Flowers For My Life: Episode 12
Thankfully, things lightened up a bit this week! As much as I’m enjoying Flowers For My Life, last week was starting to bum me out because it was starting to get sad. At least we have a lot of sweet moments between Ho Sang and Hana here, and I think I’ve figured out a way (in my head, that is) that this series can end logically but satisfactorily.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
As One – “I Won’t Cry” [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 12 SUMMARY
Now back with Hana’s family, Ho Sang muses, “It really feels like I’ve come back home.” He throws himself into learning the business from Hana’s father, determined to actually put forth a decent effort at something for once in his life.
Having a little fun at Ho Sang’s expense, they demonstrate how to prepare a body for burial, then leave to take a break. (It’s not really mean, since he’s loosely tied with paper strips that are supposed to be easily unraveled on purpose — in the event that a “corpse” isn’t actually dead and needs to get out of its restraints.)
Hana drops by to see his progress, asking if he really intends to keep learning funeral work. Ho Sang answers that it’s hard work, but he thinks it’ll be satisfying: “Thanks to you, I’ve learned a lot about being a human, deciding to work hard at something.” Hana asks if Ho Sang regrets meeting her, and he answers, “No, although you probably regret meeting me.” Hana answers, “I don’t regret it either. What can we do, when we’re fated?” And as he’s lying still, unable to move, she plants a kiss on him.
Ho Sang pretends to protest, “Hey, don’t kiss me anymore. I definitely don’t want it… but since I’m tied up like this… if you do it anyway… I can’t exactly stop you… So don’t even try one more kiss, nope.”
So Hana plants another one on him.
Ho Sang stays up late studying, and when Hana tries to persuade him to go to bed, he says no, and asks her to stay with him and frown at him to keep him going. Hana gives him her best fake-scowl.
A young man comes with a strange burial request, which Ho Sang reports to Hana’s father, who tells him to handle this one himself. Ho Sang is usure how to handle such an odd situation — the man is a former soccer player who’s about to lose his foot, and would like a funeral for his foot when it’s amputated. Eun Tak says he’d turn the guy away because he’s probably still in shock, and would regret it later. Ho Sang decides to wait a few days to see if the guy changes his mind.
Talking with Hana, Ho Sang wonders how he’d feel in the guy’s situation — he thinks he’d give up hope, causing Hana to burst out: “Why is there no hope? I’m here, so why is there no hope? Whatever happens, you can’t let go of hope, you have to be strong.” She makes him promise never to give up. Not understanding why she’s so worked up, Ho Sang promises.
Ho Sang takes Hana on a real date, and they drop by with flowers for Ran (Lan) on their way to the movies. During the movie, Ho Sang feels stomach pain, but tries to cover it up so Hana won’t notice. She sees him clenching his fist and holds it, trying not to cry.
That night, Hana watches him sleep, thinking, “I started to dread the night coming, because I knew that the happiest time of my life was passing, day by day. But for him, who didn’t know that, the only thing I could do was hold his hand.”
Pil Gu, seeing how Eun Tak’s been feeling pushed further to the side upon Ho Sang’s return, suggests he return home to Seoul. Going for a walk together, Hana apologizes for giving Eun Tak a hard time. She knows that it’s not easy for him to see her so focused on Ho Sang, but she can’t help it. Eun Tak answers that there are things he can’t help either — knowing there’s no room for him in her heart, but still not being able to control his feelings. He’d always thought he was a cool guy, but it turns out he’s not.
He tells her he’s returning to Seoul, and asks, “You’re not going to hold me back and tell me not to go, are you? In times like this, it’s not always good to be honest. Can’t you at least pretend to hold me back?” Hana: “Later… a lot later… if I’m going through hard times and I need a friend, can I call you?” Looking at his expression, Hana sheepishly asks, “I’m too shameless, aren’t I?” He answers (after agreeing that she’s shameless), “I’d like it if you could call even when you don’t just a friend.”
He continues, “I told you I’m not that cool. I’m not leaving because I’ve gotten over you. I’m leaving to find out if my feelings for you are something I can get over.”
Ho Sang visits the soccer player in the hospital to pick up some soccer materials to use in the funeral service.
On his way out, he runs into the doctor who’d conducted his tests, and asks if there’s a prescription he could get to ease his pain. Hearing Ho Sang say, “I know the results showed nothing is wrong, but the pains keep getting stronger,” the doctor realizes he doesn’t know, and is forced to tell him the truth.
Ho Sang wanders out in a daze, shocked at the news of his impending death. Hana calls to let him know they’re having a farewell party for Eun Tak, to hurry back. Ho Sang blankly answers “Yeah,” but spends the day wandering around numbly.
He sees the fortune-teller from before, asking him urgently if he remembered telling Ho Sang he’d live to be an old man. The man assures Ho Sang he’s right, and Ho Sang says with tears in his eyes, “Right? I can trust you, right? I’ll trust you. Like you said, I’ll live really long.”
Nam Kyung calls Hana in a panic, crying, “Ho Sang heard the news from the hospital!” Worried, Hana goes out to look for him.
Ho Sang confronts Nam Kyung, and because he’s in the anger part of the five stages of grief (denial – anger – bargaining – depression – acceptance), he yells at her, asking how she could keep this from him. It’s his life — she should have told him. She says they can still hope, some kind of miracle could still save him. He tells her bitterly, “Miracle? A luckless guy like me has no reason to hope for a miracle. Have you ever seen a guy with worse luck than me? Living as a dead man wasn’t enough, now I’ve got to die too. How does this happen to me? Only me?!” Sliding a little into bargaining territory, Ho Sang says, “Not now, not yet. All my life, I haven’t lived as a true person. And I was finally trying to live right!”
