“Senior, why don’t I have confidence? Senior? Senior?”
Jiyoon muttered on and on with a bright red face. Five glasses of beer… It only made sense that a girl who tried drinking for the first time would get drunk from it.
“You’re plenty confident right now, so please be quiet. Stand up straight as well.”
He patted the girl’s shoulders as he led her into a smaller room to rest, he put her down on the bed before waking Aram up in the living room. The girl woke up from her nap after a few shakes.
“Woah! The ground is shaky!”
“That would be your eyes, not the ground.”
It reminded him of a college party when he threw Aram into the small room as well. He managed to stay sober back then till the end and ended up having to take care of all the corpses afterwards, how strange that nothing has changed even today.
“Hey hey, don’t throw up too much, you’ll clog the toilet.”
Suyeon shouted towards the bathroom, the three men who drank soju bombs were throwing up very energetically together. They must’ve drank everything Suyeon gave them, despite feeling sick. All because of their petty pride as men, Maru was a bit surprised to find Daemyung in their midst though.
He sent the three of them into the bigger room before cleaning up the bathroom a little bit.
“I could’ve taken care of that, you know.”
Suyeon smiled with a glass of beer in her hand. After cleaning the bathroom, Maru made rounds around the small room and the big room to check on the kids. Thankfully, no one seemed to have gone too far over.
“You seem used to this.”
“Of taking care of drunk people? That I am.”
Maru scraped together what remained of the snacks and sat in front of Suyeon, he was hungry after so much work. The clock was nearing 11pm and the TV next to them was playing a Chinese martial arts movie.
“Care for a drink?”
Suyeon gave her glass a little shake. Maru looked around to find an unfinished bottle of soju, he poured himself a third of a shot.
“Do you want to drink more?”
“If you’re offering, sure.”
Suyeon put her glass forward, prompting Maru to pour the rest of the bottle in her glass.
“Did you finish all the beer?”
“There should still be a few bottles in the fridge.”
Maru opened the double door fridge and grabbed a beer. The fridge was surprisingly clean, he noticed. There were a lot of side dishes and vegetables inside.
“Why are you looking so carefully into someone else’s fridge?”
“There’s a lot to be learned about a person from their tables, fridge, and bathroom. Especially when they are all surprisingly clean.”
“Surprisingly? Aren’t you being a bit rude?”
“Do you have a can opener?”
“Isn’t it next to the fridge?”
Unfortunately, Maru couldn’t find anything. He just settled for opening the bottle with a spoon.
“Who in the world are you? You were so natural just now.”
“High schoolers nowadays can all do this.”
Maru gave the bottle a little shake with his thumb over the top and poured the foaming beer into each of their glasses. Even if most of his memories were gone, his body still remembered how to make perfect soju bombs. Their glasses frothed with white foam in an instant.
“I’m surprised you know how to do that.”
Suyeon took a sip from her glass. She clearly drank a lot with the kids, but her face remained the same as ever. Maru took a sip as well, it tasted sweet.
‘I drank a lot back then because of that damned department head, Mr. Go. Or was it Lee?’
He remembered having to drink almost every day alongside his superior. They were very humiliating and enraging at the time, but felt like sweet memories right now. He even missed it a little bit, he figured it was just like how he could only remember the fun things in the military.
The two of them emptied their glasses without words. They didn’t have anything to talk about, nor did they want to find something to talk about. Just like that, they finished about three glasses of soju bombs in a flash, but Maru didn’t feel any effects of the alcohol. Was it because of the stronger body he got in leaping back to the past?
‘I guess it’s closer to reincarnation.’
Honestly, he could be fine even if he lost everything thanks to this strong body of his. He did want to continue down the path of acting, but no one knew what could happen in the future after all. Perhaps everything might just go wrong tomorrow. If that happens, his body would be the only thing he would be able to rely on. Maru finished his current glass and put the soju and beer bottle aside. There was no reason for him to be drinking right now, so he decided to cease there.
“Are you drunk?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Liar, you don’t look a tad different.”
“There’s no need for me to drink until I’m actually drunk. I’m fine with setting the mood a bit. And… I need to take care of my health.”
“Ugh, thinking about health at your age?”
Suyeon poured herself a new glass with an annoyed mutter.
“You know beer has a lot of calories, right? Will you really drink more?”
Suyeon flinched, she looked at her glass for a bit before pushing it towards Maru.
