“Why do you want to go to school all of a sudden?”
This was not the reaction Eun-Ha had counted on, but she was firm. Grandmother was wrinkling her forehead as she focused on mending a hole in her apron.
“I want to go to school too.”
Eun-Ha said once more.
“I said not yet.”
Grandmother's unmoving firm reaction was frustrating Eun-Ha. He did not understand why on earth he wasn’t allowed to go to school when Su-Yeon was.
"Why can't I go, I said I'm going to school! Let me go!"
Eun-Ha's voice was growing louder. Grandmother appeared to hesitate a moment. Eun-Ha somehow had to get to school. He'd already made a pinky promise with Su-Yeon. He could not forget the expression on Su-Yeon's face when they agreed to go to school together.
"Not next year, but the year after that...”
Grandmother replied reluctantly. But it didn't comfort Eun-Ha at all. Wait another year? By then, wouldn’t Su-Yeon move up to the next grade. Even if he went to school then, it was no use without Su-Yeon.
"I'm eight years old too. Why...”
Eun-Ha couldn't finish his words and started to cry. His grandmother, who was staring at Eun-Ha, put down her sewing kit and held his hand. Her affectionate gesture made Eun-Ha anticipate for a moment that he’d be able to go. But not a chance was likely.
"You’re eight years old when you count by the lunar calendar."
"You're seven, to be exact."
"Why? Why am I seven again?"
"I'm saying no because you’re still seven years old according to the solar calendar.”
Lunar calendar? Solar calendar? Eun-Ha didn't know what this meant. But what’s it matter. The important thing was, Eun-Ha will not be able to go to school next year. Only Su-Yeon will go to school. Furthermore, if Seung-Jae went to school next year, Eun-Ha would have no friends to play with.
"Seung-Jae goes to school, too….”
Eun-Ha's words stopped grandmother's sewing and she lowered her glasses. Oh, Eun-Ha remembered. His grandmother didn’t like him playing with Seung-Jae for some reason. Even on that particular rainy day, grandmother was convinced Eun-Ha had caught a cold because he was playing with Seung-Jae.
"Do you still play with Seung-Jae?"
"Huh? It’s not that...”
"Even when I told you not to play with him."
grandmother said rather sternly. Eun-Ha pouted his lips and eventually burst into tears. His grandmother sighed. Then she pushed the sewing kit into the corner and headed to the kitchen, Eun-Ha rucked grandmother’s blanket over his head. Underneath was so hot he could die, but he didn’t leave the blanket for a long time. No matter how much he thought about it, it felt unfair. Eun-Ha clenched his fist.
Grandmother most likely saw Eun-Ha in bed and assumed he had grown exhausted and given up. Therefore, there was no telling what Eun-Ha was thinking underneath.
저작권자 ⓒ 한국소비경제신문, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지