In the Hall Way
Kim Jae Hwa
As father the doctor and I walked out of the room, I looked back at the bed, and wondered what had Choi Eun Sun suffered to have made her so fearful. What was it that my brother had to tell her that we had to leave the room? There was fear in his eyes, like he didn’t want to tell her. When they had returned from the states three weeks ago I was told that she had been in an accident, but father had looked very stressed and worried. Young Min didn’t say anything for days; he just went to work everyday when he came home from work he would take care Eun Sun and stayed by her side. I could clock his movements at any hour of the day. But neither him nor father would tell me what happened. I could tell that my brother loved her very much; this is the first time in a long time that I have seen him this way with a woman. Only Choi Eun Sun stayed unconscious, which made me more curious about this mysterious woman. During the day when I was home I would sit in the room with her, and read my favorite book to her; then there were time when I would just sit and look at her. She had looked so peaceful, but now the aura in that room has changed.
I turned to father as we stood in the hallways. He stood stoic with his head down; his face frowned.
“Father, please tell me what happened to her? Why is she like that?”
“I will after Young Min tells her what she needs to know. It’s not something easy to tell a woman. It will be hard for them from now on. Please be patient?”
It was quiet in there I could here Young Min’s voice, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Now I was worried and nervous for Eun Sun. Then I heard the most heart breaking scream in my life, one full of pain and hurt. Eun Sun, what had he told her, she was crying opening painfully, saying why, and no. Young Min was saying that he was sorry over and over again. My hand touched the doorknob, but father stopped me from entering the room.
“I will tell you what happened follow me. Doc stay here in case they need you?”
I followed father to his study, he poured himself a drink and stood looking out of the bay windows at the gardens being tended by the gardener.
Finally he took the seat across from me. There was anger and heartache in his eyes, face and his voice. His tone dropped and his shoulders slouched as if there had been a heavy weight pulling him down.
“She may not stay long with us after today. That poor girl, had I known…”
He takes another sip of his drink. For the first time in my life I saw my father shed tears.
“This is more my fault. When Young Min left for the states, he left to be with her, he had kept her secret but I wanted him to come home, but he hid her because of your mother, I didn’t know. So I sent her to look for him.”
I listened to the story, from start to finish and before long I found myself crying. My heart hurt for my brother and Eun Sun. How could she have done that? I ran from my father study and out of the house towards the guesthouse where my mother was now staying. Now I know why she was there and not in the main house. She was in the living room having tea with Mrs. Hun, but I didn’t care, I never liked Mrs. Hun or her daughter.
They stopped their chattering and looked towards me. Shocked and surprised that I interrupted my elders in such a manner. My mother stood, when she saw how distraught I was.
“Jae Hwa, what has happened?”
“How can you sit here and act as if you did nothing!”
“What are you talking about? I apologize Mrs. Han I don’t think Jae Hwa is feeling well.”
“Were you that desperate mother! Were you? You wanted to be in-laws with the Hans so desperately. How can you be so damn heartless?”
“Kim Jae Hwa this is not the place nor time…”
“Oh this is the perfect time for this. Mrs. Han did you want my brother that bad for your daughter even after he turned her down. The both of you make me sick to my stomach, and I hate you.”
“Hyun Jae what is she talking about. Did Kim Young Min say he didn’t want this marriage?”
“You know Eun Sun is awake.”
The look on her face said it all.
“Young Min, had to tell her about her dead child, the death you caused! So you could get him to marry Mrs. Han’s daughter. Yes father told me everything! How could you and to your own son. You shouldn’t live your life like that, and I will never forgive you. You stay away from us.”
She sat down as if to be in distress her act in front of Mrs. Han.
“Is what she says true Hyun Jae? Did you really cause the death of your sons unborn child so he would marry my daughter.”
“So what if I did. You also wanted the situation of this marriage handled quickly. I did what I felt was necessary to make progress.”
“This is not how I do business Kim Hyun Jae. I’ve always known that you were underhanded, but you went to far, talk of marriage between our families is over. Jae Hwa please take me to your brother and the young lady.”
Mrs. Han and I left for the main house, leaving my mother there. I could no longer look at her and call her that. Before reaching the house I broke completely down in front of Mrs. Han. My mother had turned the family upside down. I prayed that Eun Sun wouldn’t leave my brother, but the truth is if it were I in her shoes I wouldn’t want to stay either. Love is one thing, but to stay in the house of the woman that murdered your child is another. Mrs. Han sat with me until I finished crying.
First we stopped at my fathers study, but he was in no mood to visit with her and asked that she’s not bother with Young Min, he wouldn’t be happy to see her and father wouldn’t be apologetic for what my brother would say. She left with the burden of what my mother had done weighing heavily on her mind. My husband was out of the country and I needed him to be here now so I could cry in his arms. I will call him later.
Young Min was sitting in the parlor across from Eun Suns room with Dr. Kim; he didn’t look too good. It must have been hard for him to tell her about the baby.
“How is she?”
“She’s resting. I think it was too much for her in one day.”
Even Dr. Kim had a drink in his hand. I hugged my brother, who instantly broke down. Never have I seen him in this much pain. Finally he got up and left the house. Dr. Kim went back to his office.
I stood outside of Eun Suns room debating if I should go in or not. Though I didn’t know her I was worried for her and felt sorry to her. I went in. She was sleep, the curtains were shut, but the room wasn’t overly dark. Her face and eyes were swollen from crying, even now she was crying in her sleep. I pulled the covers back slide in the bed beside Eun Sun. I placed my head lightly on her shoulder, took her hands in mines and quietly cried beside her.