance is all I need to see that you’re being exploited and looked down upon. There’s also the fact that you’re pitiful, but it’s just that I feel angered by them. I guess I have some kind of vendetta against delinquents and the like.”

    Spitting out words at random, a sudden memory resurfaced of a kid who had been ostracized in my middle school class and eventually transferred because of it. I recalled neither their face nor their name; the only remnant of memory was the existence of such a child. Even back then, I wasn’t all that interested in others.

    Each and every one of the kids who hung around me, the tallest in the school, liked to bully the weak. The clever little monsters knew not to do anything that would land them in the social columns of the news, but they were unhesitant to commit acts of evil small yet powerful enough to tear down a soul.

    Malice dressed as innocence was the most dangerous. Because even if they got caught, they were easily acquiesced and permitted sufferance. Isn’t it obvious what kind of monsters those kids will become once they grow up and enter society? I turned a blind eye to both the bullies and the bullied. If I really had to classify this group, it was the sort with the most prevalence in the world: lazy and dastardly. In reality, groups like mine were the majority, bringing ruin to our world.

    What did it matter to me who those delinquents bullied or whether they were still alive? What about it mattered so much that I started getting angry on Woonu’s behalf? Was it my subconscious, attempting to rediscover the bereft humanity I had barely managed to retain, limited to those within my family? But who the hell cares? I encountered a little rascal, and I held him close to my heart. I wasn’t expecting anything in the first place, but something near impossible had happened. My saviour, a blessing-like catastrophe upon my life.

    “Bad things will happen if you pity me. Don’t do that. No, well, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.”

    “Where the hell are you going for you to be acting so resolute? Are you heading for your death?”


    Haha, he laughed, awkwardly and weakly. I scoffed at that plaintive laugh of his. There was only one person who felt sad upon realizing that he had carried those words with him—that only bad things would happen if people pitied him—like a curse on his life, and that person was me. It was just me. I was a dwarf standing before a towering mountain of despair.

    “Doctor, I’ll be going now.”

    “Get the phone set up before you leave. You also have to retrieve the items that were in your pockets.”

    “There’s no need.”

    “Why isn’t there a need? If your phone gets stolen, come to me, and I’ll buy you another.”

    Goddamn it. I wondered if I had transcended from being the kindest person the rascal had ever met to the next stage—becoming a god to him. My back broke out into a cold sweat. However, I was shocked by the unexpected reaction and felt as if I had just suffered yet another blow. Watching as he smiled and backed away, I ended up grabbing his wrist in the flurry of the moment. What happened next was even more spectacular. This was something I would usually never do. If it weren’t for this other self of mine, the one that kept revealing its unexpectedness to Woonu and him alone, I might still be living a life akin to a spore blossoming from sphagnum moss.

    If only Woonu hadn’t said anything after leaving the restaurant and had simply gone to my old classmate’s store to get his phone, I would have been content with merely staying in touch to ensure he was still alive and leaving it at that. Then, one day, we would slowly start to lose touch, returning to the state prior to our initial meeting, existing as nothing more than inanimate memories to each other.

    “Hey, what are you doing? You can’t just leave like this.”

    “My wrist hurts.”

    “You aren’t going to run away if I let go, are you?”

    “Run away? Anyway, I’m not going anywhere.”

    Seeing the way his shoulders curled inward and a frown emerged on his face, I released his hand. His wrist had turned red. Without even having the time to register that, I acted unreasonably.

    “You—you can’t go anywhere until you pay back the hospital bill.”


    “You said that you’d definitely pay me back. Even if it meant doing it in installments.”

    “Ah… I probably should.”

    Despite thinking myself shameless for saying such a thing after telling him he didn’t need to repay it, I had no other choice if I wanted to hold onto him. Back at the hospital, I confirmed that even a million won was a significant sum for him. But it was still an ambiguous amount that he would be able to pay back one way or another. The number needed to be bigger. Staring at his stupefied expression, I dialled my uncle’s hospital.

    “Ah, Section Chief Cheon? No, not my uncle. How much does it cost per day for a single-room hospital stay?”

    I intentionally stressed the word “single room” so that he would catch it. Woonu glanced at my face, his expression filled with concern.

    “Ah, yes. I understand. And how much does it cost to treat pneumonia? No, in cases without health insurance. I just needed to ask. Yes, yes, I understand. Have a good day.”

    The section chief said they were occupied at the moment and mentioned that they would message me the details of the treatment fee at a later time. As soon as I hung up, Woonu took a step closer and curled in upon himself.

