Life, Once Again! - After Story 6
After Story 6
His eyes stopped on the third paragraph of the novel. It described a scene where lovers who had broken up managed to meet up in an unfamiliar place due to a complete coincidence. The novel delicately described the process of their cooled emotions being reignited again. The two of them walked around together like they were close friends going on traveling. Eventually, their feelings of love sprouted again and the two characters kissed.
He closed the book, recalling what she said.
-I apparently have a boyfriend.
He crossed his arms and thought about various things before chuckling. So this could happen too.
He knew that this was nothing to be jealous or angry about, but he couldn’t help but be conscious of it. Despite having experienced all sorts of things, a family feud was not one.
There shouldn’t be any problems since they probably did not date each other with the intention of getting married, so Maru cleared up his thoughts and uncrossed his arms. He seemed to have tensed up subconsciously as he found that his hands were pretty sore. Even after all those lives, it seemed rather difficult to transcend emotions.
“Sorry for making you wait.” Haneul came up to the 2nd floor.
Instead of the café uniform, she was wearing a light green polo shirt and white shorts. She untied her hair and sat down.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked with a smile.
“Probably because you look good, don’t you think?” He received a disposable cup that Haneul gave him. It was a cup of iced tea with a lot of ice cubes.
“Where should we get dinner?” she asked.
“Any place you wanna recommend nearby? Let’s go there.”
“There’s a really nice spicy chicken feet restaurant about five minutes away from here.”
“In this heat?”
“Fight fire with fire. Also, you know I like chicken feet.”
“I do. You always looked for chicken feet until the last month of pregnancy. It’s fortunate that there are places that sell them even throughout the night. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have any hair left,” he said as he grabbed a handful of hair.
“It’s peculiar, isn’t it? Many things have changed across our numerous repeated lives, but I’ve never stopped looking for chicken feet during pregnancy. Maybe Gaeul liked them more than I did?”
“Don’t shift the blame to the child. Gaeul can’t handle spicy stuff, just like I can’t.”
“There were times she was good with it. She took after me too.”
After talking, she flicked off the dew that had formed on the outside of the cup. “I want to see Gaeul.”
“Should we hold a wedding immediately?”
“You know well that we can’t do that, honey.”
He grabbed Haneul’s hand again. “We can see her again. Gaeul must want to see you too. She always followed her mother after all.”
“She liked her father a lot too. You only became distant because you were busy and didn’t show up a lot at home. Now that I think about it, you never really stayed close to Gaeul, huh?”
“That’s just how life is. There’s also the fact that I wasn’t able to consider her feelings too.”
“This time, let’s do various things as a family. We’ll go traveling together or do weekend farm stays. I was the happiest when I saw Gaeul act close to her father. We’ve lived so many lives, but it’s a pity that we never got to do that many times.”
“I’ll stay right next to Gaeul that it will be to the point that you might get jealous, so don’t worry about that.”
One of her eyes twitched before she grabbed Maru’s nose and twisted it. He pretended to be hurt and backed off.
“Right, I should finish talking about what I was saying before.” She sighed. This seemed to be about her boyfriend.
“Did you date for a long time?” he asked while sipping the iced tea.
“About six months? But our relationship is pretty strange.”
“First, this is my first romantic relationship. Of course, I’m talking about the me before I regained my memories. But maybe because of that, I was pretty reliant on that boy. I was quite passive too.”
“That’s how most people’s first relationship is.”
“But the degree is pretty serious. I would feel uneasy if I can’t contact him, and I would worry that I might screw something up which would cause us to break up. I didn’t want to get hurt, so I just kept matching him while we were dating. The problem is that the boy’s side is the same.”
“It’s like that both ways?”
“Yeah. It’s a very cautious relationship. In some ways, it’s quite cute, but it’s rather unsettling because both of them feel uneasy about each other. We never got into a quarrel, but nor have we ever expressed our passionate love either. I guess both were hesitant. If one side loved the other a lot and didn’t get paid back, it would hurt after all.”
Maru could understand what this was about. She was worried about the boy’s side.
He expressed his opinion on this matter, “Don’t you think it’s better to break up firmly precisely because it’s like that? I think it’ll be better than dragging things out. He might be hurt, but the cleaner the cut, the less likely it is to leave a scar.”
She put on a confused expression. It seemed that he missed the mark.
“Aren’t you worried about the boy?”
“I am. I also have the memories of this life too, as well as the emotions. But the most important thing to me right now is the man named Han Maru and my own life. I’m sorry for him, but the six-month relationship is nothing compared to what we’ve experienced. The problem is his personality. He has some impulsive tendencies and is also quite tenacious.”
Maru let out a small ‘oh’ sound and nodded. She was worried about what would happen after they broke up. From her story, Maru imagined a rather quiet man, but it seemed that the actual person was different.
“We’re both rather cautious around each other, but his possessive desires are pretty strong. The previous me seemed to have interpreted that as love, but in my eyes, it’s definitely not. He might not display such a tendency on the outside that much, but I could read that from him from time to time. The previous me seemed to be conscious of that and became a lot more cautious around him too.”
“To put it extremely, you’re saying he has stalker tendencies?”
“Well, that shouldn’t be true, but I don’t think the process of breaking up will be a smooth one. Also, if possible, I want to break up so that he isn’t hurt. Breaking up will be painful, but minimizing that pain is the last bit of courtesy I can show him.”
