Imaginary Cat: Episode 7
There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and a best friend. There aren’t that many things out there that would threaten a bond this strong between man and cat, but with one episode to go, the world will continue to throw more obstacles in their way. Some dreams are realized while others are put to rest this week, but if there’s one thing that will remain forever unchanged is that these two will be together for life.
SONG OF THE DAY
Acourve – “하고 싶은 말 (What I Want to Say)” [ Download ]
CHAPTER 13: “You In My Heart”
Now that Jong-hyun knows Bok-gil is also long-lost Haru, he tells his barely awake cat that Na-woo will occasionally come by to see her. It amazes him how DNA tests exist for pets now too, but Bok-gil is annoyed that her human is disrupting her sleep.
As if on cue, Na-woo drops by just then with boxes in hand. Bok-gil thinks, surprised: “Oy! She’s back again?!” Cut to: a miserable-looking Bok-gil stuck in an unwanted bath. She hops out the first chance she gets, and the rogue shower head sprays both Na-woo and Jong-hyun.
Na-woo immediately tends to Jong-hyun, who awkwardly looks away and offers her a change of clothes. Those boxes are filled with presents for Bok-gil, since Na-woo wants to make up for all the lost years, but Jong-hyun firmly says she can give Bok-gil one present and donate the rest.
He reminds her that this is his apartment too, and more importantly, she mustn’t touch anything on his drafting table. Na-woo apologizes for imposing on his personal space, then picks up Bok-gil to cuddle with her.
Seeing them together makes Jong-hyun smile, and since Na-woo came bearing presents today, Bok-gil decides to let her off the hook.
Hae-gong chokes on his food upon hearing of Bok-gil’s oh-so-emotional birth secret. I love that his follow-up question is that if he and Na-woo are dating now because Bok-gil once belonged to her.
However, Hae-gong does admit that Jong-hyun’s imminent career debut trumps his love life right now. Speaking of which, he gets nervous when he hears of Jin-sung’s recent success, and tells Jong-hyun that they have to do whatever they can right now because the higher-ups will make a decision tomorrow.
Jong-hyun definitely has Dokko PD’s vote, Hae-gong continues, but it’s the others he needs. If he isn’t interested in lobbying or desperately praying about it, what does he plan to do? But Jong-hyun’s had enough and leaves Hae-gong to get more work done.
Jong-hyun gives his boss the most adorable pout when his phone is confiscated from him for checking his phone during work. His pleas that he’s waiting for an important phone call has no effect on his boss (who just wants to check if he’s got Na-woo’s cousin’s number, ha), and as karma would have it, the latter can’t get past the lock screen.
He’s still waiting on that call that evening while Na-woo tries (but fails) to entice Bok-gil to play. Bok-gil sighs, asking her human if he can send this other annoying human away. Instead, Jong-hyun steps outside to pick up some more water since he’s out of it.
Being alone with Na-woo is the last thing Bok-gil wants, so when she jumps onto the desk, Na-woo quickly places her back on the ground. While making sure that everything is in order, Na-woo lingers to admire Jong-hyun’s drawings…
… and that’s what Jong-hyun returns to see. Upset, he yells at her for messing with his things, and Na-woo explains that she happened to see his work while keeping Bok-gil in line. “Were you always like this to Bok-gil, too?!”
She’s noticed that he’s been extra-sensitive lately because of his possible webtoon debut, so she’ll take Bok-gil away and care for her at the cafe for a few days. Uh, Bok-gil may be Haru, but she still belongs to Jong-hyun.
That’s the same argument Jong-hyun makes, just louder, as he points out that Bok-gil hasn’t been eating much or feeling great—plus, Na-woo has no right to take Bok-gil away. If Na-woo’s going to act like this, then she should leave and never return. Na-woo retorts that he’s awful and storms out, but I’m with Jong-hyun on this one.
His emotions well up as soon as she leaves and barely keeps them in check to answer Dokko PD’s call to see him tomorrow. Hopefully that means good news because the next thing we know, Jong-hyun and Hae-gong are out popping cans of beer in celebration.
