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Magician City - Chapter 11

Published at 2nd of October 2017 06:27:39 AM

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 . End (2)


 

After a month without Yunyoung, Yu-ye spent time outdoors even when the afterschool classes were finished . He spent most of his time in the library where the heater kept him warm . The library was always quiet with very few visitors on the weekdays, and for Yu-ye, it was the perfect place to stay . He liked its peaceful silence .

 

Maybe it was because they were impressed by Yu-ye’s love for books, or maybe they pitied him, but the old librarians always tried to take care of him . They would always approach him with a friendly greeting, and sometimes gave him snacks .

Yu-ye was mostly happy when they would recommend him books to read .

His facial expressions were always the same, but his heart wasn’t . It was slowly sinking in depression . After Yunyoung left, he didn’t know what to do but try and keep his mind off it . It was the first goodbye he had to say after his mother had left him, but this one was different . When Yu-ye parted with his mother, he couldn’t acknowledge what a ‘goodbye’ meant . He was too young, and his mother always showed signs that she would soon leave him in the years she stayed with him . That had helped him get over the parting quickly .

 

He couldn’t believe how much it hurt to see Yunyoung go . His heart ached a little at first, but later it felt like he had a gaping hole . It was a feeling he had yet to learn . He didn’t know how to express the emptiness, and therefore have been trying to stay ‘normal . ’

If there was another person who cared about Yu-ye as much as Yunyoung did, his change was big enough to notice .

He was always a kid without a drive to do anything, but worse, he now seemed desensitized by the world .

His social relationships were the same .

If anyone approached him first, he would accept them, but he was never the first one to strike up a conversation .

It was similar before, but this was more severe .

It was a miracle that the children liked him and followed him well . Although most were careful to approach him, everyone felt a bond with him . They knew he was good .

The days passed, and finally one event came to decide his true personality .

 

Yu-ye was in class when he was rushed over to the teacher’s office . If it was any other day, Yunhwa would have come with a big smile to greet him, then the other teachers would come along to ask what was going on while petting his head, but that day was different . It had a heavy air flowing throughout the unusually silent room . The only sounds he heard was the teachers flipping through school documents . Yu-ye noticed the strange vibe, then looked around the office . The teachers all looked busy, flipping through their documents, almost refusing to look at Yu-ye as they dug their heads deep into the files to hide their faces .

Yu-ye tried to shake off the bad feeling as he walked over to his homeroom teacher who had called him out of class .

“I…I see you’ve come…Yu-ye . ”

“Yes sir……”


The teacher stared at Yu-ye for a moment before he tried to continue . But it must have been a tough subject to discuss, as his lips parted, then closed a few times before he finally started .

“Please don’t be too shocked . It’s about your grandmother…”

Yu-ye closed his eyes shut, trying to deny what was to come next .

 

Yu-ye heard exactly what he tried to deny .

His grandmother was rushed to the hospital after a horrible accident .

For a while, his grandmother had been working at a food-packing industry . It wasn’t too complicated a job . She mostly washed and cleaned the ingredients before the packing process . The city hall had put up an ad about having easy, simple work for the local seniors in each district . Local companies were to hire the seniors for a wage a little below the minimum wage .

His grandmother had just finished her morning shift and headed off to lunch where she slipped on the stairs, tumbling down .

The witnesses have said it was enough to break a few bones of even the healthiest, youngest worker . But his grandmother was old with a weakened body from stress and fatigue of working every day . She was in a critical state .

 

His homeroom teacher then hurried him to the hospital .

Looking at the nervousness of the homeroom teacher, Yu-ye got even more anxious .

He was fumbling to rush him over right away . It wasn’t because he had other things to do besides driving him to the hospital . It probably meant that his grandmother’s state was bad enough to hurry . Unfortunately, Yu-ye’s predictions were right .

“Grandma…”

Yu-ye stared at his grandmother . She laid there in the emergency room, almost as if she was dead . The only thing signaling that she was alive was the occasional heaving of the chest and the beeping heart monitor . It was hard to breathe .

To look at his grandmother in a white gown, bandaged from head to toe, felt as though it was mirroring her misfortunate life . She looked as if she had a hard time even having on the small machine that kept her alive . It left him speechless .

All he could do was to grab her pale, bony hands tight .

“How is my grandma?”

Yu-ye asked, trying to keep a straight face . There was an old man next to him . It seemed like he worked together with his grandmother and came with her to the hospital . Yu-ye remembered seeing him from time to time in town . His grandmother opened her eyes, hearing her grandson’s question . She couldn’t bring herself to answer it . She winced and looked up in sorrow . She didn’t know how to tell him without hurting him . She looked as if she was trying hard to think of a way to lessen the shock and the pain . But in the end, she still couldn’t open her mouth to say anything .

The nurse that came to check was left with the question .

The old man asked, “Ms . Doctor, how is she?”


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The nurse tried to hide her emotions and didn’t reply right away . Instead, she looked at Yu-ye . An elementary school boy was looking up in agony . It didn’t seem he had any other family members . His grandmother was probably all he had left of his family .

The nurse grabbed Yu-ye’s hand as she asked,

“Hello, what is your name?”

“It’s Yu-ye Kim . ”

“Ah, Yu-ye . I see . Your grandmother will be okay soon . Don’t you worry . Did you have your lunch yet? If you didn’t, want to come with me? I’ll treat you . Let’s go get some good hamburgers . Okay?”

It was her first year as a nurse . Her heart was still weak, and it was not nearly strong enough to crush the hopes of a little boy by telling the truth . She tried to pull him along, but he stood there as if he was nailed to the ground .

