Life, Once Again! - Chapter 197
Today was a holiday celebrating the founding of the school, it was also a Saturday . Even though she made plans to go hang out with her friends a week ago, she ended up staying inside today .
“My head hurts . ”
She was sick to the point of sweating like a waterfall yesterday . Today was a lot better thankfully, probably because of the medicine and the sleep from yesterday . She wished she could jump out of bed for some fresh air . Alas, her body didn’t want to take a single step out of the bed .
“How’s your temperature?”
Her mom stepped inside and put a hand over her forehead, she said she was fine to put her mom at ease .
“You should stay as warm as possible . Do you have anything in particular that you want to eat?”
“No, I don’t . You should rest, mom . This isn’t anything serious . ”
“You should’ve taken care of yourself, to begin with . You took your medicine?”
“I did . ”
After her dad passed away, she did her best to never show pain in front of mom . Because once she did, her mom would lose all rationality and start worrying . Looking at that made her feel more pain than anything else, she didn’t want to give her mom reminders of her dad again .
“Want some porridge?”
“Mom . ”
“Go to work . I thought today was your deadline . Worry more about our budget, not me . ”
She pushed her mom away lightly, her mom smiled as she finally walked out . The room was finally quiet again, she got rid of her smile as she lay back down on the bed . She was still feeling incredibly dizzy, she should just lie down all day .
She heard an alarm as she desperately tried to fall asleep, she grabbed her phone nearby and opened it .
[Are you feeling alright?]
It was a message from her friends at Namsan . She typed up a response, feeling sad at the fact she couldn’t be with them . Well, at least they remembered her .
[I want to die . You better not have fun while I’m suffering!]
She grinned as she sent the message . Immediately, she started receiving multiple messages from her friends, all along the lines of ‘just try to curse us, woman’ . Though she only received words, it felt like she could hear their voice from the letters . She closed her phone and stared dumbly at the ceiling, the little glow-in-the-dark stickers she put up there as a child with her dad were glowing .
‘I’m lonely . ’
She could smile when she was texting with friends, but the immediate feeling of loneliness that came afterwards dampened her mood . She tried smiling, telling herself that this was only a symptom of her sickness, but that didn’t stop her from sighing at all . She felt sicker, actually . She tried to go to sleep as best she could but it only made her feel more awake . She tried counting sheep in her head, but eventually, they started performing acrobatics and even sang together in harmony .
‘Who the hell came up with the idea of counting sheep?’
She put a hand over her hurting head and turned over in her bed, nothing changed . The clock on her desk was pointing to 11:14am, even though it felt 11:14am passed hours ago . She sighed and sat up, unable to sleep . Her headache wasn’t terrible at the moment, she might as well watch some TV . Just as she took a step outside her room, she heard a noise come from her bed . It was a call . Was it her friends? She smiled at her mom working in the living room before stepping back inside .
– Why do you sound so tired? Did you just wake up?
“Ah, it’s you, Maru . ”
She sat back down on her bed . She thought she could walk, but she was dead wrong . Her entire world was spinning from those few steps .
– You’re sick, aren’t you?
“No, I’m not . ”
– I can tell from your voice .
“I’m not sick at all . Really . ”
– Well, same habits as ever .
“What? What habit?”
– Don’t worry about it . Where are you hurting? Is your mom there at home? Did you take your medicine?
“Why don’t you believe me? I’m not sick . ”
She felt annoyed all of the sudden, she remembered how they were supposed to go on a date last weekend and he just cancelled it out of nowhere . She was fine with it last week, so why was she feeling so annoyed about it now? How could a person who likes her just cancel something out of nowhere like that? She felt annoyance creep up all the way to the back of her throat, it felt like she would just spill out all of her frustrations if she opened her mouth now .
“ . . . I’m fine . ”
But all she ended up saying were words to calm the other side down . It has become a habit of hers to avoid worrying others, she didn’t like it when other people worried about her . She let out some awkward laughter through the phone .
“I’m going to sleep, so call me later . Got it?”
– Wait .
