[Choose your epilogue] Of alligators and poetry
by Guest Beanie
You Who Forgot Poetry took Dramabeans by storm. The shipping wars (all civil and friendly), the many ships, the Island Parties, the daily poetry (often self-composed) shared on the fan walls, and even a poetry slam all made the show an incredibly memorable drama experience.
On Dramabeans, the battle lines were drawn between the Ye Liners vs. the Min-ho Youngers. As the OTP became clear, one side rejoiced while the other wrote their own alternative ending. Me? I was on the Ye Liner at first, but eventually (thanks to a false report about a sighting of my Ultimate Bias) made my way off the Ye Line, and drifted onto the Isle of Neutrality, where I remained firmly anchored till the end on a small little boat called Nam-woo-🐊. That’s an alligator emoji. In my head, the name of the ship is “Nam-woo — Alligi.”
While the show ended on a happy note for the main character Woo Bo-young (she gets the job and the guy!), it left all other plot threads and characters’ lives unresolved. The show meant it to be so. Our lives go on beyond the show, and so do the lives of the characters. The last poem it ended on began with these lines:
There are still old fashioned people in this world
who believe that poems contain spectacular stories.
There’s nothing special in poems.
They only contain our lives that are the least bit spectacular.
Appropriate for a show whose protagonist found comfort in poems, but as an audience member left stranded on a small little boat that never set sail, I’d like to write an epilogue for the character arc that touched me the most.
Nam-woo (Shin Jae-ha) owned one last branded shirt: a plain white Lacoste shirt with the brand’s logo, an alligator, on the left breast. And if there is one thing Nam-woo worried about, it was that the alligator would fall off his shirt. Every time someone grabbed his shirt, ready to fight, he expressed more concern for Alligi than for himself.
Sadly, Nam-woo and Alligi were torn apart (har) under distressing circumstances. I’d hoped it was the mandatory forced separation trope at play but Alas! T’was not to be. And it broke my heart.
I’m not one to notice or care for brands. If it looks nice on me, is of a decent quality, and I can afford it, I buy it. I had no clue what Lacoste even was, until this show. Yet Nam-woo’s attachment to Alligi moved me. Alligi was PPL at its finest. Nam-woo, whose family used to be rich 10 years ago, is now a penniless student of Physiotherapy. He finds himself on a two-month work placement at a hospital with his close friend, Shin Min-ho, where their sunbae, Woo Bo-young has been working as contract employee. Dr. Ye is another new addition to the team. The love triangle of the show was Min-ho/Bo-young/Dr. Ye, but my heart lay (apart from with Bo-young) with Nam-woo.
How could it not? We see how sweet and sincere Nam-woo is, how cruelly he’s forced to leave his little room which he can barely afford, how hard his mother works, and how he broke up with the girl he loved because they were both too poor. For someone who grew up in the lap of luxury, the present circumstances must seem impossibly harsh.
I didn’t grow up in the lap of luxury like Nam-woo, but as the only child of doting parents who endeavoured to provide every comfort, I lived a very sheltered childhood. Chores? Never did ’em. I was shook when, aged 24, I first had to clean my bathroom during my year abroad.
I was not prepared for adulthood. No one is, I suppose.
The books I read, television and movies I watched, and music I listened to when I was younger didn’t tell me life is a constant battle with the world around you. That something as basic as earning a living is difficult. Get up and go to work and do it all again. The routine alone can be maddening.
Additionally, I’ve somehow ended up in a ridiculously competitive branch of law, litigation, where ironically, as a junior with no ‘connections,’ you stand up for others while battling to avoid being trodden upon yourself. Clients have to be pressured into paying the bills, seniors don’t pay since it is expected you will learn and leave, hours are long, responsibility is heavy, and corruption and the use of underhanded tactics is sadly something I confront far too often.
When I was working at a company, life was easier but the future seemed bleak, stretching out endlessly, empty, before me. I ran away from it. Now I’ll be the last person to tell you life is dull – I could even write a drama about it – but there are days when the sheltered child in me is left feeling helpless and hopeless much like Nam-woo.
And so Nam-woo’s struggles moved me. That Lacoste shirt wasn’t just a shirt, Alligi wasn’t there just for PPL and comedic effect, but told a true story. The kind I’d failed to notice in my beloved stories when I was younger.
If Bo-young had to give up her dream of being a poet, Nam-woo never had the chance to discover what his dream is, at all. I’m in between the two. I’m crawling towards something I want, after I’ve already committed to law. Without a solid foundation, I won’t switch careers, but building one while balancing a demanding, seemingly impossible and overwhelming career is a whole other story.
Thus, I want to write Nam-woo an epilogue. One where he is reunited with his Alligi, which represents not only memories of an earlier, easier and happier past, but also a hopeful, easier and happier future. One where he is dating the girl he likes, providing a comfortable income for his parents and working at that stable job he wants. Such a simple dream, I want Nam-woo to achieve it.
The poem I’d pick for this epilogue is part of lyrics, translated from a song I love deeply:
Dream, may all of creation be with you till the end of your life
Dream, wherever you are, will welcome you
Dream, may your trials end in full bloom
Dream, though your beginnings may be humble, may the end be prosperous.
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