Coffee Prince Chapter 6: “Would You Like Some Bubble Wrap?”
(Not-Completely Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Postino – “감기가 싫어” or “I Hate Colds” (as in the flu). This song always reminds of the Of Montreal song below. [ zShare download ]
Of Montreal – “Tim I Wish You Were Born a Girl” — which is strangely appropriate for Coffee Prince, actually. And look, I didn’t even do this intentionally when I thought of posting a Postino song today. Huh. Good going, subconscious. (This song cracks me up; the lyrics are so funny.) [ zShare download ]
As I suspected, the novel leaves us hanging after the surprise tongue-kiss between Han Gyul and Eun Chan and moves over to Han Sung. (Although I enjoyed reading about Han Sung, Yu Ju, and Eun Chan this chapter, I couldn’t help trying to hurry through it to get to the next one.)
CHAPTER 6: “Would You Like Some Bubble Wrap?”
Han Sung still harbors antipathy toward Yu Ju for the way she left him three years ago — she broke things off while they were engaged. When she calls to ask him to meet, she merely says, “I have something to say to you. Let’s meet there.” Han Sung’s bitter reaction to that:
Han Sung hated the fact that the “there” she spoke of still existed. Even if it was still there, Han Sung had had to erase it from his memory. But that “there” still existed, like it always had. Just as he remembered.
He doesn’t want to, but goes to the bar anyway; Yu Ju’s news is that she’s been offered a position working at the Dong Yi Group’s art gallery by Han Sung’s grandmother — Dong Yi Group being his family’s company. Han Sung finds himself growing angry at her just being there, and treats her coldly and harshly. (Not that she doesn’t deserve it.)
For instance, she tries to maintain a civil conversation, but he cuts it short, saying rather carelessly, “If you’re done talking, you can leave.” She asks if he has plans, and he says he does. She says, getting up to leave:
“You could ask me once how I’ve been.”
Han Sung looked up at the now-standing Yu Ju.
“However angry you are, however much you’re disappointed or hate me, you could think of the time we spent together and ask me that.”
“I could. But I don’t want to.”
“It’s a waste of time.”
Hurt and disappointed, Yu Ju’s words grow heated as she tells him she thought that when she left, he’d at least call to ask why, and where, she was going. She knows he must’ve been angry that she jilted him (you think?), and she didn’t expect him to hold onto her, to hold her back, but she thought he’d say something. But he never once called, he never once came looking for her. (It’s called dignity, honey. Even when you’ve tried to do your best to trample on it.)
Despite Yu Ju’s tears, Han Sung looks at her without any expression and says:
“I went to the airport. Nobody was pushing you to go. You walked with your own legs and left. And how easily they did.”
After Yu Ju leaves, Han Sung meets with one of the company’s trustees, and we get the skinny on the family situation. Han Sung’s father inherited the company from Han Sung’s grandfather, being his eldest son, making Han Sung the next successor. However, when his father died, his younger brother (Han Gyul’s father, Han Sung’s uncle) stirred up dissent among the corporate board, and in the end the company was handed over to Han Gyul’s father. Now, Han Sung runs one branch of the company, heading their manufacturing, while Han Gyul’s mother and older brother oversee the vast majority of the enterprise, which is in the food service industry. Han Sung feels this is unfair, and has been biding his time, observing and lining up his ducks in a row. He’s got something up his sleeve.
After the trustee leaves, Han Sung downs his Chivas Regal, drinking more than usual because of his agitation over seeing Yu Ju. He notices an employee carrying out a drunken male patron on her back, breathing heavily from the exertion of holding up someone twice her own weight. He likens it to a fox carrying a bear, and finds it amusing.
Getting his bill, he leaves, but finds on his way out that the ground isn’t as level as he’d thought. Or rather, he’s drunker than he thought. The employee offers her assistance, holding his arm as he walks out. Han Sung notes her appearance, and wonders if it’s because he’s drunk that she looks like a (good-looking) boy.
Han Sung suddenly feels ill, and vomits on the ground. Eun Chan fetches him some water and they sit while he collects himself. They chat, and Eun Chan talks freely about herself — how it’s only her second day on the job, but she’d broken so many dishes and plates that she was told not to come back anymore. She sighs that nothing seems to be going right these days. Her mother lost a ring, her sister’s getting into trouble at school to get money to enroll in singing classes, her Taekwondo classes have been losing students, and even her bike won’t cooperate when she goes on her early-morning milk deliveries.
She’s been politely calling him “Sir” (more literally, “guest” or “patron”), but when he offers her a cigarette, she says, “No thanks, but ajusshi, go ahead if you like.” Han Sung thinks:
She switches from “sir” to “ajusshi” naturally, she grumbles about her troubles unreservedly to a stranger. What an interesting girl.
Eun Chan also grumbles on about someone to whom she does not attribute a name, calling him “the worst kind of perverted caterpillar-like punk.” Han Sung wonders what she’s talking about, and she goes off on her rant:
“Ajusshi, have you ever seen a caterpillar? I saw one once when I was a kid, while digging up cabbages in the garden in front of our house. I wasn’t too startled, but it was really disgusting. But that guy — he was just like that caterpillar. And he was a total pervert. Crazy bastard. Agh! Pain in the ass!”
She makes a spitting noise. As she talks, she holds some kind of plastic in her hands. “Whenever she swore, it made a loud, pop! pop! snapping sound.”
Han Sung looks at it, curious:
“Is that fun?”
“Hm? Oh, the bubble wrap?”
“Yes. Do you want to try it with me? This is the best for relieving stress.”
/end Chapter 6.