Yoo Jae-yong, born in Kimhwa, Kangwon Province in 1936, made his literary debut in 1969 with the publication of two short stories, The Tale of the Hand and Sangji-dae, in the journal Modern Literature. From this starting point of his career until the present, his writing style has remained insistently and orthodoxically realistic. This fidelity to realism, together with his uncanny gift for story-telling, have carved an indelible niche for Yoo in the ranks of contemporary Korean literature. He has received numerous and diverse recognitions for his literary accomplishments in the course of his thirty-year career, including the New Writer's Award in 1968, the Modern Literature Award in 1979, the Lee Sang Literary Award in 1980, and the Dong-in Literary Award in 1987.
As a high school student in 1955, Yoo was diagnosed with a chronic back disorder which confined him to bed for the next ten years. As an escape from the painful reality of his incapacitation, the young Yoo immersed himself in the study of literature, which eventually led to own literary career. Writing became a means of salvation for Yoo, since it provided him with the possibility of a pathway, albeit narrow, back to a productive and active life.
Several of Yoo's early works are characterized by an idiosyncratic and highly imaginative trademark: their narratives focus on characters who live vicarious lives through conceptual "others" or surrogate figures. Incubation, The Life of Another, The Hairpiece, The Relationship, and The Servant are works which belong to this classification. They offer a new vantage point from which to analyze human relationships by presenting physically or emotionally handicapped characters who project their lives onto those of others. These fundamentally antithetical characters - the fortunate and the unfortunate, the users and the used, the haves and the have-nots - undergo role-switches which place them in reversed conditions.
Another category of works has a more expansive, less personal focus: it explores the meaning, role and machinations of human society, rather than those of individual psyches, from a multicultural global perspective. While characterization functioned as the key element in the first category, narrative technique is crucial to these works. Yoo;s first work, The Tale of the Hand, and The Man with the Tail are examples of this category. Both works, written when Yoo was first establishing his reputation as a writer, are experimental in their adoption of Third World settings, such as Vietnam and Africa.
Other works, which include Sangji-dae and The End of Play, teem with the middle and lower classes, depicting their vulgarities, avarice and unscrupulousness. However, Yoo's portrait is benevolent rather than judgemental.
He is a philanthropist at heart: in his unrelentingly realistic and concise style, Yoo chooses to depict the joys, sorrows, loves and hatreds which make up the lives of those multitudes who live anonymously on the outskirts of society.
Not many people can have changed jobs as often as I have.
My situation is such that ten fingers and ten toes have not been enough to keep count of my checkered career. This being the case, I have experienced more than my share of bizarre happenings, unexpected turns of events, and preposterous incidents.
My term of employment at the house of Jang Hyun-sam was no exception.
That summer, I had lost yet another job and was again idling around. The old man who ran the neighborhood real estate agency, perhaps out of commiseration for my shiftlessness, beckoned to me.
"Man-bok, instead of just loafing around, do you want to get a job that will feed you for at least a few days?"
"Is it to take care of an empty house while the family goes away on vacation?"
"Don't act like you know everything, and just tell me if you?e interested.?
I answered yes, that I would take a position which would feed me for a few days.
?ince you?e agreed to take the job, let me tell you that it? not really for only a few days, or any set period of time. It? a position where you can stay on for years if you suit the master? taste.?
He told me that the job was tending to the needs of a paraplegic.
He also told me that the people who had accepted the position before me had not been able to stay on for long, but had all departed quite hurriedly.
"The position not only feeds you and gives you a place to sleep, it also pays well. I don't understand why people can't make the master happy and stay put in one place, running away in a rush like they do."
He said that he had received a message asking him to send another replacement, since the last person he had sent to the house had again left hastily after only a few days.
I supposed that the easy availability of jobs at factories and construction sites had made the job of running errands at a private home seem unappealing in comparison.
"I'm lousy at humoring others."
I was feeling dubious about my ability to locate other people's itchy spots and scratching them.
"It doesn't take much to humor someone. Just be obedient and do as you're told, and even if something disagreeable or annoying happens, just be patient and endure it - that's all there is to it."
If that was all there was to it, I felt confident that I could fill the position as well as anybody could. My healthy body and endurance were my sole possessions in the world.
"Anyway, if you go there and find it too hard to serve the master, you can always pack up and leave. You"re an old hand at packing up and leaving, aren't you?"
The old man made this remark because he did not know the whole of it.
