Yoon Hee informed Ji An that she would be arriving soon and, knowing life’s unpredictable rhythms, Dong Hoon’s mother-in-law, brothers, and perhaps even a friend or two of his might show up. She advised Ji An to be ready to leave, better yet to leave now, to avoid any awkward situations should Dong Hoon’s mother miraculously appear at the hospital too quickly.
„I’m already leaving work,” she told Ji An, „so you don’t need to worry about leaving him alone for a few minutes. Really,” she insisted.
„Of course,” Ji An responded quite calmly, though she was not pleased with this turn of events. She had hoped for more time to 'speak’ with ahjussi, but what could she do? His wife was right. The hospital would soon be filled with his nearest and dearest, so it was better not to cause any additional commotion.
She packed her bag, took her jacket, and quietly left. She didn’t even wait for information from the doctor, deciding it would be better passed on to his wife or mother. Formally, after all, she had no connection to Park Dong Hoon.
Exiting the hospital through a side door, she felt a mix of joy that her ahjussi was beginning to communicate but disappointed she had to leave at such a crucial moment. The world around her seemed to suddenly brighten and vibrate with life. She had stopped noticing the explosion of spring, with its colors, scents, and sounds. Previously indifferent to all seasons, this time the beauty of awakening nature and the joy of her awakening ahjussi intertwined in her heart, leaving her breathless.
Riding the subway home, Yoon Hee called.
„Ji An, I’m really sorry you had to leave at such a time,” she heard Yoon Hee’s sincere voice. „I know it’s not fair, as you surely played a big part in Dong Hoon’s quick responsiveness to external stimuli…”
„It’s okay,” Ji An cut in. „I understand… Really, don’t worry about me. Ahjussi is what matters,” she assured.
„That’s true,” his wife agreed, „But still, I feel awkward about your situation…” she paused. „Are you really okay? You see, it’s good we did what we did, because no sooner had I entered Dong Hoon’s room than the mother-in-law and brothers-in-law showed up. I just stepped out to call you. I don’t even fully know the doctor’s opinion yet, and I’m sure you want to know what they think too,” she said in one breath, anxious to return to the room. „So, I’ll call you again later, okay?”
„Of course,” Ji An replied. „I’ll be very grateful for the information,” she added.
„Then it’s a plan. Talk to you later.” And Yoon Hee hung up.
Ji An stared at her phone’s display for a moment longer, as if through it she could know everything happening with ahjussi. But the device was cruelly silent, and she was left to wait patiently for information from Yoon Hee, not knowing when she would find the time to share it. A familiar grey sadness returned to her heart, and even the subway seemed to grow darker and emptier.



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