On a ride from the Nambu Bus Terminal to Chongju, Sang Huin's sleep was spastic like a nervous twitch that would every now and then startle him into wakefulness and he would wonder where he was: Muguk, Chongju, Seoul, or "Miguk." Sometimes at the primary school in Muguk he would ask, "Where are you from?" He thought of this in one of his startled awakenings.
That night they slept together; and the boy that had stroked Sang Huin's leg with his foot when they were eating kimbop wanted to hold hands while the two of them lay next to each other. Sung Ki, soon afterwards, began to plan out their time together.
There had been less discontent even if the passionate response had been the same. The suicidal risk-taker drawn to darkness, that relinquishing to the self-consumption of shadows, had been somewhat tamed. But now with this partner gone Sang Huin's mind was slipping back into decadence.
"You must all eat," said Sung Ki as he poured water into the remaining rice in Sang Huin's bowl. He had heard it so many times. How they had carried on an affair with the sister staying there and the overnight visits of Sung Ki's father was a mystery. They had met in the park in Umsong. Sang Huin was memorizing words in his textbook entitled Let's Speak Korean.
The next morning was Sang Huin's bit of a weekend and so Seong Seob feigned sickness in a phone call to his cousin. The cousin was indifferent and if he questioned the logic of calling in sick while being absent from the home that both of them shared, he did not mention it.
He in his reserve believed that in a world of nonsense spoken by barbarians little outside of human culture had a positive worth except for friendship, and if he needed to listen all night to someone he cared for, he would do just that. In the back of the convenience store it was hard for him to critique Sang Huin's prose.
In mid-afternoon they went swimming. He watched Saeng Seob's dives which were more complex and aesthetic than any he would have been able to do. They were Saeng Seob's one action of bold maneuvers that always renewed Sang Huin's interest in him for creatures of motion like himself, he knew, could only admire base kinetic movements of the outside world.
Sang Huin was labeled as dirty a few nights ago: the way he walked on the floor with his shoes instead of taking them off at the door; the half open window that allowed any insect an easy passage; the fact that he didn't have any rubbing alcohol to cleanse the mosquito bites that his friend gained while sleeping in Sang Huin's room; the fattening mess of pancakes with half burnt ridges in place of rice which Sang Huin prepared for him despite the criticism; and then came questions about the nature of his relationship with Sung Ki.
He recognized different buildings, and the curves of the street near a hard dirt tennis court. This was Ne Doc Dong. "Do you want me," said one, "or do you want another?" Sang Huin's face turned a bright red like it did with drinking a bottle of beer. He smiled and looked toward the sidewalk in his embarrassment. He said, "No, I wouldn't; but would you have a brother?"
Right after getting his letter from the military, Sung Ki laid out Sang Huin's blanket in a different room. He talked of needing a girlfriend. It hurt; but, Sang Huin rationalized it was what Sung Ki needed so why shouldn't he talk about it? Superiors in the military often beat a man if they felt that he didn't have a girlfriend evidenced when no letters and photographs were forthcoming.