“Sonmi, you are out of line?”
“Seonbae, don’t tell me she bewitched you. Do you think she cares about you? Professor Lee Sa-rang cares for no one; she loves no one. All you represent, if you represent something, is a consumable object.”
It was too much, eyes filled with rage. Sa-rang devoured the gap that separated them and lifted her hand to slap Sonmi, but she found herself halted by Ji-Seong, who held her wrist, preventing her from committing irreparable damage.
“You want to hit me? Go on, hit me, Seonbae, let her do it,” Sonmi said, who, like a crazy woman, hit herself with her hand to encourage Sa-rang.
Ji-Seong glared at the girl who made him want to slap in Sa-rang’s stead, “Sonmi, please, leave.”
“I hate you; you are no longer my mother. Don’t you ever approach me again.”
Sonmi left the office only to find the hall full of people who resumed their activities when she appeared. The screams were heard in all the corridors; the outburst was the beginning of the Sa-rang gate.
Rumors and whispers filled the halls as Sa-rang passed. Students, primarily male, gave her pervert smiles while women sneered at her passage.
Despite that, she kept her head up and assumed her functions. Nor she or Ji-Seong had spoken about the incident, but the man knew the woman’s pride was hurt. Sonmi was wrong, there was something that Sa rang held to, and it was her job.
If Sonmi thought she had enough teeth to fight in the den of lions, Ji-Seong was about to remind her what role she had in the scenario and return her to the state of Ingenué.
“What are you looking at, Seonbae?” Sonmi asked as she entered the x-ray room where Ji-Seong had told her to meet him.
“Wow, it’s incredible how can someone live with such degenerated cells?”
“They live with immense pain. How long do you think they have?”
“Judging from what I see, I’d say two maybe three months in the best cases. I hope their family is ready for this.”
“They don’t know, and the answer is one or two months in the best cases,” Ji-Seong said, taking the x-rays down.
“What, you have a patient at this stage, and their family doesn’t know? That’s horrible.”
Ji-Seong turned to look at the girl. Sonmi had changed; she gained assurance. She no longer had fleeting eyes or blushed in his presence. The girl even walked straight on her heels, Ji-Seong acknowledged the fact Sonmi was now a woman, and so he pursued, “would you want to know?”
“What if my father was ill? Yes.”
“And your mother?”
Sonmi lowered her head.
“I’d like to know too, I mean, even if she a shameless nappeun nyeon.”
“Good, then this is for you.”
“Why are you giving me these?” Sonmi said, glaring at the x-rays in her hand.
“You said you wanted to know even if it was the shameless nappeun nyeon; this is your mother’s Sonmi.”
“Chae Seonbae, why are you doing this?”
“Because you hurt her, and that right now, I want to make you suffer just as much. You said you wished she didn’t exist. Well, someone heard you loud and clear. You’ve been complaining all this time about how wicked your mother is, not at one instance you asked yourself if there wasn’t something wrong with her. Well, this is it, Sonmi, the truth behind the shameless sleazy nappeun nyeon. Sonmi, your mother is dying just like you wished. The professor is going to disappear.”
With these words, Ji-Seong passed Sonmi, leaving the girl holding the x-rays.
It was cruel, but time was running out, and Sonmi had to know. Her behavior called for a drastic wake-up call.
Sonmi, who thought she would be indifferent, collapsed, tears running wild on her cheeks.
It was a hoax; professor Lee Sa rang could not die, doctor Lee could not disappear, no her mother could not die.
“Eomma, eomma, waé, waé, eomma, [mom, mom, why, why mom]” Sonmi screamed as she fell to the floor. Sonmi always thought she would be unaffected, but her childhood images flooded to mind. One, in particular, lingered where Sa rang touched the tip of her nose and said, “aga, you are my whole world. I love you more than life itself. Never forget, no matter what happens, you will be my precious child.”