Dear Eddert - Chapter 2
Translator and Editor: Effe and Yonnee
Benedict’s heart raced at an insane rate as he remembered what sacrifices he had to make to get her out into the world. A flame began to burn faintly in his chest, but Benedict did not know exactly what it was.
Only when Walter stood up and grabbed his shoulder did Benedict stop moving.
Blood dripped from Walter’s lips, crushed by his own teeth. Walter’s pain was transmitted directly from the hand on his shoulder. It was a man who cut his own head for her. Benedict became even more curious about her true nature that captured such a strong man.
What kind of life did she lead after leaving the Imperial Palace? At this rate, it would be better if she had no memory. Even if she returned with the memories of her past intact, there was no guarantee that the same would not happen again.
“…It is done.”
After a long kiss on Eden’s forehead, Benedict finally pulled from her. Her body, which was full of wounds, was now smooth without a single scratch. Warmth swept through the cold body. Inside her left chest, her heart was beating at a comfortable pace.
“All that’s left is for her to open her eyes.”
Walter staggered over to Eden and bowed his head. The moment a soft breath touched his tear-soaked cheeks, Walter collapsed with a cry.
“Eden… Ah, Eden…”
Walter stayed by her side for three days and three nights, waiting for her to wake up from her sleep. Contrary to his wishes, Eden did not open her eyes easily.
Year 175 of the Imperial Calendar.
It was the year that Crown Prince Christian of the Klawe Empire held a grand succession ceremony and ascended to the Empire’s ninth throne.
“Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday, my dear daughter.”
“Dad! Thank you!”
Hyemi clapped her hands and blew out the red candle. At the same time as the light in the living room turned on, her mother patted her on the back with her palm.
“What the hell did you do to receive a birthday present?”
“Ah, it hurts…”
Thinking that her mother’s hands are still powerful, Hyemi breathed out.
“Why are you beating the child on her birthday?”
Her father, who was sympathetic to his daughter, scolded her mother, but to no avail.
“Because I’m upset! How upright are the kids her age, but she gave up studying early and there’s nothing she’s good at. I managed to get a part-time job and you quit in three days? I can’t say anything to Mister Park because I’m embarrassed!”
Hyemi nonchalantly responded to her mother who continued to nag her by putting the cake back into the box.
“Because the guy in that chicken restaurant’s kitchen was a little weird, Mom. But can’t we eat the cake now?”
Her mother’s friend, Mister Park, the owner of the restaurant, was someone she met at her regular hair salon. The chicken restaurant was on the first floor of a main street shopping mall. It was good for Hyemi, who graduated from high school and didn’t have a decent job and who was stuck in her house, to get a job as a server.
“I think you are the weirdest kid in the world!”
As if ignoring Hyemi’s wishes, her mother slammed the refrigerator door shut and yelled at her.
“How are you going to live in the world with a mind that can’t even overcome anything?”
It was the third day of her part-time job when the kitchen manager, who was glancing at Hyemi while frying the chicken, sneaked up behind her and rubbed his lower back on her behind. Hyemi sighed and muttered a little.
“It’s not everything. Mother doesn’t even know me, but it’s always just me.”
If she were to be treated like this, she wouldn’t have thought about the relationship between Mister Park and her mother. Whether the kitchen manager was Mister Park’s brother-in-law or not, he was a pervert that had humiliated her.
“What do you mean I don’t know. I know it perfectly without looking at it. You’re just going to say ‘Ah, Sir X, please stop’. How are you going to live in this harsh world from now on? Do you want to stick with your mom and dad for the rest of your life!”
She politely said that the job didn’t seem right for her, but all she got back was her mother’s rebuke. Hyemi suddenly felt unfair and tears welled up.
“What are you doing? Cry for what you have done! Really, I’m so angry!”
“Honey, stop it.”
Her father dissuaded her mother. The main cause of the rising voice at the table in the morning was her, the only daughter in the house, the young unemployed, and, as her mother said, a troublesome thing.
“I pestered you to get into a top-notch university, and I didn’t even tell you to do so well that you’d live in luxury. I’m not just telling you to cover my face! Every day at home, when you are hanging out with your cell phone, at least go out and meet someone!”
Money was also needed to meet with friends. Due to her abysmal finances, she refrains from going out as much as possible and lives quietly at home. Without knowing her heart, she took a deep breath as she scooped the seaweed soup*, which her mother had cooked, with the ladle.
