The day broke. The sun streamed in through the windows as usual. My eyelids kept drooping. I didn't know whether this was because I cried heavily last night or the sun was in my eyes. That day was the day next week.
May I be calm in just a week? Katalk!, came the message from my father. “Today is the day to the hospital. come straight after school. I will be there after the meeting.”
I called him on arrival. “Dad, where are you?” “Radiology Department on the third floor. And your mom went into the locker room just now” he said.
Asan medical center locates fifteen minutes from my house but I never expect that I would be here in this big hospital. A smell of alcohol stimulating the peripheral nerves greeted my sore nose as I came into the lobby.
The elevator stopped at the third floor. Suddenly tears welled up in my eyes. I fanned myself with two hands to dry up, choking back sobs. through the elevator door I could see a place covered all over with white. A green sign reading ‘Radiology department’ on the wall came into sight. OH! A sign for a ‘Radiology department’ up ahead. Further on, I could see my father sitting mute on a soft sofa. I sat next to him and asked where she was. “She went for a final check up. she will out soon.” he said.
My father was reading e-newspapers with his smart phone when I leaned forward, glanced at a screen and spoke to him.
“I’m starved. Let’s have some food,”
I continued and said, “Mom couldn’t eat anything because of check up since last night. I guess we all missed breakfast.”
He nodded and gave me his credit card. “Buy as many as you want. There’s a convenience store at the corner, Next to the Pediatrics.”
I stood up placing my hand on a sofa. Velvet texture of a sofa felt so soft and I really liked the flower pattern.
When I got back, my mother with a patient gown was sitting where I sat. When I approached, she smiled in acknowledgement. I didn’t forget to smile brightly. “I bought some bananas you like” I exclaimed in my lilting accent.
Then she said “How about stone-plate Cooked Egg?”
A woman dressed in patient gown similar to Jjim-jil-bang cloth rummaged through snack foods for something she wanted to eat. Before I knew it, I was giggling. While admitting that there was nothing to laugh about, I forced a smile.
My mom was inwardly relieved that she saw my laughter. She dropped her head. And she was convulsed.
With nurse’s call, three of us went into the doctor’s office. Some MRI scans of my mother’s breast appeared on each screen of three different computer. I couldn’t figure out which was which by looking at those photographs. I studied my parents’ countenances carefully. Their face was stamped with inward thinking as if in the transparent glass box.
Before starting to talk, he inhaled for a second and exhaled longer. His cold breath left me feeling as if I were wandering a place where I could come near falling into a pit of quicksand with my eyes closed.
“Thank god for you. With two check-ups, it turned out to be third stage. The better news was that the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts so primarily surgical removal of the cancer is possible and chemotherapy will be used with secondarily. For you, a permanent cure will be effected by these treatments. Let’s give it our best shot.”
I woke up with the ecstasy. I could feel the goose bumps even thinking about it. I needed time for my eye to adjust to the dark. I blinked several times and stared at the clock with surprise eyes like a deer. 8:30PM.
I could smell the savory odors of omelette from the kitchen. I heard a description of the golf game, and obviously it was not a sound of music/