Since then, the teacher came every morning to pick up Eugene for school and walked her back when the school was over, until the child could do it by herself. Meanwhile, she also taught Eugene words from scratch.
But to be honest, Eugene couldn’t quite remember the day the teacher first came to visit her. Her earliest memory of her childhood was a day where she was taking her class.
She remembered how proud she had felt as she slowly read the words on the whiteboard one by one while jotting them down in her notebook. She literally overflowed with joy as if she had just made a great discovery. Every time she recalled that day, she felt like she could understand the feelings of birds seeing the world for the first time after fighting its way out of the egg.
Eugene was told numerous times by her teacher that she was not a fool and that she was just in the process of recovering. Soon, she started to make visible progress in her recovery day by day. Then by the end of the year, she fully recovered her standards of literacy to the point she no longer had any difficulty in reading and writing.
It was only later, when Eugene had come of age, that she happened to overhear her parents’ conversation and discovered that her parents had actually looked into all kinds of financial support that were given to the disabled from the government and was fairly disappointed when Eugene turned out to be just fine.
That might have been the decisive moment when she started to distance herself from her family.
As she traced back in the vague memory of her past for the first time in a long while, something that her brothers once had said to her came to her mind all sudden.
She remembered her brothers saying how she had become a totally different person since after the accident.
[But there’s something different about her since she survived the accident.]
[I think so too. She used to be so wicked and sly. Hey, you see this scar on my forehead? It’s you who’s done it.]
“You’ve… grown so beautifully.”
Eugene, who had been so deeply lost in her own thoughts, looked up with a start when she heard the voice.
Dana was heartbroken despite all her joy in finally having found her daughter, as the fact that she wasn’t there to see while her daughter grew up into a beautiful woman upset her deeply in the heart. People might wonder what she meant by that after all those years of living under the same roof, but Dana had never quite properly seen her daughter in the house.
She couldn’t help but to feel her insides churning whenever she saw the dark vile aura surrounding her daughter’s body so that she avoided looking at her in the end.
But when she met eyes with Jin by accident, she would find Jin detestably wearing a pitiful look as if to arouse her compassion. But since she was unmistakably her daughter by the appearance, Dana couldn’t help but to feel her heart weakened from time to time.
Since Dana had nowhere to point her anguish and resentment to, she handed the business to her son earlier than she had to as she felt like she needed a break from everything.
“Is there anything you want to say to me?”
Dana knew that she shouldn’t rush her now as the confusion was clear on her daughter’s face. She looked like she needed some time alone to think this through. However, Dana just couldn’t seem to let go of the hand she was now holding onto. It took her so many years to finally hold this hand. She never knew she would be holding her daughter’s hand once again.
“I-I’m very sorry.” Eugene barely managed to sound out the words.
“I can’t… remember. I have no memory at all as there has been an accident.”
“Accident?” Dana asked with a shock. “Did you get hurt? Are you alright?”
Dana checked on Eugene up and down, looking devastated and worried. Eugene found herself tongue-tied when Dana tenderly stroked down the back of her hand. Meanwhile in her mind, she tried to get her story straight so that it would sound consistent with what she had told Sang-je. Some of the short lines which she managed to come up with were lingering in her mouth.
“I’m truly sorry.” Eugene muttered as if she were a broken toy that kept repeating some of the few lines it could say.
“There’s absolutely nothing for you to apologize about. We can always make new memories. And I couldn’t be more grateful by the sole fact that you are sitting here, right where I can touch you.”
Dana’s voice couldn’t sound more consoling as if she were comforting a frightened child. There was no pretense in the eyes of a loving mother who has unconditional love towards her child. Such a sight made a clear contrast with Sang-je, who couldn’t care less about her accident nor her lost memories as all he did was to tenaciously ask if she was successful in recovering her Ramita.
Eugene gave Dana a long searching look. Despite being watched inquiringly, Dana just smiled looking totally blissed out.
At that moment, Eugene was convinced that this lady meant no harm to her. Resultantly, the tension in her body melted away with great relief. Her rigid mind started to function as well.
Eugene closed her eyes to ease the dizziness as thoughts crowded in on her. From the hole which emerged in the wall of a dead end, the sight of the desert which she awoke to, the horizon in her lucid dream, her personal thoughts, as well as the fragments of Jin’s memories, had flashed across her mind almost endlessly…