Life, Once Again! - Chapter 688
“Fit yourself to the character or change the character to suit you. There is no correct answer, but there is definitely a better one. If you keep doing acting, you’ll be able to discern for yourself which is better. There are people who find it easier to fit themselves to the character, and there are people who have an easier time fitting the character to their own nature. It differs according to what kind of work they’re doing, but a person’s acting generally fits either of the two scenarios. That’s why it is better to find out which side you’re on as soon as possible. Like I said earlier, the only way to find out which one is better for you is to spend time. In other words, you have to undergo numerous experiences to raise your judgment and eventually find the right one for you. Only then will you be able to find the clothes that suit you. The reason why the acting of child actors look rather odd when compared to mature actors no matter how good they are is not because of their form of expression, it has more to do with whether they are wearing the clothes that suit them.”
Gyeonmi flipped over her wrist to look at her watch.
“Is the time allocated to each person the same? I don’t think that’s true. The fact that there are 24 hours in a day is only just a concept. It’s not given to me in form like this chair in front of me. Time is a tool that you can utilize. Experience absolutely requires time. That doesn’t mean that you can just sit around and wait. Just this year, there should be an unimaginable number of people around your age knocking on the doors of agencies for their dreams. Don’t wait for your opportunity. Take your time and stretch it out as much as possible and increase your experiences. Think about it outside of my lessons and even when you’re resting. If you absolutely need to rest, rest properly after determining what your mind and body really want. Beginners watch TV without meaning when they rest. That’s not resting. That’s just meaninglessly wasting time. Don’t just waste your time with something that has no meaning. You can do that when you have the leisure later.”
That’s it for today – Gyeonmi stood up as she picked up her book. The book she brought today was titled ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. Gaeul tilted her head when she first read the title. What would happen if grapes became enraged?
Heewon cheered. He gained vitality as soon as the lesson was over.
The door to the practice room opened and Haewon came in. He was in his school uniform and was wearing a backpack. She had heard that he was studying for midterms, and it seemed that he got here right on time for his brother’s practice to end.
“I told you, you don’t have to come.”
“It’s because we don’t have anything to eat at home. Hyung, let’s go grocery shopping on the way home.”
“Ah, right. We finished everything yesterday, didn’t we?”
“You just remembered?”
“How about pork cutlets for dinner?”
“If there’s anything cheap, sure.”
Gaeul always thought that the two brothers were just much closer than other blood-related siblings. A smart younger brother that looks after a lazy bigger brother. However, it turned out that there was a pain that she couldn’t begin to estimate beneath their relationship. Heewon said that it was okay and that it wasn’t anything much, but was it really? Gaeul tried placing herself in Heewon’s position. A life where she did not even know the face of her parents, much less their warmth – honestly, she didn’t have the confidence to last. She would have cried herself to sleep and gotten pushed around by the environment she was in before eventually disappearing into the abyss where no one could see her. Heewon and Haewon endured such an environment and were in the process of overcoming it. Pity? That would be absurd. Gaeul looked at the two with admiration. Of course, that wasn’t something she could say out loud. Even if they were okay with it, this was something she couldn’t speak about so easily.
“Haewon’s here, so let’s get going, shall we?” Gyeonmi said as she put her book in her bag.
Gaeul looked at her and asked,
“Where are you going?”
“There’s a reason I ended class earlier than usual today. Let’s go, I will treat you to dinner. Haewon shouldn’t have had dinner yet either, so save those pork cutlets for later.”
Haewon spoke as he looked at Gyeonmi,
“It’s okay, teacher. We can go home and cook our food. You don’t need to watch out for us.”
“It’s because I want to treat you. Or do you want an old woman to treat you guys to food? I’m going to get something good, you know?”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that. I was thinking that you should be tired and that you’re pushing yourself to watch out for us.”
“Why do your words sound like they’re straight out of an etiquette textbook? I’m sure you’ll be loved wherever you go. Heewon, you should learn from him as well. Acting isn’t everything.”
