Life, Once Again! - Chapter 632
She was a woman who pleased her just by being there. When Gaeul looked at the woman brightly smiling on the screen, she subconsciously smiled as well. Gaeul fell for the charm of that woman after watching her for about an hour. Leaving aside the acting part, she was filled with the desire to meet her as a person. That daringness, that kindness. The camera always focused on her. It probably wasn’t intentional. It was probably just that she naturally became the center of everyone when everyone gathered, making her end up at the center of the frame.
“She passed away?”
“A long time ago. Apparently, it was a traffic accident.”
Jung Haejoo. A person who could make a smile like that passed away in an accident? It was very unfortunate. How tragic the people who’ve spent time with her must have felt – she never saw her in person, but she could feel how that felt like.
The screen turned blank before continuing again. It seemed that some time had passed. It was the same practice room, but everyone wasn’t in it. The only ones on screen were Jung Haejoo, Maru’s agency’s president, a man wearing a neat suit, and a high school girl who had a grumbly expression on her face. Gaeul fixed her eyes on that girl after Haejoo. When Maru asked if she recognized who that girl was with a smile, Gaeul was unable to answer. She felt like she had seen that girl somewhere, but couldn’t think of who it was. When she registered that the name of that girl was Ahn Joohyun, Gaeul grabbed Maru’s hand and asked him if it was real.
The contents of the video were similar to before. Haejoo would show off her acting, and the president would tell her what she had to fix. It was an affectionate scene. She was reminded of her own teacher who taught her acting with a serious expression. The practice, which seemed like it was going to end on a good note, suddenly took a different path. Haejoo suddenly doubted her talents and expressed her lack of confidence. Maru’s president said that they should rest for the rest of the day after hearing those words. Suddenly, a sharp voice interrupted the two. It was Joohyun, who seemed angry.
Joohyun proactively agreed with Haejoo and attacked the president. She said something about how she didn’t like him from the beginning and pointed his actions out. It looked as though a fight was about to break out, but the president’s following words extinguished the kindling of fire instantly.
I believe in her. The president’s words were long, but to sum it up, it was that he had faith in Jung Haejoo. It was a declaration of truth rather than his expression of faith. Gaeul was truly impressed by the president’s words. There was probably nothing more reassuring than those words to someone who was about to get tired of oneself. Haejoo probably cheered up as well. As soon as the president’s words ended, Joohyun rushed out. Gaeul felt like she could understand how she felt. It was clear that Joohyun liked Haejoo and cherished her. She did her best in order to protect her big sister, but the president saw through the errors in her words and even cheered Haejoo up, so she must have been quite embarrassed. Gaeul never knew that the actress who held nothing back against the press had a past like that. She felt somewhat happy because she felt like she now shared a cute secret with her.
The camera shook a little. It seemed that Joohyun ended up touching the tripod as she left. The camera was slightly pointing towards the left, capturing the president looking towards the direction Joohyun left with a bitter expression. It seemed as though he regretted being harsh with her, even though it was too late. Just as she was focused on the president’s zoomed in face, she saw a person moving in the corner. It was Haejoo, who was looking at the president’s back. She was clutching her chest as though she was stifled, and she was licking her lips. The moment she felt a sense of desperation from her, the screen turned off. The video was over.
“It’s like a drama, isn’t it?”
Haejoo’s eyes that looked at the president lingered in her mind. Just what was that expression? It wasn’t that she was scolding the president for being harsh on Joohyun, nor thanking him for cherishing her. It was more like the despair of not being able to tell him what she had to say. That was what Gaeul felt in that brief instant. Was she wrong? The videotapes weren’t made in high quality, and Haejoo only briefly appeared in the corner, so it was likely that she was mistaken. Emotions only appeared according to the situation. There was no context or reason for Haejoo to make such an expression, so she must have been wrong. Perhaps it was her uneasy heart that made her see it that way. Gaeul saw Maru approaching the TV in order to change the videotape. It was this precise emotion in the video as well – expressed by the way Haejoo looked at the president. She was suddenly reminded of the rabbit she saw in a dream. Time is something that can be rewinded – those words tickled her ears.
“In this one, senior Jung Haejoo’s acting changes.”
Maru played the new videotape. A dim light shone down on the stage. Haejoo and the president were talking to each other in the center of the stage. The usual advice seemed to come out before the conversation headed towards a difficult to understand direction. Haejoo said that there was another self inside her. That self was specialized in acting, and she said that she could bring out that ability through talking with that self. Haejoo, who closed her eyes as though she was praying, looked sacred. A moment later, she opened her eyes and started acting.
Just as Maru had said, Haejoo’s acting took a dramatic turn from that moment onwards. It was unbelievable even though she was seeing it for herself. It changed from a ‘rather decent acting’ to an ‘acting that she couldn’t take her eyes off of’. The prayer seemed like a magic spell. Gaeul was unable to hold back her shock when she looked at the change in the acting style.
“I think she’s like the de-facto standard of immersive acting,” Maru said.
