@aisling from Soompi posted this question: Does anybody know what Ji An meant by “If I stay here, he won’t be coming to the bar?” Why? Why would he avoid her?
At the time of this discussion, Soompi members had not yet noticed the calendar on the wall of Jung Hee’s bedroom. We all had no idea that Dong Hoon avoids the bar for at least a whole month if not longer, showing an incredible amount of self restraint. And how puzzling his behavior must have seemed to the bar friends who tend to overreact when things are even just a little out of the ordinary.
Seriously, this is mind-blowing. It shows (1) how determined Dong Hoon is to maintain a physical boundary with Lee Ji An pre-time skip, and (2) how close Jung Hee and Ji An must have gotten during these 2 months.
It was implied that except for that one initial drink they had (with brothers and friends) at Jung Hee’s bar, Dong Hoon after that avoided the bar; another hole on the premise that all Dong Hoon ever think and feel about Ji An is just compassion, charity, friendly platonic affinity. Because, if that is the case, his usual routines will not be affected even in the slightest by whether she’s there or she’s not there. Those that we have no interest in, most often that are regarded by us with indifference, we’re unaffected, unperturbed..
But Ji An stirs in him significant reactions, he is so conscious of her presence, so affected by her. His senses are attuned to her. As one would behave towards just a friend as they keep on insisting? I don’t think so. The pull is strong, and he was perhaps resisting with all his willpower at that point.
It’s kind of an ambiguous scene and can be up to many interpretations. Ji An saying ”how pathetic she feels is like a parallel to the slippers thing. Again, she has professed her love and laid her feelings bare but Dong Hoon is still reluctant. She again feels pathetic that her feelings aren’t answered the way she would like to. Let’s be honest, Dong Hoon was afraid and not ready to actually address his feelings for Ji An until the time skip. He would have gone and run away, confused. Ji An knew well that if she stayed around, Dong Hoon wouldn’t have been able face her, he still had many things to sort out. Like, what would he do with his job and marriage. Ji An gave both of them time and space to breathe and actually understand what was going around them.
Ji An telling him “I don’t need someone who can be happy without me” – is her way of saying “You’re not ready to accept my feelings and admit that you’re interested, so I’m leaving to give both of us a break and see if we still meet again”.
Dong Hoon promised Ji An that he would be happy, but he never promised her that he would be happy without her.
P.S. Let’s go easy on our precious Dong Hoon, he endured so many hardships. Man literally experienced real love for a woman in his 40s and with a 21 years old at that. Of course he would freak out and try to get away. It’s not easy to accept something so deep and important when you spend 43 years living such a dull life.
I saw it the same way you did, that she understood he wasn’t going to reciprocate her feelings. I think she confessed so many times with the tiny tiny hope that he would leave his wife for her, but his action made it clear to her that he was putting a distance. And that included not going to Jung Hee’s. She decided right then that she did not want herself to be a burden for him anymore.
Love what @anipanch said about Dong Hoon freaking out. That’s my answer to @aisling‘s question too about why he was avoiding Jeong Hee’s bar. I mean the obvious reason is he’s afraid of gossip, but really, I think he’s afraid he will spontaneously combust in her nearness…
Dong Hoon knows best that he’s undeniably drawn towards Ji An, and that the more time they spend together – notably, in front of all his neighborhood friends – the more it would be obvious what his feelings for her truly are. And he wasn’t ready to declare his love for her to the world, at that stage. I think he is ready though during the final scene.
I thought it a bit weird because he went to the bar at least once. But, if he was avoiding her I would say this is for the same reason he was avoiding many things: afraid not being able to restrain himself. This is the only explication, and I would call it evidence that he was in love (but couldn’t and even not want to be), and that he was at his limit. Only a “romantic” reason could explain his avoiding that place, imo.
To your question of why ji an said: If I stay here, he won’t be coming to the bar”……
This is my paraphrase of that statement: I have finally found redemption thanks to Ajusshi, and he also has found release from his torments. It is now for both of us to reborn “like the spaceman with 1 million roses, who longs to rediscover his planet…his heart.” We need time and space to meditate, to breathe, to heal and come out as new people. My staying here will impede Ajusshi’s progress and burden him further with my problems. I am now not a needy waif, but a young woman who is learning confidence to step out into the world. I will find my way, and so will he. So, farewell again.
What she left unsaid is “Will our destiny cross for the third time?” That question was answered at the end.
But sometimes Ajusshi is not so self restrained: