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Chapter 12 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

Ripples by the Lake (2)

A week later, at a tripe restaurant near Hongdae.

The restaurant, located midway on the road leading to the club street from the subway, is always bustling. It's not just its prime location; the food is exceptional too.

I opened the door of the tripe restaurant and looked for Young-ju.

I wasn’t late for our appointment, but since Young-ju’s finishing time and mine were different, I guessed she might have arrived first. And sure enough, there she was, sitting alone in a corner, drinking.

I quickly went over to where my friend was and put down my tool bag, glancing at the table.

Beef tripe was sizzling on the pan, yet untouched. She must have timed it to be ready when I arrived.

Young-ju was drinking soju with the complimentary gopchang, already one empty bottle rolling around, and she was working on a new one.

“You never change, Seo Young-ju.”

Young-ju, who had finished a bottle of soju without a change in her face color, lifted her head. Her hair was neatly tied up in a net, and she was wearing a pinkish dress.

“Are you going somewhere fancy after this?”

“Damn, why are you so late, you bastard.”

Young-ju, pretty and feminine in appearance but with a manly way of speaking. Of course, we were school friends. I gestured towards the wall clock in the restaurant and said,

“I'm right on time.”

“You know my finishing time. Finish your work early and come, you bastard. It’s not like you have a fixed time.”

Well, that’s true. But do you know what it feels like to live day by day? Young-ju shakes the soju bottle.

“First, three shots for being late.”

When I heard this at the first drinking party with Youngju in college, I thought it was a joke.

Turns out it meant the latecomer has to start by taking three shots, using the characters 후 (after), 래 (coming), and 자 (person).

After three consecutive shots, I put down my glass and picked a piece of tripe, closing my eyes.

“Wow, how long has it been since I’ve had tripe? It’s melting in my mouth.”

“Why? You like tripe. Haven’t had it in a while?”

“Beef tripe is expensive.”

Young-ju quietly looked at me, then picked a piece of tripe with chopsticks, dipped it generously in sesame oil and salt, and put it in my mouth.

“Eat a lot, I’m feeling generous today and will treat you.”

“Haha, thanks.”

I was curious about the well-being of a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

“How’s it been? Do you like working at the art gallery?”

Young-ju sighed and shook her head.

“How could I like it? I’m just babbling away when I should be drawing at times like these.”

Young-ju’s job at the art gallery, after returning from studying abroad, is that of a docent.

A docent is a guide who explains the exhibits to visitors in museums or art galleries, and in some European countries, it’s also a professorial position.

The term docent, derived from the Latin ‘docere’ meaning ‘to teach,’ refers to a guide with a certain level of knowledge.

“Not good? Still, isn’t it the most straightforward path to go from studying abroad to starting as a docent and then becoming a director of an art gallery?”

“You need to see the path to walk it, you bastard.”

In my eyes, Young-ju comes from a rather affluent family, but in reality, her family is more middle-class.

Without being born with a silver spoon, becoming a director of an art gallery is unattainable in the industry, so it seems Young-ju sees no way forward from her current position.

“Those bastards. People from the storage or preservation centers act like they’re some great technicians, always nagging. I have 30,000 followers on Instagram, for what it’s worth.”

She must have gained those followers by appealing to the visitors

"Conservation and storage center staff are probably very cautious about everything. It's natural for them to be wary since they have to ensure no harm comes to the valuable paintings."

Yeongju stared with flatfish eyes and said,

"Are you siding with those guys too?"

"Ha, not really."

"Ah, it's so stressful."

"Just drink some alcohol, let's have a drink and go to sleep."

We passed the drink back and forth, inquiring about each other's well-being, and then shifted the conversation to the art competition.

"Did you finalize and submit the cat drawing from Eve Clang that you mentioned before?"

"Yeah, what about you?"

"I... drew a family picture."


Yeongju looked incredulous and said,

"You drew a family picture? On a fridge? Are you crazy? Who would use something like that in this era? Ah! You've totally wasted this competition, you idiot."

"Stop cursing. How old are you to still be talking like that?"

"Nobody at the company knows I curse well."

"But why do you only curse at me?"

"Because you do things that deserve it."

Even though she speaks like that, she probably thinks of me as someone comfortable. Yeongju is the only friend who worries about me.

Yeongju asked several times if I really submitted a real family photo and then sighed.

"Well, it's okay to do what you want for once. But don't get your hopes up. A fridge with a family drawing on it. Just imagining it is dreadful."

Haha, what if that was a painting by Alphonse Mucha? Of course, it might get rejected for not fitting the trend, or the judges might not understand the hidden meaning. Then, there's nothing I can do about it.

"Let's just drink for now."

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