To tell the truth, I had indeed changed jobs innumerable times, but never once had I quit or left of my own accord. Not once had I ever angered my employer or been kicked off the job. My transient career had been the result of unavoidable circumstances; the death, emigration or bankruptcy of my employer; or the fact that the job had been temporary from the start.
When I first met Jang Hyun-sam, he did not strike me as the master whom I would serve from that time on. I felt as if the real master would appear from somewhere and say, " Hyun-sam is my son, and I want you to take good care of him."
Jang Hyun-sam sat buried in the depths of an armchair, a scrawny, gaunt figure. His neck, arms and legs, which he had bared on account of the heat, were pathetically pale and thin. He looked so frail that I wondered if it might not be too tiring for him to even sit there in his armchair.
"Lee Man-bok - it's an easy name to remember. But how many days will you stay at this house before you take your leave?"
Contrary to his appearance, Jang Hyun-sam's voice was resolutely powerful and full of authority. I sat up straight. Upon hearing his voice, I came to the conclusion that Jang Hyun-sam could indeed play the role of a master more than adequately. For a fact, it is far better to look up to a master than to look down upon one.
"I will stay, sir, until you tell me that you no longer need me and that I must go."
I spoke humbly, with my head bowed down. A faint, shadowy smile touched the edges of Jang Hyun-sam's eyes and mouth for a fleeting moment, and then vanished. And as the smile faded, a chilling, frosty light streamed out of the corners of his eyes.
"How much did you pay the old man at the estate agency to get this position?"
Jang Hyun-sam inquired offhandedly.
"I've agreed to give him enough to have some rice liquor when I get my first salary."
"Salary, you say. I will, of course, pay you a salary. Today is July the fifteenth, so on August the fifteenth, I will give you your first salary. You will see. It will be an amount that will surely not disappoint you. However, it is still to be seen if Mr. Lee Man-bok will be able to stay long enough to hold his first salary in his hands."
The light in Jang Hyun-sam's eyes shone piercingly, as if to penetrate what I was feeling in my heart. Jang Hyun-sam not only possessed a dominatingly authoritative voice, he also had uncannily penetrating eyes.
"Sir, if I can be of service..."
Without knowing the reason, I was unable to finish my words. Perhaps it was because of Jang Hyun-sam's piercing gaze. I thought about the people who had come to this house before me and had left after staying only a few days. Had they left voluntarily, or had they been driven away?
"Well, we shall see. Will Mr. Lee Man-bok hold his first salary in his hands, or not?"
Again, the fleeting, shadowy smile curled at the edges of Jang Hyun-sam's eyes and lips, and then vanished. And as the smile faded, a chilling, frosty light streamed out of the corners of his eyes.
There was a woman in her fifties with the surname of Park, who worked as a domestic and lived in the house together with Jang Hyun-sam and myself. She was an unobtrusive woman, flitting about quietly like a shadow and attending to her kitchen chores diligently. She did not bother me.
As I had been informed before I had taken on the job, my role was to be the hands, feet, arms and legs of Jang Hyun-sam. Jang Hyun-sam could not use his two legs, but it was as if his healthy hands and arms had also been tethered together. They say that losing the use of your legs makes your arms stronger, but Jang Hyun-sam did not even have much strength remaining in his arms. From the morning when Jang Hyun-sam woke up until nighttime when he went to bed, I had to stay close by Jang Hyun-sam and be his surrogate arms and legs.
Jang Hyun-sam did not sleep late in the morning. He was a young man, not yet thirty, but it was strange how he could not sleep late in the morning. As for myself, I had lived all my life working for others, and so had acquired the habit of waking up at six o'clock every morning, but Jang Hyun-sam always awoke about one hour before my customary rising time. Between four-fifty and five o"clock every morning, I would be startled out of my sleep by the intrusive scream of the buzzer which had been set up in my room.
I hurriedly throw on my clothes, take out the key to the next room which I had placed under my mattress, and exit my room. The door to Jang Hyun-sam's bedroom has to be opened by a key. The room is already brightly illuminated. There are several light switches installed on the wall at the head of Jang Hyun-sam's bed. I go and stand beside the bed, awaiting my orders. Jang Hyun-sam's bladder is swollen tight. I know what I have to do, but I wait for the command.
