Life, Once Again! - Chapter 221
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The first thing he saw when he woke up was the tie that he hung up on the clothes hanger. He had hung it up next to his door. This was his girlfriend’s first present to him with significant meaning. It was clear that it would bring him luck.
‘May today be filled with luck,’ he wished to himself.
When he took a shower, he saw his father, who had gone out hiking, at the table. He was reading the newspaper with a very heavy expression. Maru had a peek and saw that it was the cartoon section.
“To think it would end like this…”
He seemed to be an avid reader of that cartoon, as he seemed very disappointed with the ending. While his father went to the bathroom to wash himself, Maru had a simple breakfast.
“Oppa, you going out?”
“Where are you going?”
Leaving behind his sister, who waved him goodbye with a yawn, he left his house. He was wearing ordinary clothes just as Geunsoo advised him to. A grey t-shirt and a pair of jeans. However, he had prepared a red hat.
– There will be many people attending the audition. The managers can’t remember every single one of them. That’s why most of them try to remember each individual’s traits. ‘The guy that wore green’, ‘the guy wearing a red hat’, ‘the one with a mantis bite on the nose’ – like that. Bring with you something that makes you memorable but not something that makes you stand out. Also, since the audition will take place right after the interview, you should use the same clothes to attend the audition. Only then will the managers remember you.
When he asked back ‘what if the managers changed?’, he got the reply ‘that’s just your luck’. It was a reasonable answer, so he accepted it. On his way to the bus stop, he checked on his attire in a mirror. There weren’t any flaws.
On his bus trip to Seoul, he blankly stared outside the window. Many things happened during the past year and it was now the new year, but even though the year had just begun, he felt as though there were going to be a lot of things this year. If he managed to pass the interview, he would have to do the audition. If he passed even that, then the filming would begin.
‘A film, huh.’
The word felt too distant for him right now. A film was something to be watched, not something he could participate in. Although his appearance would amount to a few seconds at most, just participating in this film would be a huge opportunity for him to study. A hundred words couldn’t be compared to real experience. His horizons would be widened if he was able to experience the world of pros.
The bus stopped after moving along the wiggly roads of the city. Maru got off the bus and looked around him. There were huge skyscrapers on each side of the road. He walked down the road and stopped in front of one of the buildings.
There was a revolving central door and automatic doors on the sides. Above it was a relief carving that read ‘JA’. Although this was his second visit, he still wasn’t used to the pressure the building gave off. There were many people who entered through the revolving door. And the majority of them were young.
Maru walked through the automatic door. On his front was the first floor lobby. On the left side of the huge pillar that seemed to support the entire building was the company entrance guarded by a security guard, while on the right was the coffee shop that took nearly a third of all the space on the first floor. The comfy round sofas in the cafe were occupied by many people. On their necks hung rectangular plastic ID cards.
There was a bank next to the coffee shop, but it was closed since it was a Sunday.
‘It feels somewhat affectionate’, he thought.
He was somewhat relieved since it reminded him of when he was a salaryman. As this building had an entertainment company inside, he thought that everyone here worked in that industry, but the building actually contained many different companies of many different businesses.
Maru got into the elevator and pressed the button for the seventh floor. His destination today, JA Productions, was on the seventh floor. Just as the door shut half-way, he heard a voice shouting “Wait!” from afar. He saw someone shifting through the crowd towards the elevator. As there was still time, Maru pressed the open button.
“Phew, thank you very much,” thanked a boy around his age. He was wearing a blue check-patterned shirt, which suited his distinct facial features.
That boy looked up at the buttons to press the floor he wanted to go to, but did not press anything once he saw that the 7th floor was already lit up. It seemed that he had come for the interview as well. The door slowly closed and the elevator started moving. An awkward silence flowed.
“Uhm, you’re here for the interview too?”
Maru wondered who the boy was talking, to but realized that he was the only other person here, so he replied.
Since the boy didn’t sound formal, he decided to use informal speech as well.
“Oh really? Nice to meet you, I’m here for the interview as well.”
The boy extended his hand out like it was nothing serious. Maru blankly stared at the hand in front of him. While he was somewhat confused by this gesture, it was hard to ignore him since the boy had a bright smile on his face.
‘Someone that asks for a handshake on the first encounter, huh. Are kids these days all like this? Did I become too conservative?’ He wondered.
“It’s getting a little embarrassing, so can you shake my hand please?”
The boy awkwardly laughed to himself as he raised his hand.
‘Oh?’ Maru didn’t hate his straightforwardness. He shook his hand.
“Let us both pass, yeah? For our dreams and the future.”
This guy was rather strange. Maru thought that he shouldn’t get close to this guy. He had his fair share of eccentric people around him. It was getting to the point he missed people with actual common sense.
“I’m so excited. An interview before the audition. Perhaps this is what it feels like to be a pro?”
Indeed, excitement could be felt from his voice as well. Maru tried his best not to look at the boy. It was obvious that things would get annoying if he met the other guy’s eyes.
Fortunately, the elevator was fast and soon arrived at the 7th floor. As soon as the door opened, Maru left the elevator. He felt a soft sensation from his feet. It came from the carpet on the floor. In front of him was a huge glass window, which allowed him to look inside. Maru walked to the right along the long glass wall. At the end of the corridor was where he turned in his application form.
