Life, Once Again! - Chapter 662
The fog was thick. He reached his hand out the window, and his hand became wet as though he had just dipped it in a bucket of water. The headlights of the car dissipated into the darkness without being able to penetrate 3 meters. The road was quiet without any other cars going by. Maru turned the wheel to park by the side of the road. It wasn’t even close to the sea here, and yet the fog was so thick. He was quite surprised.
“We’ll wait here for a bit. Fog like this should disappear soon.”
Maru rested his chin on the wheel as he listened to the answer that came from the seat next to him. He was now used to driving early in the morning, but the fatigue of his body piled up regardless of the proficiency of his mind. He even thought that he might end up in the hospital at this rate. He sometimes wondered to himself if the fuel inside the car contained a part of his life-force or something.
“You should get some sleep if you’re tired. I thought we were going to be late, but it looks like we’ll have time left if we continue at a speed like this.”
Maru turned his head next to him. A woman wearing a khaki-colored coat was looking at him with clear eyes. A ‘fill-in’ road manager and a ‘fill-in’ actor. They were colleagues in the sense that they weren’t able to go mainstream.
“I think I won’t be able to wake up again if I sleep now.”
“Must be hard for you.”
“Who in the world doesn’t have it hard? Being an actor is hard too, isn’t it?”
“I’m okay because acting is fun.”
“If you put it like that, I guess I am in a worse position. Driving isn’t that fun.”
A dry laughter escaped her mouth. The thick fog dissipated. As the view became clear, the end of the bridge could be seen. Light was slowly rising in the sky that was deep indigo.
“I’ll start the car again now.”
He turned the wheel and got on the road again. Just as the engine of the car started sounding like a lullaby, the woman sitting next to him started humming again. It was the same song she hummed when she first got in the car. The woman’s hum was pretty decent, to the point that Maru didn’t feel bored even with the radio off. Maru also followed her tune inwardly as he drove.
“I don’t think that’s a pop song you’re singing,” he said as he looked at the rear-view mirror.
The woman stopped humming before smiling faintly.
“It’s something my father used to hum. I don’t know what song it is either. I just heard it many times and got used to it, and before I knew it, I was humming the same thing. Did I disturb you?”
“No, it was pleasant.”
“That doesn’t sound like a lie this time.”
“Is it really that obvious that I’m lying?”
“No, it’s not like that… but I can tell through feel.”
“Looks like you’re quite developed in that aspect. Good for you. You have a lie detector installed inside you, so I guess you will never get deceived when you face other people.”
“Uhm, that’s not true. I do get that I’m quite witty, but this is the first time I got it right like this. Strange, isn’t it? It’s not like this for other people, but when I look at you, I feel like I can tell what you’re thinking. Oh yeah, it feels strange for me to talk to you like this, doesn’t it?”
The woman covered her mouth and smiled faintly. What a strange person. Maru looked at the woman through the corner of his eyes. On her left hand, which was by her mouth, there was a ring with the symbol of a rabbit on it. She was in her mid twenties, definitely not an age where a rabbit ring suited her. It was a ring that looked like it would cost 1,000 won on the street. Was it a friendship ring?
“Is it strange?”
The woman asked while touching the ring.
“Looks like a friendship ring. You know, the ones you match with your friends.”
“No, I just bought it because I thought it was pretty. This caught my eyes on my way home from buying groceries. I picked it up without hesitation. I like rabbits.”
The woman boasted her hand. Maru stepped on the brakes to slow down a little. There was a traffic jam at the end of the bridge. Was there an accident or something because of the thick fog? He felt like he could hear a siren.
“Looks like there was an accident.”
“That’s a pain. If it’s a big accident, we’ll have no choice but to stay stuck here for a while. We’ll be late like that.”
Maru tapped on the wheel with his fingers. If they were late, it would be him, not the actor next to him, who would get into more trouble. His superior would mock him for not being able to make it on time, the production team would give him glares, and if there’s a director or an assistant director with a bad personality, he might get a load of insults.