“Others are good at dating. It’s not like you’re lacking… No. There are some shortcomings no matter where you go. What’s the point of being just fine? Why not do something productive instead of running around to feed the stray cat?”
Hyemi contorted her eyes and frowned her forehead.
“They’ll die without me, Mom.”
Her mother didn’t know how hot summer was and how cold winter was every year. If she took care of the cats who lived on the streets, there would be no need for them to open garbage bags. In her mother’s eyes, her hard work in doing productive activities for the sake of peace in the neighborhood was nothing but futile.
“I’m going to die because of you!”
“Honey, stop it now. Huh? Hyemi, hurry up and eat.”
He was always a friendly father, but it was even more sad at times like this that he couldn’t keep up with her mother.
“Mom… If I disappear, will you feel comfortable?”
Without going through her head, the words came out first. Her mother’s eyes narrowed as she tied her apron and held a ladle in one hand. Her mother, who had the words ‘good heavens’ deeply engraved on her forehead, was ready to hit her on the head with the ladle as she lifted it.
Here she knew that one word she added would make things bigger. But she couldn’t help but feel wronged. Hyemi opened her tearful eyes wide and glared at her mother.
“That’s right. If I die, you’ll feel all the more better.”
“What, are you rebelling now?! That’s what you’d say in front of your parents now?!”
Eventually she crossed the line and was hit in the head with the ladle. Trickle. The broth, in which small drops of sesame oil melted, came down from her forehead and down her cheeks.
There were limits to patience. Hyemi jumped up from the table with seaweed sticking on her eyebrows.
“Don’t look for me.”
“I’m not looking for you!”
After rubbing the back of her hot nose with the back of her hand, she walked towards the front door. As she crumpled her bare feet into the sneakers, her mother’s screeching sound pierced the back of her head.
“If you leave now, don’t even think about coming home!”
That was good to hear. She’s not coming. She really won’t come.
Hyemi rushed down the stairs on the third floor of the apartment, breathing heavily. She couldn’t have been more happy to have the Han River Bridge just fifteen minutes away from her house.
You are not alone. Hahahahaha. Laugh out loud The world is beautiful.
The catchphrase, which was attached to the railings of the bridge to prevent people from committing suicide, seemed to be ridiculing her instead, giving off a completely opposite effect.**
On her birthday, she was humiliated by her parents, and she had no reason to live in the world. Hyemi decided to drown herself in the water.
Hyemi didn’t die in the end.
As she looked down at the wind on the Han River Bridge, the flowing blue water seemed too deep. If she fell into this kind of water, drowning seemed natural. She went to commit suicide, and it was a little shameful that she stopped because she was afraid, but it didn’t matter because no one knew her decision anyway except her. Hyemi has always been generous with herself.
One of the reasons she couldn’t die was that she wore a mismatched pair of sneakers. Until she died, she had no intention of advertising her clumsy personality.
“My daughter! Her underwear is mismatched, her socks are mismatched and till the end she is still mismatched!”
Because her mother’s nagging echoes in her ears, she may become a ghost who couldn’t even enter the heavens.
When she thought of the reason why she wouldn’t die, her thoughts surged endlessly. She was equally concerned about the five stray cats she feeds. Besides, the tuxedo, which has a cute pattern like jjajang soup splattered around its mustache, was pregnant right now. She could only leave until she can relax with jjajang.
In the end, Hyemi decided to stop her suicide attempt for a myriad of other reasons. The problem was that she ran out without her purse, and she had nowhere else to go. Even if she had a wallet anyway, her bankbook had already run out of pocket money.
Eventually, she tumbled back home. Her father and mother had already gone to work. They ran the oldest public bathhouse in town, and they were sincere people who never rested even on holidays. It wasn’t impossible to predict how she would appear as the only child in the eyes of such a parent, but there was a saying that nothing in the world grows up like a child.
「 “The soup’s in the fridge. Heat it up and eat.” 」
A message came from her mother as if her mother knew she had come to the house, how she knew it was like a ghost. Maybe she hid something like a surveillance camera in the house. Hyemi glanced at the ceiling, which had nothing attached to it, with her eyes.
Thanks to the unintentional long walk, her stomach had been signalling that it was hungry. She hadn’t eaten anything since this morning. Did someone somewhere say that they want to die but want to eat tteokbokki? Those words had a deep impression on her today.
