Life, Once Again! - Chapter 51
‘I guess it’s better than fake passion, at the very least,’ Maru thought as he walked down .
Teenagers couldn’t very well burn their life away with passion . Sometimes, it might be better to just ignore something to feel more comfortable for a time being . Only when they become adults, do they truly realize when it is appropriate to do such a thing .
‘But doing that too early just isn’t fun . ’
This was pretty much the last chance for these students to be acting without reservation, acting purely based on their emotions . There would be value for them to act honestly right now .
‘I guess I’m not in the position to say that though, am I?’
As a spectator, Maru had no part in all of this . Butting in right now would only make him seem rude . Especially as a person who didn’t have enough bravery to even commit . Perhaps the one who really needed to act honest was him .
As Maru walked past the teacher’s offices towards the supermarket, the door to the staff lounge opened, revealing Taesik . The man seemed to be bidding his farewells to a couple of parents .
“Oh, teacher . ”
“Ah, Maru . Heading to the market?”
“Yes . ”
“Let’s go together . ”
The two of them started walking down the hall together . Several students greeted Taesik as they walked with massive smiles on their faces .
One of the surefire ways to see if a teacher was loved was in seeing how students greeted their teachers . In that sense, Taesik was definitely beloved as a teacher .
At the store, Taesik bought Maru’s snacks as if it was the most natural thing in the world . He refused to accept the money from Maru as well .
“How’s the club?”
Since that time last month, Taesik stopped visiting the club . He still occasionally visited, but not to cheer them on .
“It’s alright . ”
“They were pretty sad about failing, but they’ve somewhat recovered . ”
“Is that so . ”
Taesik nodded subtly . Maru looked at the man for a bit . He personally thought the situation was getting bad, but he didn’t have to tell the man . Taesik looked at the fifth floor with an understanding look .
“Thank goodness it’s alright . I was pretty worried . Worried enough to actually think about talking to them . I didn’t think it would be good for me to intervene though, so I held my tongue . There are things that adults should be involved in, and there are things that kids should solve amongst themselves . In this case, the latter is clearly the sensible solution . ”
As Maru thought, the man was a very thoughtful person . Taesik bought him a cold peach tea from the vending machine next to them .
“How are you doing?”
“I’m doing alright . ”
“Well, you’re consistent . ”
The two of them looped around the field in front of the school . Despite being a weekend, there were no students out on the field . Probably because there was a game today . By the time they passed by one of the goalposts, Taesik spoke again .
“I had a drink with instructor Miso last time . ”
“Ah, is that so . ”
Taesik paused for a second with a conflicted face . He seemed to be wondering if this was alright to tell a student . He quickly put on a smile though .
“I think I can tell you for some reason, so might as well . Instructor Miso actually cried a lot back then . She was blaming herself quite a bit . ”
To think that such a tough instructor would cry just like that… Maru couldn’t picture it very well, but he couldn’t help but think it was somehow very fitting of the woman .
“Do you know the difference between a pro and an amateur?”
“Money . ”
“Right, it’s money . In that sense, instructor Miso is a pro . She receives money to teach students . At the same time, she ends up feeling responsible about a lot of things . Having to teach students from her high school must have given her a lot of pressure . ”
To think she could act so loud and angry all the time despite the amount of pressure on her shoulders… If what Taesik was saying was true, then she really was a pro . No one was able to tell how she really felt, after all . The woman had quite a talent for self-control .
“The reason why she was so controlling was because the lot of you were amateurs . At least, that’s what she said . Pros can act as freely as they want . They can take responsibility for their actions, after all . But giving freedom to amateurs only leads to laziness . ”
“ . . . Did instructor Miso feel regret over her methods?”
“Yes . She was blaming herself . She said she should’ve made it fun for everyone . If she just let go of her greed for the club for a second, the kids wouldn’t have frozen in front of the audience like that . ”
Maru scratched the tip of his nose . Everyone in the club was regretting their actions .
“It’s not something she should take blame for . She’s pretty timid in that regard, isn’t she?”
“Timid? Hahaha, sure . She might look savage on the outside, but she cares a lot inside . That’s why she worked so hard . She wanted to show you what she felt on the stage back then . ”
“She’s competitive, too . ”
“Indeed . Incredibly so . ”
This summer seemed to be the season of pain . The one thing that instructor Miso did differently from the students was that she was honest about how she felt . She probably felt incredibly embarrassed saying it . Talking about your real feelings was more embarrassing than even confessing to someone you liked . Thanks to that, though, she was probably comforted well by Taesik . She definitely got a chance to self-reflect as well . She received all of the rewards that an honest person could reap .
