In Another Life - Chapter 6
⁃ jeogori: the upper garments (blouse) of the woman's hanbok.
⁃ gisaeng: joseon entertainers and es, has lower class than the sangmin.
Her heart sank at the memory of her treasured binyeo being stolen, being retrieved, and then eventually being taken away from her. Now, all she was carrying along with her was the book.
His book. The one he bestowed to her.
"It'll be fine, right?" She sobbed, talking to herself as she sloppily walked back to the health centre, "He'll take care of the pin... He will,"
He will, wouldn't he?
After a few minutes of walking down the long road, Mo Yeon finally reached the place where she thought she would've spent a decent breaktime in reading. It was around noon when she came back at the health center, and so far, her day was not going well: she was bombarded with so much work to do, got in another fight with Kim Eun Ji, became a victim of a thief, and finally, she lost her most precious belonging—all that in just a few hours of the day.
All Mo Yeon could do was to pray to the gods that the events of the day wouldn't escalate into a much devastating one.
But as soon as she stepped inside the building, she knew that the gods weren't paying that much attention to her prayers at all.
"Kang Mo Yeon-ssi," A grim-looking Kim Eun Ji welcomed her sight. She walked towards the errand lady, "Going off-duty all of a sudden? Some errand girl you are,"
Mo Yeon kept shut while the 'fake' doctor sneered at her annoyingly. She have had enough for today, and she did not need any of Eun Ji's irksome words that could cause her so much vexation.
Mo Yeon nonchalantly sauntered to the side, but Eun Ji blocked her with an abrasive push on the shoulder, "What? Guilty of leaving all of a sudden? You disappear from your tasks like you're the landlady of this institution,"
I have had enough for today, Mo Yeon stepped forward.
"I've done all of my tasks well, so I took a break," She faced her, "Regardless of the occupation, I do well in my job as an errand girl than you as a doctor. Stop breathing on my neck and try fixing your life. You can't even diagnose a patient well,"
"Ya!" The other woman snapped and grabbed Mo Yeon by the collar of her jeogori, pulling her with force, "You're very cocky for a mere errand lady!"
"You're very cocky for a doctor who does not even deserve her position!" Mo Yeon shot back, gripping on the other woman's hands and taking them off her collar, but when she jolts away, Mo Yeon is pushed on the wall and the book she kept in her pocket plopped to the ground.
The book...! Mo Yeon quickly got down to retrieve it, but she was too late as Eun Ji had beaten her to it. She grabbed the textbook, "Ah, what could this be? A diary?"
"Don't touch it! It's mine!" Mo Yeon screamed as her hands try to grab hold of the book, but Eun Ji successfuly pushes her back on the wall, after which she went on studying its colored cover page, and then skimming through the pages. "Ya, Kim Eun Ji—"
"It's a textbook on general medicine," The woman declared with a laugh as her hands skillfully flips through the pages of the reading material. "Oh, so the errand girl wants to become a doctor! This is unbelievably absurd, do you even read?"
"Give it back," Mo Yeon interrupted, her face looking agitated, "That book is mine,"
"Like I would believe you. How can a commoner woman like you know how to read this book?" Eun Ji scoffed while she held the surface of the book's cover with both hands. "Look how tables turned, Kang Mo Yeon-ssi. You shouldn't have raised your voice on me awhile ago,"
"What are you saying? Give it back—" Mo Yeon froze when her eyes and ears captured a heart-wrenching moment: pieces of papers went flying everywhere, and there were series of sharp, tearing sounds, like people munching into fresh apples all at once.
Kim Eun Ji dropped the rest of the torn, damaged book down to the floor, along with the other pages scattered everywhere.
"Oops. My bad," She said in a sarcastic tone, while she gazed at Mo Yeon's appalled expression, something she had longed to see. She wanted her to suffer and be miserable after putting her to shame.
Right then and there, Kang Mo Yeon did not know what to exactly feel inside as her eyes saw that the only book she possessed was now nothing but a pile of torn pieces of papers; their pages and words were seen unidentified, and some of the pieces were even faintly blown outside by the wind.