“Bye . ”
Her headache worsened after she hung up, she had no reason to be annoyed at Maru . She just couldn’t help it . Was it because she was still young? Why couldn’t today just be over already? Along with her sickness? She lay down and put her blanket over her head, it smelled good, since they washed it just a few days ago . She called this smell the ‘smell of the sun’, that was what dad called it . Wait, was it mom who called it that? In any case, smelling it made her feel a lot better . All of her annoyance and sadness disappeared from her head, she should’ve done this way earlier .
And just like that, she went to sleep .
* * *
She woke to the sounds of conversation from outside, mom was speaking with a raised voice outside . Was she talking with a publisher again? Or a friend she didn’t really like?
‘I feel a bit better . ’
She turned her head to look at the clock . 5pm, so she slept like a baby for around six hours . Her body felt really stiff, but she didn’t have that terrible headache anymore . Moreover, she was hungry . She flapped her musky shirt with her hand . The resulting wind washed away the sweat, making her feel a lot cooler than before . As soon as she stood up, she was reminded of what she was thinking just before she went to sleep .
‘Why did I feel depressed enough to want to cry?’
None of the things she thought of were anything special, so why did she feel so sad about it?
“Hold on a second . ”
She thought of the actors that started crying on the bed as soon as the camera got closer to them . Perhaps those scenes were just a culmination of a ton of historical evidence? She felt a lot better thinking about it already, it felt like she uncovered another secret about acting . Pft .
‘I should ask for ice cream . ’
She would surely get scolded for asking for ice cream when she was sick, but she couldn’t help her craving for strawberry ice cream . She couldn’t remember it precisely, but back when her throat was incredibly swollen, her dad got her strawberry ice cream . Perhaps that was why she always wanted it when she got sick . Come to think of it, her dad liked strawberries . Strawberry milk, strawberry ice cream . But he never actually got the fruit itself .
“Do you really think so?”
She could hear a voice outside, mom still seemed to be talking . She could also hear a faint, male voice outside as well . They seemed to be in the kitchen . Mom’s guest, perhaps? She looked down at her clothes . Upon confirming that she looked fine, she carefully opened the door and headed out to the living room . She could see mom resting against the kitchen counter . Despite her raised voice, she was smiling . Maybe she raised her voice out of happiness, not anger?
“Mom, did a guest come?”
She called out to her mom quietly, the woman looked towards her and smiled mischievously .
“Yup . ”
“I should say hi, right?”
Mom nodded slowly, male guests occasionally came to their house for business . All of them were related to publishing, mom was actually quite famous when it came to stuff like this . She stepped out of her room and closed the door, she noticed that the fridge was open in the kitchen . Right then, a hand popped up to close it .
“Mother, can you check the seasoning for this?”
. . . Mother?
She felt a chill run down her spine . No way . Wait, this was totally a thing he would do . She quickly walked into the kitchen, she could hear her mom laughing right behind her . It had to be him .
Maru was standing casually next to the stove . She looked at mom once, then back at Maru . They were both smiling, she wasn’t even shocked anymore, her emotions were way past that . As a matter of fact, she was starting to get angry .
“How are you here?”
“I took the bus . ”
“That’s not what I’m asking . ”
“Sorry, was I not specific enough? I bought stuff for you and then got on bus 66 . I got on right as I got to the station . Very lucky . I rode the bus for exactly 53 minutes, and voila . ”
“ . . . . . . ”
She closed her lips tightly and twisted Maru’s ear . She would’ve felt a bit better if he exclaimed in pain, but…
“I guess it’s true that healthy people aren’t even pained by something like this . Mother, I must be very healthy . ”
Good god, she could feel her headache start to come back . Before she realized it, her mom stepped forward and took a spoonful of the boiling soup from the stove . It was black and white . She recognized the white stuff as egg white, but she had no idea what the black stuff was .
“It’s good . ”
“Thank goodness . I guess it’s a pass if you’re fine with it . ”
“My daughter doesn’t have a very finicky tongue, so I guess so?”
The two of them talked casually with each other . Since when were they so close with each other? She butted into their conversation .
“Mom, why is he here?”
“Because he came here . ”
“That’s so far out from what I meant . ”
“We’re inside, actually . ”
That last line was from Maru . Good lord, these two people sounded like they’d been doing this for years . That joke immediately made her lose all of her energy, it felt foolish for her to even get mad . She stepped back to her room and flopped down on the bed . It would be better for her to just go back to sleep… But then .
“Pft . ”