HEART LIES

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SPRING SONATA

Spring is a moment when all found itself renewed.

Beauty is either restored or revealed, and happiness temporarily rents space in people’s hearts.

If winter hardens the soul, spring appeases until summer, where passions big and small compete, making the heart skip a few beats.

This is how people like to imagine the season where cherry blossoms bless passers-by with falling petals. But, for Ji-Seong, it was a whole other story. At this instant, the man felt lost.

“What am I doing?”

The question kept playing on Ji-Seong’s mind as he took a shower. He put on his tux, slipped on his shoes, and grabbed his car keys.

Ji-Seong wondered what he was doing as he drove to Seoul Center.

When he finally arrived in front of the stairs leading to the grand hall, he hesitated. Ji-Seong stared at his shoes; he knew where the steps would show him if he moved.

The man stood frozen on the spot, tetanized by the action he was about to accomplish.

“It’s only music, Ji-Seong, 정신 차려요[jeongsin chareyo/get a grip on yourself]” he whispered.

Ji-Seong went to sit in a front-row seat, in line with Eun Seol’s position on the stage. In her pale blue dress, with her long hair, the only words which came to Ji-Seong’s lips were beautiful. The woman was like a fresh breeze, delicate and comforting even though she procured goosebumps.

Sentimentality invaded the man as he remembered the same building where he listened to Eurydice seated next to Sa rang. Guilt knocked once more on the door of his mind. It was like this every time he thought of Eun Seol, the only woman who wedged her way into his psyche and trampled on Sa rang’s inhabitance.

Six years was a lot. Many said everyone pushed Ji-Seong to get on with his life, but he could not.

Fear.

Ji-Seong was afraid to forget; moving on felt like a betrayal. So he stood idly stuck in time, waiting for something which could never come.

Permission?

No, what Ji-Seong desired was a blessing, a sign allowing him to go forward.

Deep down within himself, he hoped the revelation would occur in this music hall, which suddenly became obscure. But, instead, all the spotlights aimed at Eun Seol, whose eyes stared straight at him, or at least it’s the impression Ji-Seong got. Eun Seol closed her eyes; the room grew silent.

Minutes past and the soloist’s eyes remained closed as though she prayed.

Ji-Seong looked around; he expected to see people yawning or whispering, but instead, everyone’s gaze focalized on the stage.

Suddenly the music began, small notes which drifted in the air. Sadness cloaked everyone’s shoulders, and loneliness wrapped itself like a scarf around everyone’s neck.

The room’s temperature dropped; hair rose on Ji-Seong’s neckline.

What was this?

Taken aback, he who came to be comforted found himself thrown off the edge of despair with every note the woman played.

Still, he listened and watched when the soloist suddenly opened her eyes. The rhythm of the music changed, rage, violence, Eun Seol’s gestures on the instrument were fast.

Ji-Seong’s heartbeat accelerated, anger filled him.

Why did Sa-rang leave?

Should she have fought for her life for his and everyone else’s sake?

Didn’t she love him?

Did she ever love him, even a little?

Thoughts ran wild as Ji-Seong’s blood pressure exploded. Hot and bothered, Ji-Seong unbuttoned the top button of his shirt.

When did the room become so warm?

Ji-Seong glared at the couple beside who linked hands as they listened.

Why did they seem so appeased?

Did they hear the same music as him?

Was he the only one in this state?

Ji-Seong glared at the stage, Eun Seol still gazed at him.

Eun Seol was the catharsis of fear, frightening and liberating him with every note she played, which seemed to synchronize with his heart. The organ rose and collapsed on the beat.

The woman’s gaze softened, the notes became light and airy like whispers making Ji-Seong’s thoughts sway to the rhythm of the music. Blurred images filled the man’s mind. His eyelids grew heavy as Morpheus’ dust of slumber fell on him.

Sleep.

Ji-Seong slept a dreamless sleep, and he woke up to the voice of the music hall clerk.

“Sir, mister, the concert is over.”

“Ehㅡ.”

