Chapter 12 - At First Sight
“I only have ten minutes left until I have to meet my group, so there’s not enough time to go to the print room and get another survey. The way I see it, this could easily be solved by having the person who stamped their shoe on the paper fill out the survey form… So how about it?” she asked. Though it wasn’t her intention, her suggestion was no different than her reprimanding his behavior of trying to solve every problem with money.
“It won’t take too long so you’ll probably be able to finish it before the elevator comes. If it’s okay with you, please fill it out,” she said, feeling the stinging glare the man directed at her.
Sun Ha simply gave a calm smile, as if she had the upper hand. To be shot with a harsh glare from him would be several times better than going out there again in that sweltering heat just to get one more survey completed, so she was fine with it. There was no other reason.
‘…Or maybe there is?’
Her first boyfriend, Kyung Min, as well as any other men that’d been interested in her, had always come to her to try to naturally strike up a conversation. Up until now, she had never aggressively come to a person of an opposite gender first like this, but…
When she had first run after this man, she’d definitely only wanted him to complete her survey, but now she was suspicious of herself. Was she trying to use sly tactics to keep talking to him now that she’d fallen for him?
As she stepped closer to hand over the survey paper to him, the man’s expression, stiff and annoyed until then, suddenly relaxed in a peculiar way for a split second.
“Do you not use perfume?” he asked.
“What?” she asked reflexively in return, but she’d definitely heard him clearly. Sun Ha took a step back as if she had made a mistake.
All-day long, she’d gone to and fro across the campus in the hot, humid weather. Her dripping sweat had only just begun to dry now that she’d entered a building. Thinking that this man may have smelled the scent of sweat coming from her body, Sun Ha immediately blushed.
Unlike the other students, Sun Ha didn’t wear any perfume. Not only did she not wear it, but she also didn’t even have the money to buy proper makeup. Instead, she would only apply basic lotion and sunscreen whenever she could buy them on sale at the supermarket. She didn’t dare spend her money on something like perfume, whose scent would only last a little while.
Even though the sweat had already dried, Sun Ha nevertheless swept her hand across her nape. The question that the man just asked her must mean, “How could a young woman like you go around not wearing any perfume?”. His first impression of her was probably that she was a filthy woman who smelled of sweat.
Feeling embarrassment and shame, she lowered her head slightly. Suddenly, the man swiped the pen and survey paper from her hands. Putting aside her feelings of embarrassment from his action, Sun Ha spoke with an even clearer tone, as if his comment meant nothing to her, “It’s very simple. You only need to write three things you want to do before you die, like a bucket list. Oh, and please tick your corresponding gender and age bracket as well.”
She thought he would ignore her in the end, but the man took the survey paper from her even though he clearly was annoyed by all this. She was slightly hopeful as she listened for his reply, but he didn’t even give a slight nod to indicate that he had understood her explanation.
Feeling awkward from having no reaction from the man, she hurriedly continued speaking, “You don’t even need to think too hard on it. For example, many write down ‘world travel’ as one of their dream goals. Do you still have nothing in mind?”
“Mh, it doesn’t need to be crazy huge in scale… Some things are really plain but everyone says they definitely want to do it as well, you know. For example, true love… or marriage…”
The man was reluctantly holding the paper, his expression indifferent, but he lifted his head upon hearing Sun Ha’s words. His look said “why does this thing exist?” Sun Ha regretted her explanation and wished she had just kept her mouth shut.
However, it wasn’t that she had all kinds of girly ideas from seeing the man in front of her. Those examples were just Sun Ha’s bucket list items. Though she might not have one yet, she wanted to find her destined true love. She wanted to marry that person, have a child, and create a happy family together. The idea of making a family made her so excited that just thinking about it had her heart bubbling with joy.
Even though it was a completely boring and plain goal that others could even laugh at, to Sun Ha it was a completely unachievable dream.
“Sun Ha, you’re too flawed to be a good marriage candidate. Honestly, I even feel uncomfortable telling you this, but there probably isn’t any household that would be willing to take someone like you in.”
In a flash, Kyung Min’s voice echoed in her head. He had made her life completely miserable, but it was even more painful and sad knowing that she couldn’t firmly deny that wasn’t the truth.
Sun Ha had a solemn expression as she remembered the past, but then she noticed that the man had suddenly started writing.
He glanced up to check which floor the elevator was on as he kept carelessly scrawling with the pen. Even though he’d looked even more annoyed after he’d heard Sun Ha’s examples of bucket list items, it seemed like he’d made the decision to still write in the end.
She wondered what the man’s bucket list would be.
Sun Ha’s darkly clouded mind suddenly cleared up, replaced with simple curiosity.
The man tossed the survey paper to her as the elevator arrived. As she took hold of the paper, he stepped inside of the empty elevator without even once glancing at her.
“Love, marriage, world travel…” she mumbled to herself, reading the words written on the survey. When she lifted her head, the elevator had already shut and was lifting the man to the upper floors. Between Sun Ha’s slightly parted lips came a small, exasperated laugh.
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