Life, Once Again! - Chapter 166
Twilight Struggles . It was a book whose title told you everything, a story of an abandoned old man who goes into a cruel killing spree . Maru was reading the book laying down in his room with his windows opened . It was February; the white snow of January had completely disappeared and all there was left was an incredibly cold wind . In the end, Maru closed the windows . It was a bit too cold for his liking .
“I wonder when Spring will come . ”
He missed Winter in Summer and he missed Summer in Winter . He wished that the entire year could just be Spring and Autumn, but if that were the case, he’d probably complain about the boring weather . Humans can never be satisfied for long .
‘ . . . Is it because of the book?’
The book was clearly feeding him too much ill will towards humanity, he was reading through it for the fifth time now . He’s been constantly reading ever since he was at the hospital . It was an odd book where each read through took longer than last time .
The main character of ‘Twilight Struggles’ was an old man in his sixties long forgotten by his children, that age immediately made Maru think of Moonjoong . The main character lived a life like any old man of habit, he was someone who went around town collecting scrap paper for money with his bike . Since he had to wake up a bit earlier to get as much paper as possible, he got into a habit of waking up at 5 . He ate cold rice in water for lunch at home and went out to pick up more paper afterwards . At night, he comes back and goes to sleep with his broken TV on . The book described this old man’s mundane life in great detail . The writing depicted everything from his feelings to even what his room looked like .
A change occurred to this man, someone stole the old man’s bike . Without it, the old man had to walk around town in his sneakers all day . Only at night was he able to find his bike, the criminal was another old man who picked up scrap paper . They got into a fight and they ended up going to the police . The main character shoved the thief out of anger, causing the man to call upon his children for retaliation .
Being pushed around by younger people made the old man call his own kids out of sheer anger . But his kids didn’t come, and in the end, he was only able to get his bike back thanks to police involvement .
On the way back home, the old man keeps calling his children several times out of anger . None of the calls went through, so he walks all the way to his eldest son’s home . There, he learns that his son has been ignoring his calls on purpose . Out of desperation, he goes to see his second daughter and his youngest son . There, he hears from them that they don’t want to support him anymore, that they don’t want him contacting them either .
The old man buys some soju on the way back home and drinks . He sacrificed his youth for his children, but all he got in return was coldness . By the time he starts falling asleep in the cold, he started feeling a few young men start touching him . He thought to himself that there are still some people who care for him . He got immediately let down when the young men beat him and started running away with what little money he had .
At that moment, the young men’s expressions overlapped with that of his children’s . Flames of rage took over his heart right there and then . Moreover, the words that one of the young men said as he ran stabbed him even more .
– How fucking retarded do you have to be to be alone with nothing at that age?
The old man comes back home and leaves his children a message . That he’s lonely, that he wants to talk . All he got back was silence . The old man takes a look back on his life at his seat . He spent his life at work, since his wife’s passing at a young age . He retired from his company at the age of 50 . Then, he spent five years as the CEO of a smaller company and then he spent the rest of his time maintaining a restaurant .
By the time he sent off his youngest son to marry, all he had left was a tiny room and a broken bike . He was living on telling himself that he raised his children well . Looking back, he really was a ‘retard’ like the young man had said .
He gave his children money for college, houses, money for marriage, everything . He thought that was love, he thought this love would be repaid to him in time . In the end, all he received was nought . That’s when he realizes that his children hadn’t contacted him for the last three years, he got nothing back in return . He sat down thinking to himself all night and by the time it was morning, he was holding a hammer in hand .
The story speeds up afterwards, the old man’s sighs soon turn into madness and the rest of the book dyes red with bloody carnage . Maru still couldn’t forget the old man’s last line at the end of the book at the face of his death .
– I can finally see myself .
Maru tried imagining this scene with Moonjoong . An old man who always looked so nice, acting in the role of a crazy actor? He couldn’t imagine it .
“What’s so wrong with using my life to teach wild dogs?”
Maru said the lines in the book as he rolled around, he emphasized the main character since he was a father himself . If he was still alive and well, he would’ve grown old with his wife after sending his daughter off to marry . He had to wonder what his daughter would be like during the twilight of his life .
