Minjeong scrubs her hands and forearm with soap, breathing in and out evenly to keep focus. The thump against the door startled her as it pushed open.
Jimin walks in, and she doesn’t look surprised to see her there at all. Like she didn’t doubt that Minjeong was going to show up despite their conversation last night.
“Good morning, Dr. Kim.”
Regaining her composure, Minjeong only offers a small smile, before stepping on the lever at her feet to turn on the faucet to wash the soap off of her hands.
There was silence as Jimin scrubs her hands with the soap. Minjeong was finished with the sink, but still, she stayed rooted at her spot, careful not to have anything touch her sterile hands.
“I’m sorry.” Minjeong says, voice soft and timid.
“You don’t have to be.” Jimin responds with no hesitation.
“But I am. I shouldn’t have questioned your decision as my attending surgeon.”
Shaking her head, Jimin steps on the lever and turns on the faucet. “If you think something is wrong, you have all the right to question your authorities. Higher status or not. You have a voice. Use it.”
Minjeong blinks. “Then I’m sorry for being an to you last night.”
Jimin steps off of the lever, turning around to finally look at Minjeong. Her heart skips a beat the way it always does when she looks at Minjeong. “You don’t have to be sorry. I deserve it.”
Minjeong doesn’t get to respond, as Jimin enters the operating room first. She stares at her through the small glass window seeing into the operating room, heart squeezing with ache.
When she enters the operating room, she’s put into a sterile gown and gloves by the circulating nurses on their surgical team today. Mrs. Green was already under anesthesia on the table, and the surgical tools at their side.
Jimin stands in front of her, the body between them. Breathing out, Minjeong meets Jimin’s eyes.
“Ready to save a life, Dr. Kim?” Jimin’s smile is visible through her eyes, lips hidden behind the surgical mask.
Minjeong dips her chin in response.
“Scalpel.” Jimin says, hand extended towards the scrub nurse. Minjeong doesn’t expect it when Jimin hands her the scalpel, “make the first cut.”
“O-Oh,” Minjeong hesitates, “I-I don’t know, you—,”
“I wasn’t asking, Dr. Kim.” Jimin says firmly, “make the first cut.”
Act like you belong here.
Her breathing grows rapid and shallow, as her eyes stare at the scalpel.
“Minjeong,” Jimin says in the softest voice, “hey, look at me.”
Chocolate eyes meet Jimin’s gaze, and Minjeong feels a sense of familiarity wash her anxiety away. “Mrs. Green chose you for a reason. She trusts you. I trust you. Make the first cut. It’s the easiest part.”
Exhaling slowly, Minjeong takes the scalpel from her. She steadies her breathing, angling the sharp edge midline of Mrs. Green’s chest. Her hand was steady, and she washes away any sense of insecurity.
“Making the first cut.” Minjeong announces, applying pressure against the layer of skin and making the perfect incision.
“My dream is to go to Harvard. I would major in pre-med, maybe do research in neuroscience, then go to medical school to be a neurosurgeon.”
Jimin knew Minjeong’s goals were big. She must’ve been working and pushing herself so hard for a reason.
“Yeah? Why not a heart surgeon?” She asked, nuzzling her nose against Minjeong’s cheek. Jimin is sandwiched between the tree trunk and Minjeong’s body as they sit on the grass fields of their school garden. She has her legs on either side of Minjeong, hands around to meet at the younger woman’s stomach.
“It’s my least favorite organ.” Minjeong says, and Jimin finds it to be silly, so she asks, “why?”
“Because mine is horrible.”
Jimin frowns, “your heart is pure.”
“It’s slowly deteriorating.”
“It still holds so much love.”
Minjeong blinks, “I’m talking about the organ, not…the heart, as in love.”
“Are they not the same?” Jimin questions.
“The organ is responsible for pumping blood through our body, so that our body can get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. It also gets rid of all the bad things, like carbon dioxide we don’t need, or waste.” Minjeong explains, blabbing like the nerd that she was. Jimin completely adored how nerdy and full of facts she had been.
Jimin smiles to herself. “And what about love?”
“Love? That’s all in the brain.” Minjeong says as a matter of fact. “The brain is responsible for those emotions. Who gave the heart all the credit when it’s just a stupid pump for blood?” Shaking her head, Minjeong rolls her eyes. “The brain. That’s where it’s at. It’s the most interesting organ we have.”
Jimin hums, fingers running over Minjeong’s wrist to feel her pulse. “Okay, then I want to be a heart surgeon.”
Minjeong pulls away to look up at her, “really? I thought you wanted to be a flight attendant.”
Jimin pulls her closer, “if I became a flight attendant, do you know how many days I would have to spend without having you next to me?” That earns a giggle from the younger woman in her arms. “Also, if I become a heart surgeon, maybe I can be the one to make your heart all better.”