She felt that it was the right idea. That acting attracted all five senses. While she watched the screen, all of her senses were pointing towards Haejoo. She felt like she could smell things from her, and felt like she could touch her. It was as though a slice of the TV was planted in her head. Haejoo’s acting left that deep of an impression. It felt like she could replay it back in her head if she closed her eyes. Just thinking of it made her heart feel full of emotions. Gaeul had tasted a sensation like this a few times before. It was when she watched her favorite movie; when she looked at the character that lived and breathed inside it. She played back a scene from it over and over again with the hot passion of wanting to act like them. Whenever she did, her heart raced like it was going to burst. The acting of the woman on the screen was not lacking even when compared to the seniors in the industry who had left their names behind as legends. In fact, her emotions that made people’s heart ache was better than anyone she had seen before. It was incredibly difficult to express so much emotion with a character created on the spot, yet Haejoo managed to succeed.
She watched the screen with admiration, envy, and jealousy as an actress like her before turning her head around. Maru’s face was filled with something very easy to read as he watched the TV while pressing his lower lip. Fighting spirit. It was the spirit of challenge and pure passion. Gaeul looked at his face from the side without thinking about anything else. He, who was in arm’s reach of her; was close enough that she could hear him breathing, looked strangely distant. There was an immeasurable psychological distance between the physical space. Was it because of the difference in their attitude towards acting? It didn’t feel like that. Things much more fundamental and indescribable seemed to have piled up to create this sense of distance. The distance towards Maru looked endlessly far. She felt like it was an illusion that she could reach him when she reached her arms out.
Gaeul reached out and grabbed Maru’s sleeves. The texture of the clothes and the sensation of touch calmed her down.
“What is it?”
I grabbed you because you seemed to be getting distant – she couldn’t say those words. Just as she was being conscious of the sudden distance, she heard a voice. Gaeul turned her head around. Did the house upstairs turn the radio on in a loud volume? Or did someone shout from outside? The moment she focused on her ears in order to find the source of the vivid voice, she realized that the voice wasn’t coming from the outside, but from inside her.
Gaeul went to the bathroom. A voice she could not understand swirled inside her. She felt like cold sweat was flowing down from the side of her head. Her figure reflected in the mirror was a mess. Could a person become so pale so suddenly? She saw her eyes angrily shooting upwards. Gaeul pressed between her eyes with her palm. Was she lacking sleep?
She sat down on the toilet. She felt very strange. There was that dream she had, and there was that strange sense of distance as well. It felt like her day was messed up as badly as it could be. She wondered if taking some headache medicine would make her feel better. Eventually, the voice that made its presence known inside her faded away. She was reminded of when she lost her umbrella during a storm when she was little. She was unable to hold herself steady because of the wind, and she was unable to get a hold of herself because of all the loud noise around her. That was how she felt right now. Just as she calmed down her breathing and had the thought that she might be ill, a very clear voice resounded inside her. Unlike the storm of language that swirled until just moments ago, it was something that she could understand.
-I want to act.
* * *
Maru had a look at the clock. Gaeul’s demeanor looked very bad. It had been ten minutes since she went to the bathroom, and just as long had passed without him being able to hear anything. Just as he was about to stand up, worried that something was happening, the bathroom suddenly opened.
“I-I heard it.”
“A voice. I heard a voice.”
Gaeul blinked her eyes and raised a finger. The direction her finger was pointing to was the paused screen.
“I heard a voice from here,” she said as she put her right hand on her chest as though to calm herself down.
Maru had her sit on the sofa first.
“Do you feel ill?”
“No, it’s not that. I just heard it. It wasn’t a mistake. I really heard another voice inside me.”
“Are you saying that there’s another you inside you like what senior Haejoo said?”
“I’m not sure yet. I just heard a voice. I was startled and stayed still before focusing again, but it disappeared soon after. I’m not lying. It really…..”
Gaeul hurriedly added hand gestures as she tried to explain. Maru grabbed her hands, which were waving around without direction in the air.
“Calm down. I believe you. So let’s calm down a little, okay?”
“Ah, okay. Looks like I was too surprised and didn’t know what to do.”
She took a deep breath before gulping
“I looked strange, didn’t I?”
“I really heard it. I really heard a voice inside me.”
“Do you remember what that voice said?”
“Most of it was things I couldn’t understand, but there was one thing I heard for sure. She said she wanted to act.”
Her stiff face blushed before it turned into an expression of excitement. However, a moment later, Gaeul made an awkward smile after looking at the screen once.
“A mistake. It must have been a mistake, right?”
“If you heard it clearly, it shouldn’t be.”
“But it doesn’t make sense, though. A voice that is unrelated to my will.”
“But the person over there seems like she has experienced such a thing,” Maru said as he pointed at Haejoo.
“Calm down for now. You don’t have a headache or feel hurt anywhere, do you?”
“I don’t. I felt a bit unpleasant until just moments ago, but I’m completely fine now. No, I feel refreshed.”
“That’s fine then.”
She repeatedly opened and closed her lips as though she didn’t know what to say next. The moment she thought of what she had to say and was about to speak,
Bada opened the door.