“I can’t do things like that. That’s why Haewon is amazing.”
Heewon chuckled and got his bag. His face changed when he heard that Gyeonmi was going to treat them to dinner. He looked gloomy throughout the whole class, yet now he was even blushing a little. Was food that good?
“Teacher, of course we’re going to eat meat, right?”
“I can’t feed veggies to the meat ghost, so yeah, we are. Gaeul, you’re coming with us too, right?”
Gyeonmi glared at her slightly. Seeing Gyeonmi hint at her to come even if she didn’t have the time, Gaeul smiled and nodded.
“Of course I’m going.”
“Good. This old woman will bring you to a nice barbecue restaurant, so you can look forward to it.”
Heewon dragged Haewon who looked hesitant. They all got into Gyeonmi’s car which was parked outside the agency building. Just like the owner, the car looked neat both on the outside and the inside. On the dashboard was an egg-shaped picture frame, and in it were the figures of Gyeonmi and her two daughters hanging their arms around each other’s shoulders.
“My daughters are pretty, aren’t they?”
“The one on the right is going to get married soon. I can still remember her when she was around your size, Gaeul, yet now she has found her own partner for marriage already. It’s such a curious thing. Even if I keep watching them, I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling curious.”
Put your seatbelts on – Gyeonmi added. Gaeul had another look at the photo while pulling the belt. Gyeonmi looked at least a decade younger than she looked right now, and she had a gentle smile on her face. She was different from the cold and rational-looking Gyeonmi that she and Heewon saw all the time.
“What? Doesn’t look like me?” Gyeonmi asked with a smile.
“No, it’s not like that, but….”
“I get it. Even in my eyes, the woman in the photo looks really different from me. I thought I didn’t feel that bad about the divorce, but when I look at my old photos, it still startles me from time to time. It makes me think that I changed quite a lot.”
Gaeul looked at Gyeonmi in surprise. It seemed that it wasn’t a coincidence that the face of the father wasn’t in the photo.
“Did you really get divorced?”
“Yeah, I did.”
Her words sounded as though it was like saying she had rice for dinner yesterday. However, Gaeul was at a loss for words when she heard her. What could she say? It felt like her mouth wasn’t functioning properly today. She ran out of words in her vocabulary, and the only thing she could do was to sigh.
“Wasn’t it hard?”
Her reinforcements appeared from behind. It was Haewon who cautiously asked that question.
“Right now, I’m not sure. Back then, I thought I was being chased, but these days, my brain isn’t active enough to remember all that. I’m getting old after all. I heard that you get more emotional with age and cry a lot, but it looks like it’s the opposite for me. I get more and more picky as the years pass. You guys talk a lot behind my back too, don’t you?”
“I never did. Also, you’re still young, teacher. And pretty, and thin.”
Those words burst out of Gaeul’s mouth the moment she saw Gyeonmi laugh in self-loathing. It wasn’t flattery. She truly thought that. Gyeonmi, who acted as a magazine model from time to time despite the fact that she was in her mid-fifties, didn’t fit well with the word ‘old’.
“Gaeul, having you tell this old woman that makes me want to boast a little. I’m gonna be a grandma soon though, so it’s true when I say I’m getting old.”
“Grandma, you say?”
“The one on the left in the photo. She’s going to give birth next week. Apparently, it’s a little princess who has quite a kick. I guess I’m finally becoming a grandma. Though, I guess it’ll be hard to see them. To my granddaughter, I’m nothing more than just an old woman who’s not related to her. But I do feel a little proud when I hear that my daughters are becoming mothers. I think that they grew up splendidly.”
For a brief moment, Gyeonmi made the same gentle smile as the figure in the photo.
“Thanks. I didn’t say that in order to be congratulated, but thanks anyway.”
“I hope the daughter will be born healthy.”
