It was the season when the skies were high, and the horses were fat. It was mid-October. The winds were cool, and the rays of the sun looked perfect for a nap. It was the season of naps given by the heavens.
“But why is autumn the season of reading?”
Dojin asked as he read a book. When Maru had a glance at it, he saw that the book was about getting a cooking license in Korea.
“Since the weather is good, perhaps it’s called that because many people read during this season?”
Daemyung looked back as he spoke. In his hands was a book: Macbeth. Oh, Macbeth. Daemyung had been carrying that around since early October. He read through King Lear pretty fast, but it seemed that Macbeth wasn’t to his tastes.
“I think I heard somewhere that it’s a way of marketing to raise sales because October has the least book sales in the year,” Maru said.
He wasn’t sure where he heard this from since he heard about it in his previous life, but he could vaguely remember it. Statistically too, book sales were the highest during the beginning of the semesters, Spring and Winter, when it was also the season to wrap up the year, and then Summer. So it wasn’t entirely false. Though, it was nothing compared to the marketing of chocolate sticks.
“I don’t think that’s true.”
Dojin and Daemyung retorted at the same time.
Maru just shrugged since he honestly didn’t care.
Just like how everyone called it the season of reading, there was a wave of reading craze in the class. Of course, most of them were either reading comics, fantasy novels, or martial arts novels. The paper that had the ‘list of 100 books that teenagers should read’, that the teacher put up, had already turned dull.
“Today’s Friday, right?” Dowook asked.
“Yeah. What about it?”
“We’re going to the broadcasting room today, aren’t we?”
Hearing that question, Daemyung nodded with a smile. Dowook sighed and laid back down on the table again.
“Dowook, it’s fine. Anyone can make mistakes,” Daemyung said as he patted Dowook on the back.
Dowook replied with a ‘shut up’.
“The kids really like the radio broadcast.”
Dojin pointed at the ceiling. He was probably referring to the speakers. Maru crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair.
“Did you say you were going to do that until the end of October?”
“That’s what we talked about, but I’m not sure. I’ll tell Yeondu-seonbae about it today.”
“That seonbae probably won’t tell you clearly. Her specialty is to reply vaguely when it comes to things that are disadvantageous for her.”
“That’s not entirely true. She’s really straightforward when it comes down to it,” Daemyung said as he closed the book.
“You are such a good guy. Should I go talk to her about it?”
“It’s fine. She’ll tell me on her own. Anyway, that broadcasting club alliance, or something? She might be talking to them and that’s why she can’t give me a clear answer. Also… it’s not like it’s harming us.”
Dowook, who they thought was sleeping, said that it is a big harm to him since he lost his lunch time.
“That’s true, but this is also an opportunity. If things go well, we might be able to go on a YBS radio program. And it’s also more memories for us. As Dojin said, the others seem to like it. I don’t think it’ll be bad even if we continue doing this for a while.”
“If you say so, I don’t have any complaints either.”
Dowook said that he was full of complaints, but neither Daemyung nor Maru replied to him. Dowook eventually became quiet after grumbling for a while.
“How about the first years? Don’t they find it tiring to use up lunch times on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays?”
Lunch times were pretty important to high school students. They might not consider spending their precious lunch time, which was required for saving up energy for the afternoon classes, on club activities.
“I was worried about that too, so I asked them a couple of days ago, but I instead heard from them that I shouldn’t worry about it. It seems like Aram, Jiyoon, and Bangjoo all like doing the audio drama.”
“That’s good. Well, I guess they were the most excited about it.”
“Jiyoon was a little unexpected though.”
It had been two weeks since they started broadcasting. Jiyoon, who at first, took a step back saying that she was embarrassed, now acted with more passion than anyone else in front of the microphone. Thinking back, she was the one that showed the most stable acting at the café before. Although her process of getting into acting was a bit rough, she concentrated harder than anyone else once she did get started.
“Thinking about how they aren’t making any mistakes even though it’s done live, I think practicing plays has helped them somewhat.”
“Also, their pronunciations have gotten a lot better since they started preparing for the audio drama. It’s to the point that I could tell during practices for the play.”
“That’s an unexpected benefit.”
“Apparently, Aram’s practicing all day with a pencil in her lips.”
“Did Jiyoon tell you that?”
Daemyung smiled as he said those words. Good times. Why did a corner of his heart feel so cold when he looked at a high school couple?
He knew the reason. That was because he wasn’t able to meet up with her that often because their schedules kept criss-crossing. During weekdays, he was busy, and during weekends, she was busy. Due to a problem with shooting the sitcom, she told him that the shoots were on Sundays for a while, so he wouldn’t be able to meet her for at least another half a month. He told her that he’d visit her house, but she clearly told him that she didn’t want to meet him for now. When he asked why, she replied that she wanted to focus on what she was doing right now.
As soon as he heard that answer, he realized that there was another reason for it, but he didn’t want to pry any further. Instead, he decided to wait; wait until she solves the problem herself and brings about a conclusion that satisfied herself. After that moment, they would be able to meet with comfort.
“Do you hang out with Jiyoon a lot during the weekend?”
“You became a couple so you should really take her out on dates.”
“It’s fine. We meet every day at school.”
“...What did you do during the Summer holidays?”
“Me? Why do you ask? I practiced for the club.”
“No, not that. I meant with Jiyoon.”
“Like I said, I practiced, along with Jiyoon.”
Daemyung smiled brightly as he mentioned the name ‘Jiyoon’. While wondering if her name was that good, Maru also sighed to himself. Next to them, Dojin, who was listening, put down his book. Then he said something to Daemyung.
