Life, Once Again! - Chapter 164
Miso left . The smile she showed him before stepping out seemed hollow, she seemed dissatisfied that they weren’t able to immediately take care of this incident . It’d be easy to make Yurim confess, it’d be easy to make the girl tremble in fear . The problem wasn’t that, it was the fact that the nationals were just a week away . Yurim needed to keep her spirits up until then, for both him and the club .
“But why did she start the fire?”
Yurim’s motivation was still a mystery to him . What led her to starting a fire? Without any evidence, he couldn’t figure out why . Her plans were too elaborate to be dismissed as a simple mistake . She made up her mind to start a fire and she did it . Why?
Cold wind seeped in through the open window, people often said the day after snow was a little warmer, he didn’t agree . The wind was cold enough to give him goosebumps, but he opted to keep the window open for now .
‘Just don’t think about it . No way to tell what the other person’s thinking . ’
Maru instead decided to think about what to do from now on, he had asked his sister to bring a few scripts . Looking at them now, he couldn’t help but laugh a little . They were useless to him now . In just a few days, the two plays he’s prepared for for several months will end . He couldn’t get on stage, though he might be able to at least watch it .
He did feel very disappointed . If he didn’t feel any disappointment after being unable to perform for something he’s been preparing for months, he might as well be Jesus . He was able to accept what happened easily enough though . Stuff like this just happens, maybe it was even fate . He didn’t believe in such a thing in the past, but after an encounter with god… well, it was a lot easier to believe than before .
‘I want to complain though . ’
Did you really have to do this, god? In the end, he was the one who made the conscious decision to jump into the fire . But what if god made him remember to take his phone as he got out? What if god stopped Yurim from setting a fire to begin with?
“Yaawn . ”
People stuck in a room by themselves become one of two things, they either achieve enlightenment or they go crazy . In the end, the only thing you can do by yourself is to think . Well, daydreaming, really . The play was over and the lights were out . The actor lost his job, so now he needed to move on . Should he try harder to figure out Yurim’s motivations? No, never mind, he wasn’t a fan of looking for a needle in a haystack . He finished his book as well and the TV was boring . So then…
“I should sleep . ”
Truly, a fitting choice . The hospital bed felt a little harder than usual under him, perfect . He had gotten used to sleeping on hardwood floors . He could only sigh when he thought about what to do after this, but for now, he decided to simply not think about it . Just as he closed his eyes, the door to the room opened . He opened his eyes slightly . As soon as he saw who entered, he got back up .
“Sir . ”
It was Moonjoong . The man looked incredibly stylish in his fedora and trench coat .
“No need to get up . ”
“I’m not that sick, sir . ”
Maru returned to his sitting position on the bed .
“Your face looks healthy, thank goodness . You’re healing up well?”
“Yes . They said I’d need to be here for two weeks, but I think I can get out before then . ”
“The heavens must’ve helped you . I thought you went crazy when I heard the news from Junmin . To think you’d just jump into a fire . . . ”
“It does sound crazy without context . ”
“Haha . ”
Maru offered the man a seat and took out a drink .
“How does sikhye sound?”
Maru gave the one drink he’s been saving up to the man . After taking a sip, Moonjoong opened his mouth .
“You must be disappointed after all the work you’d put into the plays . ”
“It can’t be helped . I’m trying to move on, since my feelings wouldn’t change anything . ”
“You’re right . Disappointment does you no favors . ”
Moonjoong nodded in agreement .
“So what will you do now?”
“I was about to sleep, actually . There’s not much to do here . I brought a few scripts here out of habit, but there’s no point in practicing anymore . ”
Maru turned to look at the script next to him, prompting Moonjoong to grab them .
“Of course . ”
Moonjoong looked at the scripts for quite some time .
“You’ve put a lot of effort into analyzing your characters . ”
“I don’t know much about acting, so I gave my all into the one thing I knew best . ”
“How was it?”
“It was easy at first . Since I just needed to think about the type of person my character was . ”
“It got harder the deeper I got into it . That’s when I realized complex characters aren’t created overnight . It felt like I could write a book purely based on my analysis . ”
That was when Maru really felt like there was no end to this . The moment you start working towards creating a meaningful character, a whole world opens itself for you to explore . Maru had quite the fun time navigating through these worlds in front of him .
“It’s very fun to think about characters,” Moonjoong put down the script with a beaming smile, “but try not to delve too deep into it . ”
“Because people aren’t machines . The characters we act are too dramatized to exist in real life, but in the end they are human too . Thinking about the place they were born in, the people they met, the things they like is good for studying . But on stage, a vast majority of those things won’t matter at all . The only thing that remains are the character’s personality that grabs the audience’s attention and the character’s greed that drives the play . That’s all . Because in the end, everything about a character points to their greed . The ultimate point of character analysis is to use the character’s greed in such a way that it shocks the audience . At least, that’s what I think . ”
“Greed . . . ”
“Of course, this is just my opinion . Other people probably don’t think the same way . So make of it what you will and come to your own conclusions . ”
Moonjoong laughed before taking out a book .
“Here, read this . ”
It was a book with a white cover, titled ‘Twilight Struggles’ .
“This is . . . ”
“I’m going to be in a movie soon and this is the source material . . ”
Many movies were adapted from books, so this didn’t come as a surprise . Maru was curious about why he was given this, though .
“We need an actor . ”
“A side character . One that might as well get erased during the editing process . ”
“That means . . . ”
“If you’ve made up your mind to be an actor, it might be good to get hands-on experience . Of course, there’ll be an audition . It’ll likely happen once the production crew comes together . Their name is Yongsoo . See if you like it . ”
Moonjoong got up from his seat .
