Life, Once Again! - Chapter 718
That woman, who was sitting on someone else’s bed like it was nothing, was wearing a white suit again today. She looked like she was remembering something from the past. Maru wondered if he had to offer her a drink or something. Unlike before, she was quiet today. It was as though her business here was to watch.
Maru looked at her with a calm look but inwardly, he was exclaiming. She had the face of a human, but her face possessed a beauty that couldn’t be described as anything human. Her beauty looked like it was about to suck him in.
Looking at her in detail, there were ordinary parts about her as well. For example, her nose. From the perspective of western beauty, her nose was slightly low and round. Her eyes and mouth were also very normal-looking when viewed separately, but with all of them together, she was practically the goddess of beauty. Maru, who admired her like he was admiring a splendid piece of art, suddenly came to himself. She wasn’t a sculpture. Though, she wasn’t human either. Would she have emotions then?
“What were you doing?” the woman asked as she looked at his desk.
“I thought people with your job all knew? I thought you were watching my every action.”
He blinked once. The woman, who was on the bed, was now right next to him, reading a memo in her hand. From up close, her skin looked like semi-translucent glass. He felt like it would be hard and cold like glass instead of soft like real skin. The moment he realized that she was different, the ‘mysterious beauty’ about her vanished, giving him a look at her true appearance. The side of the face was familiar to him. He could smell something human from her. The smell wafting into his nose was remembered by his brain cells.
“Have we seen each other before?”
He remembered back to the time he awkwardly asked for her number. It was a rather crude question and one that was meaningless, but he had to do it. A sharp sense of déjà vu. Something told him that she was a woman he had seen before. And from real close too.
“Looks like you forgot that I’m the first person you saw after you died.”
She sounded like how a lady at the counter would give him a receipt. Her words didn’t contain any emotions and she looked expressionless as well.
“Why are you writing down things like that?”
“Am I obligated to say it?”
“You aren’t, but I’m personally curious as to why you’re writing down such things.”
“If it’s something personal, I guess I don’t need to answer you.”
Only after he said those words did Maru realize that he was strangely uncooperative with her. Her monotone words put him off. Why? – he asked that question to himself. The answer came quickly. It was because of her unkind-sounding words.
It was strange. Why did he feel awkward and even feel a faint sense of rage when he experienced her cold attitude even though he didn’t have any specific relationship with her? She wasn’t someone who worked in the service industry. Her being unkind should not be a target of rage. A fire was set to his emotions and it burned in a strange direction that was hard to describe. However, Maru was also able to derive another feeling. He felt disappointed, enraged, and even sad that she spoke without even looking at him.
She started reading other memos. Does she, a spiritual being, read text word by word like people did? She took quite a long time to read a piece of text written on a small piece of paper.
“You were born again.”
“The fact that you were born again means that your previous life is a thing of the distant past. The past isn’t something you can change just because you look back.”
“That sounds about right.”
“It’s the same for this life as well. Even if you look back at the past, you will not gain anything. As someone who lived another life, you should be aware of the importance of preparing for a better tomorrow rather than looking back and regretting the past.”
“I know. But isn’t it strange? Something I wrote a mere two years ago suddenly feels strange, and I can’t understand the actions I took back then. Yes, since this is my new chance at life, going forward is very important. But that doesn’t mean that I can abandon the past entirely. It is extremely iffy to know that there is a me that I don’t know of.”
“Everyone changes with time. They have to change with time. What’s so important about the past? You are walking down the correct path right now. You should have your hands full going forward. Why do you keep minding something that has passed already?”
“It may have passed already, but ultimately, they lie on the same path. If I keep walking when I don’t even know that my trajectory has veered a little, I might end up having regrets. Once that happens, I won’t be able to do anything, so that’s why I’m trying to think about it now.”
“Time is not continuous. It’s discrete. That’s why looking at the past is something meaningless. You already have plenty of experience, don’t you? You are going to run out of time even if you move forward with your experiences as the basis. Why do you keep looking back? You are going on the right path. You should believe that and….”
For a brief moment, Maru saw a tinge of red on her pale face. The way she expressed a big of vexation and discomfort made her, someone who had transcended humanity, human again.
Maru reached out and took away the memo in her hands.
“Whatever I do, it is my freedom to do so.”
“No, your life is something that someone else gave you. Is there a freedom to a life yielded to you?”
“Then take it back. I feel incredibly confused and displeased right now. Just what are you planning to say? Is the reason you came here to mock me for wrestling with my past? Or is there a reason that I can’t look back at my history?”
Her overbearing eyes closed before opening again. The humanity about her that was faint but definitely present, had disappeared at once. She seemed to have changed into god’s messenger: someone flawless and perfect.
“Okay then. I’m not qualified to say anything. But please, do keep something in mind: there is no meaning to the things that have already happened. The world is strict, and you should have your hands full trying to move forward.”
“You don’t need to worry about that. I can take care of myself.”
“I’m sure you can. Like what you just said, I hope you can take care of only yourself.”
She looked at the memos before turning around. Her body slowly turned translucent. Just before she disappeared, she spoke at the last moment,
“It was not my intention to get annoyed at you. I’m sorry.”