Jang Hyun-sam speaks. I open the lid of the chamber pot, pull down his pajama trousers, pick him up, seat him on the chamber pot, wait until he is finished, lay him down on his bed again, close the lid of the chamber pot, and stand at a distance from the bed. It is time to go for a walk in the garden, but I wait silently for the next command.
"Will you move only when I tell you to, even though we always follow the same schedule?"
Jang Hyun-sam asked me once, in irritation.
"I beg your forgiveness."
I answered, but I remained standing still, waiting.
""You are like a machine. I suppose that is good, as long as you can play the role to perfection. It is time to go out to the garden and get a breath of the morning air."
Jang Hyun-sam spoke, throwing me a sharp glance, as if to penetrate what I was feeling in my heart. As soon as this command falls from his lips, I go to him and remove his pajamas, and after changing him into his everyday clothes, place him in his wheelchair. His body is as flimsy and light as a bedsheet. As I hold Jang Hyun-sam's weightless body, I can feel the deference and awe that had been inspired by his voice and eyes slowly seep away. Jang Hyun-sam wheels himself out of his room, crossing the wooden floor like a crawling beetle. The wheelchair stops a little short of the front door. I lift Jang Hyun-sam in my arms and seat him in the outdoor wheelchair waiting at the entrance. There are stairs leading from the front door to the garden. I hoist up the wheelchair with Jang Hyun-sam sitting in it and carry it to the bottom of the stairs. Dawn is finally about to break. The flowers and trees in the garden are coming alive one by one, as if they were yawning and stretching themselves awake. Jang Hyun-sam turns the wheels, slowly moving about the garden, with two German shepherds ambling at his side, and I begin to water the garden and clean up.
Jang Hyun-sam spends about one and a half hours in the garden before breakfast. Then I carry him into the house and take him to the bathroom. I place a large towel around him, like they do at the barber shop, and position the wheelchair in front of the bathroom sink. The sink is just the right height for Jang Hyun-sam to use while sitting in his wheelchair. Still, after he has washed his face, the towel is soaked through. After Jang Hyun-sam finishes washing, I carry him to his dining chair. It is a special chair, designed with a wooden plank across the chest, so that he can lean against it or hold on to it as he bends down to eat his meals. Every consideration has been made to make the life of Jang Hyun-sam, incapable of mobilizing his own body of his own accord, a little more convenient. The figure of Jang Hyun-sam at the table is remarkably feline. He picks at his food fastidiously, turning over this piece and that morsel. He reluctantly consumes one bowl of rice in the manner of one who is fulfilling an unwelcome obligation. As soon as breakfast is over, Jang Hyun-sam feels the indications of a bowel movement.
Jang Hyun-sam gives the order. I go to the medicine cabinet and take out an enema. The liquid has already been prepared in a syringe. I insert the syringe into Jang Hyun-sam's anus and inject the liquid slowly, then lift Jang Hyun-sam onto the toilet seat. Despite his constant consumption of so many fluids, Jang Hyun-sam's stool is hard. Jang Hyun-sam is always drinking some kind of fluid. The blender is always churning, whirring away and concocting carrot juice, strawberry juice, tomato juice and, at times, even ginseng juice. After Jang Hyun-sam has relieved himself, it is my task to inspect his anus and wipe it clean with paper. Jang Hyun-sam is moved from the toilet seat to the easy chair near the foyer window. The rattan chair is cooler, but he does not fancy it because it is too hard. Sitting buried deeply in the easy chair with its summer backrest and cushion, Jang Hyun-sam looks out vacantly at the garden, profuse with summer foliage. His expression is peaceful, perhaps because he has just finished voiding himself. The domestic, Mrs. Park, takes this rest time as an opportunity to ask me to do a chore or run an errand.
"Mr. Lee, will you give me a hand?"
She is always takes advantage of me like this. She uses me, but she is always apologetic about it. I willingly help her. Lunchtime comes around. About one hour after lunch, Jang Hyun-sam takes his bath. I place Jang Hyun-sam's naked body in the tepid bathwater. Even in the heat of summer, Jang Hyun-sam deplores the sensation of cold water. His emaciated body, lacking even an extra inch of flesh, arouses feelings of pity. Like an adolescent going through puberty, there is a sparse growth of pubic hair around his testicles, but his penis is as undersized as a child's . I have never seen it erect. After his bath, Jang Hyun-sam again sits buried in the easy chair near the foyer window, sinking into the slowly fading afternoon. I stay close by Jang Hyun-sam as he reads and falls into reverie, waiting for him to call on me. Mrs. Park takes advantage of me from time to time. Unawares, the sun begins to set and the evening breeze fondles the leaves of the trees in the garden.
