HEART LIES

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BEAUTIFUL STRANGER

In the meantime, Sa-rang retrieved her belongings from the cloakroom.

“Here’s your coat, madam.”

“Thank you,” Sa-rang said and pulled the long oversized white coat.

Sa-rang made it halfway down the stairs to the club’s exit when Ji-Seong grabbed her wrist, “hey, you could at least say thank you?”

Sa-rang didn’t even turn around. She slipped her wrist from his grasp and hurried down. Ji-Seong followed only to see her climb in her three doors Seven edition red Mini which waited. She drove off, not giving a second of reflection on the situation.

Ji-Seong watched the car disappear, holding the bracelet Sa-rang lost when she broke free. The man stared at his prize a second and went back inside; the night was still young. If she didn’t care about her belongings, she lost thought Ji-Seong, who now faced Nam Gong Won, pleaded.

“제가 잘못 했어요“[Jaega chal meote haessyo=I did wrong]

“What should we do with him, Ji-Seong?”

“Just let him go. I don’t have time for this, no actually throw him out.”

“Please, I’m so sorry I won’t do it again.”

People spoke too quickly, never knowing to whom they addressed their spite. Moments like this made Ji-Seong smile. When would people learn not to judge a book by its cover?

Sa-rang parked; the night out’s climax was yet to be played.

“Okay, here we go,” Sa-rang muttered, tapping her door code. The door unlocked, and the woman took a deep breath before thrusting it open. In the dark, Sa-rang tip-toed like a teenager walking in past-curfew; she was about to cross the living room when the lights came on.

“Where were you?”

“Out.”

“I know, but where?”

“It’s late In-Sung tomorrow; I’ve got a mad headache. Please leave the interrogation for tomorrow.”

“Mwo, it’s almost four in the morning, Sonmi, and I haven’t had any news from you from eight PM last night. Look at you, dressed like-like-I don’t know what, your breath reeks alcohol, you smell like an ashtray, and you’re telling me to leave you. Sa-rang, what’s wrong with you? Talk to me; I don’t get it. Why are you like this? Are you going through that phase?”

“What phase In-Sung?”

“You’re almost forty.”

“Thirty-nine in two weeks, please.”

“Whatever, you’re panicking, Sa-rang, is that it?”

“What that’s ridiculous, you think I’m going through some middle-age crisis, “Sa-rang returned. The question made her hug herself as she shuddered.

“Are you?” In-Sung asked, crossing his arms.

“If it’s what you think, so be it. I’m going to sleep.”

Sa-rang turned to continue her way.

“No-no-no, Sa-rang, I won’t let you slip away this time,” In-Sung said, taking significant steps to grasp his wife by the wrists,” seeing how crazy you’re acting, I can’t help wonderingー.”

“What are you wondering, In-Sung? I’m quite interested to know what can set off the light bulb in your head?”

This sarcastic tone was a Sa-rang special, and In-Sung was used to it since he left his job in a law firm to open a vegan café. For a renowned surgeon, glory seemed diminished by her husband’s new functions. In-Sung felt like a stone in his wife stilettos belittled daily by the woman who earned more than him.

“Are you seeing someone else?”

“Kuré, In-Sung, now you are talking seriously. You’ve finally reached my level. We can connect on this one.”

“Wha-what are you talking about?” In-Sung said, stammering.

“Oh, did you think I didn’t know you’re having an affair with In-Soo? You have no right to be giving me any lessons In-Sung.”

"SA-RANG."

In-Sung could only yell, and this made his wife smirk. A tiger with no teeth thought Sa-rang as she gazed at the man she once loved more than life itself.

"MWO [what], “Sa-rang yelled in return, twisting herself in an attempt to liberate her wrists, “is the truth so hard to bear? Let go of me. I need some sleep.”

Before In-Sung could answer, Sa-rang yanked her hands-free and slicked her hair back in frustration. Why did every man she encountered feel free to grab her the way they wanted?

Even In-Sung though she gave him many reasons to react with violence, he wasn’t in the right to grasp her that way.

“Since when do you know?” In-Sung asked, looking at his wife with a hopeless stare.

“Does it matter?” Sa-rang chucked before turning away.

No response came from the man who watched his wife walk to the bathroom at the end of the hall.

In the game, Sa-rang played everything was about the right timing. The time had come to slice ties, and this was the breaking point; she hoped In-Sung had reached it; otherwise, it would be too much hassle.

Behind the closed door of her bedroom, Sonmi sunk to the floor in tears. She hated Sa-rang, who she blamed for her father’s sudden infidelity.

In the last six months, her mother flipped sides like a pancake, the surgeon got a tattoo, went out all night, sometimes disappearing up to three days. Not bothering to explain, ignoring both husband and daughter only at work, Sa-rang remained a top-notched practician.

Sonmi cried tears of frustration and anger, seeing her family unit fall apart. Panic invaded her as she imagined the threads of gossip which would follow her if her parents divorced.

How could they be so selfish and careless?

Neither one thought about her future nor how she would fit into this exacting society?

Sonmi hated them both for destroying what made her family picture perfect and her a model citizen.

While her daughter cried, Sa-rang took a shower and went on to embrace her empty bed. In-Sung and her slept apart for the last six months.

At first, sleeping alone frightened the woman who had shared her bed with one man for eighteen years. Now space was comforting; Sa-rang stretched out as much as she could only to crawl back into a ball to weep.

Why are you crying, Sa-rang? Isn’t it what you wanted? Total rupture, act I just ended.

Yes, act I of her plan was closing its chapter.

At that moment, Sa-rang closed one story and started the tale of her end.

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