Standing by the window, he gazed down upon the entrance and the glass-walled hall of the restaurant „Return Here!” His thoughts fluttered between memories and imaginations of the upcoming Saturday meeting, then back to memories again. Time lost its grip on him, yet today, no soul awaited his presence. He skipped both the lunch with his company friends and the drinking session at Jeong Hee’s (of course!). The mood to converse with anyone today had eluded him entirely. In silence, he preferred to ponder the possible strategies for meeting Lee Ji An, feeling through his very skin that this would be a pivotal moment in his life, though he dared not articulate this sensation even in his thoughts.

His newly settled life once again trembled at its foundations, and Dong Hun yearned to maintain control. The hard-won balance and stability he had achieved could be threatened by the surge of old and new feelings, hopes, and desires. Especially those deepest ones, painstakingly buried over the last years.

„Should I go there early and wait, or would it be better to arrive right on time, or perhaps with a slight delay?” he wondered.

Each option was simple to execute in his situation. Yet, he was uncertain which was optimal. Showing up before Ji An would unveil his impatience. Arriving on time would make him feel stiff and formal, and being late was entirely out of character for him.

„Since when did I become so meticulous?” he caught himself in a moment of displeasing self-criticism. „Just the thought processes regarding this meeting are embarrassing for a man nearing his fifties.” It was a relief that he had no need to speak of this to anyone – he looked at his reflection in the window, now significantly darkened. „Why do I care so much… and experience this so intensely?” For a moment, he couldn’t even name his state of mind.

He moved away from the window, sat on the sofa, and turned on the television, but – of course – he neither heard nor saw anything. Thoughts and feelings still churned within him as if they had completely broken free.

„Oh, this doesn’t look good,” he clicked the remote, turning off the television. „Maybe it would have been better to go to Jeong Hee’s and have a drink with the brothers and colleagues? I probably won’t sleep tonight anyway! Someone turn me off!” He began to truly panic. „For a mature man like me to tremble at the thought of meeting a young woman! Perhaps hyong was right when he said that we, the three brothers, have very little experience with women… I’m only now understanding that.”

He decided to take a walk, maybe even a run, to exhaust his body and drown out the emotions dominating him.


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