Nam Kyung tries to keep him back as he leaves, but he turns her away harshly, telling her he can’t hear anything right now, she can’t provide him comfort right now. “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything stupid. You know better than anyone that I don’t have the courage for that.”
Ho Sang calls his mother, choking back his tears, and starts to tell her he has something to tell her. But he merely says, “I found a girl I like.” Assuring his mother that the girl is really nice, and cares for him too, Ho Sang can’t hold back his tears and covers up his phone while he breaks down.
Despite assuring Nam Kyung he wouldn’t do anything stupid, Ho Sang poises by the expressway, contemplating stumbling amid the speeding cars. But he remembers Hana’s words — “You can’t ever give up hope. No matter what, don’t give up hope! Promise me!”
Arriving home, Hana’s surprised to find Ho Sang already there, entertaining the adults with a song. Pained to see him trying to act so cheerful, Hana leaves the table, and Eun Tak follows her to ask what’s wrong. He’s set to rail against Ho Sang again, but Hana tells him the truth about his condition. Stunned at the news himself, Eun Tak wonders how Ho Sang can smile and laugh right after hearing that news, and Hana answers, “Because he’s Ho Sang.”
After the party winds down, Ho Sang apologizes for making Eun Tak feel bad over the course that they’ve known each other, and says, “Keep looking after Hana. Don’t just cut off contact because you’re annoyed because of me. Please.” Eun Tak understands the underlying message (which I interpret as, “Look after her because I’ll be gone soon”) and doesn’t argue.
The next day, Eun Tak leaves for Seoul. Ho Sang goes back to the hospital and drops by to talk to the soccer player. The guy says Ho Sang must think he’s really weird, but for him, he’s not just burying a foot. All his life, all he’d known or cared about was soccer, so he’s burying his whole life: “Without soccer, I’m the same as dead. Others conduct funerals when their (physical) lives are over, but for me, it seems fitting to to conduct a funeral now that my (meaningful) life is over.”
That angers Ho Sang, who tells the patient he can’t understand: “What’s over? You’ll still be living. You’ll have loved ones around you, eating, talking, laughing. But what’s so finished for you? There are people like me who’ll die soon, don’t exaggerate over one foot!”
Calmer, Ho Sang apologizes for not being in his right mind. The gentle, mild-mannered soccer patient says he’s sorry too. Ho Sang: “When I first met you, I couldn’t even imagine living without a leg. But now, I envy you.” The patient replies, “Honestly, I envy you. You seem to have a definitive reason for wanting to live. And people you want to stay with. You’re not like me, who has nothing. I envy you that.”
Hana and Ho Sang go for some air in the park, where they watch children singing a ditty. It’s a song I’d heard of, but I didn’t know it was related to this series — it asks, “Why did you come here? I came in search of flowers.”
Ho Sang: “Listening to that song now, it’s like someone’s asking me that. Why’d you come to this world? What flowers did you come in search of?”
Hana: “What kind of flowers do you think you came to find?”
Ho Sang: “I don’t know. You?”
Hana: “I think I might’ve come to find you. That’s why I always go looking for you, and wait for you.”
Ho Sang: “If you find what you’re looking for, does it mean you can leave this world? Then I’ll have to say I haven’t found it yet. Whatever those flowers are, I’l have to insist I haven’t found them yet.”
Arriving home, they run into Eun Tak. They ask if he didn’t go to Seoul, and he answers that he did, but he’s come back: “I feel too uneasy leaving Hana to you.” But the mood is light-hearted and somewhat affectionate between the three, as Eun Tak wonders how to go back inside, embarrassed at having caused a fuss with his departure.
Ho Sang apologizes to Nam Kyung for the way he acted before. Having just gotten over Kang Jae, he feels bad leaving her with another dying friend. Nam Kyung (is awesome) tells him that still, he gave her the time to worry about him, to take care of him, and that she’s thankful he gave the chance to prepare herself, unlike Kang Jae (since he died without warning, she grieved over her inability to have said a proper goodbye).
On his way out, Ho Sang starts to feel pain — stronger than the pains before — and collapses on the sidewalk…
I’d thought this before, but this episode solidified the idea in my head for my preferred ending. If Ho Sang dies — and I think he must — it’ll be too sad to leave everyone off alone. But given time for Hana to grieve properly, I’d like to see her end up with Eun Tak — not in the immediate future, but in some eventual circumstance.
In this episode, she asks Eun Tak if she can call him eventually if she needs a friend (implying that she’d like his comfort after Ho Sang dies, even if she doesn’t mean in a romantic way). Ho Sang tells Eun Tak to keep looking after Hana, which suggests that he knows Eun Tak’s a good guy and trusts him to take good care of her. Again, not specifically in a romantic sense, but now that Ho Sang truly cares for Hana, I think he’d want her to live a rich, fulfilling life, and if she were to go on to get married and grow old, it could be with Eun Tak.
Furthermore, I think she could grow to love Eun Tak (who couldn’t??), and I’ve been a big fan of how this series has created no evil people, and no antagonists other than time and death. Eun Tak and Hana would be cute and happy together, and Nam Kyung could be the cool aunt who lives nearby. If they had an ending like this, all I ask (beg) is that they not name any future children Ho Sang (corny! cheesy! overly dramatic!), and I would be perfectly satisfied.