OK OK OK OK just like what I did during the previous chapter, I want you to immerse on this new set of photos:
This is present-day Yoo Si Jin
This is present-day Kang Mo Yeon (lol see how i matched the photos! smiling --- facing their boyfriend/girlfriend --- dead serious faces)
CHAPTER TWO: POST (Latin: After)
“I hope you become a great one,”
That was a wish she had kept for the little kid she once met at the school’s park bench. Everytime her classes ended, Mo Yeon went back to the exact place where she had met him, but he never showed up after that day. He was nowhere to be seen. The only memory she had of him were two things: his delighted look when she told him he was going to be a great soldier, and the grief-stricken glance he made before disappearing.
I thought we were comrades, she could remember him say those words as if he were betrayed. Mo Yeon sighed as she crossed her legs—the legs that were once too short to even reach the ground that she had to let them swing as she sat on top of the bench. Now, her feet rested on the ground beneath her seat.
Kang Mo Yeon just graduated highschool; and she found herself admiring the school’s environment during late afternoon once more. Back then, she sat watching children about her age play and run around the school grounds. Now she sat in the middle of a sea of high school graduates, taking pictures with their parents and saying their farewell to their classmates.
She could have been doing the same thing if it weren’t for her mother suddenly disappearing after seeing an acquaintance. “I’ll just meet you at home, I'll be going with Ji Soo,” She suggested, before leaving her mom with the woman about her age.
As she sat on the exact same place, Kang Mo Yeon whispered the same wish in her head. “I wish you’ll be a great one. For these past few years, I can’t stop thinking of you. Did my wishes ever reach you? Will you follow your dreams or your mother?” She looked up to the sky. “Just take away my guilt and be a soldier, will you? Aish, why am I talking to myself?”
“Ya, Kang Mo Yeon!” She cowered when Pyo Ji Soo, a close friend of hers, yelled her name in the crowd of students. She came to her direction, wheeling her wheelchair in, “Let’s go to the same medical school together. Okay? A deal’s a deal!”
“O-Okay,” She reluctantly nodded, making the other girl raise an eyebrow in suspicion. Of course, Ji Soo would know. She knew how sentimental and important this bench was to her.
“Sitting on the guilt bench again? Are you thinking about that boy? Seriously, do you do this every day?” She asked, “I don’t mean to hurt you, but that kid’s already grown. He probably wouldn’t remember about you and what you said,”
“How can he not? It looked like it was his lifetime dream that I ruined,”
“Bottomline, girl. Bottomline,” Ji Soo raised a finger, “He doesn’t know you. And you don’t know him either. Look at us, we’re high school graduates. We have a big future ahead of us,”
“I know, it’s just that I can’t settle whenever I would remember him looking back at me with that betrayed face. It really looks sad and pitiful. He’s been haunting me ever since,” Mo Yeon frowned, crossing her arms while she was certain Ji Soo was judging her once again. She had been Mo Yeon’s best friend and her listening ear, though Pyo Ji Soo was very straightforward and frank with her.
“Heol, you’ve been bewitched by a toddler,” Ji Soo gruffly spoke. Mo Yeon can’t even yell at her friend for saying that; Ji Soo had been all ears when she would tell her about the boy she met by the bench, and if she had to vent out everything after listening and taking in Mo Yeon’s musings, that would be expected and certain to happen.
“I’m sorry you had to put up with me,” Mo Yeon apologized.
“It’s fine. It’s my job as your friend to listen to you, even if you would get unreasonable sometimes,” Ji Soo countered, resting a hand on her friend’s shoulder, “Feel sorry for me, but don’t feel sorry for that little boy anymore. He must be going his own way, and I suggest you do the same,”
Mo Yeon nodded, still not feeling better. “Right,”
“He’ll become a soldier for sure, so don’t worry about him and let go of his image. What you have to worry about for now is yourself, and your dreams on becoming the best thoracic surgeon in the country. Arasso?”
Ji Soo, though frank, made sense. Why would Mo Yeon even let herself get confined in the guilt of an honest mistake from the past? On top of that, she and that boy she had met long ago never knew each other’s names. He, wherever he could be at this point in time, may have forgotten about the nosy girl who pushed her away and made him cry.
It’s about time Kang Mo Yeon let go as well. “Right,” She said once more, this time with more conviction in her voice.
