Life, Once Again! - Chapter 696
“Why are you here?” Gaeul asked as she held onto the broom with both hands.
“I see. Then did you come here to watch the plays in the finals?”
“The only one we watched was Myunghwa High’s play. A friend of mine said that we had to watch this one at least.”
“Apparently, there’s a lot to learn. But yeah, you guys are definitely good. The mistake in the middle was definitely unfortunate.”
“That can’t be helped. I think we still handled it well. If everyone froze up, it would have been a mess.”
“Yeah, if it was me, I would definitely have hid behind the curtains. I’d leave the rest to everyone else.”
“If that ever does happen to you, don’t ever run away. The other actors will be panicking, you know?”
“Oh, have you met up with Han Maru?”
“I just met him, and he told me to look after you. Well, if you’re going through something difficult, I guess I can listen, but don’t expect anything from me. You know, right? I can’t handle anyone relying on me.”
Heewon clearly seemed unwilling. Gaeul sighed a little.
“I have no intentions of doing that either. But did Maru really tell you to look after me?”
“Yeah. It’s nothing serious, and I think he told me that because he can’t see you that often. But you know? Isn’t it kinda funny? It’s been a while since I last saw him, and the first thing he does is ask me a favor. Han Maru, that guy is so shameless.”
“You’re talking to me like this though. Doesn’t that mean that you’re listening to his request?”
“Because I got something from him.”
Gaeul tilted her head.
“You got something from him?”
“Leftover ramyun soup. The director that raised me always told me that people are supposed to pay back what they’ve eaten. Anyway, I did my part, so the rest is up to you two. I don’t know any stuff about love and whatnot. You guys didn’t get into a fight, did you?”
“That’s… not it.”
“That just now felt similar to a lie. If you did get into a fight, make up over some food or something. It’s not good to see grownups being mad at each other.”
Just as Gaeul was about to reply, a student poked his head inside the theater and called out to Heewon in a loud voice. Heewon shouted ‘I’m coming’ before turning around. Gaeul, now by herself again, took out her phone slowly.
“Is it really just a guilty conscience?”
When Maru, who always looked calm and solved the problems that came his way instantly, cried in front of her like a little child, Gaeul decided that she would become the supporting pillar for him. It was probably back then that she started wanting to stand on the same level as him. But how did things look now? She was avoiding Maru because she was afraid that the image she built up until now was going to break. This was the same case with Yuna’s matters as well. She had to be honest. I actually don’t like you and Maru being together – if she said that, things might have gone well instead. When she told Yuna that she was okay with Yuna doing well with Maru, Yuna made a rather disappointed expression. After all, depending on the interpretation, the fact that she said ‘I’m completely fine with it’ could convey the notion that Yuna was a girl without any charms at all. If she showed jealousy or anger without holding back, they might be at a standstill for the immediate future, but they would laugh about it in the future in due time. A wound that had healed awkwardly couldn’t be healed again, and with this one, they couldn’t exactly open the wound again either. Only Yuna knew if it was filled with puss on the inside or if it had healed properly.
-Get some distance for a while.
The one within her spoke.
“Get some distance?”
-I’m giving you advice since I have lived longer than you, even though I may look like this. I mean, people say all the time that lovers need some time apart. It’s that distance that makes you feel endearing again and will allow you to find new charms in each other. At the same time, the time spent apart will help you heal your pain.
“You were snapping out at me in the morning so much, yet now you’re giving me advice?”
-I say this all the time, but I don’t want you to be unhappy. I’m someone who wishes for your happiness more than anyone. I don’t think there’s anyone else in this world that wishes for your happiness more than me, you know?
“I don’t want to believe in a stranger’s words.”
-Think what you want. However, you should definitely try getting some distance from him. This is definitely a necessary process, even if it’s for the sake of your self-confidence.
-That’s right. Self-confidence. Your idols were always your parents. The gentle father is your foundation, and your competent mother is your aim. There shouldn’t have been any problems when you looked at those two in life. That was because those two are people that support you and, at the same time, guide you. However, Maru is different. No matter how close he feels to you, he’s another person. People take a hit in their confidence when they get compared to a member of their family. So how bad would it be if that person was an outsider instead?
