Reason for Marriage - Chapter 2
The man came so close that Minju had no choice but to turn her head.
The smell of blood brushed against the wind. Minju’s face turned red as she thought that the smell came from her menstruating period.
“Did you say Rock Church?”
It was a low and resonant voice. The man took off his gloves, increasing a bit the distance between them.
“Yes, my cell phone’s battery died…”
Minju spoke in a crawling voice as if she had committed a crime.
When the man took his cell phone out of his pants and searched the way, Minju began to look at the man. By the time she felt something familiar with the man’s long, white fingers, which had been covered by gloves, he said:
“Go back the way you came for about 100m, turn left, go straight, go up to the hill, turn right again, then 2km later, turn at 10 o’clock at the intersection, then turn right… Hey? Miss… are you listening?”
Minju could hardly concentrate on the explanation of the directions, as she look at him from hands to face, and face to hands, which were not unfamiliar.
Park Sang-yeon, the name that she loved and respected the most since she grew up dreaming of being a pianist.
Like any classical star, he appeared like a comet listening to the sound of a prodigy.
In addition to the title of the only Asian pianist who won all three of the world’s top competitions, Chopin, Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky, he was always followed by the term ‘handsome’.
Even the people who did not know anything about classical music had heard his name once, thanks to his bold interpretation of songs that did not suit his age, and his outstanding performance skills.
Was it because he succeeded too early at a young age? Park Sang-yeon suddenly disappeared from the public one day.
And ten years later, he returned as a conductor.
“Are you the pianist… conductor Park Sang-yeon-nim?”
“As expected… I knew it by looking at your hands. I’m a fan.”
“My fans usually like my face more than my hands…”
At Sang-yeon’s joke, Minju laughed unconsciously. As Minju laughed, Sang-yeon also looked into her eyes and smiled brightly.
The wind blew between the two.
Minju knew at that moment. That this short moment would be replayed for the longest time in her life.
“Do you play music?”
“I’m a piano tuner.”
Minju’s voice was full of pride.
Sang-yeon belatedly found the words ‘Piano tuner’ and a number that appeared to be Minju’s cell phone number written on the white car behind her.
“As a tuner, of course your ears are sensitive. Well, let’s see how well you listened?”
Sang-yeon’s words made Minju nervous again.
“Well… turn left, up the hill, right, 10 o’clock at the intersection and… turn right?!”
“Lastly, go straight for 300m and turn right. Can you remember? Don’t come here to ask me if you forgot.”
Minju did not answer for a while, as if she was distracted by something. Then, she suddenly took out a sanitary pad from her pocket and grabbed Sang-yeon’s wrist.
Without giving him a chance to stop her, Minju put the pad on the blood flowing from Sang-yeon’s right arm.
“Please hold on to this.”
Minju seemed to be thinking for a moment and took off one of her band stockings.
“What are you doing?”
The wound was perfectly fixed when the tip of the toes of the stocking was torn and fastened tightly onto Sang-yeon’s arm, which was covered by the sanitary pad.
“It must have hurt a lot if it’s bleeding like this… Are you all right?”
When was the last time he felt pain?
Sang-yeon had never been asked ‘Are you all right?’ For higher musical achievements, for greater honor, he only had to whip himself and run forward without feeling any pain.
Sang-yeon hurriedly pulled out his arm, fearing that she might find out that this simple question asked by an unfamiliar, lost woman meant something special to him.
“Oh, I’m sorry… I’ve been interrupting you for too long. I should get going.”
Quick-witted, Minju hurriedly settled the situation.
Sang-yeon called Minju as she was about to leave.
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“I want you to keep it a secret that you met me here… Can you do that for me?”
“Don’t worry. The privacy of an artist should be protected. You always said this in interviews.”
“Thank you for understanding.”
“I’m a fan of conductor-nim. I am so grateful.”
Minju greeted politely and turned back to her car.
While walking, she remembered that she did not ask for an autograph, so she turned to the mansion again, but Sang-yeon had disappeared like a mirage as if this moment had just been a dream.
When Minju pressed the 49th key of the piano three times, a ‘la’ sound rang out in the chapel of a small rural church. Of course, it was far below the international standard of 440 Hz, and it was embarrassing to even call it a ‘la’.
When Minju first learned tuning, she had asked her teacher: Why is ‘la’ the standard note for tuning?
The teacher had replied that it was because the first cry that humans did when they came out of their mother’s womb was ‘la’.
Minju did not know whether it was true or false, but she felt that the piano was like a human being ever since that day.
So, when she encountered a piano that vomited a note that was far below the standard note ‘la’, she felt sorry for it because it was like a baby who could not even cry properly.
Minju, who had pressed the rest of the keys precisely to find out where the problem was, opened the lid of the grand piano with a confident face.
Inside the lid, a variety of items, including church bulletins, ballpoint pens, and magnifying glasses, were secretly huddled together.
“No, why are these here?”
