Ganghyuk was wearing a stiff gown as if it were soaked in the rice glue used for styling in traditional Korean style. He looked very confident while walking in the fashionable robe.
"Good morning, Professor Baik!"
"Yes, Good morning."
"Are you on rotation?"
"No, I am going to the President's room. See you later."
Ganghyuk rode the lift after passing by some nurses and residents. His face looked exceptionally good today in the mirror.
He was appointed as a professor in his early thirties, and had a good looking appearance, with wide shoulders and a slim body. He was not very picky, and didn't mind interacting with girls. He would entertain and have a good time with all the girls he met over the years Sometimes, he even went out with two or three girls in a day.
But, the problem was in his heart, as he did not have anyone whom he liked very much. It was as if he had left all thoughts of romantic love in his mother's womb, because he had never fallen in love with a girl. He was not over zealous about the prospect of a relationship.
'I wish it will not be a meeting set up with a daughter of some professor. How can I have a relationship with a girl whom I don't know at all?' If she were a daughter of a professor, it would be hard to say goodbye after a few formal meetings.
He really didn't like any sort of serious meetings.
While he was deep in his thoughts, the elevator stopped at the top floor. There was a small door to the left, with another door inside the room.
He could not meet the president of the hospital until he opened the door.
When Ganghyuk came closer, the secretary sitting on the chair greeted. "Professor Baik, please wait for a moment."
With the secretary reporting his arrival, the door was opened from the inside.
"Professor Baik! Come Come in" The president said brightly as always.
'Yes, he must have something to tell me.' Ganghyuk sighed as he entered the room. He saw a black doctor's home visitation bag on the way to the President's room.
There was no one who used such an obsolete thing now.
He would have ignored it on any normal day, but he felt that something was strange on that particular day.
The president was standing even before Ganghyuk entered the room.
"Hey, professor Baik Come on in."
"Good morning, sir President"
"I am sorry to call you on such a busy day."
"No, not at all. I do not have a special schedule today." It would have been better if he had had one. But, he did not have any excuse, which was why he came here.
The president rubbed his two hands; it seems that he wanted to ask for a difficult favor.
'He did that when he asked me to play golf on a holiday.' Ganghyuk thought.
Just now, he had rubbed his hands twice as fast as that time. What would be more irritating than playing golf in the cold wind of a Chinese New Year morning?
Ganghyuk tried to smile as he waited for his next words.
"You know the chairman, right? I mean the chairman of this hospital."
How could a professor in the hospital not know the chairman of the hospital? So, Ganghyuk nodded his head.
"He wanted you to come to a medical visit. He has some girl to introduce to you."
"I told him that it would be strange that Professor Baik went a visit but the chairman himself persisted it."
"Ah" Ganghyuk looked at the president while sighing. 'If it were about the home visit to the chairman and a set-up meeting with a girl, he must have rubbed his hands twice as fast as now"
It was hard to reject; he really wanted to reject, but it did not seem like a request. It was an order in some way.
Who was the chairman of the Chungmu Hospital?
He was the chairman of Chungmu Group, which was the biggest group in Korea. The group was famous for its patriotism, which was why the group was named after Chungmugong Lee Sunshin. (1)
If the chairman wanted to have a home visit, he had better follow the order, even if his home was located in a dangerous place like the DMZ.
"I had already ordered to pack a home visitation bag. There are many medications that the chairman requested. In the bag, there are also other barrels apart from the basic medications. Just give them to him while pretending that you don't know anything."
It was already a fixed fact that he had to go. He had not said that he would go, but it was already decided just like that.
"When can I go then?"
"You said that you did not have a schedule today."
"Yes, I did say so." He said it clearly just now with his own mouth. He could not deny it.
"Then, go now. I will get a car ready for you."
"Ha, I see."
"I am sorry, but it might be good for you. You are not interested in any girl anyway. If you marry a girl that the chairman introduces you to, it would be good for you."
"What nonsense! Anyway, I understand. I am going."
"OK. Take your time."
Ganghyuk got in the black sedan with the black home visitation bag. After a while, the sedan stopped at a private museum in Hannam-dong. The sign was so small that he might have passed it without noticing that it was a museum.
The driver pressed a button, with which, the gate swung open.
"You can go in."
"OK." Ganghyuk bent this head and went inside. He was always confident, but today was an exception.
The place was shabbier than he had imagined. As he went inside, he saw an aisle with blinking lights around it.
'It is chilly rather than shabby, to be precise.' It seemed like the angel of death was waiting for him rather than the chairman of the hospital.
"Professor Baik?" Suddenly, a voice crackled in the area.
"What? Who are you?" Ganghyuk looked around the aisle. When he looked at the place more closely, he found a speaker and camera on the ceiling.