Hae-gong couldn’t be more proud of his friend, and when Jong-hyun says that he’s next up on the mound, Hae-gong reveals that he plans to work for his father’s business. Not all dreams are meant to come true, and though the idea of sticking it out for a bit longer sounds nice, Hae-gong says he’s not ultimately not cut out to be a webtoon artist.
Asked if he’s confident that he won’t regret this decision, Hae-gong honestly says he can’t be sure, but what would life be without some regret? It’s sad to think that Jong-hyun’s No. 1 cheerleader won’t be pursuing the same dream any longer, but Hae-gong looks back on his passion for drawing with fondness.
Spending time drawing with Jong-hyun and Soo-in were some of his happiest memories in high school. “One has departed this world, and I’ve given up on another… I’ve only got you now,” Hae-gong says matter-of-factly.
Jong-hyun knows that he’ll be pursuing this craft on all of their behalfs, and he can’t help but smile when Hae-gong does. What a wonderful friend.
Some time later, Jong-hyun sits alone with his thoughts of Soo-in. At home, Bok-gil accidentally licks the homemade collar off of the drafting table. She wonders if she needs to retrieve it.
She must’ve made the leap because we see her on the ground when Jong-hyun finally returns home. He can’t hear her think about how her leg hurts; instead he picks her up into the bed and tearfully tells her that he’s finally going to make his webtoon debut.
But these aren’t tears of joy, and he sobs into his pillow, making Bok-gil worry.
It takes a minute for Bok-gil to comprehend why her human isn’t getting out of bed the following morning. She puts the pieces together—his weakened state, his hoarse voice, and his body feels feverish—then gasps. Oh no, her human’s ill.
Her mind immediately jumps to concern, and when Jong-hyun offers to feed her, she anxiously thinks to him that she’s not at all hungry and he can just stay in bed. When he apologizes for not being able to get up, Bok-gil is completely understanding—she can wait for however long he needs.
Worried, she hops down when she hears the doorbell, desperately hoping that the human on the other side can help her owner. Jong-hyun staggers to answer it, and collapses on top of Na-woo (who’d been preparing her apology to him outside). Bok-gil couldn’t be more relieved.
Bok-gil watches with a keen eye as Na-woo tends to Jong-hyun’s fever. At the first sign of consciousness, Na-woo steps away to get him some water, but then Jong-hyun takes her hand. In his delirious state, he calls out to her: “Soo-in-ah.” O my damn.
CHAPTER 14: “Goodbye and Hi”
Jong-hyun is feeling much better by morning, and is surprised to see Na-woo sleeping by his bedside. Checking his forehead, she’s relieved that his fever’s gone, and recounts how sick he was last night.
He was even babbling in his sickly state, and when she asks who Soo-in is, he quickly changes the subject. Citing that he’s got important plans today, he thanks her for taking care of him and Na-woo takes her leave.
Jong-hyun gathers a sleeping Bok-gil up in his arms, apologizing to her for scaring her like that. Bok-gil meows, “Don’t get sick again.”
Na-woo runs into Wan outside the cafe and starts coughing, which is never a good sign for someone with a weak immune system like hers. Wan knows this too, but Na-woo begs him to keep it a secret lest her cousin send her to Jeju.
He asks if he spent the night with Bok-gil (and at Jong-hyun’s place by extension), and gets worked up at the idea that she of all people would be nursing Jong-hyun back to health. He insists that she go to the hospital to get her checked out. Now.
Over at the agency, Dokko PD warns Jong-hyun that he’s got a tough road ahead of him once he signs that contract. But Jong-hyun is prepared to do his best, and then they’re interrupted by Jin-sung, irate that he lost to an amateur.
He’s in disbelief when he’s told that Jong-hyun won by a landslide. Jong-hyun signs the contract right then and there, and Jin-sung swears that they’ll both come to regret this moment.
Now that Jong-hyun is an official budding artist, his boss treats him with newfound respect. If his webtoon is successful, then a publication is sure to follow, no? Jong-hyun agrees that’s what usually happens, then grabs at the chance to take a few days off of work, milking the opportunity for all it’s worth.
