Life, Once Again! - Chapter 793
“Just like how you think you’re done with everything hard in this world after you finish your CSATs, it’s the same for the national exams as well. But you know well, don’t you? In front of you is the internship, residency, then fellowship. I know that you intern doctors have it hard. But, do you think any of that will alleviate once you become a specialist doctor? No, you’re going to have an even harder time then. How about fellowship? I’m sure you know well that those guys are just called around everywhere because there aren’t any spots open to become college professors.”
Senior Yoon made a sly smile and raised his glass. Despite knowing that it was only an act, he felt so spiteful that she didn’t want to look at him in the face.
“So please cooperate with me, interns. Especially those of you who are almost done with it. Don’t think about leaving. If you don’t make it to residency in the department you want, you’ll have to come back and then we’ll have an awkward time facing each other.”
“Also, I’m saying this because it’s just because you interns here, but you know professor Choi Min, right? You don’t have to follow him just because he’s skilled. You know what I mean, right? I mean, that person is pretty, you know…. Of course, I trust that I’m not the only one who thinks like that.”
Senior Yoon snapped his finger. Kang Giwoo, who sat next to her, raised his glass first, and the remaining actors followed suit like a wave. Gaeul looked around before raising the glass about halfway before putting it down again.
“Drink moderately. After that, those of you who’re going to go back to the hospital can return, and the ones going home can go home. I’ll be paying today.”
Saying those words, senior Yoon stood up.
“Cut! We’ll turn it around and do that again. And also, Sunghoon-hyungim. You don’t have soju in there, right? You look drunk already.”
“If you want to say that, give me the real deal. Since I’m acting drunk, I might as well do it drunk.”
“Don’t you remember that you broke your nose because you fell over after drinking last time? It still freaks me out to this day, you know?”
“How can you mention that in front of all these juniors? Are you trying to chew me out here?”
The director and senior Yoon gathered in front of the camera while laughing. Gaeul also stood up from her chair and had Mijoo take care of her face. She was the stylist that had been with her for the past two years and was someone that she cherished.
“Unni, your makeup looks so good today.”
“Maybe it’s because I had a good sleep?”
“Sleep is definitely good for the skin, huh. But poor unni. You’re going to shoot like mad once it goes on air, right?”
“It’d be much more comfortable if they save up some episodes.”
“It’s not like they don’t want to do that. The schedule of the staff, the writer, and the actors. If you think about PPL on top of that, it can’t really be helped that it becomes busy later on. Oh, can you give me some water?”
Mijoo poured some water for her into a cup. Even though Gaeul told her that the plastic bottle was fine, she would always pour it into a cup. Mijoo was of the opinion that drinking from the bottle was unbefitting for an actress.
“Gaeul, your expression looked good,” senior Yoon commented as he passed by.
Gaeul lowered her head and thanked him. It felt very good to hear a compliment from a senior actor on the scene even if it was done in passing. Being told that she was good at acting made her feel more touched than being called pretty.
“Unni’s expressions are definitely good.”
Somehow, it was Mijoo who became proud. Gaeul looked at the script while the camera was being moved. When she looked at the pages filled with red writing on it, she suddenly recalled Maru. She started filling every corner of her script with words ever since she saw Maru’s script. That sense of fulfillment from analyzing and deriving a conclusion and then writing her own world of acting onto a piece of paper; she would probably not change this habit even in the future.
The shoot resumed. After the get-together scene with senior Yoon as the center finished, she was left alone with Giwoo. The eyes of the staff that surrounded them were filled with expectations. It was probably because of the director’s words saying that this was the ‘last scene’.
“Do you have anything to do after this?” Giwoo asked while the director was talking to the camera director.
Gaeul snatched a dried snack that was placed there as a prop and put it in her mouth. The savoriness and the crunchiness of the dried filefish filet made her smile. I should stay away from fried food – a late regret knocked on the door to her reason, but the dried fish had already crumbled apart and was going past her throat.
“I do have something to do after this. Going home and going to sleep.”
“I think it’ll be around 1 a.m. by the time we’re done, so why don’t we get something to eat, together? I know of a really good budae-jjigae restaurant nearby.”
“Where did you get the audacity to say that after seeing me eat half a sweet potato because of my weight?”
“Who was the one eating one of the snacks that were placed here as props?”
She quickly put down the dried sweet potato that she subconsciously picked up. Kang Giwoo was a really bad guy for giving her the irresistible temptation of budae-jjigae. She sighed and looked away.
“You don’t look like you gained any weight.”
“Why don’t you say that after seeing my face on TV? If I eat something salty late at night, you’ll see a completely different person tomorrow.”
“That’s a pity. That place is really good too. Looks like I’ll have to go by myself. Still, I’ll send you photos. If you want, videos are fine too.”
Seeing Giwoo smile, she recalled her uncle who grinned at her while snatching her snacks away when she was young. This was why ‘grown up’ men were even scarier. Gaeul snapped back at him, saying ‘eat all you want.’
