Life, Once Again! - Chapter 543
“What the heck happened to her?” Pilhyun asked as he pointed at Hanmi.
Haesoo clicked her tongue.
“She’s in a state of self-loathing again.”
“Again? She was okay before though.”
“It began again.”
Haesoo patted Hanmi’s head, who was lying on her legs. The girl that was like the manifestation of confidence fell to such a low state due to a slip. She pitied her.
“Uhm. Mr. Gwak Joon, was it?”
Haesoo looked at Gwak Joon, who sat next to Pilhyun. The man who was clad in black from top to bottom, nodded back to her.
“Looks like I haven’t introduced myself properly. My name is Choi Haesoo. I’ve known bro Ahn for quite a while, and I’m just a woman who writes stuff.”
“Gwak Joon. I write novels.”
“So you weren’t someone with the same name. I enjoyed the movie. I haven’t read the novel yet though. I also wrote an article about it, quite generously too.”
“Bro Ahn, you should’ve introduced him to me if you knew such a good person. You were monopolizing him to yourself?”
Pilhyun made a sour expression and denied that claim.
“This dude is someone who holes himself up even more than me. Even I have a hard time meeting him. Not only that, he’s no fun to hang out with, and he looks scary too. I don’t think there are many people who even know this guy in the novelist world, you know? Even his editor asks me where he is. At most, he knows brother Bae.”
Haesoo nodded as she looked at Gwak Joon’s face. He definitely didn’t look like the sociable type.
“I tried to introduce him to you once, but he was writing back then. He’s hard to call out once he starts writing, so I just gave up on that notion.”
“No need for honorifics.”
Haesoo shook hands with Gwak Joon. A writer who’s rarely seen when he writes, huh. Haesoo felt like she was meeting a creature known as a ‘novelist’ that only existed in fiction. While she also made a living through her writing, she was far from having such a personality. She was passionate when it came to writing, but she forgot about everything once she left her keyboard. Sitting still in a room while focusing only on writing made her shiver just by thinking about it.
“This is Lee Hanmi, who’s at the epitome of self-destruction. Ever heard of her?”
“Hyung-nim told me a few times, so I do know her. He told me that she’s the one who became the most famous among the writers in Suwon.”
“Hey, hey, Hanmi. I’m boasting about you. Wake up.”
Haesoo tapped on Hanmi’s cheeks. Hanmi slowly sat up.
“It’s a shit life anyway. I don’t care what happens. Writers are shit,” Hanmi said.
Haesoo poured a cup of cold water for Hanmi. Although she had sobered up a little, Hanmi’s mentality had crawled into the depths of the abyss so she wasn’t able to get herself together. She couldn’t imagine how she normally acted.
“Lee Hanmi, I knew you’d get yourself into trouble one day. This is why people need to make numerous mistakes. Look at me. I’ve fallen over several times on my way to being fifty years old, and now I’m at the point where I don’t get disappointed with most things.”
Pilhyun replied ‘who might that be’ as he drank the low-alcohol drink.
“Stop making her feel bad and console her a little.”
“What good is consolation when it comes to writing? Do the keys type by themselves just because someone consoles you? Do the manuscripts get written by themselves? It’s just how life is.”
“Bro Ahn. You’re such a bad guy.”
“Choi Haesoo, I’m gonna have you pay for what you ate.”
“Urgh, what a stingy man. Little brother Joon, don’t treat a guy like this as your elder.”
“I’m used to it, so I’m okay with it. Also, I freeload at his house from time to time, so I can’t afford to have him hate me.”
“Money’s the greatest enemy, eh?”
“Lee Hanmi, stop whimpering and let’s start drinking. What are you going to do about something that has already happened? Spilt milk won’t go back in the glass by itself. Just pray that the viewing rates stay up and write the next part. You’re just a contracted writer, so you need to write those episodes to earn money.”
“You really are a bad guy, oppa.”
Hanmi said that as she raised her eyebrows. It had begun once again. A bad relationship – this seemed like a gentle expression. In a feud – that wouldn’t suffice either. Archenemies – that was a much better description.
Haesoo looked at the two people growling at each other like dogs fighting for territory before giving up. They should stop once they got tired. She was also tired because she had been listening to Hanmi’s grumbling all day.