“I’ve never compared myself to Maru.”
-Now that’s wrong. You always said with your mouth that one of your dreams is to stand on the same stage as Maru and that it is objectively difficult to do that right now. You know the reason why. The difference in skill; the difference in talent; as well as the difference in your attitude towards life and acting. You started acting as a way to remember the old times and continued it just for fun until you only started desiring to become better recently. Your focus is on becoming successful as a professional. Maru is different. To him, acting was nothing in the first place. It was just a method to earn himself a living.
Gaeul’s mouth itched. She wanted to retort and ask how much she knew about Maru, but there was nothing she could say. Her words were entirely right. They were words that Maru said himself.
-You should know how difficult it is to choose one thing as a means and then put everything into that. But that changed. Acting, which he chose purely because he wanted to make a living out of it, ended up suiting him. His skills improved rapidly. Do you remember the winter 2 years ago? Even back then, he was miles ahead of you. What do you think became of that gap now?
“I know that. That’s why I also….”
-Yes, you’re doing your best as well. There’s nothing false in your efforts. In fact, you’re trying harder than anyone. That is why I’m telling you to stay away from him. Right now, you are definitely improving. Just like what happened to Maru before, this is the most important growth period in your life. You met the greatest teacher known as Choi Gyeonmi, and you are in an environment where you can learn real, practical acting instead of the acting skills that are needed to enter college. You should be feeling yourself changing every day as well. It’s not purely because of my presence. It’s your skills that are finally coming to fruition.
-A good teacher and the environment has their limits if you lack the talent. You haven’t seen your limits yet. You can rise even further. You also have the greatest partner next to you. Lee Heewon will keep giving you more and more inspiration. Whenever you fall into mannerisms when acting, you will look at him, which will enlighten you and allow you to take another step forward. Eventually, you’ll become the best. If you realize how important this moment, this kind of time really is, then don’t try to create an event that will eat away at you.
“Are you saying that it’s unnecessary for me to go and meet Maru right now?”
-If you can see him face to face with a pure heart, then it doesn’t matter. But that’s not the case, is it? You couldn’t even say what was on your mind to Yuna, your junior. Can you really tell Maru your honest thoughts in such a situation?
The one inside her paused a little before continuing,
-Above all, what I’m worried about is how Maru would act when he finds out about your lies and actions that you took to avoid him. What kind of expression would he make when he finds out that you gave Yuna mental pressure when he’s supposed to be working with her? What would it be like for Yuna? This may be an important time in life for you, but it’s the same for those two as well. No, those two are shooting their first drama as a main character, which might decide the quality of their lives in the future. If they manage to attract attention, they would be among the successful cases of numerous aspiring actors, but if they fail and get that ‘unskilled’ branding, they would never be able to find work for a while. You should know too about how much of a loss it is to miss the flow in the entertainment industry.
Gaeul gulped. That was definitely true. Maru and Yuna were facing very important shoots in their lives. No, the shoot had begun. Actors who were used to the scene and had been professionals for a long time would proficiently kill their personal emotions and act flawlessly, but that would be difficult for newcomers. Perhaps it was possible for Maru. He was different from the rest after all. However, for Yuna, there was the possibility that she might bring her personal matters into her role. If her acting is affected and it affects the overall atmosphere of the shoot as a result of that, Yuna would become even more nervous and enter a vicious cycle that would result in her ruining the greatest opportunity of her life.
She felt afraid now. She would never be able to get any sleep if bad things happened to those two because of her.
-You aren’t an adult yet. You are in the process of becoming one. As long as you get past this, you will grow up a lot. At that time, you’ll think back to this day and just laugh about why you were so worried. That’s because, by then, you will have the leisure. You will be able to smile.
“But not now?”
-I think you know the answer to that more than anyone.
“Why are you telling me all this? Don’t you hate me?”