“I was joking. I know of a place that sells low-salt seasonal vegetable salad. How about it? If you have time, let’s go together. Oh, you too, Miss Mijoo, Miss Haemi, and Mr. Chanwoo.”
Hearing his offer, Gaeul retracted her pouting lips.
“I do want to take you up on that offer, but I have a shoot tomorrow morning. I really have to go home and sleep.”
“I guess it can’t be helped then. Let’s have one next time.”
“Alright, next time.”
The assistant director gave the standby sign. Gaeul collected her emotions. She had to turn from the actress Han Gaeul into an ER intern. While the members of the staff left the camera angle, she uttered her lines out loud: I don’t like politics, I became a doctor to save people, I’m fed up.
“Get ready, action.”
After the director’s soft words, Gaeul started saying her lines. She had her hands placed on her knees and her face lowered a little.
“I became a doctor to save people.”
Giwoo replied to those words,
“Who didn’t? Everyone does that.”
“Listening to professor Kim, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.”
“He probably wants to save people as much as we do. There’s no doctor who wishes for a death on the table.”
“Really? Then how can he be so shameless? You heard him. The patient died, but his skills increased. Yeah, he’s right, I know. A cardiothoracic surgeon cut up a person’s chest, so it is true that his skills increased. But is that something to talk about while smiling? Really?”
“Then should he do it while crying?”
A sound could be heard. Along with the assistant director’s signal, people started walking past inside the store. Gaeul suppressed the frustration that climbed up to her throat. The more she became used to acting, the more she found herself synchronizing with the character she was playing. There were times when she couldn’t differentiate between the Han Gaeul of reality and the Lee Chaeyeon of the drama. Ever since the ‘rabbit’ appeared, her acting style changed into that of throwing herself into the depths of the character she was acting.
“You’re pretty cold-headed.”
“I’m not cold-headed. I’m just stating the truth. Also, I don’t find the professor that bad.”
“That’s unexpected. Weren’t you a doctor of justice either?”
“Both the professor’s idea of justice and my idea of justice are founded on the fact that we want to save the patient. Lee Chaeyeon, you are like that too, aren’t you?”
“That’s what I don’t get. In my eyes, the professor just looks like a scholar freak who only wants to inspect special, rare cases. Not only that, he’s a money-seeker too.”
“So? What mistakes did he make during operation? The bleeding of a patient with a chest fracture. Do you think you can stop that?”
Gaeul clenched her eyes shut. She pictured the operation table in her mind. Artificially made human organs reflected the lights above the table while looking like the real deal. She was aware that the people gathered there, the equipment, and even the situation was all just made up and were parts of the shoot, but her senses accepted them as reality and reinterpreted it before scattering it to the various corners of her mind. That sense of powerlessness since she couldn’t do anything but watch because she was just an observer and the jealousy and anger towards the professor all gathered in one spot.
“I probably couldn’t. There’s no way an intern can do what the head of the CS department couldn’t achieve. That’s why I’m even angrier.”
She curled up and clenched her teeth. Giwoo placed his hand on her shoulder and patted her.
“Cut. Okay, that was good.”
Listening to the director’s words, Gaeul sighed in order to shake off the emotions that ‘Lee Chaeyeon’ had. The boiling emotions died down in an instant. She was absorbed to the point that she couldn’t discern who she was when she was acting, but once she got out of that, she could recover surprisingly quickly. Your acting will mesmerize the people – she recalled the rabbit’s words.
“Looks like I shouldn’t be goofing around eating either,” Giwoo said.
“What do you mean?”
“Looking at you makes me feel like I still lack acting skills. Even though people don’t tell me I’m bad at acting, you know.”
“Why are you putting me on a pedestal all of a sudden? You’re known to be good at acting, you know? Director, Giwoo’s saying that he lacks acting skills.”
The director laughed, saying that Giwoo was so greedy.
“Stop your nonsense. How was my tone just now? I think I was a little too emotional.”
“Not at all. You were Lee Chaeyeon herself. You can see that from how the director gave the okay in one go, can’t you? You did well. You did really well.”
Giwoo gripped his hand into a fist and held it out. Gaeul also held out her fist and fist-bumped him.
“I still have a cut left to do, so I’ll go first.”
“Do your best, Mr. Kang Giwoo. I’m gonna leave.”
Gaeul said goodbye to the director and the other staff members. Once they finished shooting the fourth episode, the first episode would go on TV. She was worried about the viewing rate already. As this was her first time challenging a medical drama, she wanted it to have good results.
Just then, she saw Giwoo talking with the other actors. As the moodmaker, he always made other people laugh. She felt awkward about fist-bumping him at first, but by now, everyone at the shoot fist-bumped him whenever they came across him.
“I’ll leave first.”
She left the set and got in the car. While waiting for the manager to come back from the bathroom, she had a look at the internet news sites. There was quite a lot of news about the two medical dramas about to air. As the KBS medical drama started airing first, they talked about how it would be in the lead and the other would have to play catchup.
“I wonder if Maru started shooting,” Gaeul muttered to herself as she tapped on her phone screen.