Life, Once Again! - Chapter 626
“This is fresh. I didn’t think that you were the type of person who’d intrude at this hour.”
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s not something that you need to apologize for. It’s bothersome, but what can I do? It’s not like I can see you if not for something like this. Come, have a seat.”
Junmin was led by his friend to sit down.
“So, you must have a reason to come to a single lady’s house at this hour, right?”
Junmin nodded as he received the tea that his friend gave him.
“I was wondering if we could have a talk,” he said as he looked at the teacup.
His friend, who was enjoying tea on a chair, quietly spoke,
“As a friend? Or as a psychiatrist?”
“If possible, the latter.”
“Don’t tell me you’re unable to sleep like before?” His friend narrowed her eyes as she asked.
Junmin shook his head.
“I reduced my sleep because of some work, but I’ve never had insomnia.”
Junmin remembered back to 16 years ago. To be precise, the 23rd of April, 1989. Ever since he heard the news of Haejoo’s death, he hadn’t been able to sleep for a while. Whenever he closed his eyes, the sound of the car horn, the friction of the tire, as well as the smell of burnt rubber haunted his mind. Even though he had never seen the scene of the accident, the accident vividly appeared in his mind as though he was a witness. The urge to vomit followed afterwards, and thanks to that, he couldn’t sleep at night and had to spend night after night by the toilet.
By the time ‘I’m going to die at this rate’ turned into ‘it won’t be too bad if I die like this’, he got help from this friend here. His symptoms became better thanks to mental consultation and medical treatment, and he was able to return to his ordinary life. After that, he worked non-stop until he reached this point.
“You look nervous. Drink that tea first for now. We don’t offer warm tea for no reason when we do consultations. There are many cases where the body affects the mind. Just warming up your body will allow you to regain your calm.”
“I guess I can’t ignore a doctor’s advice.”
Junmin drank the tea for now. Just like she said, he felt a little better after warmth circulated around his body. When he regained a bit of his calmness, he started taking in the scenery of her house. He had never been here since his last visit about a year ago, but nothing had changed at all.
“Generally we should start from the outside, but you don’t like things that way, so let’s hear what the problem is first.”
“I saw something strange. A scenery I could never have seen flashed in front of me. I could hear sounds as well.”
“Was it a one-off thing? Or did it happen frequently?”
“I’ve never experienced something like that before.”
“You aren’t on drugs, are you?”
Junmin stared at his friend. She just shrugged.
“There are an uncountable number of causes for hallucinations. It might be a psychological thing, or it might be a problem with your nervous system. It could be a problem from the increase of brain pressure, too. In your case, there are so many potential causes. It’s not that strange for such things to happen after fifty too. On top of that, there are reports of mental illnesses recurring after decades even after being completely cured in the past.”
“How did you feel when you experienced that situation? Did you get into a panic just like in the past?”
“No, it wasn’t like that. It was just confusing.”
“How about your breathing?”
“I didn’t pant heavily or anything.”
“In my personal opinion, you should get diagnosed not only in the psychological area but physically as well. Your body is honest. It’s sending you signals because there is an anomaly. You’re still smoking these days, aren’t you?”
“I can’t quit.”
“Doctors don’t tell people to quit for no reason. There is nothing proven other than the epidemiology of it, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not good for the body. Stop thinking of it as a cure for the soul and think about it seriously. Next time, it might not end with just knocking on your neighbor’s door at night. I’m saying that it will be too late once you’re in the ambulance. No, you don’t even have someone who could call an ambulance for you. You aren’t married after all.”
“Don’t you think someone married should be the one saying that?”
His friend raised her teacup and faintly smiled. There wasn’t a ring on any of her fingers.
“On the surface, you might look okay, but you never know what’s happening on the inside. Don’t ignore my words and get proper medical attention. What you can solve with consultation is extremely limited. Most of the time, it’s medicine that resolves the clump in people’s hearts, not the words of a consultant.”
After saying that, his friend sighed.
“That’s it from me. I think you still have more things to say, so go on. This reminds me of the old times. You always came to me even after the treatment and grumbled to me.”
“It’s always good to have a secret place.”
“Do the people at your company know that you’re like this? From what I hear, you’re known as the iron-blooded man.”
“Maybe that’s how they want to see me.”
“Sheesh, I wonder why there are so many stubborn people around me. There’s Seonwoo, and then there’s you.”
“What happened to lawyer Park?”
“Hey, aren’t you two treating me like some kind of ever-giving tree? Do you think I feel good when you guys come to me and complain about stuff whenever you are having a hard time? Do you know what kind of people look for psychiatric consultation most often? It’s none other than psychiatrists themselves. Sheesh, I wish you could take your confessions to the church.”
“Well, sorry about that.”
“Don’t apologize so easily. It makes me seem like a bad woman. Man, why don’t I have any luck with friends?”
She chuckled before leaning forward.
“Tell me about it. I know that you aren’t the type to come to me just because you’re afraid of some illness.”
“It was for a brief moment, but I felt so unfamiliar with myself. I felt like what I achieved was something I just received from someone else.”
“There are many causes and symptoms for depersonalization as well. Most of the time, it’s a result of a big wound, but that shouldn’t apply to you. You didn’t get into an accident without me knowing, did you?”
“Have you ever felt paralyzed?”
“Did everything look unrealistic to you? Did the hallucination you mentioned earlier seem far from realistic?”
“That’s the strange thing about it. Leaving aside the fact that I felt unfamiliar with myself, the things I saw were way too familiar to me.”
“Don’t you think it’s from your memories? You know, maybe a drama, or a movie, or a book that you’ve seen before.”
