Chapter 22: Eternal flame
Joohyun beat her “Minjeong is okay” she inhaled sharply “Did you ask me to stop waiting because you want to take care of Minjeong?”
“Yes” Seungwan whispered with a sigh, she didn’t plan to reveal everything like this, just when they started patching things up
Joohyun’s breath caught on “Why, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I tried to after our last text but you deactivated your kakao account and didn’t pick up my calls”
“Because you made me think that you chose her over me!” the young doctor gripped the seat top rail tightly “When you told me to stop waiting, you only said she needed you. You didn’t tell me the real reason, how was I supposed to know?!”
“Yes, it was my fault. I caused all the misunderstanding between us”
Seungwan lowered her head “I was in a very difficult situation back then, I couldn’t think clearly, all I knew was I have to be with Yoona and Minjeong. I’m really sorry”
“And you never tried to reach me again after that. You have eight years to explain yourself!”
“After Yoona had passed away, I told myself to focus on Minjeong’s treatment first. I always wanted to reach you again but then I didn’t know when I would be back to Korea so I kept pushing it back because I didn’t want you to wait for me” Seungwan told her softly “You would want to wait if I explained to you, you would waste your time on me again so I thought it was best for you not to know everything”
“But you still wasted my time. You made me hate you for eight years!” Joohyun said frustratedly “We could make use of that time to define our relationship if only you told me”
Seungwan couldn’t say anything back because yes, she did make a stupid decision
“You were my first love you know” tears brimming in Joohyun’ eyes as she got a flashback of her younger self who was so in love with Seungwan, who was willing to do anything for the older woman “I thought we had a chance when you said you like me back, I thought finally you see me as a woman”
“I would be fine if you told me everything, yes I might want to wait for you for years but at least I know that it would be worth it. Rather than spending those eight years with a broken heart and tears, I would prefer to wait with hope that one day you would be back”
Seungwan wanted to hug and comfort her, but she knew she was at fault so she just stayed rooted on her feet, listening to the younger woman
“After we lost contact, I was in deep sadness and lost my focus. I failed my college entrance exam. You knew I took a gap year and prepared for it but in the end I failed. At that time, I thought my world had crumbled down, I lost you and my dream. I had to take another gap year to rearrange my thoughts and heart. There were so many things that happened to me, things that made me who I am now” Joohyun told her “I couldn’t help but hate you more and more”
“And when you’re back, I just…didn’t know what to think. I thought you would never come back and then you brought your daughter, under my care, it opened my wound once again” the young doctor didn’t bother to conceal her tears anymore “I thought you lived your life to the fullest with your wife and daughter, I thought you came back only to mock me and my feeling, to shove it in my face that I was a fool who wait for you and even more a fool to have those feelings surface back. Those feelings that I worked so hard to bury and forget”
“I’m feeling confused, angry and disappointed with myself since you’re back. I have to work professionally and talk to you as the parents of my patient everyday. Like a fool, I have to swallow my sadness everyday. If Minjeong didn’t tell me about the truth, I would live my life like this forever”
Seungwan didn’t know how much turmoil that she had caused to the younger girl since she was back. She never thought that her presence would cause so much pain to her, she thought the girl hated her and that’s it. She didn’t know that behind that hate there was so much sadness in it.
“I’m sorry” Seungwan couldn’t help but cry for her, she was feeling so sorry towards the younger girl “I should’ve told you sooner even though you kept pushing me away, I should’ve told you”
“I wouldn’t believe your words” Joohyun whispered in between her sobs “In my eyes, you were nothing but a liar”
“Still, you didn’t deserve to feel all of those feelings. I…regret everything, you were right. I should’ve stayed in Vienna. I should never come back” Seungwan couldn’t imagine what it was like to be in her position “I’m so sorry for everything”
They didn’t say anything afterwards only silently letting their tears flowing down
Both of them were caught in their own thoughts and feelings
Regretting on what happened in the past and thinking on what would happen if the truth was never revealed
“What happened to Minjeong’s eomma?” Joohyun asked once she collected her thoughts “I thought you two got married and then had minjeong together but if you adopted her then who are the other parents?”
Seungwan bit her lips “Yoona was already pregnant before she went to Vienna”
The young doctor was stunned, she didn’t know. Of course she didn’t know. There were a lot of things that she wasn’t aware of about Seungwan and her life in Vienna. The older woman kept everything by herself.
“The reason why I went to Vienna was because she carried my brother’s baby”
“Brother” Joohyun whispered “Then Minjeong is…”
“My niece. That’s why I couldn't let Yoona go alone” Seungwan sighed sadly before continuing “I was once so in love with her but I didn’t fight for her, I let her go to be with her loved one, my brother. I let her go because i want her to be happy”
“But it turned out that she didn't live happily at all. Her pregnancy was one of the causes of it. My brother didn't want the baby and after all the fights they had, she decided to cancel their engagement and left him, back to Korea to find me”
“She asked me to come with her to Vienna to fulfill our dream, the dream that already crumbled when she left me so I refused because I no longer wanted to be a pianist, until I learned that she was carrying my brother’s baby”
Joohyun’s thought instantly flew to Minjeong, the young girl who had a very unfortunate situation, her father didn’t want her, her mother had passed away when she was a baby and she got con diseases. If Seungwan didn’t come to Vienna, what would happen to her?
“I felt sorry and responsible for her. I wanted to take care of her until the baby was born and they could live by themselves so I thought 2 years would be sufficient” Seungwan closed her eyes “Everything was going just as planned, until she was diagnosed with a brain tumor”
“I was supposed to go back to Korea after Minjeong was born” Seungwan's eyes were tearing again “I wanted to ask you to be mine but she needed me there, minjeong needed me, as her mother”
Seungwan lowered her head “I wanted her to be a proud Son, under my name, because her father didn’t want her. She was very weak as a baby, so we often went in and out of the hospital. There were times where I couldn’t accompany her because I had to work and tour around, I was just a newbie pianist and I needed money for her treatment so she was often alone in the hospital and it saddened me, it pushed me to work so hard because I wanted her to be healthy. All I could think of and all my attention was for her so I couldn’t bring myself to reach you because I knew, I would only bring uncertainty and empty promises to you”
“I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make you happy”
“I…I never thought everything would be like that” Joohyun bit her lips upon knowing that those 8 years were also hard for Seungwan. She couldn’t imagine what she had been through.
Seungwan lifted her head and looked at the younger girl with a sad smile “You don’t have to feel responsible or guilty because of not knowing it. I deserved to get hated, I chose to hide everything from you. It was my fault to begin with”
“And now that you know the truth, I felt relieved. I promised minjeong’s mother that I would tell you everything, so at least I’m able to fulfill one of her wishes”
Joohyun looked back at Seungwan with an indecipherable look, but one thing for sure was that she didn’t feel omnius hate & anger towards the latter anymore. She could understand her decision because she would do the same if it happened to Jennie or her family, the older woman's only mistake was not telling her.
So it meant that her feeling was true? Everything she told her was true?
Before Joohyun could say anything, Seungwan beat her, it was like the older woman could read her mind
“I don’t know if I'm allowed to say this” Seungwan locked her with her stare “But I had missed my chance to say this in person before and I still regret it deeply. So forgive me for saying this, but my feelings for you never changes, Joohyun-ah. I didn’t lie when I said I like you and I still now”
Oh how she missed being called by her name. It sounded so warm and intimate to her.
She never imagined Seungwan would confess to her again, like this, in this situation
But despite that, she could feel how genuine she was
She could feel her heart skip a beat because of it and this time, she didn’t hate it