“It would be great if we can fly at a time like this. Or maybe find a secret underground path. Do you know Alice in Wonderland? There’s a magical cave that leads you into a different world, and whenever I get stuck in traffic, I get reminded of that. Once we go in and come back out, we’ll be at our destination. Of course, the big bad rabbit only leads us inside the cave without telling us the way out.”
Maru stopped everything and looked at the woman sitting next to him. In this chaotic situation where loud car horns could be heard everywhere and where people were busy making calls, she was peacefully talking about a fairy tale. He didn’t understand if she was bold or didn’t have a sense of crisis. The woman leaned against the back of the seat before pushing the chair back. Half-lying back, the woman stared at Maru.
“You should get some rest at a time like this.”
She closed her eyes and started humming. That humming blocked out all the noise from the outside, and the faint splashing sound below the bridge became faint. People’s voices also disappeared into the rhythm of her humming. Only the space where she was lying felt like it was separated from reality. When he looked at her, who was enjoying the rhythm, he found himself rather laughable for being in a hurry. Que sera sera, huh?
The nervousness disappeared in an instant. His tense mind also became relaxed. If they were late, they were late. An irresponsible thought came to his mind. Maru rested his neck on the headrest and calmed his breathing to match the faint hum. He didn’t know how long had passed before he heard the other cars moving along with loud car horns. When he opened his eyes slightly, he saw the cars moving forward on the first lane.
“Thankfully, it was solved quite early,” said the woman sitting next to him.
Maru stretched his arms and started driving immediately. Maybe thanks to the short sleep, he felt a lot more clear-headed. The fatigue that had built up was definitely not something that would dissolve with a few minutes of sleep, too. It was quite a curious thing.
“You look better now.”
The woman was smiling. She opened the window slightly. A damp early morning wind entered the car. Her hair started fluttering, and her exclamations could be heard distinctively within the wind. The light that lit up the sky colored her cheeks in a reddish color. Maru continuously stared at her face, her smile, her fluttering hair, as well as the sunlight breaking into pieces on the river.
“What’s your name?”
That question escaped his mouth without going through his brain. Maru turned his head forward in a fluster after saying those words. He could feel her gaze hitting his cheeks. She looked at him for a while before speaking with a chuckle.
“Isn’t it courtesy to introduce yourself first before asking for someone’s name?”
“So, what’s your name?” she asked.
Maru felt a strong sense of nervousness as though he was doing an interview and barely opened his mouth.
Speaking his own name couldn’t feel more strange than that. He felt like he was uttering some scientific jargon he had never heard of before. He even explained because he wondered if he said his name properly.
“Quite strange isn’t it? Apparently, Maru means the sky.”
“Really? That’s a different meaning from what I know.”
“The meaning of Maru I know has the meaning the summit. It also had a meaning of the sky, huh?”
She nodded. Maru focused on driving with his ears perked open. It was her turn to say her name.
“My name is….”
* * *
Maru woke up, feeling a chill. He saw a man holding a briefcase. Next to him was a group of people wearing hiking clothes. Tudum-tudum, the vibration of the train shook his head. Maru heaved out a hot breath that was inside his chest. He had a headache.
Did he fall asleep? He didn’t feel that tired, but it seemed that he fell asleep because he was sitting down. Just as he was about to twist his body to stretch, he realized that there was something on his shoulder. Yuna was sleeping deeply. He moved his left hand to take out his phone. It was 11 p.m. There were still seven stops until Suwon station.
He tapped on Yuna’s shoulder. He thought that she would wake up soon, but she didn’t budge. Just as he was wondering if he should shake her awake, he saw Yuna licking her lips. It seemed that she was tired.
Maru put down his hand. He decided to pretend to be asleep until they arrived at Suwon station and to shake his shoulders to wake her up when they arrived. Now that he thought about it, Yuna might feel embarrassed if he woke her up now.