“You damn idiot.”
“Tsk, that first year looked cute. I wonder what made her like this dense bear guy.”
Dojin clicked his tongue and stood up. Maru just nodded. Daemyung made a clueless expression as he stared at Dojin who went to the bathroom. Then, he looked at Maru while tilting his head, asking a question,
“What did you do with your girlfriend during the summer?”
“We went to the sea on a short trip.”
“J-just the two of you? When did you have the time?”
“We went on a one-day trip when both of us had free time.”
“Like I said, just the two of you?”
“Would we go with our parents? Duh, we went by ourselves.”
“No way, how can you go by yourselves?”
“In my perspective, you don’t make any sense. How can we go by ourselves? We just go by ourselves. You know how to buy train tickets, right?”
“Am I a kid? Of course I do.”
“And you know that our country is surrounded by the sea on three sides?”
“Then what’s the problem? You just decide on a date, buy the tickets, and go to the sea.”
“T-that’s a little.”
Just what was this guy thinking? Daemyung had turned red up to his ears. Maybe he was shooting an erotic movie all by himself in his head, even though he acted so pure on the surface?
“Your parents must be worried, you shouldn’t do that.”
...What erotic movie. He was too pure-minded that Maru wanted to dye it a little red.
“Hey, you should really think about how Jiyoon feels. She’s at the age where she wants to play around.”
“Y-you really think so?”
Maru smiled and shook his head. What was he supposed to do about this natural treasure of a couple?
“T-the cinema should be a pretty moderate course for a date, right?”
“That’s textbook dating. It’s a bit old-fashioned, but it’s not bad as the first course on a date. If the movie is to her tastes, then there’s no better choice either.”
“Really? Then what about after that? No, wait, where did you go with your girlfriend recently?”
Maru, who was looking for the textbook for the 4th period, raised his head slightly. He smiled bitterly towards Daemyung, whose eyes were shining.
“I haven’t met her in a while.”
“What do you mean why? Because we’re both busy.”
“You can’t meet if you’re busy?”
What an obvious question. Maru laughed before taking out the textbook and putting it on his desk. They weren’t kids, if they knew about each other’s circumstances, they should just be considerate of each other.
“But she might want to meet you?”
“I told her that I wanted to meet her, but she said no. Looks like she has her own circumstances to deal with.”
“What do you mean ‘so’?”
Daemyung stared at Maru. Maru looked back into his eyes.
“Hey, hey. Korean teacher is coming.”
Dojin, who had been in the bathroom, came in as he shouted. The kids that were reading comic books all hid them inside their desks and bags. Daemyung also turned around to look at the front. Dowook, who had been lying down, sat up as well.
The chaotic classroom became neat and quiet in an instant, and following that, the teacher came in. The teacher, who carried with him a rod made of bamboo, stood in front of the lecture desk and started the class after telling them to endure for just an hour.
Maru watched Daemyung’s back for a while before turning his gaze to the textbook. What did Daemyung want to say just now?
He was curious, but that curiosity soon dissipated.
“It’s important to find out the intentions of the novelist. So memorize from here to here for now. Okay?”
The Korean teacher’s loud voice echoed in the classroom.
* * *
12:45 p.m. The students all stuck one foot out of their desks. The Korean teacher, who always finished the class after erasing the board, erased the final period from the board.
“Kids. You’ll only be harming yourselves if you fall over while running. You should take it slow. It’s not like you’re possessed by hungry ghosts or something.”
“Teach, can you finish the class early since we went through all the materials?”
“It’s the wish of a lifetime!”
The students spoke as they looked at the clock. Today’s lunch had fried chicken on the menu. If they were late, they would only be given fried crumbs, so they were trying to hurry. As Maru also thought that meals should always be delicious, he also put one foot out of his desk. Rather than going there calmly and eating dregs, he might as well run there like mad and eat chicken legs.
“Good. I’ll give you a question, so the column that gets it right will get to go first. It’s easy so you’ll have to raise your hands fast. What are the four tragedies of Shakesp….”
“Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth!”
Maru had never seen Daemyung move so quickly until now. Daemyung pushed the desk and raised his hand full of battle spirit and immediately uttered the titles of four books. The Korean teacher, who looked at Daemyung in a daze, laughed loudly once before telling their column to go.
Daemyung smiled and waved his hand above his head. Maru could see a glimpse of a boxer that gained the title of champion. When they heard the teacher saying that they could go, they held their breaths and opened the back door. The corridor was filled with silence. They went to the next class over and peeked through the window. Everyone looked at them with envious gazes.
“You should always go to Park Daemyung when it comes to food.”
“Of course. Let’s go fellas. Let’s get them fried chicken!”
They rushed across the corridor with lights in their eyes. Daemyung was treated as the captain and he got to go first. Maru smiled and followed them.
 An Korean way of calling autumn. While Korean people know it as a saying originating from China, the original Chinese saying has a different first character (out of four).
 An academic year starts (and therefore, ends) in March, which is Spring.
 Referring to Pocky (Pepero in Korea). They made 11/11 “pepero day” so it became common to send others pepero on that day. Somehow this marketing was hugely popular, and some people (especially kids) know 11/11 as ‘pepero day’ still to this day.
 Word used here is the same as ‘wuxia’.
I can testify for the 'getting fried crumbs when you're late' part. This actually happened to me during my first year of high school.
So you're telling me that there was a beach episode with high fluff content and the author SKIPPED IT?????????? What is this madness? What is the author high on!!!???? Riot.