“Omo,” Dr. Moore said and brought her hand to her lips as she realized the comment escaped for all to hear. She knew what happened in these cases; the gates of hell opened.
“Well, if they didn’t think my class is interesting enough to come early and grab spots, then they don’t deserve to participate.”
Dr. Moore approached and whispered,” you can’t do that, Sa-rang. Chae Ji-Seong is the top-ranking student from Seoul university.”
“If I take him in, I’ll have to accept Dae-Jung, which means I’ll have to kick out two students who arrived early without forgetting the injustice it would be for those who don’t have recommendations.”
The student’s hearts pounded at 90bpm as they watched the two women whisper.
“Sa-rang jebal, don’t do this,” Dr. Moore pleaded.
Professor Lee smiled and turned to face her class, “that’s it. Please come to the front to recuperate the group lists.”
The door burst open, “Lee seongsaengnim.”
Everybody stopped to stare at the newcomer.
Sa-rang eyed the boy up and down, “who’s asking?”
“I’m Chae Ji-Seong. I think you said my name.”
“I did, but you weren’t in class.”
Ji-Seong pointed behind him, “I was just outside the door.”
“But you weren’t inside.”
“What, so I can’t join the course?”
Sa-rang shrugged, “Isn’t it obvious.”
“You can’t do this?”
“Why? I believe I just did.”
“Because it’s unfair,” Ji-Seong replied, his facial expression showed profound disgust even if a part of him understood the process. He was a top-ranking student, but some students waited since sunrise to have a spot.
“So what you want me to kick out two of your comrades to let you and Kwan Dae-Jung into this course?”
Dark stares rained on Ji-Seong; still, he battled, “there’s only two of us to accept, can’t you just keep us all.”
“Waéyo [why]?” Ji-Seong didn’t care if he held everyone.
“Because that’s how it is,” the unwarranted smile on Sa-rang’s face felt like a slap; Ji-Seong couldn’t let it be.
Sa-rang placed her hands on her hips, “I beg your pardon.”
“I mean, it’s unfair. It’s as though you’re saying I’m the boss; that’s how it is.”
“Omo, are you Korean or not? Everybody knows that’s how it works. The boss is always right even when they aren’t, and you are supposed to shut up and say nae, seongsaengnim, kamsahabnida seongsaengnim for not kicking me out while shinning my shoes with kisses. Life is unfair, but since you insist, let us be neutral, pick,” Sa-rang said. She stretched out her hand, which she moved from one end to the other, displaying the class as though she worked on a home shopping channel.
“Pick two students, strike them out so you and Kwan Dae-Jung can retrieve a spot.”
A deadly silence filled the classroom. All gazes were on Ji-Seong.
“Professor,” Dr. Moore pleaded.
“You all wanted something fair; I’m washing my hands of this one. I won’t have the board hounding me because I kicked kids out, so go on, pick. Who knows to beg for generosity perhaps a kind soul is willing to let you his place in this world where sympathy left to get a tan on Mars, pick?”
Ji-Seong looked at all the students, those who dared look at him harbored sad faces, which he knew his words could trigger absolute rage.
A tug on his shirt made him turn, “Ji-Seong 그만해요[geumanhaseyo=stop it] I can’t watch you take the rice out of these kids mouth,” Dae Jung said with a face which looked like it was buried alive.
“So I’m waiting,” Lee seongsaeng said, eyebrows and arms crossed, expressing her impatience.
“Seongsaengnim,” all eyes turned to search for the voice which belonged to a boy whose panda eyes looked like he had not slept in months.
“I’ll give you my place,” the boy said, staring at Ji-Seong.
“Mwo?” Lee seongsaeng, Dr. Moore, and Ji-Seong exclaimed.
The boy directly addressed himself to Ji-Seong, “I’m not one of the top students; I will probably redouble you can have my place.”
“Excuse me, what’s your name, please?” Sa-rang asked.
“Hu Dae-Ho Ssi, do you think your parents can pay for a redoubled year? You kids think parents are cows who you can wring money out of like milk.”
“I’ve made my decision, thank you, seongsaengnim,” the boy bowed and walked to the door where he lowered his head in front of Ji-Seong before leaving.
Ji-Seong didn’t know what to say. The words remained stuck in his mouth.
“Da du[me too],” this time, the voice belonged to a girl whose friend frantically tugged on her sweater’s sleeve.
“하지 마세요 [ haji masaeyo=don’t],” Su Bin-ah, pleaded her friend.
“And what’s your reason?”
“Jaega, seongsaengnim 무서워요[museoweoyo=scared].
“Mworaguyo [what did you say], you are scared of me? Dangsin daga, daga [out, out], find a place to hide because the world is full of crazy frightening people like me. You aren’t fit to be a doctor, forget about being a doctor, omo you aren’t even adapted to live in Korean society.
Lee Sa-rang was furious; not only did the two dropouts demonstrate the existence of generosity, but Woo Su Bin made her blow a fuse.
How can a girl be scared of the war when the battle had not even begun?
The student showed the weakness of the female sex. Sa-rang couldn’t believe the few threats she pronounced had frightened the girl to the point she renounced her position.
Sa-rang found her eyes meeting Ji-Seong’s.
“I guess it’s your lucky day,” Sa-rang let out in despair.
Dr. Moore placed her hand on her heart, looking up at the ceiling in a sign of gratitude. Things went better than the year before.