The old pastor, who was also looking inside the piano, asked this while taking out the magnifying glasses.
“Perhaps you put them on top of the lid, they fell inside and you forgot to open it to check. This is like the Bermuda Triangle.”
“I couldn’t find them, so I was just about to get a new one…”
“That’s why you need tuning! Especially in public places, you have to watch the piano at least once every six months.”
“That’s what I think all the time… Next time, next time… I keep delaying it. If someone hadn’t told me to do it today, I would have pass it again.”
“Thanks to him, I’m doing it today.”
The old pastor laughed and gave her a nice smile. Minju began to take tuning tools out of the large bag she brought.
“The tuning will be a bit long because the piano hasn’t been used for a long time. I think it’ll take three hours at least, so feel free to work and come back later.”
“Well, I’ll come back when it’s over then.”
“Oh! Could you please charge my phone for me?”
The pastor left the chapel with Minju’s cell phone, which had run out of battery, and returned exactly three hours later.
In the meantime, the piano was completely reborn and Minju’s cell phone was fully charged.
Finally, Minju checked the level of the piano chair and left the church after being seen off by the pastor.
Not a single star sparkled in the dark night sky after the sun had already set. It was a particularly pitch-black night.
Minju once again relied on the mobile navigation system to drive on the mountain road alone. It was already almost 8 p.m. Come to think of it, she did not remember eating anything all day.
She should have felt hunger and fatigue, but she was neither hungry nor tired. Minju herself was very unfamiliar with this combination of hormones.
She tried to calm herself, thinking that this was probably the aftermath of her excitement after unexpectedly meeting Park Sangyeon, but Minju’s eyes continued to turn to Sang-yeon’s mansion, which could be seen on the left outside the car window.
“Turn right in 50 meters. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.”
Contrary to the voice flowing out of the mobile navigation system, Minju turned the wheel in the opposite direction.
Minju held a pen and notebook in one hand and rang the front doorbell of the mansion. There was no response.
She did not want to disturb him again, but she would regret it if she went back like this.
Minju once again plucked up her courage and pressed the doorbell with a trembling heart.
Ding dong ding dong
Minju’s face was reflected in the video phone screen inside the dark house.
Someone was watching Minju hiding in the darkness of the quiet mansion that seemed to be empty.
Minju, who had no way of knowing the truth, quickly turned away with a disappointed face.
At the same moment, at 8 p.m., all the garden lights automatically turned on.
Minju was frightened and looked around. There was no one. Her heart was pounding as if she were caught stealing.
As she left the garden, she saw a white BMW car that was not there during the day.
If there is a car, then it’s likely that someone is home… Eight p.m. is still early to go to bed, isn’t it? Yes, maybe he’s in the shower.
Minju was left with lingering feelings when she recalled the number of times Sang-yeon did not respond to the doorbell. Maybe he was not inside the house, but still in the garden.
Minju started walking along the path in the garden, wanting to look around just one more time.
Walking alone like that, she felt as if she had become the hostess of this magnificent mansion.
Was imagination not enough? Minju finally took out her cell phone and took a selfie with the mansion in the background as a proof.
Click, click, whenever the flash of the cell phone camera went off, someone hiding behind the curtain and watching Minju flashed sharply.
Not realizing it, Minju returned home, leaving her regrets behind.
Was Cinderella’s mind like this when the bell rang at 12 a.m., when the magic was released and she had to return to her original form?
Minju thought so, stopping her car in a narrow alley where multi-family houses were close together.
This day, she hated getting off the shabby pumpkin carriage and heading to her smaller and shabby rooftop room about 10 times more than usual.
However, Minju bravely climbed the stairs, thinking of Jerry, the cat who had been waiting for her all day in the small appartement of about 5 pyeong (1)
“Jerry-ya2), do you know who I met today? Actually, I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone… You’re curious, right? You’re dying of curiosity, aren’t you? Huh?”
Minju said while drinking cold beer instead of hot cocoa.
As always, Jerry hid under the table as if he was not interested, and Minju pouted her lips, put the beer on the table and went into the bathroom.
While Minju was taking a shower with classical music on, Jerry wandered around the front door, wanting to go for a night walk.
How many times did he tap on the door with his paw? The door opened as the auxiliary key of the broken and loose front door was released.
Jerry stuck his head out through the gap, but got stopped by something and could not move forward.
It was the foot of a man wearing shiny high-quality luxury shoes. Jerry looked up at the man with fierce eyes as if he were wary of strangers.
The man immediately cleared the way as if he had no intention of hurting Jerry’s feelings, which allowed him to leave the house quietly.
The man took out his handkerchief and casually brushed off twice the tip of his shoe that had touched Jerry’s hair. Then, he wrapped his handkerchief around the handle, opened the front door and entered Minju’s house.
 Pyeong is a Korean unit of area, equals to 3.3058 m2 Minju’s appartement is about 16.5 m2
 -ya is a honorific used only between close friends and people who are familiar with each other.