Life, Once Again! - Chapter 63
“Um, would you be Mr . Han Maru?”
It was a voice that came piercing through the cold dawn air . Maru looked back towards the woman standing behind him . She wore a thin jacket, despite the cold weather . Her black leggings and khaki jacket was the first thing he noticed .
“Ah, yes . ”
“I’m sorry, I’m late . ”
“No, you came just in time . It takes a bit of time to get to the set, so please get on . ”
“Yes . ”
Maru opened the door to the back seats, but quickly closed it with a bitter smile . There were too many costumes and makeup littering the back of the car .
“You’ll have to sit in the front seat . I’m sorry . I forgot to clean up the car . ”
“It’s ok . Back seat front seat, they’re both the same thing . ”
The woman hopped over to the other side of the car and stepped inside . Maru got in as well, and started up the car .
“Do you want me to turn on the heater?”
“Yes . I thought it wouldn’t be very cold, but it’s so cold . ”
“Well, that’s just dawn for you . It takes three hours to get to the set, so please sleep if you need it . The director will give you further directions once you arrive . Your manager… you don’t have one?”
“Hehe, yes . ”
“Is this your first time in a drama?”
“Yes, it is . I’m actually a replacement for a different actor . ”
“Ah, I see . ”
Maru already had a gist of what was going on . If he was called out to do the driving, it usually meant the actor in question wasn’t very popular . Plus, this was Hyehwa station . The only actors that really got called in the mornings here were replacements for side characters .
“You must be nervous . ”
“No . ”
The woman said her response pretty firmly . Maru turned to look at the woman . Her eyes were shining, as if someone sprinkled silver powder on them . They fit the dawn air very nicely .
She didn’t look nervous at all . As a matter of fact, she even looked excited .
“To think I would be on TV… I’m excited . Well, unless I just get completely edited out . ”
“If they’re trying to find a side character last minute, they probably can’t afford to edit it out . Do your best . Who knows? You might be a star thanks to this . ”
“Boo, no way . ”
“Well, who knows . ”
Of course, he was saying all of this only out of politeness . There were thousands of actor wannabes out there . Out of them, there were many who spent their lives unable to reach the screens .
Stars were created when skilled people managed to get lucky . Will this woman manage to get lucky on today’s set? Probably not .
“Liar . ”
Maru was a little surprised by the woman’s sudden words .
“You’re lying . ”
“Yes . Hmm, I’m actually really good at detecting those kinds of stuff . Well, thank you anyway . That lie wasn’t unpleasant . ”
With that, the woman closed her eyes . Hm hm hm, a humming noise started to come out of her nose . She was flicking her fingers as she rythmically shook her head as well .
Looking at that made Maru laugh a little . He couldn’t help it, she looked so happy and at ease . The woman seemed to have noticed him .
“What is it?” she asked .
“No, it’s nothing . ”
“Are you surprised that a person you met for the first time is humming to herself so comfortably?”
“Can you read minds or something?”
“I’m good at reading people . But did you want me to stop?”
“Not at all . That was good to hear . ”
“Well, I’ll keep going, then . ”
The woman hummed to herself after a deep breath . At that moment, the car felt like a carriage running through a golden field . It felt like the view outside the car was warm and beautiful as it could ever be .
The woman was drawing lines in the air with her finger as she hummed, almost as if she was conducting an orchestra . She looked adorable, but the woman was as serious as ever . A frown would occasionally surface, almost as if there was a problem in her imaginary orchestra .
“Did something go wrong?”
“Yes . I can’t remember my line all that well . I don’t think it’s mine just yet . ”
“What is it?”
“This is too expensive . ”
“Is that it?”
“Mm, there’s one more . Can I get this for cheaper? I’m supposed to be a newlywed lady who’s out for blood in the market . 15 seconds on screen . That’s pretty long, right?”
“Hahaha . ”
The woman started flicking her finger around again . Hm hm hm . Her hums sounded like a songbird . Before he even realized it, Maru found himself humming along with her .
* * *
“Yo, Maru . ”
Someone was waving their hand in front of Maru’s face . Only upon realizing that did Maru come back to reality . Dojin and Daemyung were looking at him worriedly .
“Dude, are you really ok? You’ve been weird all week . Is there something wrong?”
“You’re making us worried . Did something happen?”
Maru shook his head . He pointed at his grinning face in response .
“Does it look like something bad happened?”
