Sa-rang hated these rendezvous. Crossing paths with the woman who stole your husband is one thing. Meeting the woman you sold him to is another.
“Anneyeonghaesyo, Lee Sa-rang Ssi.”
Kim In-Soo appeared to have gained confidence, Sa-rang thought as she sat down.
“So why did you need to talk to me? I thought I made it clear we were not to meet.”
“Cheseongaeyo [I’m sorry], it was important, here,” In-Soo slid a box of seasoned seaweed towards Sa-rang.
Sa rang rolled eyes in front of the offering, “Ha chum, is it what I think it is?”
“I don’t need it; my love for In-Sung is genuine.”
Mixed feelings welled inside Sa-rang, she was happy and relieved, but something else dwelled, an emotion she did not want.
“I feel like we are in a gangster movie,” Sa-rang said as she looked into the box where the 20 000 dollars sat.
“I don’t want In-Sung to find out.”
The professor noticed how the woman fidgeted; In-Soo was afraid.
“He won’t if you keep your mouth shut.”
With In-Soo, Sa-rang had to be firm, for the woman was weak and needed constant pep talks to follow through with the plan.
“Gomoyo, Kim In-Soo Ssi for loving him. In-Sung is a good man. I trust you to take care of him.”
Sa-rang slid the box of seaweed back to In-Soo’s side of the table.
“Sa-rang Ssi, I said I don’t need it,” In-Soo said. Her facial expression showed bewilderment, “it’s your money.”
“I won’t need it where I’m going. Open an account for the little one you are carrying or burn it. I don’t care.”
Sa-rang got up, put her bag on her shoulder, and turned to leave.
The doctor stopped; she knew what question tickled In-Soo’s tongue. If up till now, In-Soo never asked why the woman contacted her and paid her to seduce her husband. The inquiry seemed more relevant than ever.
“Because it’s right,” Sa-rang replied without looking back on In-Soo.
In-Soo got up and bowed, “thank you, Lee Sa Rang Ssi. I don’t know what I did in life to deserve the gift you are giving for changing my life, but thank you.”
Sa-Rang didn’t turn. She walked out of the cafe leaving behind the guardian of In-Sung’s grief.
A year ago
Sa-rang did not lie to In-Soo; she was convinced of doing the right thing. The memory of the day in the furniture shop when In-Sung’s eyes met those of his future mistress still lingered. Sa-rang saw what love, at first sight, looked like. Never had her husband gazed at her the way he did at the saleswoman.
The idea came as Sa-rang took steps to stand next to her husband, whose face bored all the shame of his hidden desire.
In-Soo was the one; she would console In-Sung when she would no longer be of the world.
Sa-rang went back to the shop a week later.
“See you later,” In-Soo said as she headed for lunch.
“Kim In-Soo Ssi.”
“Nae, oh seomomim [polite manner of speaking to a customer], is there a problem?”
Sa rang looked about before talking, “eh, can I talk to you a moment?”
“Yes, I’m going out to lunch,” In-Soo said.
Sa-rang found herself sitting across from In-Soo in a small pizzeria; she observed the saleswoman who had beautiful hair, skin to die for, and perfect teeth.
“Seomonim, what is it you wanted to talk about.”
“Oh, ah, how old are you, Kim In-Soo Ssi?”
“Eh,” In-Soo was surprised, yet she answered, “32.”
In-Soo was seven years younger than Sa-rang and ten less than In-Sung.
Sa-rang smiled and continued, “do you remember my husband?”
The redness of In-Soo’s cheeks replied in her stead.
“Do you find my husband attractive?”
In-Soo was shocked, she heard of jealous wives, but she never thought of facing one.
“Eh, seomonim, I’m sorry if my behavior ㅡ.”
“Oh, no, you didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not scolding you; I just want to get to know you better to figure out if I can trust you.”
“I want you to work with my husband.”
“I’m sorry, madame, but I have a job.”
“How much do you earn? Are you happy? In two days, my husband will post a job offer for an assistant. The pay is average, but I will also compensate you myself.”
“I don’t understand. Why do you want me to quit my job to work for your husband?”
In-Soo’s mind raced as it tried to understand Sa-rang’s intent.
“Do you believe in destiny? I do, and because of that, or despite that, I am 100% sure you will apply. My husband will hire you because he, too, will believe it’s destiny.
Sa-Rang thought to play on the violins in the scenario lightened the topic.
“Do you want your husband to cheat on you so that you can claim a big amount of alimony?”
The thought was the only plausible reason In-Soo came up with when she thought about Sa-rang’s proposal, which seemed indecent.
Sa-rang chuckled, “God no, I earn far more than my husband. I’m in no need of money.”
“I told you, it’s destiny, accept my offer Kim In Soo, you’ll thank me later.”
Sa-rang pushed the envelope towards her, “take it; it’s your first compensation.”
“What you are crazㅡ,” In-Soo did not even have time to finish as Sa-rang took the lead of the conversation once more.
“Crazy, yes, I am. I’m offering you the opportunity to change your life. You think I don’t know; you went to college, but not to the ones which open doors. You have no connections, and you probably think you are lucky to have found a full-time job, but you are aware you won’t access the golden marriage, which will allow you to be a housewife.
“Kyeong In-Sung is a good man, the kind who never betrays, loves with all his might, and won’t leave woman unless there is a good reason. I will make the reason, and you will be the lifeboat, and if you want to ask me why again, it’s because I can see in your eyes, you two are alike. I don’t have much time; think about it, Kim In Soo Ssi. Here’s my husband’s name card. The offer will be on the Adecco website.”
Sa-rang got up and strode away, leaving a very shocked In-Soo.