-I say this all the time, but I wish for your happiness more than anyone in this world. Because your happiness is my happiness.
“…So the conclusion is to stay distant from him for a while?”
-Solitude makes a person mature. People may not be able to live alone, but they definitely need time for themselves. That will make you stronger.
“I don’t get it. I also don’t know what I have to tell Maru and Yuna.”
-Don’t worry about that. I will help you. I’m on your side. You should definitely have felt that there’s no malice in my intentions. I’m happy as long as you are.
Gaeul put her hand on her chest.
“Just who are you?”
The one inside her replied,
-The one who has been watching over you for a long time.
* * *
“Sorry, but I wanted to tell you my honest thoughts.”
“No, seonbae. In fact, I’m relieved that you told me like this.”
Yuna looked at Gaeul who was smiling with difficulty.
“I won’t be able to look at you comfortably for the immediate future, but I just want you to know that I don’t hate you. It’s just because I’m afraid.”
“It’s not like that. If it was me, I wouldn’t be able to say any of this at all.”
“Thanks for telling me that. I will try my best to get my stuff together and try to go back to normal. If I get mad and don’t answer you, please don’t get too mad at me.”
“It’s me who’s in the wrong. I’ll wait until you feel better.”
“Thanks. I’m really glad that you’re my junior.”
Gaeul left, saying that they should meet later. Yuna gasped as she clutched her heart. Gaeul-seonbae’s sudden confession made her feel chaotic. When she heard that Gaeul actually quite hated her, she flinched, but at the same time, she felt relieved. Being jealous meant that Yuna had charm as well.
“I should get myself together too.”
Gaeul-seonbae told her all that. She would never tell Maru-seonbae that she liked him out of her immaturity again. Drinking was also banned. At the same time, she also had the daring desire to think about what would happen if the two broke up. Yuna shook her head. She would never approach Maru-seonbae of her own accord in the future. She didn’t want to be an underhanded woman.
“But what if….”
Yuna thought about some things that she felt apologetic about as she saw Gaeul getting distant. Not a bad thought but an apologetic one.
* * *
“If that’s what you think, then okay. I will never contact you of my own accord for a while. But I do wish for you to tell me if something ever happens. I feel like I’m gonna be a little sad if I hear about you through other people. Okay, good work today. Have a good rest.”
As soon as he took his phone off his ear, the others, who had been silent until now, turned around and started talking. Maru picked up his chopsticks and spoke,
“What’s there to overhear from me that would make you guys sit still in front of meat? You should just get to eating.”
Maru put a piece of meat on top of Daemyung’s rice as he looked at Maru worriedly.
“Did something happen?”
“Nah. You know, the usual stuff. You know how girls are like, I want some time by myself or whatnot.”
“It’s nothing serious?”
“If it was serious, she would have told me about it. I’m not opposed to the idea of spending some time alone.”
“That’s good then. I thought you got into a fight or something.”
“There is nothing to fight over. We haven’t seen each other that much recently.”
Hearing that, Daemyung widened his eyes.
“Isn’t it dangerous then?”
“I mean, you haven’t seen each other a lot, and yet she suddenly says she wants to be by herself….”
Maru wrapped a piece of meat inside some lettuce before putting it in his mouth.
“Don’t just assume.”
“You never know. Don’t you think you should call her again? I heard that many people break up that way….”
“I don’t think Gaeul is that impolite. However, if she’s really getting ready to break up….”
Maru put down his chopsticks before continuing,
“Then I can’t do anything about it.”
“I-is that how it is?”
“Why do you look more serious than me? There’s no grand reason for breaking up. If she wants to avoid me and wants to distance herself from me, then I should let her go. Dating is something that’s done on the assumption that both parties like each other.”
Maru stared at his phone. He didn’t know whether she had become sensitive because of her period, or if there was some other reason, but he was sure that she had thought a lot about it. If that was the case, he had to respect her decision, regardless of the results.
“Eat a lot!”
Miso’s loud voice could be heard. Maru put aside his worries and picked up his chopsticks.