Suji’s mother grabbed Suhyuk’s hands firmly without realising it.
“The surgery went well, Suji’s mom. Her daddy saved her life.”
As soon as he said that, she squatted on the floor and sobbed.
Wrapping her face with her hands, she broke down into tears, and despite her exhaustive crying, her tears kept coming out.
Suhyuk bent his knees and held her shoulder cautiously, saying,
“Her surgery was done well. You made it, too.”
What about her feelings, now that her husband is gone?
“Your daughter is in the recovery room now. After several checks, she will be moved to the intensive care unit.”
She dragged herself up to her feet.
“Is my daughter okay now?”
Suhyuk nodded his head.
Then the door of the operating room opened, with Suji coming out, carried on the stretcher.
She rushed to her daughter.
She wanted to touch her pale face, but did not. She felt something bad would happen if she touched it, and instead wiped off her tears quietly for fear her sobbing might wake her up.
Once Suji was moved to the intensive care unit, the medical staff moved briskly.
Checking her vital signs, they injected a suitable amount of IV fluid and checked her condition again carefully.
Holding her daughter’s hands gently, she asked Suhyuk,
“Can I see my husband now?”
When he nodded, she stroked Suji’s hair cautiously and said,
“Suji… I’ll be back in a minute.”
She followed Suhyuk to the basement of the hospital where his body was laid to rest.
There she saw his pale face, with the respirator seen no more on his mouth.
Momentarily she staggered, and Suhyuk quickly supported her.
“Are you okay?”
She gave strength to her feet, and looked at her husband again.
“Suji’s daddy, Kim Gangu! Boohoo…”
Her sobbing did not stop for a while
Almost five hours passed since Suji was moved to the intensive care unit after the surgery.
When she opened her eyes for the first time, she saw her mother.
Her mother’s eyelids were swollen, and her lips had blisters.
“Mom… I’m okay now. So, don’t cry…”
“Sure, I won’t cry anymore seeing as you are okay now after the surgery.”
She kept stroking her hair while talking to her.
Three days passed after that.
No complications were detected in the patient, which was something beyond a miracle in the eyes of the medical staff.
Especially since she received someone else’s heart for the transplant. Even though the heart was donated by a family member, some sort of complication would usually appear, because it was not their own heart to begin with.
Nonetheless, she did not show any complications, showing an incredible recovery progress.
Looking at the medical staff’s surprise, Suji’s mother said, stroking her sleeping daughter’s hair,
“Suji’s father is not the type of person that gives his daughter pain…”
And she asked the medical staff to hide the fact that his heart was transplanted to her.
She was going to tell her eventually, but not now.
It was urgent that her daughter first gets well again.
Coming out of her room, Suhyuk let out a short breath, sweeping up his hair.
Her post-surgery condition was very good.
Suhyuk looked at his hands while walking through the hallway.
He saved a patient’s life with his hands, and at the same time ended another’s.
Suddenly he thought of Dongsu.
It was currently 9pm. What was he now doing?
Suhyuk called him.
“Hey, who is this?”
Suhyuk informed him of his return from the United States.
Though Dongsu asked to meet him, he found it difficult to adjust his schedule.
“What are you up to now?”
“Well, I’m working hard for this country night and day.”
“I wanted to treat you to soju…”
Then an urgent sounding voice of Dongsu’s came from the phone,
“Let’s drink some now.”
“You just said that you’re working hard?”
“Don’t you know you need to fill the gas to drive a car? I need soju now.”
Suhyuk said with a smile, “Let me come to your place then.”
Taking the metro, Suhyuk came out of the exit Dongsu told him about.
Even though it was past 10pm, there were many citizens on the street.
At this hour some were crying and others laughing.
Suhyuk turned his back at the familiar voice that came from behind.
“Hey, long time no see! Looks like I’ve not seen you for one and a half years.”
Though they had not seen each other for such a long time, they felt easily comfortable around each other as if they had just met yesterday. And this is what they call friendship.
“Let’s go. I know a terrific makkoli (brewed rice wine) bar.”
With his hand on Suhyuk’s shoulder, Dongsu guided him.
When they entered the bar, there were lots of college students mingling there over drinks.
“What do you want to drink?”