At home, Jong-hyun and Bok-gil read together on the floor because they’re perfect. Bok-gil doesn’t like the idea that she actually needs a bath, but she does like the sound of a cat cafe.
When Jong-hyun and Hae-gong stop by the cafe, the latter notices that Na-woo isn’t in. Their cheerful only nags at Na-woo’s unni cousin, who asks if Jong-hyun knows that Na-woo went to the ER yesterday after taking care of him all night.
Shocked, Jong-hyun rises from his seat and asks if she’s still there. Her cousin says Na-woo’s since been discharged, but wasn’t he aware that her dongsaeng was very sick at a young age?
She refuses to let Jong-hyun see her, annoyed that she didn’t stop Na-woo’s feelings for him sooner. She turns away in a huff.
Jong-hyun wanders alone that evening, only to look up and find himself nearby the playground. He walks over to the swings and takes a seat, thinking back to the harsh words he said to Na-woo.
His thumb hovers over her number, and then Soo-in’s apparition breaks his train of thought. “Who are you thinking of?” she asks. Imaginary Soo-in admits that she feels a bit jealous towards that other girl.
“You look well,” Soo-in says, smiling. “You laugh more now than you once did, and you know how to rely on other people. It’s a relief that it feels like you’re not alone.”
He apologizes for sending her away, but she’s more apologetic for leaving him the way she did. Soo-in encourages him to call the girl that’s occupying his thoughts right now, the girl who he misses. So Jong-hyun calls… and the apparition disappears.
Na-woo picks up and her voice sounds strong and healthy. Jong-hyun’s eyes linger on the still-moving swing beside him, but doesn’t speak.
Worried, Na-woo races to the playground and plops down in the empty seat beside Jong-hyun. She swears that she’s all better now and Jong-hyun takes off his jacket to drape it over her shoulders instead.
He says they should go for a bike ride when she’s all better, and when she says he’ll lecture her again, Jong-hyun says they can forget it then. But Na-woo insists that she wants to learn, which makes Jong-hyun smile.
Jong-hyun looks for Bok-gil as soon as he returns home, finding it strange when he can’t find her. He checks the bathroom and finds her lying on the bathroom floor. Shocked, he immediately picks her up: “Bok-gil-ah! What’s wrong?!”
As she weakly paws at him, she thinks, “Human… what’s going on with me?”
Noooo, not the cat! I know a part of me shouldn’t be surprised about One Last Conflict that involves Bok-gil in this series, but seeing her sick pains me all the same. Could it be the leg she injured from jumping off of the drafting table? She did mention how it hurt her, and it’s possible the leg went untreated since Jong-hyun fell ill soon afterwards.
Even though Bok-gil gives off a slight air that her primary concern is for her own needs (like every cat ever), it was both endearing and heartbreaking to see her so worried about her human. Other than being the world’s cuddliest pillow, there was nothing else Bok-gil could do, and it pained my heart to hear her cry for a human, any human to come and help her owner. Jong-hyun and Bok-gil’s genuine affection for one another continues to be the glue that holds this series together week after week, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them spending quality time with one another, whether that be with reading books, laying in bed together, or Bok-gil looking miserable in a tub.
So whenever Na-woo decides to step up for Bok-gil’s sake, her good intentions come across as overstepping her boundaries. She may have been Bok-gil’s previous owner, yes, but Bok-gil is now and has long been under Jong-hyun’s care. And no, a bath, a toy, and a few play dates doesn’t change the idea that Bok-gil belongs to Jong-hyun. It wasn’t right of Jong-hyun to so upset with her either, but then again, he did tell her to respect his creative space.
Which brings me to Jong-hyun fulfilling his dream of becoming a webtoon artist and buddy Hae-gong who put that same aspiration to rest. To be honest, I thought that Hae-gong was already an established artist waiting for his buddy to join the ranks, so it’s even more saddening for him to declare that he believes he won’t find success in this industry. There’s no doubt that Hae-gong has been the best kind of friend could ever ask for, and I can’t help but respect his decision made in a sense of realism. While he knows that only a few in this world are lucky enough to live out their dreams, he will always be there to live vicariously through his friend and cheer him on no matter what life throws at them.