To compensate for his early rising, Jang Hyun-sam retires early. After dinner, he spends about an hour in the garden and then goes straight to bed. I sleep in a separate room from Jang Hyun-sam, but this does not mean that I am at liberty. A buzzer that screams out alarmingly has been installed in my room. It has been contrived so that if Jang Hyun-sam presses a button on the wall beside him as he lies in bed, the buzzer in my room lets out a frantic shriek, and my sleep is shattered. Jang Hyun-sam calls on me several times during the night, when the rest of the world is sound asleep. Jang Hyun-sam has made it a routine to drink a substantial amount of fluids before he goes to bed. Jang Hyun-sam drinks two beer mugs full of the juice that the blender has concocted with its whirring sound, then goes to bed. Jang Hyun-sam perspires profusely as he sleeps. Being so thin, he runs the risk of dehydrating if he perspires too much, and dehydration could bring on a coma. And falling into a coma in the middle of the night while sleeping alone could possibly mean death. Jang Hyun-sam once told me that he drank so much fluid to prevent such a situation. It is understandable that he is reluctant to die, seeing that he has no offspring to carry on after him. The fluid that he consumes for this reason evaporates into perspiration in two or three hours, and his bladder swells tight. At that time, Jang Hyun-sam presses the button at the head of his bed. The buzzer in my room suddenly shrieks, as if startled by a nightmare. I too am shocked awake, and after locating the key under my mattress, leave my room. I open the door to the next room with the key and enter.
Jang Hyun-sam speaks. I lift him up and seat him on the chamber pot. Supporting him from behind so that he won't topple over, I listen to the sound of his urine gushing into the chamber pot as I stifle a yawn. When the sound has died down to a trickle, and I think the last drops of urine have fallen,I lift him up and lay him on his bed.
"Clean out the chamber pot."
Jang Hyun-sam speaks. I pick up the chamber pot, empty it in the toilet and rinse it out.
"Have you washed your hands?"
Jang Hyun-sam speaks. I go to the bathroom, wash my hands with disinfectant soap, and return.
Jang Hyun-sam scrutinizes my hands as he speaks. I take out a bottle of juice from the refrigerator, fill an empty glass to the brim, and help Jang Hyun-sam sit upright. Jang Hyun-sam lifts the glass to his mouth and gulps down the juice. He must replace the fluid that has been lost from his body through perspiration and urine. When he thinks that he has fully replenished himself, he says,
"Go and sleep. Lock the door as you leave."
Finally he lets me go. The repetition of this routine would have been excruciating for someone who twisted and turned for a couple of hours after being awakened or for someone who was unable to sleep deeply. Fortunately, I myself have the ability to fall right back asleep the moment I come back to my room and lie down. You might call it an acquired adaptability that I have attained from serving so many masters of so many different inclinations.
In two or three hours, Jang Hyun-sam's bladder will swell tight again, and he will press the button to make the buzzer in my room shriek out as if terrified by a nightmare. Startled, I will wake up and rush to the next room, pull down Jang Hyun-sam's pajama trousers, seat him on the chamber pot, lay him on his bed again, clean out the chamber pot, wash my hands with disinfectant soap, take out the bottle of juice from the refrigerator and fill up a glass, stand waiting and watching while the juice passes over Jang Hyun-sam's throat, return to my bed, and beckon sleep for a third time.
Every night I was shocked awake by the sound of the buzzer and had to repeat that same routine two or three times. I came to the conclusion that among those who had come and gone before me, there must have been some who had not been able to endure the shriek of the buzzer pealing out into the night. And perhaps there had been a few who had not been able to endure the task of injecting an enema into Jang Hyun-sam's anus every day. Still others might have left, angered by the way the domestic, Mrs. Park, took advantage of them on the sly.
"Man-bok, I will have to amend my estimation of you."
Jang Hyun-sam spoke as he handed me the envelope containing my first salary.
"I hope I have not done anything to offend you during the past month ?"
I inquired humbly.
"Not in the least. You have played the role of my arms and legs quite splendidly. But the question remains as to whether Mr. Lee Man-bok will be able to receive his second pay envelope from me."
Jang Hyun-sam spoke as if not fully convinced.
"As I said, I will not leave before you yourself tell me that you have no more need for me and to leave."