"Yes, come along the aisle."
"Ah! OK, I am coming."
It was the order of the chairman, who was very high in the hierarchy, so he could not help but follow. Furthermore, he was a kind of savior to him as well. He did not know why, but the chairman was always very favorable to him.
When he was a resident, he treated his secretary in the emergency room by chance. After that incident, the chairman made a recommendation for him.
Of course, he did have good skills to back the recommendation.
While walking, he could smell old dust. What he could see on both sides of the aisle were only antiques. They seemed like prohibited items that an individual could not keep in his private place.
Most of them were weapons.
'The chairman is very strange. Why did he call me to a place like this.?'
After walking for a moment or so, he arrived at the last room. The door was ajar, and he heard murmuring sounds coming from inside.
It was surely the chairman's voice. However, he could not understand the speech.
'It does not seem to be Korean.' He felt pathetic standing in front of the half-opened door.
'Ahm ahm." He coughed politely to indicate his arrival.
"Ah, come in."
Ganghyuk opened the door and went inside, only to be greeted by a fragrant aroma of tea.
'Is it Puer tea?'
An old man with white hair was sitting on an old sitting cushion. Although he had white hair, it was hard to estimate his age with his face.
The president had once told that the chairman had the same look even when he was young. People made a joke about his looks, saying that he was a vampire.
He had good complexion and a fine presence. If it were in Joseon, he would have been a general. It seemed like he was not in a situation that warranted a home visit, or any medical opinion as a matter of fact.
"Long time no see." In the chairman's bright eyes was some kind of longing.
"Yes, sir. How are you, sir?"
"Hm" The chairman looked at Ganghyuk without telling him to sit down. "Come and measure my blood pressure as you are here."
He called a surgeon to his place and asked him to measure his blood pressure... Ganghyuk felt that he should measure his own blood pressure first.
He tried to pacify himself and then prepared the blood pressure gauge.
"Could you give me your arm?"
"Yes, here you are."
"You may feel some pain... It is normal sir. Your readings are 120 and 80."
"Is that so? Maybe it is because I play golf these days. It is good." The chairman smiled while sipping tea. "Do like tea?"
"If so, have a cup."
Ganghyuk then sipped the tea that the chairman had poured for him. The sweet aroma made him feel comfortable, and he could finally see the room with a holistic view.
There were various kinds of antiques and artworks that he seemed to have seen somewhere! A big sword hanging behind the chairman seemed especially impressive.
"Are you interested in antiques?" The chairman noticed his gaze in silence and then asked, to which Ganghyuk answered with a smile.
If he said no here, he would be out of the mind of the chairman. As he was a member of calligraphy in his college days, he did have some interest in antiques. He could even recite several Chinese poems as well. "I do like them, sir."
"Oh, then have a look at this painting." The chairman said as he took out a scroll from a drawer.
It was a very old scroll, which had a portrait of someone on it, although it was hard to recognize the face because of red stains.
It did not seem to be a precious thing that the chairman should cherish. Yet, even though it seemed nothing special, it was hard to take his eyes off it.
Ganghyuk started to concentrate on the scroll without realization.
The chairman asked, as if he had already known what would happen. "Good painting, isn't it? He spoke very strangely but Ganghyuk did not notice it. He felt strong feeling of yearning from the painting and it interfered with his concentration.
"Sir Ah, yes This man, no, two people Who are they?"
"I don't know really. Can you see a sword in it?" In the painting was the same sword that was hanging behind the chairman. Along with it, there were other things such as a swing, a rope, books, brushes, and acupuncture needles.
It seemed that the chairman knew something; his lips were moving as if he wanted to say it out loud. However, Ganghyuk just kept looking at the painting.
"It seems that they are a couple, a man and a woman." He pointed at the two shadows in the front. In the painting, there was nothing to tell of their gender. But still, Ganghyuk was sure that they were a couple.
"Is that so? Do they look like a couple to you?" The Chairman seemed intrigued by the observation.
"What did you say just now? En..." He felt very strange when he looked at the painting. It seemed like he was even charmed.
Ganghyuk touched the scroll as if he were fascinated by something. The chairman did not stop him and only murmured, as if he knew it would happen.
When Ganghyuk got his hands in contact with the scroll, he felt as if the world had turned upside down. He thought he must have been holding something, but there was nothing except the black medical visit bag.
He could hear the chairman yelling from a distance, but it was hard to understand, as the sound was very weak like a mosquito's buzzing.
Soon, somebody woke him up by shaking his body.
"Sir, sir! Are you sleeping?"
1)Lee Sunshin is famous admiral in Joseon who saved the country from the Japanese