Life, Once Again! - Chapter 67
"Be careful going in!”
The kids went back inside with a bow . Miso stepped back inside the cafe with a sigh .
“Yeah . Thanks for today . ”
“I mean, this isn’t the first time . Here, have some dinner while you’re still here . I want to talk to you for a bit, too . ”
“Of course, but before that . ”
Miso stepped out onto the terrace for a moment . The sun had set, and the terrace was painted by a variety of colorful lightings from signboards of nearby stores .
The wind was a bit cold, it was truly the beginning of autumn . There weren’t that many people left in the terrace, either . They must’ve left to find some place to eat . Miso turned to look at the table at one corner of the terrace, there was a man in his fifties watching the people on the streets with a slight smile . The only thing he had on his table was a cold coffee, an old notebook, and a custom cigarette box made out of wood .
“How was it?” Miso asked .
She couldn’t see the man’s expression due to his hat . Was he satisfied by them, or not?
“Reminded me of the old days . It was nice . We used to do the same thing at subways . More often than not, people used to look at us very weirdly . There’s a higher risk of doing it in a subway, actually . After all, if you do it well, you’ll feel happy until you get to the destination, but… If you make a mistake, you’ll have to deal with it and the audience to the end . It’s incredibly torturous . ”
The man took off his hat . His thick eyebrows, sharp nose, and a very defined jawline made for a very strong expression . Miso smiled, and bowed once again in greeting .
“I see you’re still wearing that flat cap . ”
“It’s basically my trademark . I can’t just give it up willy-nilly . But to think you’d call after such a long time just to ask me to take a look at a teen actor… You’re a little too much . ”
“That’s why I said sorry . Do you want me to say it again?”
“Shush . That’s enough . ”
Miso sat down across from the man . They were long time acquaintances, since Miso’s started acting, as a matter of fact . The man was a senior in the acting business, but Miso never thought of the man as something difficult to deal with .
‘Then again, that’s what everyone thinks . ’
The man had a gentle nature to begin with . It was to the point where his friends often said that if he shaved his head, he’d be just like a typical monk .
“This is a nice place . I can tell the owner put a lot of work into it,” the man said, looking down at the flower pots under him .
Indeed, the flowers were all real, not fake . Miso knew very well that her friend worked very hard every day to keep those flowers healthy . As the man said, there was a lot of work going into this cafe .
“It’s a bit cold, would you like to go inside?”
“Mm, I’m fine . This is good for me . It’s decently cold, decently loud, and got a decently nice view . Look over there, that puppy is very adorable . ”
The man was pointing at a small pet shop from across the street . A small Shih Tzu was leaning with its front paws against the glass with their tongue sticking out . Several passersby on the streets were stopping to take a look at the puppy as well .
“You’re not planning on buying a dog again, are you?”
Miso knew very well about how many dogs lived in this man’s house . The shock from her first visit was still fresh in her memory . The man’s house was… put shortly, a complete mess .
“I’m not buying . I’m going to take it in with love . ”
“You look like you’re dripping hearts out of your eyes . ”
“Hearts? Mm, you must’ve entered a relationship, Miso . ”
“You used to say things that were much more offensive in the past, but since yesterday, your words became more gentle than before . I can say with certainty that you’re seeing someone right now, Miso . ”
“ . . . . . . . ”
The man was too good at reading people . That’s right . This wasn’t the only reason why people called this man a monk . It was also because of his eye for noticing things .
There were many actors that didn’t know this man . But of the ones that did, there wasn’t a single one of them who were left unnoticed by the big management companies .
As a matter of fact, he was also known as a maestro of finding talented actors .
“We can leave the private stuff for later . Right, so of the twelve kids you’ve shown me, who do you want to introduce me to?”
Lee Junmin . This was the name of the man who Miso invited to this cafe today .
* * *
The first thing Maru got greeted with when he entered the door was the sound of sizzling .
“You’re home, brother?”
Bada stuck her head out from the dining room, holding a piece of lettuce in one hand .
“You’re eating meat?”
“Ya, come eat . It’s super good . ”
Maru quickly changed in his room, and headed to the dining room where his family was grilling meat on the table with a gas burner .
“You’re late . ”
“Practice got a bit long . What’s up with the beef?”
Maru turned the package of beef around to look at the price tag . It was a grade 1++ beef . The type of stuff that went for 7,000 won per 100g .
“Did something happen, mom? Why’d you buy something so expensive?”
“Why would I buy something like this? It’s a gift . ”
“You didn’t get the call?”
Maru took out his phone, remembering that he put it on silent mode when he was at the cafe . When he opened it, he noticed one missed call on his screen .
It was from the manager of the gas station . Maru turned to look at his mom .
“Did the manager give us this?”
“Yeah . He asked us for our home address a moment ago . He wanted to say thank you, since he couldn’t contact you . ”
“Is that so? I wonder what happened . He didn’t say anything else otherwise?”
“Nope, he just dropped this off to us . ”
Maru decided to call the manager for now .
– Oh, is this Maru?
“Yes . ”
– Did you enjoy the meat?
“We’re just about to start eating . But what’s up with this all of the sudden?”
– I wanted to thank you . I was wondering what I should get you, but I realized there was no greater gift to a teenager than meat . Why do you ask? Do you not like it?
“It’s hanwoo . Of course I’d like it . It just felt weird to eat it without knowing the reason why . ”
– Hm? Did my son not tell you anything yet?