When she opened the refrigerator, it was full of her favorite food. Meatballs made with tofu and tuna, stir fry glass noodles with wood ear mushroom, salty and sweet beef stir fry, and spicy braised mackerel with aged kimchi. Hyemi decided to think once she ate.
The soft, well-cooked seaweed was chewy in the mouth. Hyemi scooped out the seaweed soup with a brisket, and put it in her mouth. Her stomach was full, so the feeling of depression went away a little bit.
‘It’s not that they don’t think about me at all.’
From an early age, she did not show any prominence in studies, and she had no special talent in arts and sports. She didn’t look good enough to be street casted, and her physique wasn’t particularly good either.
But there weren’t all good looking people in this world. If you look at the ratio, the exceptional people are about 1% of the total, and even that, 99% of ordinary people like her exist, so their speciality can shine.
Hyemi started washing the dishes while she felt like a philosopher. She thoroughly washed the plates, wiped them with a clean, dry cloth, and put them in the cupboard. Seeing the dishes lined up and neatly arranged made her feel a little better. It was thanks to her mother’s neat personality that the old house, which was three decades old, was still kept clean.
She nagged a lot, but she’s great at cooking. It would be the right answer to say that leaving home was hard. In this house, there was a mother who prepared the meal every day no matter how hard she hit Hyemi on the back, and there was also a father who was kind and homely, though he could not straighten himself while being pressed by his wife.
Hyemi activated a positive circuit in her head. It was her strength to be able to be happy quickly no matter what happened. She sometimes quarreled with her friend because she was angry, but the fight didn’t last long thanks to her apologizing soon after.
Even when she turned half of her answer sheet blank because she didn’t see the back of the exam paper, Hyemi just smiled. Her grades didn’t get any lower, and the sky didn’t fall just because she failed her exams.
When she was stressed, she was only hungry. Like this morning.
Although her mother cursed her nonchalant and optimistic nature for being easy going and lazy, Hyemi thought that good things were good. If there were much more people like her in the world, there would be no conflicts, and it would be much more peaceful.
‘I can just inherit the family business later, right?’
Hyemi’s father was the owner of a small bathhouse that had been run for two generations in the neighborhood. It was an old bath house, but regular customers felt comfortable because her friendly father was always at the counter. If it wasn’t for those two, it was obvious that when the 24-hour large spa entered the main road building, they would have had to close the business because it could not withstand the financial difficulties.
‘I’m confident I’ll do well if they let me do a part-time job at the bathhouse. There’s a small part-time job, there’s cleaning, and you can even bake eggs***.’
Hyemi let out a long sigh. There were also restaurants run from generation to generation, so there was no reason why it couldn’t be a bathhouse. No matter how much she thought her side could be much better, her mother was always anxious to get her out.
In fact, running a bathhouse wasn’t easy. There were also cases where drunk customers bothered the other customers, and there were also frequent instances of theft or lost items.
Hyemi’s father once went to the police station because of a hidden camera placed by malicious people or because of a sexual harassment case. There was also a customer with poor sight who slipped on a piece of soap and tore the back of his head, and had to be rushed to the emergency room.
Hyemi’s parents, who have been through troubled times, wanted their daughter to do other things at all costs. They wished that their only daughter would have various social opportunities and other experiences, but Hyemi could not understand what they meant.
“Aahh. I don’t know.”
Feeling the melancholy coming over again, Hyemi shook her head and opened the refrigerator. When she was depressed, sugary foods were also the best. She put a piece of cake on a pretty plate and headed to her room, and then she came back and added another piece. She thought it’d be perfect with a cup of dark Americano at a cafe on the intersection, but her light wallet made her promise it was for next time.
Today was her birthday, and she went to the bridge over the Han River and came back with a promise of a new life.
She felt compelled to do something important.
*) Seaweed soup is traditionally eaten for breakfast on your birthday! (Or a diet after one gave birth)
**) Mapo Bridge was the name of the bridge that crosses Han River. It was one of the most common places for suicide jumpers. So one time S****** company added lights that light up with motion sensors along the railings with pictures and words to prevent suicide. Some of the words are ‘have you eaten?’ or ‘your family is waiting for you’. But these phrases did not help and were eventually taken down.
***) Koreans do eat hard boiled eggs in saunas! The eggs are cooked over the steam of the hot water and are said to have various health benefits.
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