Volume 1 / Chapter 3
“How are you? Have you thought about it a bit?”
The middle-aged couple came to the orphanage a month after the head sister had suggested Jun Hyuk’s adoption and started to speak cautiously.
“We deliberated on the issue very carefully. Though we think that we would become good parents to Jun Hyuk.....”
“Is there a problem?”
The head sister who had been monitoring the couple’s atmosphere felt unsettled by the trailing of their words. Could they be turning the adoption down?
“We get the feeling that Jun Hyuk isn’t opening up to us.”
“When we are speaking or playing, instead of doing it together, should we say it’s as though he is observing us? Strangely, we get that feeling.”
The couple took turns confessing their inner thoughts on Jun Hyuk.
“Could it be that you feel this way because Jun Hyuk by nature does not talk very much? Though he is young, should I say that he is a very deep child? Jun Hyuk is also very quiet and likes to ponder about things than to be wasteful with words.”
The couple faced each other. After a short while, the husband spoke.
“Will you talk to Jun Hyuk for us? If he says that he likes us and is willing to follow us, we do have the intention to adopt him.”
The head sister did not hide her happiness in the couple’s acceptance.
“Thank you. The both of you are really giving a great love.”
“Jun Hyuk, what do you think? That man and woman say that they really like you.”
“I like them too. They are very fast.”
“Fast? Whatever do you mean, child?”
“Their sound. The man and woman make sounds very quickly. They’re very funny sounds. Ha ha.”
Looking at the innocent Jun Hyuk laughing about something as simple as sounds, it seemed necessary to teach him the meaning of adoption.
“Jun Hyuk. What do you think it’ll be like to live with that man and woman? They would like to live with you.”
“Why? That man and woman don’t have fathers and mothers either? Will they be living here with us?
“No, that’s not it. You would go to live in their house. You would have parents.”
He simply blinked at the words mom and dad, so the head sister decided to discuss what would catch Jun Hyuk’s interest first.
“The couple raises animals. The majority are chickens, but there are also ducks and goats...”
“Okay. I’d like that.”
Jun Hyuk smiled widely with his bright eyes and spoke loudly.
“What? You’d like it?”
“Yes. I want to go if there are a lot of animals.”
“Jun Hyuk, you have to like the man and woman in order to go live with them. Not the animals.”
“I like the man and I like the woman too.”
The head sister thought that it would be better for Jun Hyuk to spend more time with the couple before going through with the adoption. She decided to finalize the adoption after they spent more time together and once both parties were sure of their choices.
After that, the couple started visiting the orphanage together or separately at least twice a week to spend the day with Jun Hyuk.
Seven to eight months went by like this and once May came when the heat became rampant midday, 5 year old Jang Jun Hyuk was adopted by the couple with a chicken farm on Gyeongbuk Number 7.
The man was awkwardly wearing a suit and the woman an airy dress, having gotten her hair done early in the morning at a salon. They picked Jun Hyuk up in their van and left the orphanage as the other children looked on enviously.
This was especially the case as it was May 5th, Children’s Day. As Jun Hyuk had never been to an amusement park, they took him to one in Daegu to make it a special day.
With the loud music and the activity of Children’s Day, Jun Hyuk acted like a 5 year old for the first time in the bustling noise. He patiently stood in the long line to ride the merry-go-round and ran around yelling excitedly. The couple had to hold his hand tightly and follow him around so as not to lose him.
They never said no to him because it was their first day as a family as well as Children’s Day. The two who became parents that day and gave Jun Hyuk whatever he wanted.
They got in the car and left once it became evident that Jun Hyuk was tired after spending the entire day running around.
Not surprisingly, before even 10 minutes passed, Jun Hyuk was laid out in the back seat of the van sleeping comfortably. Once they got on the highway to Number 7, the man sped up the car.
“Honey. Should we stop at a rest area and eat a bowl of ramen?”
“Ramen? Why suddenly ramen?”
“After eating all of the sweets that Jun Hyuk likes, I feel like I’m going crazy because it’s so greasy. I need to eat some ramen with red chili powder and ease my stomach. Jun Hyuk is asleep, right?”
“Yes. He’s even snoring.”
The sleeping Jun Hyuk was so cute with his shallow snoring that the two smiled broadly.
“The rest area is just up ahead, so I’ll eat quickly and come back.”
“I’ll eat with you. The greasy food is bothering me as well.”
They had eaten things that they would usually only eat when they ate out. They had pasta for lunch, then foods that children like such as grilled squid with butter and sugared churros. To these two middle-aged people who were used to eating kimchi stew and soybean paste stew, the food was difficult to bear.
They parked at a highway rest area and checked again to make sure that he was sleeping. They could still hear his low snoring.
They left the window open slightly and ran to the rest area. When they had come out of the rest area after quickly emptying a bowl of spicy ramen each and buying water and juice at the convenience store, it was raining. They ran through the rain thinking of the rain that may have gone into the car through the small crack in the window. When they got to the car, the door was wide open and Jun Hyuk was gone.
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