“I’d rather not.”
“You made me want to stop drinking, take responsibility.”
She must be a bit buzzed, seeing how her voice was a bit higher-pitched than usual. He had no intentions of fighting with a drunk woman, so he just took the glass.
“You should sleep if you’re drunk. I’ll take care of this.”
“I’m not drunk. I’m not Kim Suyeon if I get drunk with this little amount of alcohol.”
The woman let out a small huff before picking out potatoes from the gamjatang in front of her. Come to think of it, this woman had quite the personality as well. She was relaxed when she needed to be, but also knew how to act cute. She could just as easily become a taunting woman capable of easily charming a person.
“A key that opens all locks before is praised as a master key. A lock that opens before all keys, on the other hand, is cursed upon for being useless. So why is it that the men take on the role of the key and women that of the lock? Women can just as easily become keys too. Is it because we don’t have a dick?”
Suyeon talked incredibly casually as if this was just another topic of conversation for her. Maru picked up a cracker in front of him as he looked into her eye, she wasn’t smiling anymore. She looked completely emotionless, Maru couldn’t help but feel that this was the most honest she’s been with him all this time.
“Well, if we’re going by appearances, aren’t men closer to keys?”
“Ugh, you have such a macho mindset as well.”
“I’m just playing along with your joke.”
“Is that so? Then play along for a bit more.”
Suyeon stood up with a few sways and lay down on the sofa Maru was leaning on. Every time she let out a breath, Maru could smell an intense amount of alcohol. She was clearly drunk.
“You should sleep inside if you’re sleepy.”
“This is my house, I can do whatever I want.”
“Don’t blame me if you catch a cold.”
“No worries. I’ll keep the heaters on at full blast. What do you think I’m earning money for? It’s to use it for stuff like this!”
“Good for you.”
“Good for me is right. I work this hard because I want to earn money!”
“This is the first time I really agree with you.”
“Oh? That’s nice.”
Suyeon lightly slapped Maru’s shoulder, saying ‘this is for us having similar opinions for the first time’. It was 12am now. The movie channel on TV was playing an erotic melodrama, a movie about a woman sacrificing her life for the male lead.
“An innocent woman. A quiet woman. A good wife. Why does this country always force its submissive stereotypes on women?”
“Because they’re scared.”
Maru grabbed the glass in front of him, he’d need more alcohol to talk about stuff like this.
“Before getting further into this topic, I’d like to clarify that not all men in the world think like this.”
Maru took a shot of soju before continuing.
“Some men obsessively hate to watch women climb on above them in the world. There’s no wonder that there’s even a popular phrase about it. ‘How dare this woman?’ It’s all because they’re scared. They’re scared of being taken over by capable women. That’s why they try to stamp it out from the start, saying bullshit like ‘good women need to be quiet’.”
Maru got a bit flared up as he talked because he was reminded of a story related to ‘her’. Back then, after their marriage, she left the acting industry to be hired at a company as a secretary. She got into trouble with a man in that company and Maru remembered being incredibly mad after hearing the reason why. The man started trouble because she dared to look him in the eye. In fact, Maru could still feel incredible rage despite having lost most of his memory of the situation. What made him even angrier at the time was how she tried to laugh it over like it was nothing.
“That patriarchal worldview ruined many, many people. There are too many idiots running around thinking that they’re superior just because they have a stick between their legs. You see, when I get a daughter in the future, I’m definitely going to teach her self-defense. I’m going to tell her to kick him right in the balls if she meets one of these idiots in the future.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
Suyeon laughed as if she were a fan of the thought, she laughed for quite some time before letting out a small sigh. She continued the conversation with a much calmer tone.
“People would laugh if I tell them that I got raped by a man I dated, right?”
“Did such a thing happen?”
“It was rape, at least from my perspective. I was a doll and he was a rabid dog. The bastard.”
“Are you really okay with telling me this? I don’t really like you, instructor.”
“I know. I don’t like you either. I wanted you, but gave up since you act way too hard to get.”
“So why are you...”
“Because there’s no one else. There’s no one else I can tell this to. You’re… You’re annoying, but I don’t think you’re a bad person. It’s annoying how you act like an adult at your age. I don’t like the way you talk. It’s unbearable how you draw a line between certain relationships. I hate everything about you, but at least you don’t try to hit on me desperately like those fucks.”
“That’s literally only because I don’t like you.”
“Can’t you be a bit gentler about it? Seriously.”
