“Then do you mean I should put Eun-soo in a narrow place like a charnel house or something What wrong did this child do! There’s never been such a good child in my whole life! I can’t put my Eun-soo in a fiery pit! How painful it would be… How painful…”
His stepmother yelled in anger with her eyes red, like a person who had gone crazy.
He couldn’t say that he knew his stepmother well, but he had seen her for years.
It was the first time he had seen his stepmother make that kind of face.
Unable to stand it, Woo-hyun offered to make a contract for another spot, but his mother seemed to have already made up her mind.
To bury her daughter in the place where she was supposed to be buried.
Woo-hyun clearly remembered his stepmother’s face on the day they buried Eun-soo.
Her empty gaze didn’t move away from the coffin.
His stepmother stood motionless, with her back bent, and looked for a long time at the hole where the coffin was placed.
His stepmother’s eyes as she looked at her daughter’s final moments were red, like those of a rabbit, and she didn’t shed a single tear.
After the funeral, his stepmother turned around and swayed like a reed.
She walked while speaking to herself like she was insane, saying incomprehensible things like, ‘Eun-soo, it’s Mom.’, and refusing other people’s help.
Watching her silently, Woo-hyun knew that when she buried Eun-soo, his mother had buried a part of her together.
Maybe she buried all of herself at that moment.
Since even though she was a distant stepmother to him, she was an ordinary mother who was very devoted to her daughter.
After that, he did not know about his stepmother’s regards.
She was not the kind of stepmother to lean on her stepson, who had grown up away from her, nor was he affectionate enough to take care of her.
It was in the emergency room when he met her again, and he was silent for a while after he heard the news that she had been safely discharged.
Woo-hyun, who was heading towards the grave, gradually slowed down.
His stepmother stood next to Eun-soo’s grave.
In front of the tombstone, there was a small table with fruits, rice cakes, and the snacks Eun-soo liked.
Instead of alcohol, his stepmother was spraying Eun-soo’s favorite drink here and there.
“I’m meeting you here.”
Woo-hyun stood in front of the grave and said, instead of giving a greeting.
Only then did his stepmother feel his presence and turn around.
It wasn’t even an important day, so she didn’t expect to meet him here.
There was a slight agony on her serene expression.
But it was only for a moment.
Did you come to see Eun-soo”
She replied in a hoarse voice.
“Eun-soo must like it.
That her oppa came here.”
Woo-hyun didn’t answer the words his stepmother said with a cracked voice.
Would she like it
He was curious.
It seemed like it was her who made things this way, so would Eun-soo be happy that he visited her She always said she was fine like an idiot, so he could figure out if she would smile while saying it was fine, or if she would get angry while saying she couldn’t bear it.
After recalling his childhood memories for a while, Woo-hyun tried to remember how Eun-soo looked.
However, for some reason, the more he tried to remember, the more Eun-soo’s face disappeared.
One face came to his mind for a moment, but he wondered if it was correct, and it quickly disappeared.
As he repeated it a few times, he could only remember her appearance from a very long time ago.
Her appearance as she made dolls out of sand in a playground that was empty after everyone had gone back to their families.
Only the appearance of the child who realized his loneliness and said, ‘You won’t be lonely.’
Woo-hyun’s sinking gaze turned to his stepmother, who was stroking the burial mound.
She fiddled with the mound that had nothing to be mended.
Then, she slowly swept down the mound with the palm of her hand.
“She had a small head when she was a kid, so if I opened my hand, it would wrap around her head… But not anymore.
When did you get so big, my daughter… You grew up so much that you even left Mom behind.”
She murmured as her eyes, in which tears had dried, traced around the mound.
Woo-hyun, who had no answer to give her, just looked at the burial mound and saw the yellow baby clothes that were placed in front of the tombstone.
It was said that Eun-soo was carrying a baby.
That she was quite far ahead in her pregnancy.
And that it wasn’t a miscarriage, but was actually closer to a stillbirth.
He only realized the difference later.
His stepmother murmured as if she had forgotten that Woo-hyun was there.
“Aren’t you cold there I don’t know if it’s cold, or hot, or how it is… You have to keep the baby warm.
You couldn’t prepare a piece of clothing and left, so keep him warm in this and don’t let him be cold.”
“I know you’ll do well on your own, but I regret that I’m not even able to help you with the childbirth…”
Tears filled his empty mother’s eyes.
Soon, tears burst out of her eyes, and her face contorted.
“My baby… My baby… You’re my baby, how could you leave Mommy behind and leave How…”
His stepmother’s haggard hands grasped the mound.
She fumbled around mercilessly, as if he wanted to grab her daughter who was about to leave right now.
It was hard to describe the expression of a person who painfully felt at every moment that her daughter wouldn’t be present in her life anymore.