When he asked back in surprise, he could hear the other side getting a little noisy in the background . He could somewhat make out the manager calling someone over hurriedly . Soon, he could hear a ‘here, take the call’ from the other side .
– Ugh… seriously .
“Who is this?”
– . . . It’s me .
The voice was a little murky, and also pretty rebellious . Maru knew this voice very well .
– Yeah .
“Why do you . . . ”
– This is my dad’s phone .
Maru understood everything after hearing that one sentence . The manager was having trouble conversing with his son, who liked looking at bikes . He had a pretty good idea that the son in question would be Dowook, and now receiving confirmation from the person in question .
‘Looks like things got solved pretty well . ’
He remembered the time when Dowook tried to cheer him up with some peach tea in class . Was that how he thanked people? That was pretty cute .
“Did you make up with your dad?”
– Make up? We never fought to begin with .
“You know what I mean . Well, it’s good that you made up with him . ”
– …… .
“Did you look at the magazines? They looked expensive . ”
– I-I saw .
“Damn, I’m jealous . You have a good dad . ”
“Treat him well . He probably suffered a lot inside . ”
– I know, dude . Jeez .
“So long as you do . Ah, I was actually curious about something . ”
“Why did you say you didn’t have a sister before?”
– . . . Because she might as well not exist .
His voice dropped a tone immediately . His family seemed to be going through quite a lot over there . Maybe Maru shouldn’t have asked about that to begin with? Maru just thanked him for the meat really quickly .
– Dad wants to talk to you .
“Sure . ”
The manager started excitedly talking about how his relationship with his son was restored thanks to Maru’s advice . Relationships between fathers and sons were strange . As they grew old together, their relationship became somewhat strained . The sons only tried to restore their relationship upon empathizing with their fathers .
– I’ll see you next time .
“Yes . ”
Maru returned to the dining table after finishing his call . Because fathers were often the ones who had to wage war with the outside world, households often relied on mothers for support . That’s why some of these men could never manage to become a proper father and were forgotten by their children .
In that sense, the amount of work the manager put into this was incredibly admirable . He managed to achieve a perfect work-life balance . For a moment, Maru wondered what Dowook’s mother and sister did in his head, but decided not to think about it . He didn’t want to interfere with someone else’s family life .
Maru watched the meat cook for a second before standing up again . He took out a single-use plastic wrap from one of the drawers .
“What are you taking that out for?”
“I want to save some for dad . ”
Mom smiled victoriously .
“I already packed the food . Don’t worry about it . ”
Mom pointed at the little bag of meat lying on the countertop .
‘I guess that’s why she’s the wife . ’
Maybe Maru didn’t need to worry so much about dad’s health . In that case…
“Mom, did you get your results back yet?”
“Why are you so worried, Mr . Maru? The doctor said I have no problems . He said my wrist would get better with rest, too . I’m going to go to work after some more rest, so don’t you worry . ”
“That’s good to hear . ”
“You worry too much . Mom is super healthy!”
Mom flexed her biceps as she said so, which made Maru smile a little bit .
* * *
The girl looked out the window at the bright, shining stars in the night sky . Maybe because all her neighbors decided to turn off their lights tonight?
“It’s big . ”
The news stations all said that Mars would be particularly close to earth today . Indeed, the red dot shined particularly bright in the sky .
“I wonder if I can take a picture . ”
She tried taking a picture with her foldable phone . But unfortunately, the camera captured nothing but a blurry brown sky . She wanted a closer picture . The girl looked up at the sky for a second before turning on her computer .
While it booted, she grabbed her script to take a look at it . She could pretty much recite all of her lines in one go now, but she still looked at her script whenever she could .
“Hm, hm hm . ”
The girl flipped through the pages humming as her computer booted up . She redirected her attention to her monitor after the wait and clicked around a few times to find acting related blogs before finding a new blog on her screen .
The blog in question was titled ‘Life, Once Again’ loaded on the top of the screen . It was filled with diary-like posts that were updated every day or two . After clicking one of them in curiosity, the girl exclaimed to herself in pleasant surprise .
“He’s in the acting club as well . ”
Occasionally, he was uploading writing about his acting club . That was a pleasant surprise for the girl .
“Hello, I’m in an acting club as well . Let’s meet in the Seoul Arts Center in the future!”
She left a comment in the form of a greeting before closing the tab, and turning on some music . She grabbed her script, and pushed her chair to the corner .
“Hm hm . Ah ah!”
After loosening her voice a little bit, the girl walked around in her room, treating it like a stage . The girl looked as happy as she could be, performing her own little play in her room .
* * *
Maru noticed a comment on his blog when he came back to his room after dinner . A comment… on a personal blog like this?
“Is this an ad?”
He clicked the comment thinking this .
– Hello, I’m in an acting club as well . Let’s meet in the Seoul Arts Center in the future!
A normal comment? That was surprising . How did she manage to find this blog? The user’s id was Black Swan . He did feel thankful that this person spent some time on this site .
“Let’s work hard . ”
Maru closed the window and pulled out his math textbook . He did make up his mind to do acting, but this was only to meet her . He couldn’t just leave normal studying in the dust .
“ . . . Why couldn’t god give me an ability to be good at studying? I wonder why I can’t understand a thing when it comes to this . . . ”
What’s black are the letters, and what’s white is paper . Maru understood very little apart from that . He picked up his pen with a deep frown on his face .