Her body completely disappeared. Maru put down the memo in his hand on the desk.
“Oppa, you should eat some snacks.”
Just as he was analyzing her words and actions on his bed, he could hear Bada’s words. He opened the door and came out to the living room.
“Were you calling someone?”
“Really? Then what were you doing by yourself?”
“What else? I was practicing my lines,” Maru said with a smile.
He put a snack in his mouth and bit on it. He could hear a short snap. What was she trying to say? Her lips, voice, and image kept playing repeatedly in his mind. The parts of his brain responsible for memory were trying their best to capture her figure.
“Did something happen?” Bada asked.
Maru looked at the stick-shaped snack in his hands. The chocolate part had long since disappeared in his mouth. He realized that he was clattering his teeth in empty air. It was natural for Bada to ask if something was up.
“If you’re sleepy, you should go to sleep. I’ll eat these in your stead.”
Bada pulled the basket over to her side. Maru told her to eat moderately before returning to his room.
Everything in the world was tied by the laws of cause and effect. His expression of emotions during the day and her appearance shouldn’t be coincidental. Did the gods not look favorably on the people who came back to life and were being clingy to their history? Or was something he was not allowed to know buried under the 2 years’ worth of time?
Maru lifted up his memo and shone it against the light.
“Is something happening?” he wondered to himself in a small voice as he looked at the semi-translucent memo.
* * *
“Yes. I thought that the role fits you so I brought it over. If you like it, then you should try it. Trying an audition is also a form of experience.”
Gyeonmi gave her a stack of A4 papers in a clear file. When she received it and opened it, she saw a scenario, the characters appearing in it, as well as the script.
“Can I have a look?”
“It’s not like you’re going to tell other people about it, are you?”
Gaeul started reading the scenario. The story was that of many people getting trapped under a collapsing building, relying on each other while waiting for rescue, and beginning to suspect each other, before ultimately reaching their demise.
She looked at the list of characters.
“I don’t see a high school girl here though?”
“Because there isn’t one among the leading and supporting roles. Were you expecting one of those?” Gyeonmi asked with a smile. Gaeul felt slightly embarrassed.
“But don’t be too disappointed. It’s a minor role that gives off a deep impression at the beginning of the story. It should be quite hard because the act is quite dynamic, but if you do it well, you will be able to make yourself known. Have a look at scene 68.”
Gaeul flipped through the script to find scene 68.
-Scene 68. Inside a collapsed building.
A schoolgirl has a leg trapped under debris. She breathes heavily while struggling in pain. In the complete darkness, the camera shows the whole scene. The girl groans before finding signs of cracks. Amidst the silence, she could start to hear cracks. Happy then appears.
“The name of a dog.”
“Ah, a dog.”
Gaeul nodded and kept reading on.
-Seeing Happy approach with big, clear eyes, the girl feels relieved for a moment before seeing an iron rod starting to bend. The building is about to collapse at any moment. The girl shouts at Happy, who approached her. Happy runs away startled. From the view of Happy, the building debris, which was maintaining a delicate balance, could be seen falling on the girl.
Gaeul pictured the scene in her head. The appearance of a dog just as she was about to die. The meaning the dog had should be very special amidst extreme pain and unease. She should have wanted the dog close to her, but the girl knew that the building was going to collapse. How would the girl feel when she shouts at a dog to run away at the last moment? Just imagining such a scene made her feel suffocated.
“You would have to see the final product to be sure, but you’ll be on screen for 30 seconds by yourself at the very least. It’s not ordinary for a nameless role to take up so much time in a movie. This film director places importance on human love, so as long as the acting is up to par, he’ll put you on the screen. That is, if your acting is up to par.”
“Do you think I have the potential, teacher?”
Gyeonmi replied as she rubbed her wrist.
“Gaeul, I’m not an incompetent woman who gives others false hope. You definitely have the potential. When I watch you act these days, I feel like you should be able to digest dynamic acts like this quite well. How about it? Are you going to try?”
“Of course I am. I want to do it.”
“That’s the kind of attitude I like. The audition for this role will probably be done through the connections of the director. Prepare this act and one free act. Even if you don’t win that role, you might be able to get another role if you manage to impress the director, so try your best.”
An audition for a film. Gaeul felt her heart racing. She had to show violent struggling and also the emotional part of shouting at the dog at the last moment. As the change in emotion was quite big, if she could do it well, she might be able to leave behind a deep impression.
“For the time being, try focusing on that script. The audition is in two weeks, but it might get pulled ahead. That’s why you should try focusing on different types of pain per day. Go into as much detail as possible. Think about how you’re going to express the pain of your leg being crushed, and what happens to people’s expressions when they experience pain that is beyond their scope of handling. This director pays a lot of attention to things like that.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“You also might want to look into documentaries about people in wards. There’s nothing more educational than learning what reality is like. Do your best to prepare. I already told the director that you’re someone I cherish.”
Gyeonmi smiled faintly and stood up.
“Anyway, Lee Heewon, where is this guy slacking again?”
“He’s probably on the rooftop. Should I call him?”
“Tell him to come down if he doesn’t want me to beat him to death.”
Gaeul put the script against her chest as she started to make the call.