In any case, this was what she experienced in this life. It wasn’t something she could just put to one side like the interpersonal relations of previous lives.
“As you say, it’s better to do this as cleanly as possible.” She put on a resolute face.𝒇𝒓𝗲e𝔀𝗲𝚋ｎoѵℯƖ. c𝑜m
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to meet him today.”
She took out her phone and flinched before looking at him. “Should we just have dinner together instead? There’s a lot I want to talk about.”
He shook his head. “Let’s resolve what might become a problem as soon as possible. That’ll be better for that fellow too. Since it’s like this, why don’t you call him to somewhere nearby? I’ll be watching from a distance in case something happens.”
“I can take care of it on my own.”
“You said he has a possessive side to him. How can I stay still after hearing that? But it’s not that I don’t understand him. Miss Han Haneul is very attractive after all.”
“Did you do something wrong? Did you stash away money somewhere?”
“Please don’t denounce my pure feelings like that. Also, I know better than anyone how sensitive your nose is. I still remember eating bananas for breakfast for four days straight after I stashed away my bonus salary. Heck, not just bananas, sometimes it was curry, cereal, oh and that’s right, chicken broth soup. That one appeared a lot.”
“So carry yourself well this time. Don’t make me the bad housewife nagging her husband.”
She smiled and then started using her phone. She seemed to be sending a message to her boyfriend.
“This is rather strange. It turns out my wife is in an illicit relationship.”
“Don’t say something so freaky. You really sound like an old man. When you’re young, please act young.” She pressed Maru’s cheeks with her finger.
A few minutes later, she stood up. She was going to leave since she decided on the place of the meeting. They left the café. The sun had set, but the heat did not go down.
It’s pretty hot — she said as she reached out her hand. Maru grabbed it.
As they were walking while looking around at the stalls, she stopped at one. It seemed that something attracted her eyes. What she grabbed among the numerous accessories was a thin ring.
“How is it?” she asked as she held out her hand with the ring on it. He replied that it suited her.
“Give me your hand.”
“You want me to do it too?”
“Then am I going to do it by myself? Give it to me.”
He spoke as he looked at the ring around his ring finger,
“I was going to get you a good one though.”
“You can do that later. For now, this suits you more. It’s cute, isn’t it?”
“That’s right, Haneul’s at the age where she likes cute things now, isn’t she?”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” She smiled.
After they left the stall, they soon arrived at the book café where Haneul arranged a meeting with the other party. He sat down a bit away from Haneul.
Around 20 minutes later, a man came into the café. His hair was well-toned, and he was wearing bright clothes. The man, who gave off a refreshing impression, sat in front of her. The two of them conversed for a while.
Maru watched them while quenching his thirst with some juice. The atmosphere had not changed from the beginning when the man came in and greeted her to now. They neither looked overly happy nor did things go overly awry. It seemed very peaceful. Rather than a couple that dated for six months, they looked like a boy and a girl who met for the first time. He could instantly see what she meant by ‘cautious’. So, things were going well? It was rather funny that he had to keep watching this strange situation.
When he drank about half of the juice, the man stood up. Just as he thought that things were over, he saw the man walk out while rubbing the corner of his eyes with the back of his hand.
She walked over.
“Is it me? I think he left while crying.”
“I don’t know either.” Haneul sat down looking dejected.
“So, did the talk go well?”
“Well, I think we talked for more than enough, but I don’t know about him. I was careful not to hurt him as much as possible since it was his first love, but the main point of it was me asking to break up.”
“He didn’t seem like the impulsive type to me.”
“It looks like he didn’t get his thoughts together because it was too sudden. Maybe he cried because the feelings he had to express burst out all at once. It’s his first love, and he’s clumsy when it comes to displaying his emotions.”
“So, you pity him?”
“Until a few days ago, I was fixated on him just like he was to me. Those feelings are telling me that I shouldn’t ignore her. She’s a part of me too after all. Have you never felt like that?”
“I’m in a similar situation, but they all calmed down soon enough. I’m sure you’ll be like that too. We can’t accept everything. We have to retain what we have to and forget the rest.”
He then said to her, who had a faint smile,
“How about some spicy chicken feet to commemorate the end of your first love?”
“Give me one with a lot of spicy peppers in it.”
“I’m not that good with spicy food though.”
“You can do it. You’re going to eat with me, right?”
She was looking at him with the most innocent pair of eyes. Maru wondered how many men could refuse that. He left the book café with her.
This was just a small event that they experienced at the beginning of their new lives. They were bound to run into problems a lot more serious than this in life. However, he didn’t feel worried. As long as she was by his side, those trials would be nothing more than a little dynamic game for him. Overcoming hardships together was a rather joyful experience.
“Why are you laughing so much today?” she asked.
He responded simply, “Because I feel good.”
She pouted before smiling. They hooked arms and walked on the street together. She sometimes dragged him to a clothes shop like a little child and sometimes looked at children walking with their families like a mother. He captured every single moment of that with his eyes.
For some reason, every passing second felt like a waste. However, he did not have the foolish thought that he wanted this moment to last forever. After all, he realized that the wish to hold onto time is the first step into the abyss. He just thanked this moment and enjoyed it to the fullest.