“That’s my only hope as well.”
Gyeonmi’s eyes were directed at the photo.
“There’s something I want to say, not as your acting teacher but as an old woman who has lived just a little more than you in life. What I want to say is that everything will become experience. The hard things, the painful things – once they all pass, they will become a part of you and empower you to overcome the oncoming trials and suffering. So no matter what is happening, don’t give up on what you’re doing and overcome that immediate moment. There’s no one who’s eternally happy, and there’s no one who’s eternally unfortunate either. There is only momentary happiness and momentary misfortune. That’s how I feel at least according to my experience.”
Gaeul slowly nodded. The words went straight to her heart. At the same time, she reflected on herself for being so ignorant of her surroundings. Heewon, Haewon and now there was Gyeonmi. She had spent a lot of time with them in the same space, but she knew nothing about them. She thought that she knew quite a lot, yet it turned out that she knew absolutely nothing.
“Tell us a lot of things in the future as well. I only realized today that just because you spent a long time with a person doesn’t mean that you can say that you know a lot about them.”
“…So you realized what I was only able to realize when I received the letter of divorce. I’m proud of you. Yes, I guess it’s not such a bad thing to learn about each other in the future. The skill pool of an actor increases with the number of people they meet.”
“Anyway Heewon, why haven’t you been saying anything for a while?” Gyeonmi wondered as she looked at the rearview mirror.
Gaeul also turned around in curiosity.
Heewon was sleeping with his head resting against the window. Gaeul wondered when he fell asleep. Haewon was smiling awkwardly.
“I swear I’ll reform that kid before I quit this job.”
Gyeonmi spoke with resolution. Her eyes looked fierce. Gaeul chuckled while covering her mouth. The car slowed down. They entered an alleyway where there was no distinction between the road for cars and the road for pedestrians.
“Gosh, this place looks busy because it’s the weekend.”
“You’re right. Oh, teacher. I think there’s a spot to park over there.”
Gyeonmi, who was looking forward while raising her chin a little, drove her car that way. The street was noisy with car horns, music from the stores, as well as the shouts of the people who had gotten drunk. Gaeul rather liked this crowded place. She looked outside and was imagining where Gyeonmi was going to take them.
“It looks like an accident happened up front,” Haewon said from the back seat.
The car, which was going forward little by little, had stopped completely. Gaeul opened the door and got out of the car in order to find out what was happening. A loud voice hit her ears. She walked a bit forward and looked up ahead. A middle-aged man was blocking a car. The middle-aged man was pointing fingers at the car and was shouting ‘get out’ in a loud voice while the person in the car just kept honking at the man.
“Someone’s blocking the way forward.”
“There are always a lot of interesting people on weekends. Gaeul, come back in. We’ll go to the left.”
She tip-toed to look at the scene last time before opening the door. Was a drunk person running amok? Or was the driver at fault for driving violently? She hoped that things would work out between the two of them. Just as she was about to get back into the car, she found a familiar face amidst the crowd of people.
Gaeul got in the car again and looked outside. She saw a boy and a girl walking amidst the crowd. The boy was walking, and the girl was staggering while grabbing onto the boy’s arm. Gaeul had a closer look at the boy’s face. No matter how she looked, it was Han Maru. Then who was the one staggering next to him? Just then, the girl turned around. The girl was also someone she knew. It was Yuna.
The car drove off. Gaeul turned her head and fixed her eyes on the two. When Yuna, who was about to start walking, started staggering again, Maru grabbed her hand. At that moment, Gaeul managed to spot it. What caught her eyes more than Maru’s scolding look was Yuna’s eyes that were filled with affection. Gaeul placed her hand on her chest at that moment. The figure of Yuna, who was grabbing Maru’s hand and swinging it back and forth, was engraved into her eyes.
Then, the words she said herself flashed in her mind.
I only realized today that just because you spent a long time with a person doesn’t mean that you can say that you know a lot about them.