DD Chapter 12
“I have no place to put the orchids now anyway, so please don’t worry and take them.”
“I’m grateful. Honestly, I’ve been feeling empty seeing the orchids die one by one due to poor management. Thanks to you, my heart feels full again.”
“I brought some potting soil as well, so I’ll repot them for you.”
Moonguk opened the bags of bark (pieces of wood for replanting), and hydro balls (loess balls for replanting) he had brought from the farm.
Yeonwoo took an empty flowerpot in the garden and placed it in front of Moonguk.
Jaesik curiously observed Yeonwoo as she moved in sync with her grandfather. He watched what she was doing, thinking she had a clear face and a bright atmosphere, but she was sincere and quick-witted.
Yeonwoo, who was moving the flowerpot, stopped when she felt his gaze on her.
“Mr. Chairman Grandfather.”
“Grandpa boiled the bark and hydro balls for a week to sterilize them. If not, there might be pests in there and ruin your garden.”
Yeonwoo boasted that even though her grandfather was dressed in shabby clothes, his grandfather’s heart was not poor and that he put a lot of effort into this gift he brought today.
“I know,” Jaesik nodded, well aware of Moonguk’s sincerity. “I often receive orchids as gifts, but they don’t last as long as the ones from Mr. Seo. I also know that the plants are strong because Mr. Seo is so kind.”
Yeonwoo smiled and started moving the remaining flowerpots. It filled her heart to hear that Chairman Lee acknowledged her grandpa’s sincerity.
“President Seo, I envy you. Your only granddaughter brags about you so much.”
“She says everything.” Moonguk pulled the orchid from the pot, moved it to a new one, and stopped. “By the way, has Seokheon been discharged from the army?”
Yeonwoo stopped and listened to the two of them. The person with the somewhat old-fashioned name, Seokheon, was Jaesik’s grandson.
“He was discharged a month ago. He’ll be going to school next spring and studying business management. He must have a lot to study because he’s rarely at home.”
“Well, it must be suffocating to be stuck in the army for two years.”
Jaesik nodded and didn’t say anything more. His first grandson, Seokheon, was reticent.
Perhaps because his mother suffered from depression, the child did not easily open up. He didn’t pay much attention to his granddaughter, Jeongae’s daughter, for fear of hurting him.
Nevertheless, when the child fell ill and suddenly passed away, a cold wind blew in Jaesik’s heart.
Suddenly, he was envious of Moonguk, who had a bright and healthy granddaughter like Yeonwoo.
Jaesik sat on the ground next to Moonguk and watched as Moonguk repot the orchid.
“I received an orchid a week ago. I watered it a lot because it was dry, but it still dried up and died.”
An expert on Phalaenopsis orchids, Moonguk immediately answered, “The roots of the moth orchids are thick, right? These kids store water because these thick roots are like sponges. Unfortunately, they stored too much water and eventually rotted and melted.”
After showing the roots of the plant before placing it in the new pot, Moonguk added, “It was just too much love.”
“For people and plants alike, too much of it is poisonous, and too little is a deficiency…”
At Moonguk’s words, Jaesik thought of his son, who was acting like a fool, and Seokheon, who wouldn’t open up to the people in this house.
“Still, it’s a learning process, isn’t it?”
“Is that so?”
Even if his son was like that, Jaesik still hoped to understand Seokheon’s heart.
“I think humans live to about 80 to 100 to learn and live well.”
“Wise answer to a foolish question.”
Yeonwoo, who carried all the flowerpots, stood on one side of the garden and listened to the conversations of the grandfathers.
She felt awkward to hear the two gentlemen seemingly talking about her and someone else, so she turned around, thinking this wasn’t something she should listen to, but saw Jeongae approaching from the house.
‘Auntie is so pretty…’
Meanwhile, Jeongae opened the door and entered the greenhouse. She said, “Eat first before continuing with your work.”
“We’ll go in after we’ve finished repotting this.”
Yeonwoo looked at Jeongae as she left the greenhouse. She was fascinated by the woman and wanted to see her a little closer.
It wasn’t because Yeonwoo lacked a maternal presence in her life, but rather, she felt curious about Jeongae, a woman she had never seen in her life.
“Then I’ll go in and help out.”
“There’s no need. We have a lot of employees so there’s nothing else for you to do.”
Yeonwoo learned that one didn’t just come to someone else’s house and get served. Even if she went to a friend’s house, she would put her bowl and spoon in the sink after eating.
They had already served her tea and fruits in this house, so Yeonwoo wanted to help, especially now that they were serving them a meal.
She washed her hands and tidied up by the tap on one side of the greenhouse. She then entered the house and headed straight to the kitchen.”
“Madam, would you like some soup with rice?”
“No, thank you. I’ll have it later.”
Behind the corner, she could hear Jeongae’s conversation with their maids.
“Ha… It’s a pain to keep the stew hot. Really…” Unlike what Yeonwoo has heard so far, Jeongae’s voice was mixed with irritation.
‘Well, cooking is hard.’