"If that is the case, seeing that you do not have a family to support, what if I put away the amount of your monthly salary into a savings account in your name, instead of paying you by the month?"
Jang Hyun-sam asked, as if testing me to see my reaction.
"What will be fine."
I answered without hesitation as I returned the envelope to him. A faint, shadowy smile touched the corners of Jang Hyun-sam's lips and eyes. But this time, there was no chilling stream of light flashing from his eyes after the smile had faded.
Jang Hyun-sam began to treat me much more congenially. He would talk to me about things other than just to give me commands, and he would even share pleasantries with me. Once Jang Hyun-sam remarked,
"If you consider the two of us living under the same roof like this, it seems that we two must have been acquainted somehow in our former lives. Maybe in your former life, you could not use your two legs, and I was in your employment, taking care of you."
Jang Hyun-sam stroked my strong legs as he continued to speak.
"It may have been that in a former life, you were envious of my strong, powerful legs, and would stroke them with your hands like this. I keep thinking that it might really have been so. Don't you agree, Man-bok?"
I answered perfunctorily.
"We might have been two parts of the same person in a former life. It might have been that the two souls of one person were reborn into separate bodies, do you think?"
Jang Hyun-sam's eyes looked hazy, as if he were dreaming.
"Yes, it might have been."
The nights had become quite chilly by the time my second month's salary had been deposited into the savings account. Perhaps because Jang Hyun-sam perspired less, the call of the buzzer in the middle of the night decreased from two or three times to one or two, and by October, only sounded once. Jang Hyun-sam would still wake up once during the night in a cold sweat and ring the buzzer, and I would change Jang Hyun-sam's soaked undergarments and supply him with the fluids he needed to rehydrate himself.
It was from about that time that I began to take my meals with Jang Hyun-sam at his table. One day, Jang Hyun-sam spoke softly under his breath as he gazed at me devouring my food.
"There must have been a time when I had such a hearty appetite."
The next day, Jang Hyun-sam remarked that he felt partial to eating some chicken and gave the order to buy and prepare one. It appeared that the autumn season had given an appetite even to Jang Hyun-sam, who had never felt a craving for food in his life and who laboured to finish his meals. But when Mrs. Park brought the boiled chicken and placed it on the table, Jang Hyun-sam placed a morsel or two in his mouth, chewed for a while, and put down his chopsticks. Then he asked me,
"Man-bok, do you think that you can finish this whole chicken in one sitting?"
"How much of a chicken is there to eat once you remove all the bones?"
I answered confidently.
"Then go ahead and eat. We will bet the price of one chicken if you cannot finish it."
Jang Hyun-sam spoke goadingly. I hardly needed any encouragement. The meat of the chicken melted in my mouth. The ample-sized fowl disappeared into my stomach within moments.
"It has been a very long time since I have eaten a chicken with such pleasure."
Jang Hyun-sam licked his lips as he spoke.
"How can you say you have eaten with pleasure without having eaten at all?"
I answered in jest.
"I am not joking. Watching you eat so well made me feel like I was the one who was eating. I tell you, I could actually taste the chicken and feel my stomach filling up."
I just smiled in reply.
But from that time on, Jang Hyun-sam would say that he wanted to eat this specialty or that dish, and have it made at home or ordered in from a restaurant. He would play with the food for a while and then put down his spoon and tell me to eat. No, he would suggest that we eat from the same plate together, then go through the pretence of using his spoon and chopsticks, and then watch me finish eating the whole dish alone. His mouth would water as he watched me eat ravenously and heartily, and when the last of the food had disappeared into my stomach, he would say, as if he were about to burp appreciatively,
"Ah, that was a good meal. My stomach has had plenty."
"Even though you have only watched me eat?"
"I also think it is strange. As I watch you eat, I feel my body slowly being sucked into yours and we become one. It is as if you and I share one body and that I am actually putting the food into my mouth."
It was not only food. Once, as he was watching a bicycle race on television, Jang Hyun-sam mentioned that he also wanted to ride a bicycle. The next day, Jang Hyun-sam sent me to buy a bicycle and made me ride around on it. On another occasion, he said he wanted to learn how to drive a car, and so Jang Hyun-sam and I attended a driving school together, and I learned how to drive.
The year passed by like this, and one day, in the middle of the next spring, Jang Hyun-sam brought up an unexpected subject.
"Man-bok, I want you to meet a woman for me."
