SLS – 34

Translated by Jasmine.

So Long For Now, Summer

Chapter 34

Aunt

………………………………

Note

  • (A) Shim Hee-joo’s Aunt
  • (P1), (P2), (P3), (P4) Aunt’s fellow patients in hospital room
  • (M) Shim Hee-joo’s mother
  • (S) Shim Hee-joo

As Shim Hee-joo passed the young woman who stood blankly against the wall, she remembered her humble self of that day. The most painful moments are as distant as a dream. But strangely enough, the moment she stood like that, contemplating how to get home alone that day, was vivid as if it had happened a few hours ago.

Those few minutes that she couldn’t sit down for fear that the chair might be stained with blood, barely standing next to him, wondering who would come for her now.

If her aunt had not been hospitalized here, She would have been a little less shabby. Even if she could have called her, she wouldn’t have called her because she didn’t want her aunt to see her like that… She wonders if it would be okay if she could just do that. Thinking about it that way gave her some comfort.

It was because she realized that she and her aunt were very similar to one another. It’s the part that they don’t show each other’s hardships and misery.

Her aunt didn’t tell her the number of her hospital room until the very end, so she passed it on to Shim Hee-joo’s cousin who works in this hospital. No. 305, No. 305… Seeing her aunt’s name on the outside of her hospital room, she pulled out her mirror and checked her face first. She didn’t seem like a very sick person.

In fact, she ate so well and slept so well that it has never been like this in recent years. From the second day onwards, Shim Hee-joo couldn’t even get up from the table if she didn’t finish eating. So she put everything in her mouth, thinking she would vomit in front of Woo Jin-ha. However, the drug that Professor Han prescribed worked so well that it did not cause vomiting, and made her sleepy all day, eventually falling asleep as if surrendering. The IV that was given for a long time, like being admitted to the hospital, must have played a part.

Still in doubt, she put lipstick on her lips and placed a mirror inside the room. The laughter of the aunts continued to flow from the five-person room.

Of course, it is not only her aunt in the room. Recalling that her aunt wasn’t very friendly. She had said to middle school aged Shim Hee-joo, who was sitting at her mother’s funeral, crying. “Are you going to die while crying? Don’t be squeamish and live in the future.” (A) It was still good to see her disappearing to do her job, leaving only the cold advice.

“Auntie.” (S)

The aunts who had gathered to chatter, stopped chatting and looked at her for a while, then looked at her aunt and turned their eyes away.

She deserved a look. The look on her aunt’s face, who found her, looking like someone who stole money 10 years ago.

“Can you see me?” (A)

“Yes.” (S)

“You bastard with a light snout. You don’t like people, so why come?” (A)

“I’m curious about what my aunt’s body is like.” (S)

“It didn’t hurt too much.” (A)

“She said she had a fractured left arm. Legs too…” (P1)

“What do you do with some gold? What about arms and legs… It’s a big deal if you just listen to it, it’s just…” (P2)

“It’s just dangerous to get hurt like that at your aunt’s age.” (P3)

“The world will change someday, so if it’s my age, I’ll just be an old lady.” (A)

“It’s dangerous at your age.” (P4)

She pulled a chair and sat next to it. Her aunt looked unhappy knowing that she wouldn’t be there any longer.

“The insurance company staff told me to take a break this time because the diagnosis will come out well. It’s just that.” (A)

“That’s right. Auntie should have rested a little.” (S)

“I shouldn’t have heard that. It’s been a day or two to just lie down and sleep, but it’s a little painful.” (A)

“I can’t do anything by myself because I’m at home. Did you wash up well? Shall we take a shower?” (S)

“Who do you think you are? That I am with dementia? What are you doing with that body? You kept sending caregivers through Chan-joo, right? (A)

“Yes.” (S)

“I’m so excited that I’m a rich man. Amen, don’t spend your husband’s. Even if it’s not a few pennies, I’ll spend money on this side for no reason later on…” (A)

Even if she pretends to be indifferent, she’s always worried that she’ll get caught in the house. She felt sorry for her aunt.

“I don’t spend much money from Jin-ha. I did it with my own money.” (S)

“Are you crazy? Don’t spend more if it’s your money!” (A)

It’s been a while since she laughed with a real smile. But her aunt was sincere.

“He’s crazy! If my arms and legs were okay, I would have gone to give a punch!” (A)

“I have some money, too. Auntie.” (S)

“Are you the only one here? I’m here, too.” (A)

Her aunt sighed full of annoyance when she laughed despite the complaints.

“You should also listen to me because I’m washing at this age.” How do you feel?” (A)

“I think it’ll be comfortable and nice…” (S)

“It’s okay. Don’t sit down for too long and go. You’re going to fail again.” (A)

“I miscarried.” (S)

“…What?” (A)

Her aunt’s eyes then turned to her stomach. Shim Hee-joo thought she’d notice it right away without saying it, but come to think of it, she hadn’t seen her aunt from when her stomach started to noticeably swell. It was a look on her face that she could not have imagined, perhaps because she unconsciously thought her aunt did not have a sense of incongruity like Kim Yun-hyeong.

“So it’s okay. After all, I’ll do it. When I heard that it was just an accident, I should have come sooner.” (S)

“……” (A)

“I wanted to see my aunt…” (S)

They weren’t originally supposed to be able to say this. Her aunt was once her guardian… Maybe ten months they’ve lived together? From the spring of April nineteenth until February of the following year that she went to college, she lived with her aunt. Before that, she lived in her uncle’s big house for two years.

Her mother died when she was sixteen, and her father died as soon as she was seventeen. Their families were close to each other, but by the time they saw their niece who was left alone after a series of portraits, each of them had a different face.

The night before her mother’s death, her mother asked, “What should I do with Hee-joo?” (M) 

She and her six siblings, excluding Shim Hee-joo’s father, gathered and talked for a while. No one was willing to step forward, so the silence lasted a long time. Shim Hee-joo’s aunt raised her hand as if tired of the silence.

‘She can’t live alone.’ (A)

Her aunt was a single, ‘disgusting child’ who hated her nephews and nieces coming near her.

‘How can a kid who has never married and living alone until that age take care of herself, a middle school student? The kid, we should go to the house where the kid is.’ (A)

‘Brother. She’s right… It’s hard for our kids to fall behind, but how do we add one more?’ (M)

Shim Hee-joo sat far away and watched them. She and her grandfather met eyes from time to time. Her father trusted and followed her uncle the most among his brothers. Thanks to this, her uncle was well aware of the financial situation of his deceased brother and wife.

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