Life, Once Again! - Chapter 660
“I’m going to clean up now, so you can get going.”
“I’m going to come back until I get permission from you.”
“Sheesh, I said that won’t happen. What a stubborn lady.”
The owner started cleaning things up with laughter. The owner’s wife, who disappeared with the foreign car, returned with two buckets of iced water and started helping out with the cleaning.
“Let’s go now. We should stop here for today.”
Jayeon looked at the pojang-macha before turning around. Yuna said goodbye to the owner before following Jayeon. The pojang-macha’s lights turned dark. Darkness crept closer to the street light next to the pojang-macha. The husband and wife cleaned the pojang-macha while relying on the light from the street light. They put food ingredients into a cooler and put the cooking tools inside a plastic container. The owner’s wife’s movements were agile and meticulous as though this wasn’t the first time she was doing this.
“Han Maru,” Jayeon called out to him from in front.
Maru looked at her before speaking,
“If we create a set, it won’t have the same vibes, right?”
“Yeah. An atmosphere that can only be created with the flow of time isn’t something that can be imitated so easily after all.”
She was right. The reason why directors were so intent on scouting good locations was because the place the characters step on would be a representation of the world inside the screen. Most of the time, even the scenery behind the characters would be decided by the director as well. The pojang-macha was a pivotal point in Jayeon’s work. The reason she used her own private time to scout this place out was because she wanted it that much, and probably because she thought that this place had to be the one. Maru looked forward to the drama that would occur within the orange curtains. What would it feel like to do acting here? Just imagining such a thing made him joyous.
“You can go first.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Throw a little tantrum, I guess.”
He smiled back at Jayeon, who creased her eyebrows, before walking over to the pojang-macha.
“You didn’t leave yet?” asked the owner as he lifted up the cooler.
“I was planning to help.”
“You don’t need to help. Just get going.”
“It looks like there’s a lot to do here though. Shall I fold this?” Maru said as he pointed at the orange plastic curtain.
The owner shook his hand, saying that he should get going, but his wife walked over to him with a smile.
“Grab the end over there.”
He folded the plastic curtain so that the metal rings in the corners met another when it was folded. He was reminded of when he put a vinyl film over a military tent during guerilla training.
“Give that part to me.”
Maru moved according to the owner’s wife’s gestures. He ironed the curtain with his hand so that it wouldn’t become all creased before he folded it. Once, twice, three times – after folding it until it couldn’t be folded anymore, he placed it next to the cooler.
“You’re good. I’ll ask you to help me with this one as well. Grab the end like just before.”
The owner told her not to make the kid do it, but his wife just smiled back at him, telling him not to be so picky. The owner pouted before sighing. The king of the pojang-macha had kneeled to the king of the household.
“Are you a student?”
“Yes. I’m in my 3rd year of high school now.”
“From how you came here with that person, you don’t seem like an ordinary high school student. Are you preparing to become an actor?”
The owner’s wife’s eyes were directed at Jayeon.
“I’m doing my best.”
“That must be hard. My son is also going around to various places, saying that he wants to become a singer, but gosh, he’s a pain.”
“Becoming a singer is hard too. You have to do a lot of practice, and you have to have the talent as well.”
“That’s right. You must have the talent. But the problem is, I don’t think my son is that good. He’s trying his best, saying that he wants to join an agency, but the results aren’t that good. He doesn’t show it, but he probably feels really bad every time he doesn’t get a good answer from auditions.”
“That can’t be helped. Despite that though, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to taste failure early on. There’s nothing more disappointing and regretful than not being able to challenge something properly after growing up. It would be for the best if things are smooth sailing from the get go, but realizing your limits early is also quite helpful in life. If he sees the limit, he’ll be able to decide for himself clearly. He can decide whether he’s going to continue challenging that route or look for another path.”
He folded the last curtain and stacked it on top of the rest. Meanwhile, the owner had finished cleaning up the interior of the pojang-macha and was closing off the kitchen area. He took out the support pillar and folded the stainless steel plate upwards. The kitchen turned into a rectangular shape.
“Honey, this boy says he’s preparing to become an actor.”
“He’s just like our son, isn’t he? It’s just the difference between an actor and a singer.”
Maru received a bitter gaze from the owner. The owner was telling him with his eyes to get going. Maru wouldn’t have come if he was planning to back off here. The owner was like an iron castle and did not budge to Jayeon’s persuasion, but what about his wife?
“I’m also doing my best like your son.”
“Really? I hope it goes well.”
“I’m not sure if you know this already, but the drama producer standing over there wants to shoot a drama with this pojang-macha as the stage.”
“If it’s that, I have heard about it from him.”
The owner’s wife smiled at the owner. The owner clearly seemed like he wanted to get going, but his wife shook her head. Maru saw an opportunity there. The owner’s wife in front of him was a drawbridge. In order to conquer the castle that was the owner, he had to do so through his wife. A mother who has a son who’s striving towards the uncertain future of being a singer. The household was financially stable, but she must be quite uneasy. After all, there were no parents in the world who wanted their child to fail. If he showed sympathy towards her son and put his own story into it, perhaps he would sound persuasive? Maru finished calculating and started speaking.