“So, what about you guys?”
The same question as before . Maru thought for a little bit before deciding to answer differently .
“I’ll be honest . Things are actually pretty bad right now, in my opinion . Dangerous, actually . ”
“That’s a different answer from before . ”
“Isn’t this the reason you talked about instructor Miso in the first place?”
Maru sipped on his tea with a small smile . Taesik didn’t refute him .
“As I said before, the atmosphere of a club isn’t decided by how good the advisor is . The advisor is only there to be a mascot of the club . The person who really runs the club is the president and the vice president . ”
“Yes . ”
“Joonghyuk is… a very thoughtful kid . But he’s not the type that actually steps up to solve problems . That’s the reason why he’s not the president of the club, but rather a stage manager . He’s a lot like you, actually . ”
“I think so, too . ”
“There are differences, of course . Joonghyuk is, unlike you, within the circle that is the club . When there’s a problem, he actually tries to solve it . But you . . . ”
Taesik stopped walking for a second to look at Maru .
“You always seem to be standing at the edges of the club . ”
“ . . . . . . ”
Maru didn’t say anything . Everything the man had just said was correct . Maru stared into Taesik’s eyes . He was curious about what the man was thinking about him .
[I’d like you to solve this situation . ]
“Why are you asking me to solve this?”
Was it because Maru asked before Taesik could actually say it? The man seemed surprised for a brief moment .
“As I thought, you’re very different from your fellow students . It might sound strange to you, but talking to you feels like I’m talking to a parent . I can almost feel you rooting for the club members like an adult . ”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit cruel to say to a 17 year old?”
“True . ”
Taesik smiled lightly .
“You don’t want to step in, teacher?”
“You should know what would happen if I do, don’t you?”
Try to do well . Stop blaming other people, Geunseok . Don’t be so lazy during practice . Be more honest .
The moment Taesik utters those words, the club really would shatter into pieces . That was the real problem with having spectators try to involve themselves .
“I know you have your own opinions and everything . I’ve heard a lot from instructor Miso . Whenever she drinks, nine times out of ten she would talk about you . She’d complain about how much like an adult you seemed . ”
“She really holds grudges, doesn’t she?”
“You better not say that in front of her . A person told her that once, and she just grabbed that person by the hair right there . ”
“Ah, I can sort of picture that . ”
Haha, the two laughed lightly .
“You must be meeting instructor Miso a lot . ”
“I do . She’s a mean student who calls me out whenever she gets drunk . ”
“She calls you whenever she drinks? Does she call other people?”
“No, I was always alone . She probably doesn’t have anyone else to drink with because of her drinking habits . But it wasn’t like I could just ignore her . It does get tiring sometimes, though . ”
“ . . . And she asks you for advice a lot and everything?”
“Most of the time, yes . ”
“Are you married, teacher?”
“Haha, unfortunately not . Probably for the foreseeable future as well . I mean, with a fashion sense like this, how could I be?”
Taesik smiled, pointing at his old checkered shirt and worn out pants .
‘How could such a thoughtful guy be so dense…?’
A drunk woman calling out a guy for advice regularly? An older guy at that, and not a friend? She definitely had feelings for the man .
Maru asked Taesik to wait for a second before taking out his phone . He left Miso a very short message .
[Taesik’s getting married . ]
Exactly five seconds later, Taesik’s phone started ringing . When the man picked it up, he immediately pulled it away from his ear .
“I don’t know . She just started screaming . ”
“Um, teacher, can I take that call?”
Taesik handed Maru the phone with a confused look .
– How! Hooowww!!
Miso sounded pretty desperate from across the phone . Maru had to stop himself from laughing right there .
“I was joking . ”
– Eh? M-Maru?
“Yes . That was a gag message just now, so you can ignore it . ”
“You have a pretty cute side to yourself, don’t you, instructor? Should I tell him in your stead? That you have feelings for him?”
– I’ll kill you! Don’t you dare tell him that! I’ll freaking murder you!
“Come to school, then . ”
– . . . What?
“Come check on the kids for a bit . I’m going to shake them up a bit . ”
Maru hung up and gave the man his phone back .
“What was that about?”
“It’s nothing . But ah, teacher?”
“Your future wife may be closer than you think . ”
Maru decided to stop playing spectator for a second . It was an incredibly difficult thing for a teacher to ask something of a student . Despite that, Taesik was honest to Maru . Even as an adult, Maru couldn’t help but want to accept the man’s request .
He’d cut out the infected bits . The club might be unable to handle the pain and start to splinter . That’s why he prepared some medicine .
‘Miso will handle the rest . ’
Maru headed up to the auditorium with a big huff .