Minjeong smiles and whispers, “maybe.”
“I can totally be a heart surgeon.” Jimin grins, kissing the underside of Minjeong’s jaw. The younger woman giggles at the tickling sensation, squirming in Jimin’s hold.
“But you hate science.” Minjeong says in a fit of giggles.
“But I love you.” Jimin rests their cheeks together, swaying with the rhythm of the wind. “That beats my hatred for science.”
“You should do something that you enjoy, Jimin. You should never let someone influence what you do for the rest of your life.” The lecture comes rather adorably to Jimin, and she doesn’t take it to heart at all. She was too hopelessly in love with Kim Minjeong.
“Well, what if you end up hating it?”
“I wouldn’t hate it. It’s an honorable profession.”
“Every profession is honorable.” Minjeong argues.
Jimin’s heart beams with pride. Sometimes she wonders how Kim Minjeong had turned out so sweet with parents like hers. She’s all for “your parents don’t define who you are,” but really, the way someone is raised is a big reflection on an individual's character.
“Really?” Jimin grins, “even politicians?”
“Well…” Minjeong trails, and Jimin giggles to herself. She knows how much Minjeong hates politics. She was very passionate about it actually, and Jimin found it to be very adorable just how much she’ll curse out politicians for their stupid decisions that make the world a crappy place.
“Some politicians are honorable.”
“The female ones.” Minjeong mutters under her breath.
Jimin chuckles, “well, then I guess you have a point.”
“I always do.” Minjeong says with smugness. Jimin likes that Minjeong could be confident and feel pride within herself around her. She wishes Minjeong could feel that everywhere, with anybody, not with just her.
“So if I was a poop cleaner you’d still be proud of me?”
Minjeong frowns and nods with no hesitation. “Well, of course. If that’s your passion. You better be the best poop cleaner this world has ever seen.”
Jimin throws her head back in booming laughter. Minjeong turns her head with her own smile, as she watches Jimin glow.
Once her laughter subsides, Jimin looks down at her girlfriend, “god, I love you.”
“Even if I have a bad heart?”
Jimin senses the seriousness in her voice, and she realizes it was a genuine question from Minjeong’s insecurities.
With a frown, Jimin cups Minjeong’s cheek. “Stop saying that. You don’t have a bad heart. Bad isn’t the word for it.”
“But it is. It doesn’t work well like hearts are supposed to.” Minjeong’s face falls sullen.
“It’s a heart that needs extra care and love. It doesn’t mean it’s bad.” Jimin slides her hand down to Minjeong’s chest, right above where her heart beats faintly.
“Extra care and love.” Minjeong repeats in a whisper, clutching the hand on her chest.
“That’s right, baby.”
Jimin leans down to kiss her soundly. Their lips fall into slow, soft kisses. The rustle of the leaves above them soothe their bodies as they fall into each other with love and warmth.
“Charmer.” Minjeong whispers against plump lips when she slightly pulls away. Jimin smirks, biting onto Minjeong’s bottom lip, and tugging playfully, before completely pulling away.
“See,” Jimin wears a proud face, “I would make a good heart surgeon.”
Minjeong finally lets out her breath of relief when she’s scrubbing out of the operating room. The surgery went perfect, and Mrs. Green was being wheeled back into the intensive care unit, where she will be staying for a couple of days to recover and be closely monitored.
“Well done.” Jimin appears next to her as she also scrubs out.
“Thank you.” Minjeong says timidly.
“Satisfied?” Jimin asks her.
Nothing but the sound of the water from the faucet fills the air, as Minjeong’s mind churns for an answer.
Before she could answer, Jimin sighs and steps off of the lever. “Don’t answer that question until you can say you’re satisfied and proud of yourself with no hesitation.”
With that, Jimin exits, leaving Minjeong alone to her thoughts. Why couldn’t she say it? The surgery went well. She did well.
Why was it so ing hard?
Cursing herself, Minjeong walks out to find her fellow interns waiting for her with wide, shining eyes.
“We saw you!” Shuhua says excitedly, “you killed it!”
“Well,” Mark rebuttals, “she didn’t kill it. That’s the whole point of a successful surgery.”
“You know what I meant, idiot!” Shuhua glares at him.
“You guys were watching?” Minjeong asks with raised brows.
“Yeah, from the observation room up top.” Mark said, “we tried to wave, but you were very focused. Definitely a good thing.”
Minjeong rolls her eyes.
“That, or she was too busy making heart eyes at Dr. Yu.” Soojin pipes from the side, her arms crossed and eyes sharp.
Minjeong gives her a face, “what’s your deal?”