HEART LIES

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FALL FROM GRACE

The ambulance was quick to arrive; all the neighbors stood outside to spy. Nothing ever happened in their neighborhood; people were curious.

The paramedics took Sa-rang on a sieve, “which is the family member?”

“Me, I’m her husband,” In-Sung replied, forgetting he no longer held the status he claimed. Ji-Seong didn’t even have the time to react as things happened so fast.

In-Sung climbed in the ambulance, and off they went leaving The Graduate on the curb. Ji-Seong did not stay frozen; he went to his car and drove to the hospital.

There was no time to complain about which hospital to chose; Yonsei was the closet. This meant that the next day, the professor’s illness would no longer be a secret, and neither would their relationship as the man entered the emergency room only to be stopped by In-Sung.

“Where do you think you are going?”

“I want to see how she is?”

“Listen, kid; you’re no one, you’re not a family member, you have no right to be here.”

Ji-Seong did not flinch. He answered, “neither, do you.”

In-Sung stepped up to the young man and leaned to whisper in his ear, “if you care about her, you should leave. Sa-rang works here. I imagine you’re one of her students; you’ll only be a source of embarrassment if you stay. Leave.”

Ji-Seong’s eyes darted, though he knew In-Sung was right, the young man was unable to bring himself to leave Sa rang without knowing her condition.

“I’m sorry I can’t.”

In-Sung looked down the corridor to make sure there was no one around, “you know what Sa rang loves more than saving a human life. Her career, you don’t want to ruin that do you?”

“I won’t leave.”

The sternness of Ji-Seong’s voice angered In-Sung, who began to shove him, “leave, you can’t be here.”

They shuffled in the corridor, grabbing each other’s collars before being stopped by one of Sa rang’s colleagues.

Ji-Seong found himself apologizing and left the hospital only to pace in front of its grand entrance.

“Please, Sa-rang, not now, please, don’t leave me now, jaebal.”

With his ruffled hair and indoor slippers, which he had no time to change, clean-cut Sam Da Soo resembled a patient who just escaped from an asylum. Doctors who recognized him wondered why the top-notch student mumbled gibberish while pacing in front of the hospital.

Morning dawned, and Ji-Seong sunk to the ground on one of the hospital columns.

“Chae Ssi, is that you?”

Ji-Seong lifted his head to find a bewildered Soo Hae who tilted her head to the side interrogation as she wondered what the man was doing there.

“Soo Hae, what are you doing here?”

“I’m on morning duty, and you?”

“I need your help, Soo Hae. I need to know if she’s okay.”

“Nugu? [Who]

“Sa-ra-, I mean, professor Lee is hospitalized, I need to know her state.”

“Why don’t you go in and ask? I mean, it’s not a federal crime to ask if your mentor is okay.”

“I can’t, and you know why, besides her ex-husband is inside, we fought yesterday. The professor will be pissed when she finds out. I don’t want to add more problems to my plate.”

Soo Hae sighed, “alright, I’ll do it, but at one condition.”

“Anything.”

“Oh, Chae Ssi, you shouldn’t say things like that. I might ask you something that would make your ears become as orange and red as hot iron,” Soo Hae teased.

Ji-Seong’s eyes narrowed.

“Gosh, I was only kidding. What I want is for you to go home, take a shower. You look like one of Seoul Station’s homeless. I’ll give you a call when I have more information.”

“Soo Hae.”

“Yeah yeah, thank me later. Now get lost before I change my mind.”

On other occasions, Ji-Seong would have underlined the woman’s split personality. Soo Hae was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The innocent girl was revealed to be crude and blunt when her mask fell. Of all the women Ji-Seong encountered, Soo Hae was definitely of a fascinating species.

Ji-Seong got up, and Soo Hae remained to watch him leave; once the man out of sight, she opened the door to a hospital that buzzed with whispers.

Treated like a Vip Sa rang was in one of the best rooms the hospital had to offer. Nurses and doctors, everyone talked about how the doctor was brought in the night before.

People wondered why her ex-husband was at her house or how Ji-Seong appeared when she was admitted.

Also, the altercation between In-Sung and the med student had vicious tongues speculating.

Not many believed the rumor about Sa rang dating her student, but now with all these elements playing before them, no one could no longer ignore the Sa rang soap opera.

Soo Hae presented herself at the nurse’s desk, “annyeong, I’m Nam Soo Hae, one of professor Lee’s students. I wanted to know how the professor is doing.”

“I’m sorry, we can’t disclose any information to non-family members.”

Soo Hae gave a polite smile, “okay, thank you, never mind. Oh, can you at least tell me who is taking care of her? I just want to make sure that our dear professor is in good hands.”

“It’s doctor Han; he’s excellent.”

“Cheongmalyo, kamsahapnida.”

Soo Hae walked away and went straight to the professor’s office. The young woman did not even know why she asked, for once she desired to go by the rules, but once again, she pushed to use other means.

She switched on the doctor’s desktop computer, cracking the Yonsei’s hospital security codes was a piece of cake. Soo Hae searched until she found all the records of doctor Han’s patients, and finally, Sa rang’s.

The professor suffered from a seizure, brought in unconscious doctor Han privileged the theory of narcotics being the cause. Sa rang’s blood contained more drugs than a drugstore, according to the report.

Soo Hae closed the file; there was no saving the doctor; it was just a matter of time. The drugs that almost killed her were also what held her up. Soo Hae knew that without them, the doctor would not make it this far.

While female students admired the professor’s slender figure, Soo Hae saw how the professor became a living corpse. Now she felt guilty to have let the professor go on with her macabre show.

Why did she just sit and watch?

Soo Hae was not enjoying seeing the professor decline. What stopped her from intervening was respect. The student respected the doctor’s will; who was she to say whatsoever. Still, at this moment, the woman despised the way she decided to be a spectator, a viewer who zapped on the episodes watching how each element on Hyeon Ju’s chessboard moved from a spot to another, sinking further into darkness.

In front of the screen, Soo Hae only acknowledged that no game player would be spared, and no one deserved her pity.

Every single protagonist was where their choices led them. Soo Hae leaned back on the office chair and opened her Ktalk to send a message to Ji-Seong.

She’s alive and in observation.

The message was short; Soo Hae did not know what to add, and even if she did, she would not. After all, she was just an observer; Ji-Seong was not fooled by her mirage anymore with him. At least Soo Hae could be her apathetic self.

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