Life, Once Again! - Chapter 767
Sooil came around when they had emptied a bottle of soju. Dalgoo, who had been docile until now, wagged her tail and welcomed Sooil. Perhaps even dogs recognized a handsome man. Dalgoo strolled around Sooil, biting his leg sleeves in a playful manner.
“Sir, I’m here.”
“Alright, come on in. Thanks for coming all the way here in this hot weather.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Maru waved his hand to greet him. He got a call when he was about to part with Miso, and when Sooil told him that they should meet up, they scheduled a meeting in the elder’s home. Sooil’s head touched the bug net that went across above the door.
“Man, tall guys are definitely different. Your head can reach that thing?”
“There you go again, even though we just met.”
“I’m just envious. My growth spurt fizzled out in high school and I haven’t grown a single centimeter, but someone has reached a whopping 187cm. Elder, I look better than someone who’s huge like him, don’t I?”
“Sooil looks much better to the eyes. You’re asking the obvious.”
“Elder, my maesil and honey-dipped ginger are crying. Please side with me here.”
Sooil entered the kitchen with paper bags in both of his hands and started putting away the things he brought under the sink, in the cupboard, and in the fridge. Maru also stood up and went over to him.
“You brought a lot.”
“I can’t come empty-handed when I’m coming to the elder’s house. Oh, put that in the fridge for me.”
Maru put the ginseng extract in the vegetable cabin in the fridge. Ginseng extract was added to the never ending list of healthy foods.
“Elder, you’re gonna have to skip your meals and eat these only if you want to finish them.”
“Take some when you leave. Also, Sooil, you didn’t bring more, did you?”
Oh, of course not – said Sooil before taking out the ginseng extract from the fridge. After organizing the things, he picked up a soju glass from the kitchen and returned to the table.
“You should have some as well.”
The elder poured some soju for Sooil. The talk with the elder, which was interrupted halfway through the story about his trip to Europe, resumed again. A glass during the plains that he saw on the train, another glass while talking about the focaccia he ate in a restaurant he didn’t know the name of, a glass over talking about some wine he drank at a famous château. When the elder started talking about coming back to the lodging and lying down, empty soju bottles had filled the table.
“We should stop drinking. The doctor said I should restrain myself.”
“I’ll go lay out the futon.”
Maru went into the bedroom and laid out the futon. After entering the room, the elder slowly kneeled down before sitting down on the floor.
“You’re visiting the hospital right? I heard that looking after arthritis early is the best way to recover.”
“I’m going to the hospital lest you nag me. Still, it’s rather fortunate. I didn’t get injured anywhere big, and it’s just a slight pain in the knees. At my age, it’s not strange to find a body part that’s broken beyond healing.”
“There you go saying things like that again. You should shoot another piece once you have had enough rest.”
“I wonder if I even have the energy to do one.”
“I’ll carry you to the shooting set on my back if I have to, so don’t worry about your energy. Then I’ll turn off the lights.”
Maru turned off the lights after hearing the elder say to him that he should stay longer. He quietly closed the door so that it didn’t make a sound. He also closed the metallic fence so that Dalgoo’s pups couldn’t scratch the door. Dalgoo’s pups lingered around as though they were bothered by the absence of their owner, but Dalgoo came by and took them to their house. The old dog seemed to know how important their old owner’s rest was.
“I heard that you’ve finished your last performance. We should toast, right?”
“It’s been ages. Also, if you wanted to congratulate me, you should’ve come yourself. If you came by, we would have sold several times the tickets that were actually sold.”
Maru grumbled as he extended his empty glass out.
“I’ll definitely make the time to visit.”
“You’re all talk. This is why handsome guys are no good. You only make lies with your handsome faces.”
“Why does it come to that again? Also, you know that I have an earnest and good image in public.”
Sooil’s signature dimple smile appeared. Maru saw that smile numerous times on TV. Starting with the movie that he shot with Geunsoo, he became known as the blue chip of Chungmuro and soon became well known through films and various TV programs. A new person was added to maestro Junmin’s list of new recruit excavations. He made his presence known through frequent appearances, and thanks to his discreet good deeds, acting skills, and even his handsome and tall figure, it didn’t take long for him to turn from a blue chip to a star. He was popular but lacked presence before, but that was solved in one go as well.
“If I keep lying without getting found out, that’s no different from the truth. I saw the photo that was shot at the charity bazaar. Anyone would think that you’re a good guy.”
“That’s my specialty after all. There’s probably no one better than me who can act the part of a good civilian, you know?”
“There is one more in my head.”
Sooil, who was bringing his glass closer to his mouth, suddenly smiled faintly. He looked as though he was saying ‘he’s as good as me’.
“How long are you going to be an actor?”
“Until I die.”
“Why don’t you just stop and inherit your chaebol grandfather’s wealth. There’s you and there’s Kang Giwoo too. You guys have super rich grandfathers. I don’t get why you’re trying to take over the acting industry as well. Ordinary citizens like me have it frustrating, you know?”