“Cheer up, Kang Mo Yeon!” She grabbed her friend’s hands and swayed them with hers in excitement, “And push my wheelchair to the club! Let’s enjoy our graduation party!”
Mo Yeon nodded with an ecstatic smile on her face and finally stood up from the bench, leaving with Ji Soo. It was finally time to put everything to an end, leaving all her memories and guilt piled up in that school bench. Kang Mo Yeon shot one more glance at the old bench one last time before finally leaving the grounds, and a mental picture of a boy jumping on top of the bench was what she saw.
“I’ll be the best soldier in Korea!” He said, his fist up in the air, until that visage slowly dispersed.
“I hope you truly become a great one,” she wished in the silence of her heart, finally turning away and moving forward. She had finally accepted that the short-lived moment she shared with that stranger had ended right when he left, though it had ended on a sad note. All she could do was to wish he would fulfill his dream.
What made Doctor Kang turn around was the fact that what she had heard in person and on the phone spoke with the same voice, at the same time—though she was not prepared to be greeted by a man with the most charming of looks. She shifted her eyes back at the handphone, and then back at him, “Big Boss?”
Big Boss, looking dazed and puzzled, nodded his head in reply, “Yes. Why do you have that phone?”
Before answering, she took time to stare at such a handsome view; Mo Yeon expected someone called Big Boss as a big, burly and muscular man with gold teeth and a cigarette stashed on his fingers, not this—not a pretty face, not a charming man with gentle features.
And his eyes in particular, made her feel a sense of déjà vu. It felt nostalgic staring at his innocent, deep brown eyes. She felt comfortable staring, as if she had once stared at those pair of irises before.
Be wary, Kang Mo Yeon! She scolded herself, he may look like a flower, but he could be the most venomous of them. He’s probably some gang boss. With that nickname, everyone could think of the same thing.
“A patient left it in my care,” She reluctantly said, placing the handphone back in her coat’s pocket while studying him and the other man who tagged along with him. With the sleek monochromatic choice of clothing and his name Big Boss, she concluded that they were either gangsters or the poor patient’s triad bosses in whatever black market business they had.
Keeping herself away from trouble, she pretended to be busy with the patient she was attending to before asking another question, “Are you that patient’s guardian?”
He answered, “I’m not his guardian, I’m the owner of that phone,” He replied calmly, walking to her side. Feeling rather uncomfortable with an alleged gangster moving closer, she talked to the patient she was attending to even if he was closing his eyes.
“Who are you talking to?” Big Boss voiced, now securing a closer distance to her.
“Are you the guys who want to send him to a mortuary?” She spat, losing her chill.
“A mortuary?” Big Boss was taken aback, glancing over his friend for help, and then at her, “I think there’s a misunderstanding—“
“Nurse Choi. Tell these men to wait outside,” Mo Yeon interrupted him, “And please tell the security guards to keep an eye on them,” She said, but froze when he kept staring at her intently, as if she were some target.
Agitated, she called the nurse’s attention again “Hurry up!” She commanded, and Nurse Choi gently shoved Big Boss aside. He, however, begged for the doctor to listen to his side, but nothing was making Mo Yeon get involved with a bunch of troublemakers.
Whenever she got herself into trouble, she only affects the other people around her. She had that strange philosophy kept in her heart ever since the bench incident. To her, even in matters not relating to physical health and wellness, the words ‘prevention is better than cure’ applied a lot.
However, that principle probably entailed a few exceptions, and one of them was Big Boss.
It did not take that long when their paths crossed again after they sent the patient thief earlier back at the ER. Later on, when she had given him the chance to explain and defend himself, he cleared everything out by confidently telling her that he was no gang boss.
After flipping her phone, showing his dog tags, his ID and finally a CCTV footage, Kang Mo Yeon came to know that Big Boss—whose name was actually Yoo Si Jin—is a soldier. While he goads her to re-stitch his gunshot wound, she cannot help but have tons of questions mounted in her head, qualms that have dispersed long ago re-entered her mind.
A soldier… That familiar look in his eyes…
Was he perhaps…?
Once she and Yoo Si Jin engaged in a beautiful, yet chaotic romance—after a series of missionwork in Urk, after a sudden earthquake, an epidemic breako