Dongsu opened the menu.
Side dishes were mainly pancakes such as vegetable pancake.
“How about sausage pancakes and mung bean pancakes?”
Dongsu ordered without asking for his consent.
“So, did you make a lot of money in the United States?”
Suhyuk smiled at his asking. Yes, he did. More than enough to buy a house.
“Then, the bill here is on you!”
“Sure, help yourself to a lot, man.”
Makkoli and side dishes were placed on the table in no time.
“Let me offer this glass first.”
They clinked glasses together.
Wiping some residue drops of makkoli from his cheek, Dongsu opened his mouth,
“Anything wrong? Your face doesn’t look good.”
As he said, Suhyuk’s face was rather gloomy.
Though he was smiling, he did not look genuine, which only Dongsu could sense.
“Tell me, man. What is it?”
When pressed by Dongsu repeatedly, Suhyuk told him about the situation about patient Kim Suji and her father.
After drinking one glass of makkoli in one gulp, Dongsu said,
“Don’t you think it’s only fair?”
When Suhyuk took a glass of makkoli to his lips, Dongsu spoke again,
“Stop anyone on the street and ask. And assume their a father with a daughter. What are they going to do?”
Suhyuk slowly nodded his head.
“Get out of your miscellaneous thoughts, and drink! And the bill is on you, man!”
Suhyuk giggled at his remarks.
Their get-together over drinks lasted very long into the night.
One week passed quickly.
In the meantime Suji was recovering quickly enough to start walking again.
“Thank you, doctor.”
Suji’s mother expressed thanks to Suhyuk and the medical staff.
She was also recovering from her devastated state of mind gradually.
Checking her condition, Suhyuk now could go ahead with his plan of surgery on Hana’s father.
Suhyuk, who happened to be at the Sky Park, made a call to him.
“This is Suhyuk, sir.”
“Oh, it’s you. Have you eaten?”
“Yes, I just ate. Now it’s time for your surgery.”
Nothing came out of his cell phone, but a moment later, he said,
“Sure, sure. Thanks so much.”
He already put out a sign for temporary closure outside the restaurant.
“Let me come over to pick you up.”
“No, you don’t have to. I can come there myself.”
“Well, I need to stop by somewhere near you, sir.”
Of course there was no such thing.
Suhyuk just hated the idea of him walking to Daehan Hospital with a limp.
“Okay, then. I’ll be here in front of the restaurant.”
After the call, he moved to the elevator immediately.
When he was about to go in, a man was coming out of it.
He was Park Sungjae.
“Did you eat lunch, sir?” asked Park.
With a smile, he nodded his head, patting him on the shoulder.
“Enjoy your lunch hour fully before going back to the office.”
Suhyuk got on the elevator, and turned back after pressing the button,
“I’ve got a surgery scheduled tomorrow. If you’re available, can you help me as an assistant?”
Park’s eyes became wide open.
He could not afford to hesitate as he was given a chance to be an assistant for Dr. Lee who made his name known to the United States in addition to his name already being recognized in Korea.
“Yes, sir. Thanks!”
After Suhyuk stepped into the elevator, the door closed and Park drank up his coffee.
Finally he could help as an assistant for his respected senior.
Hana’s father was sitting on the chair in front of his restaurant.
The scorching hot weather outside formed beads of sweat on his forehead.
Then a taxi stopped, and Suhyuk got out of it.
“Why didn’t you wait inside on this hot day?”
Suhyuk opened the back door for him.
Limping along, he stood up and got inside the taxi.
Inside the taxi Suhyuk talked to him,
“You’re going to be hospitalized today, and I’ve set the surgery for tomorrow.”
Hana’s father nodded his head, and stroked his legs.
He spent many long days with his uncomfortable legs, but he did not blame Suhyuk for that.
Who said in life that there are always ups and downs?
His restaurant was thriving, and Hana got a good job.
He just felt pitiful about Suhyuk who must have suffered from a guilty conscience for such a long time.
While he was having such thoughts, the taxi arrived at Daehan Hospital.
Opening the door, Suhyuk helped him out cautiously.
When he got out, he looked up at the hospital.
“What a big hospital!”
Suhyuk smiled, saying,
“Let’s go in.”