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After giving it a thought, Soo Hae sent a smiling emoji of CON MUZI, the radish in the disguise of Ktalk friends; this was what normal girls did. The girl smiled, satisfied with her messages.

Ji-Seong sighed in relief when he received the first message; the second with the smiling emoji made him cringe. Now that Soo Hae’s true nature was revealed, the emo seemed out of place and odd.

Sa-rang was all a blur where different sequences of the last few months played and faded in flashes. The final scene of her arguing with In-Sung.

Sa rang, watched herself faint as though it were an out-of-body experience only to open her eyes to the hospital room’s ceiling. Her eyes grew wide in horror when she realized who held her hand.

Of all the things which could happen, this was something she refused. Sa rang, didn’t wreck her marriage, and break ties with her daughter to have In-Sung and Sonmi sobbing in her room.

Sonmi gave her a blank stare as she realized Sa-rang was awake.

“Daga,” Sa-Sarang whispered.

“Eomma, you’reㅡ.”

“I said get out, GET OUT.”

Sa-rang screamed; she did not want this.

No pity, no cries, the woman had no desire to see them in post-mourning as though it were a drill exercise or a rehearsal for her funeral.

Sa-rang tried to sit up. The woman pushed away In-Sung, yanked out the drip, and with her last strength, she screamed her lungs out for In-Sung and Sonmi to leave.

Sonmi tugged on her father’s shirt sleeve, “see, dad; she’s crazy; she doesn’t want us here; she doesn’t care.”

“Sonmi, it’s not the moment, Sa-rang. Please don’t be like this.”

“I don’t want you here, don’t ever come here again.”

In-Sung grasped his head, “otoké Sa-rang. How can you spit your spite in this situation? Don’t you see you almost died last night? We almost lost you, and all you find to say is get out. How can you be like this? Who are you? What are you?”


“Who do you want here, Sa-rang? Tell me who? Your gigolo, that student of yours, tell me who is fit to be by your side now? You don’t have a clue about what people are whispering about outside this room. Meodu saram [everyone] knows everyone knows, Sa rang. Don’t you feel an ounce of shame humiliating me like this or your daughter, for God’s sake?”

Sa rang, turned her gaze away, and stared in the window’s direction. The dying woman had no interest in In-Sung’s accusations. All she desired was for them to leave.

Though in In-Sung promised himself not to bring up Ji-Seong, seeing Sa rang’s reaction, the man lashed out at her.

“Eomma, otoké, did you want to keep your illness to yourself? Were you planning to go through this alone? Why? What would have happened if Chae Seonbae had not told me?”

Sa rang turned to face her daughter, never had Sonmi shed so many tears. Even as a child, Sonmi held back her tears when she fell or was disappointed. Sonmi never cried because her mother never did, and she wanted to be just like her mom. But today, Sonmi was unable to contain the river of sorrow that leaked on her cheeks.

All the corridor heard the screams and the howls of the shattered family, which confirmed all the gossip.

The yelling alerted the nurses, and one came, “sorry, the professor is not in a state for turbulent discussions.

“I said, get out.”

Sa rang’s voice was dry from the effort; she felt queasy and wished she could die just there on the spot. People being aware of her condition and about Ji-Seong was far worse than death.

She closed her eyes and hoped her silent protest would get the best of her visitors. When Sa-Rang opened them, the room was empty. She was alone just as she wished.

In the silence of her room, anger mounted. All of this was his fault, Sa-rang thought as she attempted to connect the dots of the last 24hours.

“Ji-Seong,” Sa rang whispered.

Why on earth did he tell Sonmi?

Ji-Seong promised her to stay by her side until the end. The man said he would keep her secret. How could he betray her like this? Sa rang had given him all her trust, and now she hurt.

How could things turn out like this?

All she had worked for fell like a house of cards. The nurses and doctors all gave her the same pitiful stare. Sa-rang even read disgust and disapproval on some faces. Everyone forgot she had one foot in the grave.

Sa-rang’s achievements were swept away by the story of her affair. Of all the offenses a Korean woman could commit, dating a student or a younger man was something people still breathing the Confucian traditions condemned. Professor Lee had fallen hard off her pedestal.

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