She sat beside him until morning. She couldn’t remember when she had drifted off, her head resting against the edge of the bed, her hand lying on Dong Hoon’s. When she came to, numb, she realized it was his hand tenderly covering her own. She lifted her head and met Dong Hoon’s gaze, certain that his eyes were slightly smiling.

„Anjo!” she heard his raspy greeting.

„Ahjussi! How long have you been awake? Are you in pain? I must call the doctors,” she chided herself angrily for her lapse.

„Relax, Ji An,” he spoke in a soft voice, „they’ve already been here. All is well,” he soothed the flustered caretaker.

„How could I have slept so deeply?” Ji An felt both ashamed and infuriated at herself. „I’m so sorry! So very sorry!”

„Stop,” he requested—he wanted to tell her something very important, but not while she was so disturbed. He held her hand, signaling her to sit in the chair next to him.

She sat obediently, yet ashamed to meet his gaze. They sat in a lengthy silence, with only the beeping of the remaining hospital equipment audible.

„I’ll go speak with the doctors,” Ji An tried to rise, but Dong Hoon held her back with a quite strong grip. She remained by his bed, still somewhat shaken.

Dong Hoon was in no hurry. He stroked her hand, then gently lifted it and grasped it in both of his. Ji An watched in disbelief. She finally dared to look into his eyes. They were tear-filled.

„Ahjussi, are you hurting? Why are you crying?” she asked, embarrassed.

„Ji An,” he tried to speak as quietly as possible, to not strain his still sore vocal cords and throat, „Ji An—I was really looking forward to our meeting… I was so happy…”

„That’s not important now,” Ji An objected.

„It is important… You must have been upset… Maybe even frightened…” he paused for a moment to rest, yet all the while, he clasped her hand with both of his.

Lee Ji An was so shocked by what was unfolding that morning that she fell completely silent and no longer resisted Dong Hoon’s actions.

„I wanted to tell you something very important then,” he continued in a much more serious tone, but again made a long pause, searching for the right words, „You see… I’ve missed you terribly… and I really wanted to see you again… I wanted to tell you—” his eyes filled with pain, „eee it doesn’t matter now…” Suddenly, his tone changed, he released Ji An’s hand and turned his head away.

Ji An noticed he had begun to cry. She stood up as if scorched, grabbed a tissue, and approached from the other side to wipe away the tears seeping under the bandages.

„Ahjussi!” she leaned in and gently wiped his eyes, „Do you think I don’t know what you wanted and want to say?” she looked him straight in the eye. „Really?”

Dong Hoon endured her stern gaze, and it was clear he was weighing his next words, but Ji An pre-empted him.

„You wanted to tell me you would leave your wife because your son is grown enough now, there remains the issue of your mother whom you don’t want to distress with a divorce. You wanted to tell me that without me, you have not been and will not be happy,” she spoke fervently, „and finally you wanted to check what my plans and feelings were,” she finished, returning to the proper side of the bed, led by Dong Hoon’s dazed gaze. She stood over him with that stubborn look and told him the rest.

He seemed to understand, as sparks of hope appeared in his eyes, still veiled by a mist of emotion but becoming clearer. He grabbed her hand again.

„Ji An,” he wanted to say something, but she interrupted him again.

„Yes, I still like you, ahjussi,” she blurted out, „you’ve set the bar so high, no other man has even slightly moved me,” she added, „No, I haven’t been fully happy because it’s impossible without you,” her forthrightness again overwhelming, „I’m not bothered by your wounds, your changed appearance and voice, your age and complicated situation,” she continued ruthlessly honest, „I just want to be close to you because otherwise, I won’t be happy,” she paused sharply and looked sternly at Dong Hoon, „and I think you won’t be happy without me,” she concluded with a decisive tone, which was quite new in her personality.

Scroll to Top