After her MA exams, Hye-jin joined me at Busan, but her body and soul were never accessible. I was then fully convinced about the futility of marriage and started meditating on prospects of a society without marriage. The real life, however, was far from my visions; I needed to reconcile my relationships with Hye-jin and her parents. I found a job at Chuncheon, a town far way from Busan and from the home town of Hye-jin and myself. But a move to Chuncheon meant releasing the four-bedroom quarter at Busan. Now I had a difficult question to answer: ‘Should I take Papa, Mamma, Ji-woo and Seung-hyun to Chuncheon, where I’m uncertain of my own stay? Should I get them back to Gyeongju, where they used to live?’ I requested Suk-hwan if he could accommodate them in his three-bedroom apartment in Buyeo. Suk-hwan agreed to accommodate them till I could have enough rooms for our parents.
The three-hour journey by bus from Seoul to Chuncheon was very tiring for pregnant Hye-jin. When the bus reached Chuncheon workplace, it was already eight-thirty at night. I pulled the suitcases from the bus stop to our first-floor flat. After entering the apartment, I found Hye-jin seated on the verandah and she was gazing at the forest that surrounded the apartments; tears rolled from her eyes. ‘I can’t stay here, so far away from the city.’ Consoling her, I said, ‘No worries for the dinner tonight, we’re invited by my boss, Gil-kang, to their place’.
Gil-kang and his wife, Jin-sil, gave us a warm welcome. While Hye-jin and I enjoyed the home-cooked dinner, we were frightened by the first-hand info about snakes and lizards, foxes and dogs that often came close to the ground-floor apartments. Hye-jin and I felt a bit relieved that we had a first-floor apartment.
Hye-jin gave birth to her son, Joo-won, at Janggok, where Hye-jin’s elder brother, Sang-chui, lived. Since GemDaddy’s place, Daegu, was far away from Chuncheon, he thought that Janggok was appropriate for the care of Hye-jin and the newborn. GemDaddy and GemMummy arrived at Janggok months before Joo-won was born. When Joo-won was two months old, Hye-jin and her parents took him to Chuncheon. He loved the natural surroundings of Chuncheon when he grew up. Hye-jin’s days changed considerably with Joo-won taking most of her time and attention. For me too, Joo-won was the jewel of my eyes: every evening was for Joo-won; every weekend and every holiday were for Joo-won. For the joy and welfare of Joo-won, Hye-jin and I put our heads and hands together.
Relationships between Hye-jin and myself were often interrupted by frequent visits from Hye-jin’s GemDaddy, her brother and her sister. Whenever these families visited, Hye-jin spent most of her available time with them. Often I had to share my bed with male members of her family. At these times, I hardly ever had my wife in bed with me.
Forensic robots infer that young Jie-won devotedly follows all rules and regulations of his society and country. His goals are to get a good job, a good wife and a happily married life thereafter. He gets a good degree and a good job. His parents have him married to a suitable girl—Hye-jin.
It doesn’t take long for Jie-won to realise that the body and soul of Hye-jin aren’t for him. He feels he is living with someone else’s wife.
Jie-won recognises his relationship boundaries. He finds himself at the intersection of two relationship sets; one is the little world to which he was born—Papa, Mamma and his siblings; the other consists of Hye-jin and Joo-won.
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