TALE OF A WOMAN
If someone asked Hwang Hyeon Ju what the essential thing in life was, her answer would be power.
Once one possessed it, everything else followed. Money, love, fame power was the key.
People think money empowers; Hyeon Ju did not believe that, for she got the power first with her brains alone.
As she watched a re-run of The Descendant Of The Sun, she wondered why no one ever thought to sue all the producers for conveying a lie. They should sue at the source of all stories, Disney.
Yes, Disney was at the start of this deceiving tale, which consisted of saying love conquered all.
All these lobbies made generations believe and fight for this great lie, which was love.
Hyeon Ju knew better; the emotion was a mere mirage created by the body’s mechanics, making puppets believe they were human.
Why didn’t anyone make a story of her fate that reflected the world’s reality and its darkness?
Hwang Hyeon Ju was one of the ordinary people, born daughter of a man who enjoyed gambling who left as a heritage the knowledge of how to cheat on the house and debts.
Debts, so high that Hyeon Ju had no choice but to quit high school to help her mother, who worked in a sentaksu [dry cleaners]. Unable to pay, Hyeon Ju became the loan sharks meat, a hostess catering for the rich, and that’s when she met him.
Ho Gong Yoo was born with a golden spoon in his mouth and a silver cradle. An incredibly handsome and taciturn man, his thoughts were a closed book.
Hyeon Ju saw things people did not acknowledge themselves, but Gong Yoo was a mystery.
She served the drinks while the other hostess swayed their naked breasts at the old drunk men.
Gong Yoo was not drunk, he was there to sign a contract, and nothing more, the women surrounding him had no effect on him. It was the second time he was signing a deal there and that he saw her.
The girl appeared too young for this job, yet she did not tremble or quiver as the older men touched and grabbed her as she served through her eyes, showed hate, rage, and pride. The young woman looked at the customers with enough satisfaction. You’d believe she was of high birth, and this intrigued the man.
As Gong Yoo left the club that night, he forgot something in her intent, and he waited to see if there was some nobility in the young hostess.
The answer came sooner than he expected, as Hyeon Ju sprinted under the rain.
“Stop the car,” Goo Yoo ordered.
“Gugolnim [title used for a client or customer] you forgot your watch.”
“How do you know it’s mine?”
“I don’t know, but maybe you can give it back to its rightful owner.”
Hyeon Ju knew the watch was of great value, it could entirely reimburse her father’s debts, maybe even change her miserable life if given to a pawn shop, yet Hyeon Ju chose to return it.
“Thank you, what’s your name?” Gong Yoo asked.
“Hyeon Ju, Hwang Hyeon Ju.”
“Thank you; this watch is very dear to me. I must repay you for returning it. Would you accept to dine with me, let’s say tomorrow?”
Hyeon Ju hesitated; she knew full well how men of Gong Yoo’s rank saw girls like her who worked in bars, and she hated being their underdog.
“I won’t harm you. I just want to thank you,” Gog Yoo said with a smile.
The man was handsome in his early 30′s for 18-year-old Hyeon Ju Gong Yoo was a prince in his carriage. The young woman wanted to believe in fairytales.
Perhaps Gong Yoo would be the one to whisk her away from this dreadful fate.
And he was; he paid her father’s debts and for her tuition. He offered her gifts all this without touching an inch of her body, not even a strand of hair. He was her daddy’s long legs, and she was his flower, which he watered and took care of with affection.
If Hyeon Ju couldn’t read Gong Yoo, he read in her. He saw the black hole in her heart, and so he filled it to the brim till the day Hyeon Ju fell in love with him and gave herself to him by her own free will.
Their love was real; Gong Yoo just waited for the young woman’s feelings to be in accord with his to put his plan to execution. Hyeon Ju was his woman, and he would force the doors of wishful thinking to have her accepted in the high society, so he started with his father.
“The answer is no; is this the reason why you pushed away all the proposals. Have fun with the girl if you wish, but I will not have you marry this riff-raff. You see yourself presenting a hostess-.”
“She isn’t a hostess,” Gong Yoo said.
“Take her out of my house; I will not have this.”
“Sir,” Hyeon Ju cried, running and kneeling in front of the old man.
“Shut up, know your place, woman,” said the old man with eyes showing all the disgust and resentment he had, “and you Gong Yoo, you will do as I say, you’ll marry Cha Shin Hye.”
The man turned away, and there was no changing his mind; in those times more than ever, it was the ultimate dishonor to have someone of low birth enter a chaebol family. Like in Joseon times, these women, though loved, were to stand backstage never to be seen, even when the curtain rose.
Gong Yoo was an honest man who respected his father above all; he could not go against his will, so he married Cha Shin Hye, promising never to see Hyeon Ju again.
But Shin Hye was one of those women who could not stand to know she had no place in the man’s heart. Thus she met Hyeon Ju, who climbed the ladders of society in her way at diverse venues. Shin Hye didn’t hesitate to publicly humiliate the woman by bringing up her origins when she could.
Being by Gong Yoo’s side was beneficial in many ways, and Hyeon Ju’s talent for reading people’s thoughts knowing when they were lying or cheating made her a good businesswoman. She started small first, buying the host club in which she worked younger.
She made sure to hire women with education who listened to the men speak, registering all they could for her account.
In Joseon times, one would qualify Hyeon Ju as a Gisaeng above all gisaeng [courtian, geisha] influential Hyeon Ju made sure her club became the place where people sealed. Women sneered at the woman who deviated their husbands from the route home.
Despite this, she still had Gong Yoo’s favors, but Hyeon Ju’s heart was more tainted than ever by his betrayal. It was unbearable to see him go back to his wife after whispering sweet promises, which he would never accomplish while he relished with passion for her body.
Empty words that fell in the bottomless pit of Hyeon Ju’s well.
And then the impossible happened, Hyeon Ju was with child, and so was Cha Shin Hye. When Ho Jae Kyeong was born, Gong Yoo was pampering his three week’s old firstborn.
Hyeon Ju visited Gong Yoo’s father. The older man’s words were harsher than ever.
“His son, you say, how can I know he is his son when we all know how you lived? Do you know what the English call a dog without a pedigree? A bastard that is what your son is, a bastard.
Hyeon Ju bit her lips till they were crimson red and bled not to insult the older man, but her well overflowed with wrath and hatred. The woman left cursing and conjuring all the maledictions possible on the Ho family.
They say be careful what you wish for, and Hyeon Ju should have spun her tongue around a few times.