She ate some fruits as she sighed. Just then, Daemyung, who was sitting on the other side, entered her eyes. He was looking at the two with sharp eyes. Unbefitting of his rather rounded face, his eyes looked pretty fierce. He didn’t look angry though. He looked more like he was incredibly focused.
“What are you looking at?”
“E-eh? Oh, it’s nothing.”
“Don’t lie. You were staring holes into them.”
“It’s just… oh, you can speak casually with me.”
Daemyung replied after a bit of hesitation.
“I was just watching them. A friend of mine told me that I have good eyes for observation. Honestly, I really don’t have a lot of strengths. So in order to make the most of my lacking strengths, I kinda got into the habit of watching people.”
“Good. Famous writers say that they go to the bus stop when they want to make a character. They say that they can come across all sorts of characters there. If you have good eyes for observation, it’ll be much easier to create a character.”
“I think so too.”
“But don’t look at them too fiercely. They might misunderstand you.”
“It lets me focus better. It also leaves a clearer image in my mind.”
“Really? Looks like you have a good memory. I could never remember things like that.”
Daemyung smiled in embarrassment. He was such a cute kid.
“It looks like you live nearby huh. It’s quite late.”
“Suwon? That’s a coincidence. I live in Suwon too. Wait, tomorrow’s not a day off.”
“Yes. I was planning to sleep at teacher Ahn’s house and go to school early in the morning.”
“You have it hard because of Bro Ahn as well. Bro Ahn! Why did you call this guy here? He’ll have a hard time going to school tomorrow.”
Pilhyun, who was quarreling with Hanmi, twitched his eyes.
“I’ll drive him back!”
“Like hell you will. Obviously, little brother Joon will be the one giving him a ride.”
“He and I are two in one. Rather than that, Hanmi’s really in a bad state, huh.”
Haesoo looked next to her. Hanmi had buried her face in her palms. She was muttering some things, and they mostly seemed to be some curses directed at the world, so there didn’t seem to be a need to listen to her closely. When they met for lunch, she ate like she was the only one aware of the world’s destruction tomorrow, but once some alcohol entered her system, she started blabbing about all sorts of things, which included stories about herself. She talked about everything to the point that it made Haesoo wonder how she had held that within her for so long. She would probably be able to write Hanmi’s biography from the stories she heard today. Of course, it would be incredibly depressing.
“Sorry for acting like this when we’re ȧduŀts. I’ll apologize in everyone’s stead,” Haesoo said as she faintly smiled at Daemyung.
Daemyung smiled awkwardly before nodding.
“Joon, let’s go smoking.”
“I just feel stuffy in here.”
Pilhyun took Gwak Joon outside. Hanmi, who had lost her opponent to growl at, shriveled up like dried up seaweed.
“Man, you have a tiring way of living your life, huh.”
“It’s over for me.”
“Like hell it is. You have loads of days left to live. You fought well until now. You should just keep doing that. You won’t find anyone who’s never made a mistake in this world, you know?”
“Maybe I should’ve slipped like oppa said?”
“Now you’re just making me look bad. If you are successful, then you should be thankful for it. Don’t go churning the insides of countless people who don’t get their works sold.”
Haesoo looked at Daemyung. She wondered if it was okay to say this in front of a student, but he didn’t look like the light mouthed kind, so it should be fine. In the first place, Pilhyun wouldn’t have called him here if he wasn’t.
“Try talking to the producer about it. Imagine how good it would be if you can discuss with others like the other writers do.”
“Unni, don’t you know how I’ve been doing my interviews until now?”
“I do, I really do.”
Hanmi was someone with a high ego when she was in her 20s, but she had the writing skills to back it up. While Haesoo was focused on publishing her work, Hanmi staked her life on dramas. She earned money as a secondary writer for some documentary series at a TV station to get by everyday life, and she split what little time she had to write a scenario for a mini series which she handed in for a contest. The day she was notified that she passed, Haesoo celebrated with Hanmi, who froze up in front of the camera.