“It’s been a long time since I met anyone from the side. At most, I just say hi to my parents over the phone from time to time.”
“Oh my god. I can’t believe you chose to become an actor and ditch being super rich. Not only that, you were even successful! Is there even a god? If it’s so unfair, what is the point of living?”
“I’m just that well-off, what can you do about it?”
“This is the kind of stuff I should shoot and post on youtube. Title: Pure-man Yoo Sooil actually turns out to be a total cocky bastard.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t do this anywhere. No one would believe it even if you do.”
Sooil chuckled and waved the bottle of soju. During high school, he loathed himself for doing good deeds and being polite without actually meaning it, but now, he became able to just joke about it. It felt like the things he did out of a sense of duty became a habit and one with him and had settled as an element of him. Sooil would probably continue to do good deeds even if other people wanted him to stop, whether or not it was out of his own will or not. He probably realized that life was too long to give meaning to every one of his actions. This was how adults usually came to be.
“I wonder how long we can sit here and chat like this,” Sooil said with a flushed face.
“Why are you already talking about something you should be talking about in your later years in life? Did something happen?”
“Nah, I was just thinking that the elder has gotten quite old, and that just felt rather sad to me.”
“He’s still healthy. Stop talking about unlucky things.”
“He should be. I would be really disappointed if I could no longer come here.”
“That’s why you should come here often and say hello. He smiles a lot if a handsome guy acts cute in front of him.”
“Rather than me, I think you should be the one to visit more often, you know? He likes you more than me.”
“Are you a kid? You already have everything. You’ll be punished if you even want to take the love other people get from their elders. You should make do with what you already have. Leave being doted on by the elder to me.”
“Yeah, you can have that.”
Sooil clutched his forehead and leaned back on the sofa. Maru poured some cold water into a glass and gave it to him. The way he undid a few top buttons and gulped down the water was like it was a scene straight out of a fashion magazine. No wonder women were all over him.
Sooil, who had been sighing, raised his phone up high and took photos. He seemed like he was going to post it on his social media.
“Han Maru, come over for a sec.”
“You should make your face known.”
“If it’s like that, then gladly.”
The moment Sooil posted a photo on the social network, people on the internet started taking an interest. The number of likes and comments increased by the second. Sooil said that he wanted to show something interesting to him and turned on the alarm function for the social media app. His phone started vibrating like it was going to explode along with endless alarm noises. Sooil turned off the alarm quickly. He looked at the door to the bedroom where the elder was and sighed in relief.
“You’re full of bullshit.”
Maru took Sooil’s phone away and checked the social media post. A hundred comments appeared in that short moment. He could indirectly experience the popularity of a young star who was active on social media.
“I put a hashtag Han Maru on there, so people should be looking you up.”
“I hope they search me a lot and get to know me. I’d love to do that commercial thing.”
“Why did you have to go to the military back then? Even the president, who doesn’t usually interfere, kicked himself out of his office when he heard you were going to the military. I saw his expression back then, and he looked like he would be less surprised to see an alien suddenly appearing in front of him.”
“I should slave away and repay my gratitude. I finished the play I was doing, so I should aim for the TV again.”
The girl he only thought of as someone he should be responsible for was doing extremely well, so there was no need to worry about her. As long as he took care of himself, this life would go on without any problems.
“You’re leaving Daehak-ro?”
“If anyone’s looking for me, I should run over in a heartbeat and if not, I should look for one. I should get something if I work away as a cheap minor role for a while.”
“I guess there’s no need to worry about you then.”
Sooil turned his hand around while looking at the phone. Maru looked at the phone screen that was facing him.
“The president wants to see you. Looks like he wants you to prepare yourself since you’ve been resting for a long time.”
“When did he find out?”
“I think Miso-noona reported that you were leaving Blue Sky.”
“Gee, that noo-nim had to blurt everything out without holding back. She can’t keep secrets. What would I be able to talk about in front of her in the future?”
“Sorry to tell you this, but I also texted him as well. I found you despicable for trying to act like someone unemployed when you have the skill.”
Maru found it scary that a guy who could make such a smirk was the symbol of kindness in the media. This was why the image-making business was not something anyone did. Maru grabbed his phone which he placed on the ground. He got a text from Junmin: If you’re drunk, sober up, I’m going over. The heavyweight was coming.
“He wants us to sober up.”
“Then I guess I should.”
Sooil staggered up before going over to the fridge and opening it. Maru also crawled over and looked inside. There were various hangover drinks filling the place. The preferences of the drunkards that visited this place also took a corner. He took out some deeply brewed oriental raisin water. This was something that Junmin had placed here.
“He won’t say something because we drank some of this, right?”
“Then we should just put some water in it after drinking it.”
Maru opened the bottle.