“You’re leaving already?”
“I just dropped by to give you that . You look healthy, so no reason for me to stay any longer . Do try to be more careful, if you don’t want to suffer in your old age . ”
Moonjoong smiled slightly as he stepped back . Maru tried to stand up, but the man held his shoulders down .
“I’ll get going . ”
“I’ll see you next time, sir . ”
“Sure . ”
The man finished off his last line as he stepped outside .
“It’ll be fun to work with you on the field . The movie industry has its own charms . Though, I suppose it’s also a lot more bitter as well . ”
Maru bowed at the closing door with the new book in hand .
“Did you throw me this because I was complaining so much about not having work?” Maru said, looking out the window .
It felt like he could see the God of Fate winking at him . He opened the book in front of him . The moment he saw the name of the author on the first page, Maru gasped in surprise . He knew the author of the book . Not personally, of course . Just that he recalls a movie of the same name doing well in the box office . This happened in his thirties though, so it will be a while away .
“ . . . Why couldn’t you just let me remember a winning lottery ticket number?”
Or a company whose stocks would go through the roof? Maru thought of the 300 million won he owned . Thinking about it did make him happy, but it also made him feel a little frightened . He took a look into the real estate industry for investment . He only took a look to get a feel for it, because he needed to be a legal adult to be able to invest, but then… the real estate industry took a dive to the floor . So he opened a Cash Management Service account with a bit of his money to play around, but the bank where he opened the account closed down suddenly . The media was still going wild with those news . So after that, he just decided to keep his money in his savings account . Those two events were probably a sign from god that investment wasn’t worth his time .
Of course, it might just be coincidence . He was still thinking about investing in his later years, but that was not a worry for his younger self . He might as well think about doing this when he turns 45 .
‘Besides that, a movie, huh . . . ’
He started acting because of her . Now, even without her, he found acting fun . Movies are different from plays, it did garner some interest from him . He’d need to pass the audition first of course, at least he had all the time in the world to prepare . Maru opened the first page of his book, he needed to figure out what the book was even about .
* * *
The fifth floor auditorium was now off-limits, that wasn’t much of a surprise . It was still depressing to think about how he’d never be able to go back there again . Daemyung looked at the calendar, the nationals were just a day away now . Miso concluded that the perpetrator wasn’t in the club, Daemyung felt a little bit hurt inside when he heard the rest of the club saying mean things about Miso behind her back . Thankfully, Yoonjung quelled the situation by saying instructor Miso was just doing her job . It was also good that the nationals were so close . The mood of the club quickly returned to normal because of how busy they were .
‘What was instructor Miso and Maru trying to do, though?’
Maru just told Daemyung that it wasn’t the right time yet whenever he asked about it . Daemyung knew that the boy figured something out already, but just didn’t tell him about it for a reason . Maru did promise to tell Daemyung what happened when all of this was over and he was happy with that .
“So it’s tomorrow . ”
He wasn’t nervous for some reason . Was it because he’s acted in plays several times already? If he got on the stage right now, he was confident that he could finish without making a single mistake . He got a few calls before bed, from other club members and Maru . They all told him to work hard . When he promised Maru he’d ‘work even harder for Maru’s sake’, the boy just told him to not make any mistakes with a laugh .
In any case, he was in peak condition . Like always, Daemyung got into bed at 12am . He drifted asleep very quickly .
* * *
“I don’t think this will disappear,” Maru exclaimed in front of a mirror .
There was a scar on his forehead, a faint line running above his left eye . Thank goodness his hair would be able to cover it up easily .
“Let’s go, brother . ”
“Sure . ”
It was finally his discharge date, Maru left his room for the past two weeks behind and went back home . Laying down on the hardwood floor, Maru thought to himself .
‘Home is best . ’
His legs were fine, they healed up very nicely . He decided to keep the cast that was split in half, it felt like a waste to get rid of the writing on it . So this is what they meant about getting emotional over random things in old age .
He looked at the calendar on the wall, there were two red circles on it . Not birthdays, but the dates of the nationals and the performance of the amateur acting club . Both of them ended in early January . He wasn’t able to participate, but he did have a great time watching it . They all did very well . Enough to cover for his absence perfectly .
“Third place . ”
They weren’t able to take first or second place in the end . As always, Myunghwa High took first place . Second place was taken by Yoojin’s Bosung High .
‘Better than nothing, I guess . ’
It was still a great achievement for Woosung High to get a prize, even if the prize itself inspired great anger and disappointment from Miso . The amateur acting class ended its performance well, too . Many of the students from the class got noticed by industry professionals thanks to it . Baekjoon, as a matter of fact, got casted for a movie on the spot . It was as an extra, but it was still something to be congratulated for . Yoojin told him she might get contracted with an agency as well .
“So it’s all over for now . ”
He wasn’t able to participate in any of these despite having prepared hard for it . He acted as calm as possible, but his disappointment lingered nonetheless .
“Brother! Come have dinner!”
“Sure . ”
He might as well eat first . Maru took out the voice recorder from his bag and put it on his desk . The festival was over, and there was a debt to collect .
“I wonder how she’ll come out . ”
There was a saying about how a person’s words could either absolve them of all debt or add another million dollars to it . Yurim’s fate would be decided on how she responds . Of course, there was no reason for her to be completely forgiven . Because with all things considered, Maru was actually very frustrated about having to waste two weeks in bed .