After that, Hanmi became successful with many mini-series titles. Hanmi in her thirties was a writer who lived in the world by herself. Looking at what she said for various lectures would make anyone wonder if such an arrogant and ċȯċky person could exist in the world. Haesoo wasn’t surprised by it. A writer who never failed even once. She was someone who hit it big for 8 years straight while many others of her profession rarely even had one hit, so who could insult her for being ċȯċky? Her speech had toned down quite a bit ever since she reached forty, but her arrogance was still very high and looking at her work was pretty hard.
“Why did I do that?”
“You shouldn’t have become such a character.”
A writer who never holds prior discussions with the producer. A writer who refuses feedback. A perfectionist writer. That was Hanmi’s identity according to what Haesoo heard from other people. Haesoo had seen the extremes of that ċȯċkiness once before. 3 fixes to a script in one day. Even after committing such a tragic crime, Hanmi was bold about it. She was filled with the confidence that only she could write the script, and that confidence was something that supported the perfectionist in Hanmi. Indeed. The atlas that propped the being known as Hanmi up was that confidence.
Yet now, that confidence had been shattered. She said that it wasn’t something that happened recently. She said that she had become afraid of writing about a year ago. However, since she acted as such until now, she kept wearing the hat that didn’t suit her and kept writing without any consultations with the producer. Haesoo swore at her saying that she was foolish, but it wasn’t that she couldn’t understand her. Everyone lived that way after all. A meager pride had become the identity that represented oneself from some time onward, so that pride couldn’t be easily thrown away. Hanmi was pushed to the extreme, and this was the result.
“Urgh, damn girl.”
She had become a kid. The writer whose pen broke had become a child who burst out into tears while playing with fire. Since she lost her confidence, she lost her directionality, which was how she ended up writing the latter half of her script while referencing fan-fiction on internet forums. The problem with that was that she borrowed some of the ideas despite the fact that they had conflicting elements with what she originally wrote.
As stifling as her persona might be, she couldn’t really go anywhere to complain about it, and with the deadline approaching, she probably ended up finding a breakthrough by referencing a fan-fiction. She shouldn’t have had any time to cross-reference her own work to make sure that it wouldn’t sound disconcerting. If she had time to do that, she would’ve consulted others a long time ago.
This little sister was incredibly frustrating with the way she worked. Since writing was everything to her, and she was never betrayed by her writing before, she had been pushed into a corner like this. Because of that meager pride, because of that meager reputation, Hanmi said that she was afraid of being tagged the ‘failed writer’.
Just then, Daemyung made a sound after being quiet all this time. Haesoo tilted her head and looked at him.
“What is it?”
“Hey, you stutter quite a lot, huh? What is it? Tell me about it. I’m someone who can’t hold back my curiosity.”
“Uhm… the thing is, I thought you looked similar to someone I know when I first met you.”
“Just joking. But who exactly?”
“A friend of a friend of mine. You really look like her.”
“Really? You said you live in Suwon, right? Do you perhaps go to Myunghwa High? My daughter goes there.”
“No, I go to Woosung High.”
“Ah, I see.”
“But that person that looks similar to you goes to Myunghwa High.”
“I also know someone who goes to Woosung High.”
Something just clicked. Haesoo spoke, thinking there’s no way it would be true.
“No way, it shouldn’t be. You said that you liked Lee Chan from the drama, right?”
“Yes. Because he’s a friend of mine.”
“Oh my word. You know Han Maru?”
Daemyung, sitting opposite to her, blinked before opening his mouth wide.
“Yes. I do. He’s my best friend.”
“Oh my, you’re friends with my daughter’s boyfriend?”
“I knew it, huh. I thought I was mistaken.”
“Do I look like my daughter?”
“Yes, a lot, actually.”
“No way, I’m much better, aren’t I?”
“You’re quite honest. Sorry that I’m being quite senseless. Rather than that, we meet like this huh. Do you also do acting?”
“Yes. I do. Ah, right. She came to our school today.”
“My daughter, you mean?”
“I told her to go play with Maru and she actually did go there, huh. Kids these days are so fast.”
Haesoo smiled and picked up the drink bottle.
“As strange as it might be, here, you should drink a little.”
She never thought that she’d meet an acquaintance of her daughter here.
It once again came to her that the world was pretty small.