Yu-ye looked at the nurse, then at his grandmother . She was breathing harshly along with the occasional beeping of her monitor . He knew what was coming .

If he was a normal child, he would have followed the nurse . He wasn’t a doctor, and he wouldn’t have known exactly how horrible a state she was in . However, Yu-ye lived in a different world . The things he saw, and what he felt was far from normal .

He carefully watched the blue thread around his grandmother . The blue strings that seemed to move actively around her body a day ago, was hard to spot . Yu-ye instinctively knew her death was coming .

“No…… I’d rather stay here . With grandma . ”

“You’re not hungry?”

“No . I had a big breakfast . I’m okay . So, maybe…maybe treat me next time… . . ”

Yu-ye’s voice got quieter as his sentence finished, and the nurse felt her heart ache for him .

She had seen many children in the same situation . They all cried, threw a fit, sorrowfully calling the names of the patients . But Yu-ye didn’t cry . He didn’t yell . It was as if he knew already as he stared quietly into his grandmother’s face .

It almost felt as if Yu-ye was dying too, but she couldn’t force him to come with her .

She didn’t have the right .

She finally left the room to check on her other patients .

From then on, Yu-ye didn’t move an inch .

Even when the doctor came to check, when the homeroom teacher came after the counseling with the doctor, when it became time to eat, Yu-ye refused to move .

The nurse and the townspeople tried to stop him, but it was no use . He didn’t even bother going to the restroom as he sat like a statue, trying to engrave the picture of his grandmother in his mind . He didn’t sleep, and on the second day, his grandmother woke up .

“No . No! How could you go like this!”


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12-year-old Yu-ye sat in the almost empty funeral, truly letting go of his last blood-related family .

He could meet Yunyoung who moved to the Jeju Islands, or his mother who was still alive if he was given the chance .

However, he could never meet or see his grandmother again .

Yu-ye’s legs suddenly lost its strength, and he kneeled next to the one old man weeping and crying out his grandmother’s name . He sat in front of her picture, powerless .

He had borrowed the traditional Korean funeral clothing from one of the townspeople . It was rough to the touch and made a peculiar sound every time he moved . It was the sound as if he was rubbing two pieces of sandpaper together . It was slightly too big and uncomfortable, but Yu-ye didn’t care . He continued to stare blankly, without a drop of tear in sight, his eyes fixed on the picture as the townspeople murmured in pity . The towns people quietly chattered how strange a child he was .

Yu-ye looked over to the entrance to the funeral .

There were people who worked in the same factory as his grandmother, some townspeople he stayed close to, and some company people taking care of the funeral . There really wasn’t much people .

Yu-ye felt that if Yunyoung was here, her presence alone would make him 10 times if not 100 times more relieved and relaxed, but she wasn’t here . He didn’t bother calling her here . He didn’t want to be seen in this state, and she wasn’t the person he was really waiting for .

But no matter how many hours had passed, his long-awaited mother was nowhere to be seen .

She left the house in the desire to earn money, but more to find her new future, and take back what was left of her youth . She wasn’t coming back . Until the end of the funeral, Yu-ye had waited for his mother who failed to show up .

Yu-ye had no connections to reach her, but he still held on to the little hope in one corner of his mind .

It was because she was still family . Her mother, who sacrificed all her life to raised her had passed away . Her one blood-line was now left to stand alone in the cold world, so maybe, just maybe she would notice and come to help . Yu-ye’s wishes were useless .

His mother didn’t help .

It was the townspeople who had collected money to have his grandmother’s funeral . It was them who had helped from the beginning till the end .

He couldn’t say that his grandmother had the greatest personality, but she was still there . She still tried, and gave her all to support him, at least materialistically .

 

Maybe everyone thought the same as he did . If she lived her whole life in misery, having to do nothing but sacrifice, maybe it was natural that she didn’t have the best personality . Or maybe, the townspeople had a warm heart .

If that wasn’t it, they must have felt they were in the same boat as she was . They were all aged, and maybe they were afraid that they would be the next to follow in her steps .

Anyhow, nobody pointed their fingers at how twisted her personality had become . She had a hard life, and that was enough .

Rather, if she had a great personality, that would have been a problem looking at how burdened and agonizing her life was .


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Sometimes, his grandmother would have a drink as she blamed her life .

Her life was a chain of betrayals .

She lost her parents at her youth . She then became separated from her siblings . Her parents were quite wealthy before they passed away, but her relatives scraped every bit of their wealth like a pack of hyenas .

She wandered around in the harsh world, without a place to belong .

Then she married a man .

She had her daughter but the man who promised her his everything abandoned her for another woman . He never came back once in the span of 20 years where she worked like a slave to have her daughter finish her college .

But then, her daughter cased her trouble .

She came home with a sudden pregnancy, then made her promise to grow the child she gave birth to . Her daughter tossed her responsibilities and left for good . If it wasn’t for the little bit of money she had received from the man who left her and the money she had from selling his house, she might have decided to end her life then, taking Yu-ye with her .

Maybe that was what affected her .

Her will was harsh and yet so desperate .

“Yu-ye .

Even When I die, don’t you ever go to an orphanage .

Don’t you rely on anyone, or anything .

Live alone . Stand for yourself .

If you trust anyone, all you have left will be nothing but scars . ”

 

Yu-ye nodded as he tightly grabbed her hands for the last time .

She smiled faintly as she slowly closed her eyes .

Her life had started with nothing but emptiness .

But at least she had a caring grandson looking up at her in sorrow as she passed .

Yu-ye closed what was left of his grandmother’s eyes moments after .

That was the end .



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