“No, I can guarantee that I’ve never seen those things in my life.”
“It’s the first time you saw them, yet you felt familiar with them?”
“The degree of realism you felt is important. You were normal in your ability to check for realism, and it didn’t feel unrealistic but familiar huh. The answer is simple then. You should seek medical attention.”
“So that’s the conclusion after all?”
“Obviously. If I could correctly diagnose you with a few questions, why would we need medical equipment? We should use machines to look into what we can’t.”
His friend stood up.
“You don’t have to….”
Just as he was about to stand up, his friend pressed his shoulders down. Junmin raised his head. He could see that she was looking at him worriedly.
“You really don’t look good right now. If I send you off now, I fear that I won’t be able to sleep in peace.”
“Sorry for being a bad friend.”
“You just found out?”
When she returned after putting away the teacups, there was a bottle of wine in her hands.
“You’re giving wine to a patient? I thought a certain someone was telling me to quit smoking just moments ago. Isn’t alcohol similar?”
“I would feel terrible to hear that from you but you don’t even listen to the doctor’s words. Here, have a drink. You haven’t been here in ages, so it’s such a pity to just sleep like this.”
He smiled as he accepted the glass, and she sat down right next to him. Seeing her sitting right next to him, Junmin couldn’t help but smile.
“So you really aren’t planning on getting married.”
“This isn’t the first time you’re saying this. I’ll just die lonely.”
“Then what about me?”
She leaned against his shoulder. Junmin just drank the wine without saying anything.
“A forty-nine year-old woman is no good after all?”
“Much better than a man in his fifties.”
“Didn’t you notice my feelings a while ago?”
“What a bad man.”
“Jung Haejoo, is that girl still in your heart?”
Junmin smiled bitterly instead of replying. His friend’s face became closer and closer to his face.
“I’ll take the consultation fee now.”
Her lips touched his cheeks. Junmin looked at her.
“What, were you expecting something?”
She giggled before touching her lips.
“Now that I think about it, the kid that you introduced me to last time.”
“Yeah. Have you heard?”
“I’ve only heard that there were no anomalies after a detailed medical check.”
“I am obliged to keep things secret, but I’ll give you a hint since you’re like his social father. That child said something similar to you.”
“Similar to me?”
“His sense of depersonalization, that is, being unfamiliar with himself, was fainter than you, but it was the same in regards to the fact that the scenery around kept changing. It was even down to the fact that it felt familiar despite the fact that he had never seen it before. Of course, the change in surrounding scenery is something separate from depersonalization, but the fact that the two occurred at the same time is definitely a strange thing. I’m thinking that there’s an environmental element at your company causing the symptoms, but that child doesn’t commute to the company or something, does he?”
“There’s no way he does.”
“There are no contacts between you two either. There’s nothing similar about you two, yet the peculiar symptoms match. What’s interesting is that even after a detailed diagnosis, the result is that there are no external or psychological problems. You might turn out to be the same.”
“That’s quite a coincidence.”
“It is a little surprising to be a coincidence, but since the results are normal, I had nothing to say as a doctor.”
She yawned softly.
“It’s somewhat wrong for me to say this to a patient, but can I get some consultation as well?”
“If it’s just listening, I think I can do it.”
“Then just listen. This is the thing I want to consult about. A cocky man suddenly came to my house and is stirring my heart. What do I do with this man?”
“Get him to drink and have him sleep.”
“What a really cocky man.”
Junmin could only repeat the word sorry.
* * *
“Be careful on your way.”
“Sorry about that. I was going to watch with you, but I ended up sleeping.”
“You must have been tired. We can watch the important stuff later, so don’t worry about it. Also, Yoo Jiseok, you should visit an ENT doctor.”
After sending Daemyung and Jiseok off, Maru cleaned the living room. It was 11 past 10. The videotape he was watching was on pause. This was the part where Joohyun shouted at Junmin. This could potentially be a sensitive part, so he did not continue the video when the others woke up.
“Did they leave?”
“Yeah. It was noisy, wasn’t it?”
“Not really. Are you going to keep watching?”
Bada nodded before returning to her room.
Maru resumed the video. He met Joongjin when he visited the coffee shop to meet Jincheol. He heard about the past between Joongjin and Junmin and received the videotapes there. Like what Joongjin said, Junmin didn’t have a good relationship with the members of the theater troupe, but it was getting better as time went by. However, Joohyun didn’t seem to like Junmin. Perhaps this was the case since Joohyun cherished Haejoo a lot.
-Ahjussi, you’re thinking that unni doesn’t have any talent, aren’t you? What you said at the beginning is just a lie, isn’t it? That’s why you’re talking like you’ve given up, aren’t you?
The agitated Joohyun stood in front of Junmin. The camera captured her face. Joohyun was angry, and Haejoo was looking at her with surprise. Junmin was also in the frame.
After a moment of silence, Junmin spoke,
-Haejoo can do better. It’s such an obvious thing that I don’t need to mention it. Confirming her talents, and giving her the conviction that she can do better – how is that any important? The reason the word ‘faith’ exists is because people do not trust. It’s because they do not trust that they keep seeking such a word and then affirm it for themselves. What I am doing is helping Haejoo become a better actress, not giving her faith.
When Junmin said those words, Joohyun made a complex expression. After that, Joohyun ran past the camera.
Haejoo called out to her and followed.
The video showed the stage with nothing on it for a while before it was turned off. Hm, Maru played the next video. The first thing he saw was a grey screen. There were people cooking pork belly on a frying pan. He also saw Joohyun, who was smiling awkwardly, as well as Junmin, who was cooking for her.
“Looks like things went well.”
Maru looked at the screen with a smile.