He thinks about
this now just as he has been thinking about it for days. When Sangwoo is not in
the kitchen Yoonbum might even lift it from the chopping board as if to
practise wielding it, but all it does is wobble in his unsteady hand.
It’s been…how long
has it been, since Sangwoo dropped him into a swivel chair and placed the knife
in his hand? He doesn’t know. All he can remember is that his palm had been
soft, and his fingers gentle. They had pushed the hair out of his face and left
his cheeks glowing.
They had glowed
again later to be sure; glowed with the red hot force of Sangwoo’s palm - returned again with its second face.
Every error in the
kitchen had its consequence. He began to experience them so routinely that he memorised
them. A dropped plate brought him smarting cheeks. Overcooked meat was pulled
hair. A failure to respond was a sharp pinch of his flesh, fleshy half-moons in his skin.
If he wanted - really wanted - a cut
across his thigh, all he would have to do is break a cup and wait for Sangwoo to
locate the sharpest shard.
To his mind, with
this knowledge he almost had a type of control over Sangwoo. That was his small
and solitary solace.
Madness is when
time becomes everything and nothing. He uses time as a measure - of pain, of
progress, of opportunity to escape. His life is defined by it, but it has no real
weight. He cannot place himself.
He wonders about
the knife. It was a test to be sure. Or did Sangwoo really have that much faith
in him? He hadn’t seemed suspicious…and before that Yoonbum had done his
duties well. Pride rushes up his spine, and he straightens with it. It was
What other privileges
could he win, with time? Perhaps Sangwoo would let him sleep upstairs…perhaps more…
Perhaps – a voice pushes in – perhaps it didn’t imply
trust at all. Perhaps Sangwoo knew he was eternally useless with a knife – that’s
His hand grips the
handle of the knife tightly. He’d just have to learn to fight.
Sangwoo speaks up from the table where he had been flipping through a magazine.
“You know what I just remembered?” he asks in a way that makes Yoonbum –
shocked out of his stupor – wholly suspicious. A chill settles over him.
“That time in the
basement when you pissed yourself from fear. I had to hose you down like a dog,
you were so pathetic! And all I did was nick you a little with a can.” He laughs loudly at
this, and his eyes are bright.
but forces a smile over his shoulder. The knife is reunited with the chopping
board, and he turns around to slice at some leek with renewed vigour.
“Imagine I had
used something else. Like the knife you’re holding now.” Yoonbum looks over his
shoulder again to meet Sangwoo’s eyes. They’re black with accusation now, serious,
his face no longer bright or laughing. His voice is poison. “You would have shit
Yoonbum is paralysed
by the idea that Sangwoo has a sense for his thoughts. He says nothing, receiving
the message and accepting it. Whatever he had done, he had been too obvious.
His silence seems to
agitate Sangwoo, who rises with a frown to stand behind him.
He flinches, but Sangwoo only rests his chin
atop Yoonbum’s head, letting his warm hands travel over his belly
affectionately. “You really have no sense of fucking humour do you, Bum? It’s
boring. You can be so boring.” He sighs into his hair.
If there was ever
a time to raise the knife and plunge it into Sangwoo’s forehead, it would be
now. He considers this very seriously – it would be so easy, he’s right there
– but half of him is fighting the burgeoning disappointment searing throughout
Sangwoo finds him
says, and he is. His heart cracks into two at the idea that he is undesirable to
Sangwoo in yet another department.
Sangwoo brings up
a hand to smooth along Yoonbum’s forearm and rest atop his own, where he grips at
the knife. His other hand fingers the young scar on his collarbone. He suddenly
presses into it hard, and Yoonbum whimpers.
“Don’t let me get
bored of you, Bum. That really wouldn’t be good for you.”
wobble into a miserable line, and he nods.
Sangwoo leaves a lingering
kiss on his forehead before letting go, leaving the kitchen for the bathroom.
over the counter, breathing harshly. He puts down the knife.
Tuna cheek meat steak with soy sauce & buter on rice.
My grandfather was a seagoing fisherman on a tuna clipper, but he was too satiated to eat tuna meat at home, as he had eaten all parts of tuna day by day on board. As for me, I often ate its tail, heart, stomach and skin as well as its meat in my childhood, and then I don’t also like it very much.
As you know, Japanese people love its meat very much, though nobody paid attention to its inner parts. But nowaday they are rarely served at our table as their price has gone up these ten years.
Its cheek meat tastes good with the soft texture. If you’ve never tasted it and find it at a lower price somewhere, why don’t you try it?