“I want to become successful as an actor. Just like how your son must encounter good composers and lyricists in order to become a good singer, I also have to come across good directors and scenarios. Right now, I don’t know exactly what the director over there is planning to produce. However, when I see the pojang-macha the owner has made, I can picture what she wants to make. It also makes me realize that it’s something I don’t want to miss out on. I only came here for the first time today, but I really like this pojang-macha. The people sitting next to me are strangers, yet I felt a sense of familiarity when they ate next to me. When the customers talk about good or bad things that happened to them, and the owner replies to them without ignoring them every single time, I really think it was a pleasant scene to look at.”
“My husband is a good listener of other people’s words. At first, I was opposed to him running this. He said he wanted to run a pojang-macha all of a sudden. But when I see him working hard at this hour, I feel like allowing him to do it was the right decision. My husband, he really doesn’t smile at all in other places, but he smiles all the time when he’s here.”
“I didn’t do that.”
The owner, who was listening by the kitchen, said that he didn’t do so even while shaking his hand, but when his wife asked him ‘really?’ with a grin on her face, the owner did not say anything. Maru thought that the two were a really fitting couple. The husband felt like he purposely lost to his wife instead of being dominated, and his wife understood that and played pranks without crossing the line. Perhaps this was what a happy couple should be like.
“So the point is you want us to allow you to shoot here, right?”
She immediately got to the point. Maru was unable to answer. He was robbed of any time to answer because of the sudden question. Maru changed his trail of thought when he looked at her face. Perhaps it was harder to gain this woman’s heart than it was to persuade the owner.
Should he be upfront with the persuasion? Maru had no ace up his sleeves. It would be possible to drag the conversation on with roundabout words, but he didn’t feel like it would work against her. Numerous thoughts flashed in his head in an instant. He even came up with a hypothesis that the owner’s wife might be the one who has the financial rights in the family. Perhaps when she said she ‘allowed’ her husband to run the pojang-macha, she might have meant it literally. Not just in the sense of a wife permitting the actions of her husband, but in the sense that she would support him financially.
That was unexpected, but the conclusion did not change. In the end, the person he had to settle the deal with was the owner’s wife.
“Have you ever heard what kind of drama they want to shoot in this place from that director over there?”
“No, today’s the first time I’ve seen her.”
“Then if it’s okay with you, can you listen to her about what the drama is about?”
“Is there a reason I should do such a thing?”
That question made him feel the chills. At the same time, he was sure that they would be able to shoot here as long as he got permission from the woman in front of him.
“Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee you anything in this situation. I’m a mere actor after all. However, there’s one thing I can say with confidence. It’s that the eyes of the director that found this place are pretty amazing.”
“Honey, did you hear that? The pojang-macha you’ve been taking care of all this time is a great place.”
Although he said it in a roundabout way, she saw through him immediately and told that to the owner. When you want to flatter someone, you have to do it subtly like a gentle blow of wind – he couldn’t remember their face, but his superior at work used to tell him that. They weren’t words he liked, but he couldn’t deny the fact that it was useful. Thanks for that, mister.
“I think it will be pretty interesting to hear what she has to say. About what kind of drama she wants to shoot here and how she wants to use this place as a set.”
Other than ‘interest’, he had nothing to persuade her. While it might be old fashioned, it was still enough to stimulate a person. It wasn’t that shooting here would be decided just based on the owner’s wife’s decision, but as long as he could get the director and her to sit at the negotiation table, it would definitely increase the chances for the shoot.
“You look pretty desperate for a young person.”
“They say tasting failure early is better, but I already tasted mine. I want to try succeeding from now on rather than failing. Of course, take it as something said by a brat who doesn’t know the reality of the world yet.”
She nodded before looking at the owner.
“Honey, did you hear her out properly?”
“No. I’m satisfied with running my business here after all.”
“That’s not good. A boy who can ask so politely wants you to listen to her just once. Why don’t you hear her out at least? Of course, if you still don’t want to do it, then you can clearly refuse her here. Decide so that both of us won’t have to drag things out, and that she can drop her hopes.”
As soon as she said those words, the owner wiped the sweat off his forehead with the towel around his neck. He then looked up at the street light before speaking,
“Go call her over. If it’s just listening, I can do that. Like what someone said, a boy wants to challenge his dreams, so I should at least give him a chance.”
Maru bowed to the two people before running over to Jayeon. Having detected that something was up, Jayeon immediately called out to him.
“What is it?”
“They want to listen to how you are going to use this place, and what kind of drama it is.”
“Yes. I’ll ask just in case, but you do have a scenario, right?”
“Everything on it, down to the last dot is in my head.”
“I guess that’s fine then. That’s all I can help you with. The rest is up to you, director.”
“I’m not sure what’s happening, but well done.”
Maru looked at Jayeon, who gave him a slap on the back before going over to the two people. He hoped for them to give permission. Not long later, Jayeon returned. The couple was leaving the alley with their stuff.
As soon as he asked those words, Jayeon grabbed Maru by the collar. She cheered loudly to the point that her voice echoed in the alley as she spoke,
“We got the place!”
Maru sighed in relief as he was being shaken back and forth. It was 10 p.m. when the dramatic negotiation came to a success.