Specifically that candy. Two thumbs up if you have tried it.
This is a short story about my grandfather, his Hyundai Enterprise, and coffee candies.
I was born in a strict upperclass family. Growing up in Jongnogu, Hyehwadong, located in Seoul, I attended Hyehwa Kindergarten, Hyehwa’s so-considered best school during the late 1990’s. Ironically, I was one of the few accepted students (you had to be accepted to this place) with a Buddhist/Agnostic/Atheist background - the kindergarten was strictly for Catholics only, and my grandma pretended being one to get me in.
Because this was a hard school to get into, I was expected all the more to perform well in it; I did so without much effort. School was fun. Field trips were exciting. Only once a week were we assigned to memorize a long, useless quote for some “extra hard” homework. I still remember the phrase “누워서 떡 먹기 - eating rice cake while lying down;” it just meant “an extremely easy task.”
Dad was never in the house during the weekdays. He had better things to do at work. Going on 2 billion business trips every month and stuff. I just saw him around bedtime, if at all. Ma spent the majority of her time either in the kitchen or with friends. And more often than not, they didn’t have enough time to necessarily match my schedule; most simple tasks (like picking me up from school) were handled by grandpa instead.
My grandfather was a wealthy businessman who owned a hotel, building, and stocks. It’s in his grace that our family lived so well off. He was a man of (very) few words, and it wasn’t easy for the family to talk to him (except me because I didn’t know any better). I only knew this man was something bigger than what I thought after witnessing an entire bank’s employees bowing down to him at his arrival.
At the time, he was the only man in Hyehwa who owned a Hyundai Enterprise - a car equivalent to whatever Hyundai’s best car is nowadays. He would slowly pull into the school parking lot, pull down the window, and tell me to get in. I still remember my friends’ expressions. Sort of like, "What is that…?" kind of face. Grandpa’s car was like a limo compared to most cars back in the days.
In the car, he would always keep a stash of CoffeeGo candies in the shotgun seat drawer. For a kid who was to die in his mother’s hands if he got his hands on caffeine, grandpa would always allow me to eat one candy per ride. I still haven’t forgotten that taste. That… heart warming, luxurious, rare coffee taste. It was almost enough to melt away all my week’s sorrows.
Finished 2:14 AM.