“No, but you’ve been in a daze for like, god knows how long . You were like this after the play, too . ”
“I just had something to think about . No problems . ”
“Really? Good to hear . Here’s your food . Shrimp burger . ”
“Thanks . ”
Dojin and Daemyung sat down next to him . They were at Marronnier park . Thanks to the warm weather, there were a lot of people performing on the streets . Some people were from theaters, while others were completely independent . There were countless buskers outside with their guitars, and there were even some people with very strange looking instruments .
They even found a group of middle schoolers out on a field trip . Around half of them were looking at just one person . A man who was standing still in the middle of the park, in a clown makeup . The man only moved when money entered his pockets .
Whenever the middle schoolers put 500 won bills into his pockets, he would sometimes move very naturally, or sometimes very stiffly to indicate some sort of a reaction . The kids kept putting more money in, seemingly very amused by the man’s movements .
“Earning money’s hard, huh?” Dojin commented .
Maru could only nod with a smile .
“By the way, what did you talk about with the girls earlier?” Dojin asked with a grin .
“I was just curious about something . ”
“Ohh! Maru, you’re a man, aren’tcha? Did you like one of them?”
“I just wanted to confirm something . ”
“Confirm? Confirm what?”
“You kids wouldn’t know . ”
“The hell? Just introduce me bro . Come to think of, they had pretty weird uniforms on . Don’t think I saw them around before . ”
“Yeah . ”
Daemyung butted into the conversation right then .
“They’re from Myunghwa high . ”
It was the first Maru’s heard of them . Dojin seemed to know who they were, though . He pouted a little bit in annoyance .
“Oh, so it was them . ”
“Yeah, I searched them up because I got curious . ”
The two seemed to know something . Did something happen?
“What about Myunghwa high?”
“Oh, right . You wouldn’t know, huh?”
Daemyung started speaking as he folded up his burger wrapper .
“They’re the ones who won the nationals this year . I tried not to think about it since we lost, but I kind of couldn’t . I found them when I searched for them online . They even have a video of their winning play . The one they performed at the Seoul Arts Center . ”
Seoul Arts Center . It was the place the students got to perform at, once they got up to nationals . They could only perform at the smaller theaters in the center, but being able to perform in the Seoul Arts Center was a great honor to begin with .
‘So she started acting around now . ’
He remembered the time they first met, almost as if he managed to find something he lost a long time ago inside a box . She used to be an actor of a certain theater, and he was a road manager constantly on the lookout for new jobs . His memories of the events that transpired afterwards were a little faint, but just having memories of her face, name and voice was enough to make him happy .
As a matter of fact, he felt like he was being saved by someone . Just being able to see her again made him happy again . Just today, his worries about the future wouldn’t bother him anymore .
“Man you seem happy now . What’s up with that?”
Dojin whispered ‘I almost feel bad for worrying about you’ under his breath, as he put a hand over Maru’s shoulder .
“So, you get her number?”
Maru turned away from Dojin with an exasperated face, but he ended up being greeted with an even more expectant Daemyung .
‘Look at these kids . ’
He understood why Dojin would be curious, but even Daemyung?
“T-the girl at the end was cute . ”
“Good job, Daemyung! Yes, if you’re a man, you must have a right mindset like that . You go for the girl at the end . I’ll go with the one in the mid-”
That’s where Maru put a hand over Dojin’s mouth . The one in the middle? Whose wife do you think you’re trying to steal over here?
“Shush . Don’t even think about it . ”
“ . . . . . . ”
Dojin scanned Maru with narrowed eyes .
“Oho oho, Mr . Han Maru . You’re worse than me, huh? You already have her marked down as your girlfriend? Or… Did you get her number already? Huh?”
“No, I just wanted to ask her something . ”
“Ask her what?”
“Her name . ”
“Name? Just her name? Really? What about her number?”
“Well… I’ll get that next time . ”
“Ugh . ”
Maru was content with just seeing her . He didn’t want to mess things up by rushing into things . Surely, they would meet again some time again in the future . He shouldn’t try to hurry, if anything, he needs to act like a gentleman .
‘I wonder if she’d accept my proposal again?’
Wait . Did he go too far?
“Dude, no matter how much you like her, if she doesn’t like you, it’s over . ”
Dojin’s playful words hit Maru like a hammer .
“Y-you’re right . ”
“Hey, Maru . “
“You’re right . What do I do?”
“W-what the hell? Dude, Daemyung! This guy’s getting weird!”
“Ahh . How did I not even think about that? Hold on, what did my wife like again?”
Dojin and Daemyung exchanged their confused looks with one another . In the meantime, Maru…
‘This isn’t easy at all . ’
Maru had turned very serious .