Next morning when I wake up, I discover myself in the unfamiliar bed of the hotel. In-hye has emptied her side of the bed; she might be in the shower now. I look at my watch—seven-fifteen. I remember I don’t have my shaving set with me, nor my toothbrush and toothpaste. I’ll have to go to work unshaved and with last night’s saliva in my mouth—I guess In-hye’s situation won’t be much different.
Soon In-hye returns from the bathroom. I’m spellbound by her soft natural glare; I can’t take my eyes off her long dark hair, her rosy cheeks and the sparkle in her eyes.
‘Let me wash up a bit before taking breakfast’, I say, disappearing into the bathroom.
Together, In-hye and I go down to check out. We pay the room rent and go for a quick breakfast.
‘So that’s the end of our day’, I say to In-hye. ‘We will now leave for work and go back to two different places.’
‘Yes, Jie-won, we’ll go back to meet colleagues and clients, whom we see every day, but can’t tell them about last night. Privately I’ll cherish this day.’ In-hye seems to think that the night was very short.
‘Please keep this card with you, In-hye. You’re welcome to contact me.’ I like to keep a trail for future liaison.
‘I don’t know, Jie-won, whether I ever will. Let me write my contact details behind one of your cards—contact me in special events in your life—if I could do anything for you anytime, anywhere.’
Only last evening, In-hye and I have met each other for the first time, yet it seems we have been living together forever, till this farewell separates us.
I sense I’d love to spend my life with In-hye—not for her beauty, not for her culinary skills, not even for any promise to bear and rear my child, but for herself, her empathy and inspiration to live.
I guess In-hye hasn’t been looking for a man who could win bread for her family; she likes me, she could love me unconditionally, to her heart’s content. That’s how In-hye and I part from each other, to our workplaces, to our lives—for how long? Forever?
Does Jie-won long to go across his family boundaries to reach a girl like In-hye? He finds a boundary wall between boys and girls. Can he topple the wall to set up a relationship with someone he loves?
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