SLS – 4

Translated by Jasmine.

So Long For Now, Summer

Chapter 04

 Shim Hee-joo

………………………………

You don’t what it was like for me when I sat alone like a woman who had no husband in the obstetrics and gynecology clinic, waiting for the baby to be born. 

You don’t what it was like for me who was crying alone in front of the doctor when I first heard I was pregnant.

You don’t know how much I fell in love with the child or how I vowed to myself to love the child. 

You don’t know how happy I was thinking while about how the child would look like you.

You don’t know how much I love you.

You won’t ever get to know that side of me.

“The child was a girl. “

“…….”

“They had told me not too long ago. I didn’t say anything because your mother, would only treat me like a human being if I gave birth to a son, and probably would’ve left her. Jin-ha wouldn’t have been interested. Even then I would have loved her.”

“…….”

“All day long, I had made all those baby clothes. I thought it would be tacky to make her wear pink even if it’s a girl. I had wanted my daughter to look like her dad, so I didn’t make anything pink since you never wear pink. I was so happy. I was delighted to let my husband know the good news when you came back. But after waiting you went into the study without even sparing me a glance.”

“…….”

“I was happy, though. When she was alive.”

“Hee-joo. “

Her cold arms felt his warmth as he moved to touch her.

Somehow, she smiled. She couldn’t believe Woo Jin-ha is now comforting her.

“I was happy when you called me like that. When you call me that, it made me hope that our relationship would change and that we were not going to live like this forever.”

“Let’s go to the car first.”

“But it’s all for nothing. Jin-ha, nothing is going to change between us.”

“Let’s go home and talk.”

“If we already know the answer, why would we bother to do such a stupid thing?”

He did not immediately answer. After a brief pause, he broke his silence quietly,

“I understand you’re angry with me now.”

“Jin-ha doesn’t understand anything.”

“I understand, but let’s hash it out later. You’re sick now. The more you do this now, the harder it will be on you.”

“I’m having a hard time now.”

“Hee-joo.”

He should not have addressed her in such a familiar way. Every time she tried to run away, he stopped her in the same way. 

Everyone said that she was the one who had grabbed on to Woo Jin-ha’s ankle, but it was Woo Jin-ha who seized her ankle. 

She had put her life on the line to grab his fine ankle, but all he had to do was call her name:

Hee-Joo. 

If he said it that gently, she was completely overjoyed.

The smile that she managed to take out was distorted.

“Jin-ha, your life was ruined by me. It has been hard for you.”

“My life has never been ruined because of you, so stop talking and let’s go to the car.”

“I feel humiliated, right now. “

“What?”

“I know you’ve been embarrassed because of me. I know it has been annoying and frustrating. A woman you don’t love, a marriage you’ve never even planned for—having to see a bitch you don’t even like when you get back home. It must have felt like I was just waiting for you all day… But you know what? I felt humiliated, too.”

“…….”

“I was so ashamed of myself. So I did whatever you told me to do. Jin-ha told me not to ask for anything, so I kept to myself, kept my composure, telling myself to never expect anything, and this was  the fruit of my labor.”

“…….”

“Just once, I needed you through my almost-death accident.”

“Shim Hee-joo.”

“Some of my child’s remains stayed inside of me, so I had to sign the paper with my own hands when I was told that I had to remove the rest of the residue….”

“…….”

“So this is the price of living with the best man in the whole world. It is too high.”

Hee-joo had resolved to herself not to cry in front of him even if she died, but when she recalled the doctor’s words she wept until she was out of breath. 

She slapped away his hand that had awkwardly stretched out to her. Then he took off his coat and draped it around her. They began walking toward the parking lot.

She couldn’t stop crying. Even when he started the engine with her in the passenger seat. 

The strong air conditioner penetrated the car as soon as he started the engine, perhaps he had turned off the engine without turning off the air conditioner first.

Woo Jin-ha turned it off, uncharacteristically a little embarrassed. It was the end of August. 

Hee-joo was shivering in his suit coat.

“… Stop crying.”

“You don’t want to hear it, I’m sorry.”

“I don’t want to hear it because you’re having a hard time.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Fuck, stop apologizing…….”

She had apologized sarcastically. After a while he still hadn’t started the car instead they had just sat in the car and he just stared straight ahead. His expression twisted a little, before he donned his typical blank expression again.

He suddenly asked while still staring out the front windshield.

“How did it happen?”

“…….”

“Did you fall?”

“No.”

“Did you bump into something?”

“No.”

“I see.”

“I started to have a bad pain all of a sudden. Then I started to bleed, and when I arrived at the hospital, my water broke. I had to rush into surgery. I asked them if they could save the baby, but they said the child was already dead.”

“…….”

“Sometimes, things happen for no reason.”

“I’m sorry.”

Her husband’s expression was strange as he looked at her. It was an apology without any lies. But now it doesn’t mean anything.

“You don’t have it so rough. But I am an orphan. I have neither mother nor a father. You, Jin-ha, are my only family. Isn’t it funny how we became a family? It is too much of a punishment after spending a night with a woman like me.”

“Stop making up your own conclusions and think rationally, Shim Hee-joo. Just like you used to do.”

“Since we first met exactly four years ago?”

“…..four and a half years.”

“Okay, four and a half years. For four and a half years, I’ve never been as rational as I am now.”

He frowned silently. 

Perhaps he didn’t agree. But surely after listening to her a little more, she was convinced that his expression would change to one of relief afterwards.

“Let’s get divorced. The two of us.”

The child has already disappeared, so now we’re back to square one.

No matter how pathetically I’ve loved Woo Jin-ha, I am tired of being a fool.

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