Ji-Seong scanned the empty room; everyone was gone.

He tapped on the edge of his lips, still moist by the drool of his sleep. Ji-Seong could not believe he slept through the concert.

He got up, it was time to leave, but the clerk held him back.

“Sir, Miss Hu would like to see you.”

“Miss Huㅡ.”

Ji-Seong was embarrassed. Did the woman see him sleep?

How disrespectful it was of him to snooze through her performance. Even though Ji-Seong wanted to run, a part of him pushed him to follow the clerk.

He should at least apologize. Yes, that was the reason why he entered Eun Seol’s lounge.

Once he gave the apology, he would go, and everything would get back in order. He would live in his turtle shell, and Eun Seol would live to save souls her way.

Ji-Seong did not doubt that if he saved lives with his scalpel, Hu Eun Seol did the same thing with her instrument.

Ji Seong’s knees trembled as he stepped into the lounge where Eun Seol waited despite his inner pep talk.

She now wore an embroidered cream dress. Ji-Seong, who knew women’s garments, asked himself how many hours it took to make such a dress.

He could swear it was handmade; there were so many details Ji-Seong found himself trying to figure out what birds were on the dress before bringing his gaze to the performer’s face.

Ji-Seong wondered if Eun Seol knew how adorable she was.

Eun Seol’s lack of self-consciousness was also one of the things which made the woman appealing.

On the internet, Ji-Seong read that Eun Seol barely played with other children due to her weak health. Instead, he parent’s locked away in her house. All she had was the violin that her grandfather gave her. A great violinist himself, he taught little Eun Seol how to play.

His death left the girl empty, yet Eun Seol had no void.

Why wasn’t she like him?

But it was evident, Eun Seol’s Damocles sword saved her. Always living on the ledge between life and death made the woman want to hang on to life. Ji-Seong could feel how much the woman loved life as she played; this was not her only secret.

Eun Seol did not fear death. On the contrary, there was no void because she understood that death was not a goodbye, but a see you later for everyone had their grande finale. Eun Seol’s music told Ji-Seong that, and the man received the message as a gift.

“You came,” the woman exclaimed.

Eun Seol did not even attempt to conceal her joy or feign indifference.

Ji-Seong tried to contain the smile which fought to make its appearance on his lips by biting them as he replied, “as you can see.”

“Why did you come?”

Ji-Seong, who didn’t expect such a question, found himself stuttering.

“Beㅡbecause.”

“Of what?” Eun Seol asked.

What did Eun Seol want? Was she not satisfied by seeing him watch her performance?

Why did she look to torture him?

Ji-Seong refused to let the woman toy with him. He, too, knew how to destabilize people, “I wanted to know if your music could save me.”

“And has it, do you feel free?” The woman asked eyes, grinning like halves of the moon in a way that usually annoyed the man.

“Iㅡ.”

Eun Seol got up from her chair and approached him. She laid her head on his chest as though she wanted to listen, “it’s beating faster and faster. You mended my heart. Perhaps I can mend yours.”

“Do you think ㅡdo you think you can save me?” Ji-Seong stammered as he spoke.

Eun Seol lifted her head and gaze, “would you let me try, doctor Chae?”

Ji-Seong stared down on the woman,” then save me, save me, Miss Hu.

“Call me, Eun Seol.”

Behind her eyes, Ji-Seong saw the absence of the emptiness. On the contrary, she was filled to the brim. Her cup overflowed and spilled with the love she had yet to give.

Would all the woman’s feelings be enough for two, or would Ji-Seong drink it all up and leave her dry?

At this instant, Ji-Seong knew Eun Seol was a woman he could love. Maybe he already had feelings for her.

Was it wrong?

Eun Seol didn’t give him time to think as she tugged on his shirt’s collar and kissed him.

Seeing the shock in Ji-Seong’s eye, she stopped to say.

“Life is too short, doctor. Open your heart.”

A nervous smile appeared on Ji-Seong’s face as he realized there was no need for her to ask.

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