She was both dominated by anger and sorrow, however circumstances made her not express them freely; should she choose to get mad and throw her anger right on Eun Ji, it would surely be taken against her, and if she chooses to show her sorrow, then it would be like showing your weakest side to the enemy.
"A piece of advice," Eun Ji blurted all of a sudden while she walked closer to Mo Yeon's location; her dress sweeping through the pieces of paper on the ground, "It's always about the status. Whether you're the better woman between us, you will always—and always be—a peasant errand lady."
Mo Yeon held back her tears as she closed her eyes, her hands balled up into fists as Eun Ji hissed in her ear.
"Give up on your dream because here on out, you're fired from your job," Eun Ji cackled before leaving the premises, "And please clean up the mess. Do it well, it's your last task in this place,"
Mo Yeon watched Eun Ji leave with her tear-filled eyes, while the papers fluttered as the other lady passed by.
It's gone, she stared blankly at the pile of papers beneath her, it’s all gone.
Quickly wiping the tears off her eyes, Mo Yeon crouched down, picking the small, well-torn pieces of paper on the floor. Her fingers picked them carefully one by one, treasuring each piece that she read in that book.
"Kang Mo Yeon-ssi," Nurse Ha came running to the woman; some of Mo Yeon's most trusted friends at the hospital, Nurse Ha and Nurse Choi rushed in and helped her pick up the pieces of paper. They've seen what had happened and just like the poor Mo Yeon, sangmin women like them can't fight for themselves.
All they could do was to watch from afar and share with the pain.
While Nurse Choi picked the pieces up and stashed them to a clothbag, Nurse Ha gave the crying lady a hug. "It's okay. We'll patch this book up for you,"
"The pages are torn and missing," Mo Yeon sobbed, wiping her tears away, "It's fine,"
No it isn't.
"Mo Yeon-ssi, you can't just give up on your dream like this," Nurse Ha, being the older woman, lovingly told her while she brushed her tears away gently with her knuckles, "You're skilled, and you have talent. We'll help you. We'll find a way—"
"Ani... I'll just go," Mo Yeon stood up as she controlled her sobbing, taking the clothbag from Nurse Choi and finally bowing politely before leaving the place with a heavy heart. She had lost everything: her family, her possessions, her job—all of them gone in a blink of an eye. Everything has disappeared. All is lost. Even the little faith that she had in her dream sunk into the abyss.
As she walked down the bustling streets of Hanyang and down to the remote, seemingly peaceful riverbank, Mo Yeon can't help but cry over what fate has brought her to; she slumped down on her knees in the middle of the grassy plains on the as she faced the long Han River.
"Eomeoni, I lost everything," Mo Yeon wailed in the deafening silence, looking down towards the wide body of water. Slowly crawling towards the edge of the riverbank, Mo Yeon cried with nothing but the thought of ending her life running in her mind.
"What was the use of living if nobody understood me?" Her fingers dug through the damp ground as she crawled just a few inches away from the edge of the river when someone abrasively pulled her hair from behind and dragged her away. "Hey! What are you doing?!" Mo Yeon managed to glance behind and was shocked to see a man behind, and a group of old-looking ladies standing father away. They looked like dolls, all donning huge wigs and colorful dresses.
A damp cloth was shoved in to stop her from screaming; Mo Yeon tried to hoick her hands away from the men's grasp, but all the crying and running earlier today had exhausted her badly.
Soon later, she was presented in front of one of the ladies lined up. "Hm. Pretty face," The lady with a huge wig tilted her chin up with her hand, eyeing and observing every detail of Mo Yeon's face. "We'll take her in,"
Take me in where? She could only ask in her mind, while she exhibited a confused look to the ladies surrounding her. Just by looking at them—the colorful clothing, the wig, the heavy make-up and their appealing, charming looks—Mo Yeon knew these women were gisaeng: the renowned, vulgar f