It was already 7pm when Lee Howon realised he’d forgotten
his mother’s birthday. Cursing his bad memory and the relentless rain drenching
the streets, he found himself in a frantic search for anything he could give
her when he showed up at the family home – undoubtedly late, most definitely
soaked and dead if he was empty handed. The busy street near the subway station
was crowded with school kids, couples on midweek dates and businessmen on their
way home, filing along the wet pavement, ducking into the numerous coffee shops
and small bars. Looking this way and that, he desperately sought out a shop,
just any shop where he might get a little gift. It didn’t need to be elaborate
or fancy, hell even a card would do, but he had to get something.
He’d almost given up, wondering if he might be able to grab
her a box of chocolates at the 7/11 near her apartment, when he saw it; faintly
lit by a warm glow, the sign outside worn with age but in an almost charming
way, the dark green paint flaking a bit around the gold-leaf lettering: Jang’s
Flowers. Perfect, Howon grinned to himself, I’ll just get her a bunch of
whatever and then she’ll be happy.