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I Have Been Waiting For You For A Long Time
Author : Hye-Gun Song
Translation by Hyun-Hee Kim
This is a translation of a popular Korean short story.
A widower who is in his late 50s lives alone in the country and runs an antique shop. His name is Jong-Hyug and his wife has died 5 years ago from breast cancer. He has a son who is a typical young city man living in Seoul with his girlfriend. He is well educated and working for very fine stock company. His name is Dong-Bin. They get along very well even though there are no similarities between them. They know that they are the ones who can deeply understand each other.
James used to be a diplomatic official and traveled to a lot of countries for many years so he has a sophisticated taste in antique works. He is calm and quiet and spends his day very peacefully reading a book, listening to music and running his shop. Nothing happens in his days in the country. He has a dog whose name is Happy. They take a walk together as a daily routine after work.
There is an old house on the hill in his town and nobody lives in the house now. There used to be an old man waiting for his only daughter but he died alone two years ago. When it is spring his only daughter comes back, but she is extremely fatigued both mentally and physically. She spent most of her twenties in Italy studying painting. That is all we know about her. Her name is Mu-Shim.
One day, Jong-Hyug is taking a walk with Happy and enjoying a beautiful day. Happy first found her sitting on her deck in the garden. Jong-Hyug feels strongly about her at his first sight. It doesn't take him a long time to realize that he will have the last love of his life soon.
It is so obvious that she is ill and needs some help. Jong-Hyug goes to her and starts looking after her. She wants to lean on somebody. She is desperate so doesn't stop him. Jong-Hyug enjoys helping her. He goes shopping with her and fixes her house and offers her a job.
She works for his antique shop. They have their morning coffee together in the shop and become a very good company. Mu-Shim plays the music of youth like jazz and she feels very secure and safe with him. They know that they are about to love each other.
On the other hand, Dong-Bin is having a hard time in his life. His company has committed some financial crime and he is related to it by accident. He quits his job. He can't go on anymore in the city. He feels that life is all in vain. So he breaks up with his girlfriend and leaves Seoul. He doesn't care about his career.
When Dong-Bin comes to his father's shop he sees Mu-Shim. He sees her face and feels something that he can't resist. He thinks that he can get some peace and comfort from her. She is different from other women in the city. He thinks she is pretty but it is a different beauty that he hasn't seen before. He comes to her and kisses her suddenly. She is very surprised but somehow she doesn't reject him. They kiss for a while and she pushes him back. They hear a car sound and then a little later his father comes in from shopping. They are so happy to see each other. Dong-Bin and Mu-Shim pretend nothing happened.
They all get together and have a nice dinner party. Mu-Shim makes some nice Italian food with wine. They all get drunk cheerfully. Her cooking impresses the two men. When she is out for a moment the father is worried about his son and asks what is going on with him. He doesn't say much but he tells his father that he is going to stay with him. Jong-Hyug is very shy about how he feels for Mu-Shim so he doesn't mention anything about her. Of course, Dong-Bin has no idea of what is going on between his father and her.
Mu-Shim is happy to work in the antique shop. She starts wearing nice clothing and some light make-up and even playing a lot of jazz. Jong-Hyug is relived that she is happy again though she still looks unstable.
Dong-Bin is very active living in the country and it seems as if he enjoys it. He gets an idea that he wants to open an Italian restaurant in his father's shop. He wants to put four tables at the corner so when customers come to look for antiques they can also have dinner or when people come for food they can also look around at antiques. They are all excited about it and make it a reality. Mu-Shim is a cook and Jong-Hyug and Dong-Bin are waiters. Business is going well. It becomes a very nice restaurant. Mu-Shim believes Dong-Bin loves her and Jong-Hyug gives up showing his feeling for her. He decides to love her in different ways. He hopes his son loves her truly and treats her nicely. Jong-Hyug still thinks that they look insecure and something is missing from them.
Time passes quickly. Dong-Bin starts feeling bored living in the country. One day his friends come by the shop and they look so good and happy. He misses the life in the city that is rather more fun and sophisticated. He thinks that he is ready to go back to his real life. He wants to leave here and tells his father and Mu-Shim. Nobody can ask him to stay here with them and they let him go.
Mu-Shim is getting sick after Dong-Bin leaves and she doesn't often come to work. The restaurant is closed. Jong-Hyug soon finds out that she has gone away without any notice. He is in great sorrow. He feels so empty and doesn't hear from his son either.
Two years later, Nu-Shim comes back to Jong-Hyug with a little baby. He knows that the baby looks exactly like his son. He doesn't ask anything about it and just helps her again to settle down. He is happy that she is near him to take care of her. They open the restaurant again. Jong-Hyug prays that he can have this peace for a long time. He knows that she is waiting for his son and he doesn't care anymore as long as she is near him. He is just happy to see her everyday.
January 17, 2005