I questioned, not quite understanding.
"I have to meet the woman who is to be my wife, and I want you to go to the appointed place and meet her instead of me."
"If it is your wish that I go, I will go but..."
This situation being different than the others, I did notknow what to answer or how to finish my words.
"Then, let us hurry with our preparations."
Jang Hyun-sam spoke as if everything had already been decided. Jang Hyun-sam and I packed the wheelchair into the back of a taxi and headed downtown. I went into a first-class tailor shop in the heart of the city, and with Jang Hyun-sam observing me from his wheelchair, ordered the most luxurious of suits, then went to a first-class shoestore and ordered the finest pair of shoes, and stopped by a men's store to pick out a splendid dress shirt, necktie and belt.
Finally, the day came to put on the new suit, new shoes and new necktie and meet the prospective bride. Jang Hyun-sam accompanied me and, sitting at a distance, watched as I met the wife-to-be. The young lady was considerably attractive and appealing. In any case, it was not my concern whether she was pretty or plain. It was for Jang Hyun-sam, sitting far off, to make the decision. I was introduced to the bride's party as Jang Hyun-sam, assuming his name, age and identity, but never once was I troubled with thoughts of what would happen if the truth were discovered or if the situation became complicated in any way.
This was because I could not imagine that things could get any more complicated than they already were.
But about one month after I had gone to the arranged meeting, there came the news that there was to be an engagement party, and I began to feel anxious.
"Will things not become too complicated if I go to the engagement party as the groom?"
I asked in apprehension.
"No. Things will be further complicated if you do not attend the engagement party."
This was Jang Hyun-sam's answer. I had no choice but to attend the engagement party as the groom. Jang Hyun-sam also attended the party as a relative of the groom, and I felt as if I was being sucked into a mire as I listened to the clicking of pictures being taken as the bride and bridegroom exchanged wedding gifts.
When we returned from the engagement party, I took the watch that I had received from the bride and laid it in front of Jang Hyun-sam.
"It was given to you, so you shall wear it."
Jang Hyun-sam pushed the watch back towards me as he spoke.
"What are we going to do if the truth is discovered?"
My voice trembled as I spoke.
"There is nothing to be afraid of. Just think to yourself that you are not Lee Man-bok, but Jang Hyun-sam. Just think this. Whether you have to attend an engagement party or whether you are asked to do something more preposterous, just remember it is not Lee Man-bok but Jang Hyun-sam who is doing it. Now, look into my eyes."
Jang Hyun-sam stared piercingly into my eyes as he spoke. I, too, looked back into his eyes.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was being sucked into Jang Hyun-sam's eyes, and our two bodies were being merged into one. I closed my eyes.
One month later, the woman and I were married. We left on our honeymoon, and on the first night I held her naked body and our flesh became one. I am Jang Hyun-sam, I am not Lee Man-bok but Jang-Hyun-sam, I recited to myself ceaselessly.
My bizarre marital life continued for one year. A son was born to us. The child, after Jang Hyun-sam's last name, had the surname of Jang, and his given name was chosen by Jang Hyun-sam. On the family register, Jang Hyun-sam was married to my wife and my son was the child born of Jang Hyun-sam and my wife.
The mother died only three months after the child was born. The cause of her death was a lack of postnatal care after giving birth. When the sorrow of her death had waned somewhat, I felt, not without some contrition to the deceased, that I had finally rediscovered my lost identity.
It was as if I had been locked up in the depths of a prison cell and that the death of the woman had been the means to my salvation.
One day, Jang Hyun-sam spoke to me.
"I would like you to go to the countryside and take care of my ancestral burial grounds."
He told me to take a scenic pleasure trip on my way back home and granted me a month's holiday. My son was already in the care of a wet-nurse, and there had been provisions made for someone to take care of Jang Hyun-sam until I returned from my travels. I left on the journey with a light heart.
When I returned after a month, Jang Hyun-sam and his household had moved and gone. All that was left waiting for me was my savings account, into which my monthly salary had been regularly deposited, and a letter telling me that the house had been legally transferred into my ownership. Suddenly, I was overcome by a surge of loneliness. Much of that loneliness was the deep yearning for my son, a longing that embraced my entire being. It would not be difficult to find out where they had moved.
But as I buried myself in the easy chair from where Jang Hyun-sam had gazed out at the garden, I quelled my desire to search for those who had already departed. Summer was mellowing in the garden.