Just as he stretched his neck slightly so that Yuna wouldn’t wake up while he was yawning, he remembered his dream. He was driving and a woman was riding next to him. Maru blinked his eyes in a daze. He remembered that it was a very pleasant dream, but he couldn’t remember the conversation they had nor what situation he was in. Only fragments of the sound reverberated in his head. Car horns, complaining sounds, the sound of the wind that entered through the window, the splashing of the river.
He felt like there was a conversation as well. He remembered asking for the other’s name. Han Maru – that was what he said. What did the woman say? The moment he remembered the woman’s lips moving, the woman’s face was colored in darkness as though a drop of ink fell into the water. He could remember the khaki-colored coat, but her face was hidden behind a black dot. What did the woman in his dream say?
He thought about it before stopping. It was just a dream. It wasn’t worth it to be so hung up on it. Just as he was about to put his phone back into his pocket, he touched the ring. Maru took out the ring and put it in front of his eyes.
“I guess it is childish.”
Why did he buy such a childish ring? When he stared at it, something came to his mind. The animal that Gaeul liked was a rabbit. Maru nodded before putting the ring back in his pocket. It wasn’t something he was interested in. Whether she liked rabbits or whatever, they were dating right now, so there shouldn’t be a need to be considerate to such detail in order to fit each other’s preferences.
At that moment, he felt Yuna, who was leaning against him, moving. Maru slowly closed his eyes. He inwardly counted to 30 before opening his eyes again. When he looked next to him, he saw Yuna looking at the train map nervously.
“Oh, I fell asleep.”
“Seonbae, were you sleeping until now?”
“Yeah, I was. Why do you ask?”
“Nothing, it’s nothing.”
Yuna sighed in relief. Maru thought that he did the right thing not to wake her up. It was obvious that she would’ve been uneasy if he woke her up before. After a while, there was an announcement about arriving at Suwon station.
“Should we get off then?”
After getting off the train, he did some stretches by twisting his body. As he had been sleeping while sitting for quite a long time, he felt rather stiff. Yuna also seemed to feel stiff as she was spinning her arms around.
“Well done today.”
“You too, seonbae.”
“Looks like the next time we’ll be meeting is during the shoot.”
“Do your best practicing for that. We must shoot a good drama, right?”
“Yes. I’ll try hard.”
He told Yuna to go first. Yuna, who looked stiff, took a bow before leaving the station. After checking to see that Yuna left, he massaged his shoulder. He thought back to Yuna, who was dozing off on his shoulder, and smiled when an ad entered his eyes. A couple wearing a tuxedo and a wedding dress were standing with bright smiles. It was a wedding hall ad.
“I won’t live as a bachelor in this life.”
A loving wife and child or maybe children. Just imagining such a thing made him happy. Living alone in his forties was a pretty sad thing. If he had a lot of money, he would live a decent life, but with the wage of a bus driver he had a hard time preparing for his retirement. On days where he felt sick after working, he would suffer by himself and….
‘I felt like someone cooked porridge for me. Was it Kim-hyung? Or Choi-hyung?’
Maru scratched his head before turning around. Wasn’t it okay now to forget about a life that was past him? He had a bright future in his hands. It was time to focus on reality. Passion and a challenging mindset. He would be able to do anything with those two. Maru put his hand in his pocket before starting to walk. When his hand touched the ring, he felt slightly stuffy in the chest, but he soon felt okay. Perhaps this was why people slept while lying down. Shaking off the slight headache and chest pains, he headed towards the bus stop.
Now you see why I only read up to 662 and not more…
At this point, I don’t know what feels more tragic. Opting to go back to the past, knowing full well that you’ll lose all your memories? Or Opting to go back while fully knowing that you’ll gradually lose your memories….
Maru lost his memories about his wife!
After all the “Even if I lose my memories, I will keep loving Gaeul forever” crap, he now thinks that it’s just a typical relationship between students…
Author, is this a setup for Yuna to date Maru!? Is it!? Man, I don’t know what I would feel about that.
Well. That was very depressing. Like Chamber said, we even had that whole spiel about never forgetting her. Wonder if his memories will come back one day or if he’ll just get his current set of memories in the next time loop or whatever.