“Sonmi, can I speak to you?”
“About what, professor Lee?”
“What is the problem?” Sonmi said, making big eyes at her mother and crossing her arms.
“Don’t use that tone with me?”
“Which tone? We’re on campus, and I think I’m addressing myself to you with all the respect your title grants you.”
“Sonmi, I don’t want to argue with you. I’d like you to visit Dr.Hong at the Hong byeongㅡ.”
“I thought you were not to interfere with my life.”
“I’m not; it’s justㅡ.”
“I don’t want recommendations or favors from your mentors.”
“Sonmi, it’s not what you think,” Sa-rang said in despair.
“Then what is it?”
Sa-rang tried to muster enough courage to tell her to have Dr. Hong do a check-up on her. Then she had second thoughts Sonmi was too young, and somehow she was not ready. Sonmi’s face displayed the distaste she carried for Sa-rang. The professor did not see herself revealing her condition while her daughter stood in such a defensive mode.
“Fine, Sonmi, I won’t bother you. Is your room okay? How are the courses?”
“Don’t, don’t try to play the good mother. It doesn’t suit you, Professor Lee.”
With these words, Sonmi turned and left.
If sweetness was the adjective that qualified Sonmi, it was something she reserved for everyone except Sa-rang, to whom she showed a borderline attitude.
Sonmi’s cheeks were flushed with frustration; she lived in such a contradiction. Despite the anger, there was a part of her who longed to be mommy’s little girl. It was that part which pushed her to apply in pre-med. She didn’t just desire to rival with Sa-rang as the professor thought. She wanted to obtain the woman’s acknowledgment and respect.
“pabeo=idiot,” Sonmi muttered to herself.
The morning rotations allowed Sa-rang to push back her worries about Sonmi, and Yoona at lunchtime swept another set of new queries in her direction.
“How is it going with Sam Daㅡ.”
“Araresso [I know], so?” Yoona said.
“Nothing, he’s acting as though nothing happened.”
“That’s good; you don’t seem happy. Wait, Sa-rang, you didn’t expect him to push you against the walls in staircases or locking you up in a dark room for some extracurricular activities, did you?”
The professor blushed, “Yoona, neo Mi cheo sseo? [are you crazy?]
“Ah, the idea did cross your mind. It wouldn’t be normal if it didn’t.”
“Why aren’t you shocked by any of this?” Sa-rang asked.
From the start, Yoona was unfazed by the situation. At the same time, as a psychologist, Yoona had almost seen it all in her office. Her vision of the world and people were reduced to one theory: to accept the unpredictable.
“I distinct the private and professional, and for me, you can do whatever. What did you expect? The society Sam Damsoo works for isn’t called Silent Knight for the show, and they guarantee total discretion. I’m not surprised by his behavior. The contrary would have shocked me.
“Oh, Yoona, what am I to do? I could receive a message from S.K at any moment. Otoké, otoké,” Sa-rang stopped to look at her friend. Experiencing such silence in Yoona’s presence was rare.
“What’s with the long face?” Sa-rang asked.
“I’m pregnant,” Yoona said, putting her hands in her pockets.
“OMO, tchin cha?” [Oh, my God, is it true?]
“Yes,” exclaimed Yoona.
Sa-rang hugged her, “congratulations nae chingu-ya [my friend]. Why didn’t you tell me instead of letting me go on about my petty issues?”
Like Sa-rang, the two studied seriously, and when Sa-rang married, Yoona was left behind. For some reason, her relationship with fellow Koreans didn’t hold. Men found Yoona too open-minded and overly talkative for a Korean woman. From a middle-class family, Yoona didn’t interest many.
At age 35, it was a trip to America, which saved her from becoming a spinster. A flight to New York sealed her fate; meeting Matthew Moore changed her life.
After years of trying without success, the long-awaited baby was there.
“You don’t seem happy?” Sa-rang said, pulling away while keeping a grasp on her friend’s shoulders.
“I am butㅡ.”
“I’m old Sa-rang; I’m 40.”
“Mwo, what does being 40 have to do with it? Sa-rang said as she let go of Yoona. “I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t consider us as ahjummas. Aren’t you the one who usually promotes carpe diem as a motto?”
Yoona started to cry as she sat down on the bench.
“Uro? waé uro?[why are you crying?] “Yoona said to her friend, who stood before her.
“I don’t want to do this without you.”
Sa-rang took Yoona in a side hug, “but I’m here.”
“Otoké Sa-rang, otoké?”
They were like sisters; Doctor Moore couldn’t imagine a world without her best friend.
“I’m here, Yoona. I’m here.”
Sa-rang understood, she had always thought she would watch Yoona’s child grow, but the reality was too present to be avoided.
“It seems everyone is having a baby.”
“Who else is having a baby?” Yoona asked, pushing Sa-rang away.
“Oh, that nappeun nyeon [that bitch] how dare she?”
“Don’t call her that.”
In-Soo was called many names by Sa-rang’s entourage; the professor could not rejoice to have such support knowing she was the instigator of the situation. Sa-rang’s interventions in In-Soo’s favor made her seem like a saint.
“You are too nice, the woman stole your husband Sa-Rang, and now she is having a baby. I mean, how nasty and spiteful can one be?”
“It’s okay, Yoona.”
“No, it’s not Sa-rang,” Yoona said, getting all heated up.
Yoona always reacted that way as soon as In-Sung or In-Soo were mentioned. Yonna saw Sa-rang as an innocent victim of a Makaveli ploy. If at first, Yoona’s reactions amused her, Yoona’s present expression filled her with guilt.
“Yoona, you shouldn’t get worked up like this; you are pregnant.”
“I’m pregnant, Sa-rang,” Yoona repeated with joy taking her friend in a hug where the two women swayed from side to side.
“How is Matthew reacting?”
“He told me to quit.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I hate being at home, and let’s say I don’t want to miss out on my chingu’s [friend’s] adventures.”
Yoona winked at Sa-rang, “your second rendezvous is coming up.”
“Oh, forget it.”
“No, think of my money, plus now I’m knocked up. I’m counting on you to live a life of excitement in my stead.”
“Oh, gosh, Yoona, do you realize what you are saying? We’re talking about my student here.”
“You’re beautiful, and your student is almost your colleague.”
Sa-rang chuckled, “aren’t you exaggerating a little?
“No, but Sa-rang, he’s legal, it’s okay.”
“He’s only a few years older than my own Sonmi; I won’t let anything else happen,” as she said it, Sa-rang’s heart skipped an irregular beat.