Surely his daughter wouldn’t be this cold, but he did have some doubts . This book only had shades of grey . In view of the law, the main character was a demon . From an emotional standpoint, the children who said ‘our dad just won’t die already’ were the evil ones .
The old man uses his broken body and his broken morals to unleash a demonic evil . Somewhere within this man, you were still able to see a vestige of a human you could still relate with . This book was bound to be a success .
He didn’t know how he felt towards the movie’s success . It wasn’t a family movie and it was the type of movie that would look terribly frightening to people .
‘That’s just a prediction, but . . . ’
Something might happen if the movie became a sensation, perhaps they might succeed if word about the movie spread .
“Bro, come to dinner,” Bada said, walking into the room .
Maru closed the book and stood up . Three days until school starts back up again . he might be able to read it one more time before then .
* * *
The frigid winds were as cold as ever, even during March . The school still looked square and the disciplinary teacher was still outside passionately ‘educating’ tardy kids . Thanks to it, the front entrance was lined with late students . Nothing much changed with the start of their second year . Maybe just the fact that he had to go up an extra set of stairs?
“Ugh, so cold . ”
Dojin was coming up the stairs behind him, Daemyung was there, too . They didn’t end up splitting up as they headed up a year . The air was warm inside the classroom . Like always, Maru’s seat was next to the back entrance, with Dojin sitting next to him . The one thing that changed was that Daemyung was right in front of Maru now .
“I just can’t be rid of you fucks, can I?” Dojin said with a laugh .
Those ‘fucks’ included Dowook as well, the boy sat down in front of Dojin with a slight frown . They were sworn enemies at the beginning of the first year, but they were on fairly good terms at this point . They got along together pretty well given their faces and personalities .
Maru looked forward, popping one of Dojin’s candies in his mouth . The blackboard had the words ‘membership in a club is required’ written on it .
“Come to think of it, it’s today . ”
“Advertising . ”
Daemyung looked slightly confused, so Maru pointed down at the floor . Only then did the boy nod in understanding .
“We should go . ”
“You, me, Geunseok, huh . ”
“Yup . ”
Maru bit down on the candy in his mouth before turning to Dojin, the boy looked down shamefully .
“Just three people . ”
“S-sorry . ”
“So long as you are, help us advertise . Geunseok’s pretty handsome, but he’s way too cold for this kind of stuff . We’ll need you to look welcoming . ”
“ . . . . . . ”
Dojin didn’t seem to know what to do, Maru decided to stop with the teasing here .
“Just kidding . Have fun in the cooking club . You’re going in with Iseul, right?”
“Yeah . They were all nice people . I liked it . ”
“I heard marrying into a girl’s family is always really difficult . ”
“The hell does that mean?”
“Good luck . Let me try some of your food next time . ”
In the end, the acting club was just left with three members . Aside from those who wanted to take up acting as a job, everyone went somewhere else . Dojin and Iseul went to the cooking club, and Taejoon and Soyeon joined the movie watching club . Taejoon didn’t seem to mind staying that much, but when Soyeon told him she was leaving, he made up his mind as well . They all apologized, but Maru told them not to worry about it . He didn’t want to tie down the club members with their sense of responsibility . After all, this was their last chance for any of them to do what they wanted . All the other current third years left the club, as they previously said they would . They decided to put as much work as possible into job hunting . They did say they would come by to help though, which was great .
The fifth-floor auditorium transformed into a fancy gym, which has been filled with a ton of new equipment . Looking at it made Maru feel a little bit empty inside . It felt like the half-year he had spent there was completely fake .
“This is the script . ”
Daemyung handed Maru the paper, it was for today’s ‘advertising’ . A little thing they would use to pull the first years into the club .
“ . . . I wonder if I’ll be able to get a female underclassman?”
“Hah . ”
Daemyung waved his hand, implying what he said was a joke with an awkward smile . Maru caught the little glint of seriousness from the boy though .
“Now now, let’s take a seat . ”
The teacher walked in calmly, Maru looked at the man with a slight smile . It was Taesik, their homeroom teacher .
“We’re going to be choosing our clubs today, so think well . There’s a lot of hard-working and rewarding clubs out there . Like the acting club… for example . ”
Taesik was talking with a smile on his face, making Maru shake his head .