Yeonwoo showed herself and entered the kitchen. Jeongae, who had been moving the soup from the stove to the kitchen stable, looked at her and asked, “Yes? Do you need anything?”
“No, I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help.”
Jeongae gave her a once over. “Did you work with dirt?”
She sounded disgusted.
“No. I just carried some things.”
“Ha…” After sighing, Jeongae’s expression changed.
She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She said, “It’s fine. Go and chat with Father and Mr. Seo. Okay?”
Yeonwoo could only blink when Jeongae’s expression changed in a snap.
After their meal, Moonguk and Yeonwoo left in the afternoon. When they turned back on their way home, it started to snow.
“It’s snowing.” Yeonwoo clicked her tongue as she watched the sleet clinging to their windshield. “Even when it snows in Seoul, it doesn’t get muddy at all. But at home, everything turns into a lump of soil every time it does.”
Their front yard at home was muddy because of the snow, and It irritated her just thinking it would become as soggy again.
“Does the fact that you like Seoul make you want to go to college in Seoul?”
“Really, Grandpa. Who said anything about studying in Seoul? I just don’t like snow.”
Yeonwoo was about to become a senior in high school.
From the end of their second year in high school, the homeroom teacher would call parents to the school to start counseling for entrance exams, and they would usually set a target school to plan their exam strategy accordingly.
“I heard you wanted to go to an agricultural college when we went to counseling last semester.”
“Yes. Grandpa, I want to work on a flower farm just like you.”
Moonguk didn’t like that at all. He said, “A person like me who has only farmed flowers for the rest of his life then quite because it wasn’t working? What’s the point of doing that? It would be better to go to a company, wearing pretty shoes decorated with flowers.”
“Who would wear shoes decorated with flowers to work today?”
“Whether it’s shoes or sandals, when Yeonwoo wears them, they become flower shoes.”
Moonguk also hoped that going to Seoul and letting Yeonwoo see how prosperous it was would shake her heart.
“I told the Chairman that Yeonwoo is good at studying, and he seemed happy with that.”
“If you study in Seoul, you can stay at the Chairman’s house. It’s a good opportunity. They have a lot of rooms, so he said you can stay there.”
At that moment, Yeonwoo remembered Jeongae smiling in front of her.
Even though Yeonwoo had no intention of going into that house, Jeongae made her uncomfortable, so living there was out of the picture.
“Why would I stay there when we have a house of our own? I don’t have to study in Seoul.”
“Okay, okay. Let’s talk about this again before March.”
Yeonwoo nodded and yawned. She studied all night until late yesterday morning, and after eating at Chairman Lee’s house, she felt sleepy.
“If you’re sleepy, take a nap. I saw that you ate a lot.”
“They’re a wealthy family, so they served us a lot.”
“They took great care to serve us well.”
As she tried to stop her eyes from closing, Yeonwoo talked about her career path. “Grandpa, just like you did when I was young, I’ll take care of you later when you get old and weak. I’m going to study in Hwaseong, and marry a man from Hwaseong, so stop talking about going to college in Seoul anymore.”
After he draped a blanket over her knees, Moonguk grabbed the steering wheel with both hands.
After a while, he could hear his granddaughter breathing deeply. Moonguk looked ahead and remembered his conversation with Jaesik when Yeonwoo left.
‘Yeonwoo is so bubbly and pretty. It would be hard to let her go when she gets married later.’
‘I’ll be grateful if she meets someone reliable when she does.’
‘You told me last time she’s good at studying, too.’
‘I’m lucky she’s quite independent.’
‘Now that she’s a senior in high school, does she have a target university?’
‘She said she wanted to go to an agricultural college, but maybe it’s because she saw her grandpa farming…’
Whether it was because he found Yeonwoo pretty or he felt sad for Moonguk that his farm had closed, Chairman Lee again reached out to Moonguk.
‘Forget your worries about tuition and send her to Seoul. There’s a school in our foundation, and she can get a job at my company later.’
The Chairman said he would be Yeonwoo’s backer. With Jaesik’s help, Yeonwoo could easily go to college and get a job without competing with her peers.
‘I’m grateful, but I don’t think Yeonwoo will like it.’
As grateful as he was, Moonguk immediately rejected it.
‘She is wise beyond her years. Even though there are many comfortable ways in the world, she tries not to avoid things that will prick her conscience.’
‘I’m also a grandfather, so I understand.’
‘That’s the way it is.’
Moonguk raised Yeonwoo to live righteously because he was worried she would be criticized for growing up without parents. And now, she’s grown too upright that he couldn’t sway her.
Not once had Yeonwoo deviated from what the rural kids did, and she tried to follow the norm in everything.
Such a granddaughter was also unique, but Moonguk was worried her stubbornness would be her downfall.
She was just like him.
Moonguk objected to his son’s relationship, telling him not to bring tears to the girl’s parents, and when they ran away, they returned as corpses.
He should have told him to live his life the way he wanted to…
‘I must hurry.’
Even though it was daytime, the surroundings became dark as if the sun had already set.