Life, Once Again! - Chapter 323
She didn’t know when she started to not feeling awkward about holding hands. She looked at Maru’s back who was walking ahead. Although they sometimes walked side by side, there were many times when Maru walked ahead of her like this. She remembered the days where she went to Daehak-ro holding her father’s hands when she was young. She had to look upwards to see her dad’s back, and the sun shined on her face. The sensation of the hand that firmly gripped her hand felt vivid again.
At first, she felt embarrassed doing that and immediately walked up and walked next to him, but these days, she walked behind him comfortably. Maru walked without hesitation as he walked ahead while holding her hand, and while she relied on those steps, she was relieved of any worries she had. The worries that haunted her disappeared completely for that moment.
“Why are there so many people even though today’s a Sunday?”
“Because there are many people that go to work on a Sunday as well.”
“Mrs. Lee went to work as well. The subway was actually in a good condition. If it was Monday morning, we wouldn’t have been able to get off that easily.”
They walked out of the station and walked along the streets. They saw the school far ahead of them on a hill. They had to walk up a gentle slope in order to get there. The four-lane road that headed up to the school was empty. Only a few blue trucks drove down from time to time. The scene was a drastic contrast from the subway station.
They walked past a single-floor building and walked up the hill. On the walls leading to the school, there were various paintings. There was a chubby caterpillar that had something in his mouth. After walking a few more steps, there was a dwarf holding a lot of hats. After that, there was a cute pig and a somewhat arrogant-looking lady.
The thing in the caterpillar’s mouth was a hookah if that was the case. She spoke as she looked at the queen of hearts, the soldiers, as well as Alice, who had a proud expression. Maru was also looking at the painting on the wall.
“So this was Alice, huh.”
“You just realized that?”
“I never paid attention to it. I also came here by car, so I didn’t have time to look.”
They climbed up the hill as they appreciated the paintings. The painting at the end was a picture of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo holding a pocket watch as well as the figure of Alice who was looking at it.
“It’s the rabbit you like so much,” Maru pointed at the rabbit as he spoke.
She looked at the rabbit holding a pocket watch as she walked. The other paintings were all depicted in a cute way but only the rabbit was depicted realistically. Its eyes were sharp as well. It was as though it was drawn by a different person.
“If you think about it, not many people hate rabbits, right?” Maru asked.
“Is it because they have a cute image? Have you tried raising them before?”
“No, I wanted to, but mom said no. Though, to be exact, I gave up on it.”
“She probably told you to raise one when you can take responsibility for it, right?”
“How did you know that? Did you meet my mom in secret again?”
Maru faintly smiled. She took her eyes off the rabbit and spoke,
“My mom allowed me to do most of the things I wanted to. The only exception was raising a pet. I can still remember. In my third year of middle school, I told her I wanted to raise a rabbit, I mean, it’s cute, right? But mom told me with a serious expression to sit down and asked me if I can take responsibility for it. When I was asked that question, I reflexively replied ‘yes’, but mom told me to think about it carefully again. Now that I think about it, she was a little scary back then.”
She looked at the tip of her trainers as she continued to speak.
“I think that was the first time mom told me to think about something instead of saying yes. It’s not that she said no. Think about it – that was her reply. I somehow thought that I shouldn’t be at ease back then and thought about it after I sat on my knees. Was there a problem with raising a small pet? But after I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that it’s not a simple thing where I can reply yes or no. It was pretty easy to find out that I have to put a lot of time into it.”
Her mom always spoke with a smile, but for that one moment, she had a serious expression on her face. She could still remember that her mom told her to not get confused between pets and a pleasing picture.
“So, you gave up?”
“Yeah. I’m planning to raise one once I have the luxury to.”
“You like rabbits that much, huh.”
“That’s true. I have liked them since I was young. Mom always tells me about how I used to nag her to buy me something whenever there was a rabbit drawn on it. Even though I don’t remember any of that.”
She looked at the ring on her left hand. It was the ring with a rabbit on it. Maru put his hand next to hers. He showed her his ring that was the same shape and smiled faintly.
They talked about acting club practice for a while until they arrived at the school gates. The sun had risen up completely and it was shining down on the entirety of the school. The fresh air and the green grass made the school look surreal, and looking at that, she exclaimed.
“So schools in dramas actually do exist.”
“This place does cost 2 million per semester.”
“Two million? Even though it’s a high school?”
She subconsciously exclaimed. Maru asked as they passed through the school gates.
“Where’s the meeting place?”
“In front of the main door.”
“It’s that place then.”
There were people gathered around where Maru was pointing at. There were a lot of students that seemed around their age. A middle-aged man wearing a sleeveless shirt was lining them up while shouting. Maru told her that he was the leader.
“Get going. I’ll be watching from the side.”
They went separate ways before they reached the main door. She took a deep breath before going to where the people were gathered. This was the first part time job she did in her life. She was looking forward to what kind of events were waiting for her.
“If you’re here then stand in line.”
Hearing the leader’s instructions, she nodded her head and stood in line. The leader counted the people here before going into the school building. He also told them to wait.
“Are you a friend of Maru’s?”
She raised her guard when someone talked to her.
“Oh, sorry about that. I unintentionally called out because I saw you coming with Maru. I’m called Park Woojoo and I….”
“Ah! I heard. Thank you for letting me come.”
She took a bow. This was the person Maru called to get her here. It was thanks to him that she could get the opportunity to work here.
“It’s nothing to be thankful about. I just forwarded you to someone else. Oh, tell me if you encounter any problems. Maru called me yesterday and told me to take care of you.”
“Geez, that guy. Sorry about that. You don’t have to do so much.”