    “How… much is the hospital bill?”

    “Wait, let me do the math.”

    I thought it would seem more realistic if I gave it a specific number. I took a minute to contemplate whether I should call for 4.5 million won or 5.5 million won.

    “4.5 million won.”

    Woonu’s eyes widened, and he sucked in a breath. He had fallen for the number I had arbitrarily called for. Well, maybe he would’ve believed me even if I called for 45 million won.

    “If possible, I’ll pay it back before I leave. If not… I’ll definitely repay you when I come back.”

    “You sure do love making people repeat themselves, don’t you? How many more times do I have to ask you where you’re going?”

    I found myself flicking my gaze back and forth between his lips, which had swallowed his words and now seemed to be searching for the next thing to say, and his eyes. His slightly parted lips pressed together firmly. He seemed intent on not answering unless I prodded him further.

    He was the one who suddenly intruded into my life first, yet I was the one left bewildered when he bid me farewell. There was a time when Jaehee and I begged for a dog. Back then, my mom had laughed, but she also seemed a little troubled as she told us that our father would likely disapprove. Despite spending half of his life abroad, our father was a very strict man. Jaehee, being naturally skilled at aegyo¹, was the one to approach him. Sure enough, he refused, citing that we were too young to take responsibility for another life.

    One day, our neighbours brought home two elderly dogs with nowhere else to go. My sister and I visited their house so frequently that their doorstep showed signs of wear. The larger dog had served as a guide for the visually impaired, but cancer had ravaged its body, and it was now in its final days. Then, one day, when we came to visit with the gourd-shaped rice cakes my mom had made in hand, the big dog was no longer there. That was when I first learned that some deaths come without warning. Just like sudden hiccups that eventually subside, the absence of the dog named Robin was stored in me and my sister’s faded album of memories.

    The other dog, who was in relatively good health, was a Shih Tzu named Bbibbi². Jaehee and I often brought Bbibbi to our house since we had a large garden, and we would run around playing with it. Whenever it was time to return Bbibbi to our neighbours, we had to catch the twerp, but every time we ran after it, it would start running away, pulling us into a chase. After about two months, we came to the realization that to catch a dog, you need to run in the opposite direction so it follows you, rather than chasing after it. Oblivious to this, we assumed that Bbibbi simply preferred our home over the neighbours’. Bbibbi went on to live for another three years.

    Dogs run away when you chase them. On the other hand, dogs chase after you if you’re the one running. While I did think he was cute, like a puppy, Woonu was a human. If I ran the other way, the distance between us would only widen further. I had to catch him before he disappeared.

    “Cat got your tongue? I asked where you’re going. Where’s this place where you can’t even use a phone?”



    “…Japan and China.”

    “What? So, if you have a passport, you must’ve been lying about not having an ID card, right? Was that thing about you not knowing how to write a lie too?” I asked about the two aspects that bothered me most. The parts I’d rather were a lie.

    “I’m not lying.”

    I wondered why he was trying to travel abroad without a passport if he wasn’t lying, but then I started feeling suspicious of that human named Taewook or whatever. I couldn’t shake the suspicion that he might be scheming to exploit Woonu in some sort of way.

    “You can just bring your phone to Japan or China. Just use it however you wish without worrying about the charge.”

    “I can’t take a phone in your name, Doctor.”

    “Are you going because you want to, or are you going because you were told to?”

    My phone rang. It was Glasses. The expression I witnessed while answering the phone told me that it was because he was told to go and not because he wanted to go.

    “Yeah, I’m coming. Uh-huh. Just set up that new model you wanted to recommend. No need to choose. Just set it up. I’ll stop by later.”

    The impression of my hand still lingered on the wrist I had firmly grasped earlier. I grabbed Woonu’s other wrist. Once more, I felt how thick his bones were compared to the lack of meat that surrounded them. As I pulled him towards the car, he leaned back and resisted. Undeterred, I dragged the confused rascal to my car, where I forcefully seated him and even took the initiative to fasten his seatbelt. My heart pounded in my chest, fearing he might bolt away while I moved to the other side to take my seat. Just like at the hospital, the thumping of my heart sounded unfamiliar to my ears. It had been so long since my idle heart had last been stirred into action like this.

    ¹ 애교 – Acting cute
    ² 삐삐 – I could’ve translated this as Bibi, but that’s not what the dog’s name sounds like, and I refuse to call the dog Pipi

    This content is protected.