He doesn't wake up to her fidgeting. He doesn't wake up to her insensitive alarm clock. He doesn't wake up to her at all. It's a day off and he sleeps in till noon. He knows because when he does wake up, the clock read 11:56 AM.
Wait a second - he shouldn't be able to see the alarm clock so easily. Ha Ni's big head should be in the way.
He sits up and looks around. Where is his wife? Did something worse happen? Even if many pregnant women fainted during the first month, nobody said it was a 100% sure sign. So many things could trigger it. The stress from work, lack of nutrients - did Umma take her to get checked?
A letter on her pillow. He snatched it up and read through the bad hangul faster than her love letter.
He ran down and up and left and right and all around the house to look for her. Everyone gave him strange looks and followed him out to the streets. He showed the note. Their reactions and the fact she was nowhere to be seen cemented the fact - Baek Oh Ha Ni was gone.
The hospital was the first place he went to. Oh Ha Ni wasn't somebody to just abandon her commitments - the letter said so much.
"Oh, Baek-nim, Nurse Ha Ni was called to Ophthalmology yesterday, if it's any help."
Blind. Fucking Blind.
I can't be a burden to you. Ha Ni's letter came back to him and fear and dread every single negative thing he could ever feel overcame him.
How could she not believe in him? She said she understood when he couldn't make her birthday. he said he understood when she wasn't as lovey as Bong Joon Gu was with Chris. She said she understood when he had to stay late at the hospital. Why couldn't she understand that he'd take care of her?
Don't rely on my for your whole life. Oh, right.
He went to the restaurant of thei first date. The waitresses were kind to him as he checked each and every room for her.
"She went straight back and stood in the private room for a bit before leaving." The cashier said.
"Do you know where she was heading?" The cashier shook her head.
The school - Ha Ni was a hopeless romantic. It would be so obvious she'd go to the place they met in. The stands were completely empty. He cupped his hands around his mouth and screamed. "Oh Ha Ni! Where are you? Come out here NOW!"
The wind howled back.
He walked back and somehow, he wandered t the alley behind the karaoke bar. Their first kiss.
He leaned his head against the cool tile. Maybe his mind was tricking him, but he thought he could feel the scent of her wrap around him.
Anger boiled and he kicked the wall. What kind of husband was he? He couldn't even see his wife's pain. He punched it and pain split his knuckles open. Stupid Ha Ni - why couldn't she have told them? He punched and punched, blood coating his hands from his knuckles.
Out of energy, he fell against the other end of the alley. The anger manifested itself in a scream that made birds fly and the foundation of the karaoke shake. Sliding down to the ground, he let himself cry for the first time in 14 years.
He walked around the hospital for the second time that day, avoiding the eyes of all around him. He wanted to just go into his office and hide. Hide in the memories of his wife. The letter, the fork, the picture - heck, even the English book that was filled with her little fantasies - they were all tucked away in his drawer, still in their best condition.
Opening the door, he was intrigued by the strangest sounds - sobs.
He didn't know what to do. He wanted to yell at her to cover up the utter relief that overwhelmed him at seeing her. He wanted to hold her as she cried, as if she would disappear if he let go. He did nothing but kneel by her side, one sentence reeling in his head. Ha Ni was here before him.
"Seung Jo-ah...wha-what are you doing here?" Ha Ni rubbed off her tears. "I...I just...I just wanted to sleep here...just for tonight...but, your com-computer...it had our picture and...Seung Jo!" She fell into his arms and Seung Jo hugged her tight as she cried.
The sentence wasn't even thought before he spoke. "Don't you ever leave me."
She garbled through the sobs. "But...our children...could be...could be..."
Seung Jo brushed her hair to distract her. "Or they could be a genius." He pulled away and brushed her tears. "Whether the child is smart of dumb, fat or thin, tall or short, blind or not, I'll still love them. Because it's our child." He held her tears. "I'm not so weak that I can't handle this. But..." the tears welled up in his voice. "But you can't leave me." He closed his eyes to gather himself. He looked back at her. He looked back at her. "I'll get scared." Get, hah. It's nothing but the truth. A voice said in his head. "I am scared," He brushed a hand through her hair, "of not being with you."
Ha Ni sniffled and her brown eyes stared into her husband's. "But...you could have anybody..."
His hands wrapped around her small face. "Ha Ni...do you remember did I tell you when I first kissed you?" She shook her head. "I told you to never look at anybody ever again. The same is for me. I will never find anyone that can be my match; can make up for all my mistakes." He pulled her close and she hugged back. "Just like this - fitting perfectly in his arms." Ha Ni laughed dryly and she buried her head into his chest.
That night, Seung Jo indulged in his wife's body like he never had before. He held her tight against his body and kissed up and down her neck. She giggled and kissed him hard. "Are you aware of what you've done?" Seung Jo gave a look. "You chased me." She scratched his neck and he twitched. "You're stuck with me now."