She saw Maru who was yawning in one corner of the school. He was treating her too much like a child.
“Okay. There’s nothing difficult so I hope it goes well today.”
The leader came out of the school just then. He told everyone to follow him. She clenched her fist slightly as she started walking. They walked up to the third floor following the leader. She had a peek on the 2nd floor and she saw students quietly studying. It was like today wasn’t a Sunday. They were told to stay quiet until they arrived at a classroom. There were a lot of adults in the corridor. There were some people holding cameras.
“Here, sit over there, there, and there.”
They sat down according to the leader’s instructions. She scanned the classroom from where she sat. Unlike the luxurious-looking exterior, the classroom wasn’t that different from her school’s classroom.
‘Wow, so that’s a reflector?’
She had seen a video camera a couple of times, but this was the first time she saw a foil that was bigger than an average person. Some lights that glowed faintly entered the classroom as well. She thought that they wouldn’t need any lights because the sunlight was strong, but it seemed that she was wrong. She also saw a furry microphone. There were cables messily strewn around where the camera wasn’t shooting.
She wondered what it would look like if she looked at the classroom through the camera right now. She saw a man who had a serious face behind the big camera. He seemed to be the director.
She waited for around 10 minutes when she heard greetings outside the classroom. Following that, actors entered the classroom. A pair of man and woman, who were idols as well as the lead roles in Youth Generation, entered the classroom. Chaerim couldn’t be seen. Perhaps she didn’t have a shoot today.
The shoot began. All she had to do was to just look at the math textbook in front of her. She pretended to solve the questions with a pencil in hand. After a few NG cuts, she stopped pretending and started to solve them for real. She was that bored.
“It’s not that fun to be here, huh,” she stretched out her arms as she spoke.
They took a break. Her math textbook was filled with math formulas. She wrestled with the subject for about an hour. She didn’t know if she was here to do acting or to study. She also got used to the equipment that she found new at first.
The shoot resumed. Hearing that everyone needed to change into gym uniforms, she returned after changing her clothes. Even though it was class romance until just now, it switched to a completely different story. It seemed that they didn’t shoot the scenes in order and just combined each scene in editing to make an episode later.
“Okay, that’s good.”
The morning shoot only ended after 10. During this whole time, she wasn’t able to speak a word.
She stretched her arms out before changing back into the school uniform. She heard that the background roles were to wait. While the staff moved out the equipment, the background roles were just left in class. Everyone started listening to an MP3 player or played games on their phone. Some just slept. She looked around to see if she could talk to anyone, but they were already in groups so it was hard to join their conversation.
‘This isn’t so easy huh.’
She now understood why Maru told her to bring a book or an MP3 player. She found herself regretting not listening to his words thinking that there would be no time to get bored during a shoot.
“So, what’s your impression?”
Just as she was blankly staring at the chalkboard, she heard Maru’s voice behind her. The voice couldn’t be more welcome.
“Not as fun as you thought it would be, right?”
“Yeah. It’s completely different from how I expected. I thought it would be more active and passionate over here. But the only ones that are active and passionate are the actors. My job was to stay still.”
“That’s how it works. Here.”
Maru handed her a piece of chocolate. She was just feeling empty so she received it and put it in her mouth.
“Maru, you’re here.”
“You’re here, Maru.”
At that moment, the staff, who were cleaning up the cables, approached Maru and greeted him. Just as she was wondering whether to greet them or not, other members of the staff approached Maru. It wasn’t just the staff this time. Some of the background actors acted like they knew Maru.
Maru greeted the staff naturally. He seemed used to it. The staff welcomed Maru with a smile. They looked very friendly towards him. They looked completely mild compared to how they coldly treated the other actors.
“She’s a friend of mine who came with me today. Please take care of her.”
“Oh really? You were a friend of Maru’s? You should’ve told me.”
She was startled when she saw that the man who was behind the main camera this whole time offered to shake hands with her. She stood up immediately and shook hands with him.
“I’ll take a good shot of you in the next scene.”
The man who was called the camera director left the classroom after telling her that he’ll see her later. The other staff also left with the equipment.
“He said he’ll take a good shot of you,” Maru spoke with a smile.
“Do you know all of them?”
“Do you usually become close like that? I haven’t seen the staff greeting any of the actors even in the three hours I was shooting.”
“There was a small incident,” Maru spoke as he scratched his eyebrows.
“Are we shooting outside now?”
“Yeah. I think so.”
“Perhaps we might get to appear in the same scene. They told me to prepare as well.”
Maru pointed at his pants. She noticed that he was wearing a school uniform.
“I’ll go down first. See you later.”
Maru told her to hold on.
She sighed slightly. Even though they were both high school students, Maru seemed like he was in a completely different position. It didn’t feel that realistic when she heard that Maru entered an agency. However, she found that Maru was indeed different now that she saw him on set. He had the look of a professional.
‘I should do my best as well.’
Maru was several steps ahead of her as an actor. She would have to put in a lot of effort if she wanted to catch up. Recently, she had a new dream. It wasn’t something vague like ‘I should become this’. It was something more specific. She wanted to act on the same stage as Maru. It didn’t matter if it was on a professional stage or an amateur stage. She would be extremely happy if she got to act with Maru in the same space. Though, she would have achieved this dream if Maru didn’t get injured last winter.
“I will catch up soon.”
She resolved to herself. She dusted the wrinkly school skirt and stood up from her seat. Her butt started hurting after sitting for so long. She approached the window and watched the lights being set up in front of the school.
“Huh, why are you here?”
Hearing that voice, she turned her head around. Chaerim was standing there, wearing the same school uniform.
“Seonbae,” she greeted with a smile.