Suyeon got up from the sofa and embraced Maru from the back.
“How is it? Feeling excited?”
“You reek of alcohol. Can’t you just go to sleep if you’re drunk? I can listen to your stories all day, but I’d rather not have to take care of your physical actions as well.”
“Oh, so cold.”
Suyeon rested her head on Maru’s shoulder.
“You see, I thought emotions lasted forever. I thought love lasted forever. I thought as long as I loved, I would be paid back with an equal amount of love. But that wasn’t the case at all. Emotions are expendable things that run out very quickly. Love was the same, just packaged to look a little better. They wanted me and once I gave them my everything, they threw me away.”
“What did you do?”
“What do you think? I became a merchant. Fine, I’ll give you what you want, but it’s not going to be free. If you’re going to use me, you better pay up. Back then, I was a girl who wanted love. But now, I’ve become a woman who got too used to loveless romance. Rumors? About me being a whore? About how I sell my body? Whatever. It’s just a transaction, just like anything else in the free market.”
Her breath passing by his ear was hot, he might’ve even felt a bit of disgust if he didn’t know anything. He would’ve thought she was impure, dirty. All he felt now was the alcohol in his body and a bitterness similar to it.
“So, are you satisfied?”
“Satisfied? Sure. I’m not hurt anymore. I’m a dry twig devoid of emotions at this point.”
“Well, so long as you’re satisfied. By the way, can an emotionless person even act?”
“I’m living proof of that, aren’t I? Acting’s all a bunch of lies anyway.”
Suyeon raised one of her arms towards the sky.
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”
Suyeon looked incredibly desperate and devoid of energy as she spoke. She looked up at the ceiling lights dumbly before smiling again, she buried her face into Maru’s shoulder.
“I’m sick of Macbeth.”
“That was Macbeth?”
“You don’t even know Macbeth? I thought you were an actor!”
“This is my first year, you see.”
Suyeon muttered incoherently for a second before continuing.
“In any case, I’m a very good liar. Who knows? Maybe my words right now are lies.”
She laughed silently as if she was very amused at what she just said. Maru shrugged.
“It doesn’t matter if you lied or not.”
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t care what you do. Just don’t break the law.”
“I don’t touch married men, obviously. I don’t go for the ones with girlfriends either.”
“Then it’s fine, isn’t it? No need for you to talk to me like this about it.”
“Don’t you think it’s dirty?”
“Why? I’ve never heard from anyone that romance is a dirty thing.”
“I can’t tell if you’re a romanticist or a pessimist.”
“I’m a romanticist towards my woman and have no such interest in everyone else. By the way, can you get up now? You’re heavy.”
“You’re saying something very rude to a woman right now. Do you know that?”
“Gravity doesn’t discriminate, unfortunately.”
Suyeon smirked before getting back up. Looking back, he noticed that her eyes still had vibrant energy. She must’ve faked being drunk to talk about this.
“That’s odd. I thought this attack would work for sure. Do you even have a dick?”
“Want me to show you?”
“Oh my, how bold.”
“It’s past midnight. You should go to bed.”
“Don’t want to. I want to keep talking.”
“Well, I’m going to sleep.”
“Why? Stay, I’m bored.”
Suyeon was begging him. It was honestly hard to tell if this woman was drunk or not, she’d probably chase after him even if he walked away to sleep. Maru sighed as he took out a book from his bag.
“You can talk by yourself. I’m going to read.”
“Twilight Struggles? Are you preparing for the audition?”
“Of course. I don’t know if I’ll get in though.”
“You can come running into my arms if you fail. My bosom is wide enough to welcome you in.”
“Yes, yes. I’m sure it is.”
Maru turned off the TV and flipped a page, Suyeon fell silent as well. The fridge hummed in the distance, he could hear the wind whipping itself against the windows. Many little noises came and went within the room. In a flash, the living room became quiet like a library. Maru flipped a page, then another, and then one more. By the time he flipped through about twenty, he heard a noise behind him.
“...To whom do I need to go to get my purity back?”
It was Suyeon. As her voice slowly faded away from the room, Maru turned the TV back on. He flipped through the channels until he reached a loud entertainment show and raised the volume. By the time he made it loud enough for it to impair his concentration, he heard a noise from behind him. A noise of someone forcing her tears down her throat.
Maru kept the TV on as he continued reading.Previous Chapter Next Chapter