“I visited this place last time, but man, this place is huge.”
The other guy had already caught up. Even though all they did was have a brief conversation and a handshake, it felt like the two were long time buddies already. It looked like he would put his arms around Maru’s shoulders at any moment.
The scary part was that his sociability didn’t warrant any repulsion. In fact, it was the opposite, Maru felt more sociable towards him. He had no basis to judge this person at all, yet somehow, he thought the boy was a decent person.
Maru stopped walking and let the blue-shirt go ahead of him. The blue-shirt exclaimed while looking at the scenery around him before coming back to him.
“Aren’t you going?”
“It’s not like we’re here together.”
“But we came here together. I got on the elevator thanks to you. Isn’t that what you call fate? Damn, now that’s what I call fate.”
He was even shaking slightly as he said that.
At that moment, the blue-shirt looked at one corner of the corridor before walking towards the place. Perhaps there was someone he knew?
“You shouldn’t litter.”
The blue-shirt picked up a piece of tissue. He then started walking towards the trash can which was far away. Maru walked to the end of the corridor in the meanwhile. When he turned left at the end of the corridor, he saw many people. They were all sitting in seats lined up in the corridor, and were looking at the door that faced them with heavy expressions.
There were around thirty of them. That was a big number considering that it was still 10 in the morning. As far as Maru knew, the interview would continue until late afternoon. This meant that people would be arriving as time passed. He was surprised to see that so many people remained after the profile review.
“Hey, you went ahead of me.”
The blue-shirt had already caught up and spoke as he put his chin on Maru’s shoulder. It was a really annoying gesture, but it strangely didn’t annoy Maru that much. It perhaps had to do with his blinding smile of his. This guy had a peculiar ability to make those around him feel better.
“Wow, that’s a lot of people. Will I be able to pass?”
Maru looked at the blue-shirt, who clearly seemed capable of having a conversation by himself. Most people would get frustrated and no longer talk to him by this point, but this guy just didn’t seem to care.
“Wow. That girl over there is really pretty. Will I be able to work with her if I pass the audition?” The blue shirt spoke as he looked at every person here.
Maru decided to ignore him since dealing with this guy seemed like a pain. He sat down on an empty seat at the end and waited. The only notification he got was a message that he was going to hold a simple interview. Since the audition would happen later, the interviewers would at most look at his first impressions and voice.
It was just as he was waiting calmly for his turn. He saw a lady with a cart full of cleaning supplies. She seemed to be a janitor here. The lady pushed the cart very carefully so as to not disturb anyone here, but made a grim expression seeing that the corridor was packed with people. The people around seemed to have noticed her presence. Everyone seemed so occupied with themselves that they didn’t have any leisure to care for other people.
Someone stepped in though. It was none other than the blue-shirt.
“Lady, do you need to go to the other side?”
“What? Oh, yes, I do.”
“It’d be nice if you can get there directly, but the people here are waiting for an important moment in their life. What’s the way round?”
“If I want to take another route, I need to go down the stairs…”
The business-only elevator seemed to be in maintenance. So it would be really difficult to drag the cart up and down the stairs. The lady’s predicament could be felt.
“W, will you be alright? Aren’t you here for the same reason as them?”
“I can come back right after this anyway.”
The blue-shirt stood in front of the cart with an expression that told the lady not to worry. The lady was still worried that he might screw things up because of her.
The blue-shirt started pushing the cart. Maru watched as the two walked away. He thought that while he was a good guy, his good nature might make others take advantage of him one day.
“Mr. Yoo Jiseok?” Someone came out from the interview room and called a name out. However, no one amongst the interviewees made a move.
“Mr. yoo Jiseok from Film, are you not here?”
Maru had a look at the corridor. The two had disappeared. He felt a bad premonition. He scratched his eyebrows.
‘Now then, what do I do,’ he wondered.
“Excuse me, can I have a look at his photo? There’s someone that urgently went to the bathroom just now.”
The application form that the lady showed him indeed had his face on it.
“He’ll be back soon, so why don’t you continue with someone else?”
“But his number…”
“He was here just before, and he left just now. If you had told him beforehand, he wouldn’t have left.”
Hearing that, the lady looked inside the interview room. The people inside looked at her and asked what happened.
“The next interviewee went to the bathroom.”
“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s not like we told him his order. Put him at the end and call the next one.”
The lady put his application form at the bottom. Maru had a look at the corridor in the meanwhile, but there were no signs of him.
“How long does it take to take those stairs over there to go to the other side?”
“The stairs? Since today’s a Sunday, no one’s allowed into the office on the eighth floor, so you’d have to go to the 9th floor, so it would take some time.”
“….And please excuse me, when is my turn? My name is Han Maru.”
The lady spoke after flipping over the application forms.
“Then everyone here should be before me, right?”
“Okay, thank you,” as soon as he heard the answer, Maru started walking down the corridor.
‘Consider yourself lucky.’
Maru wouldn’t have moved if his profile wasn’t at the bottom. However, now that he knew that he had some time, he didn’t want to just ignore it. He didn’t hate the blue-shirt’s straightforward kindness that much. Although the world was one where kind people were taken advantage of, only when there were such people in the world was the world not so frustrating. He thought that he should help out when he could.
“Where are the stairs?” Maru asked people for directions before hurrying.