Exams were over. She had revised a lot, but as for the result? She didn’t know. She didn’t grade her tests. That was because she felt that she would be too happy and ruin the next exams if the scores were good, and because she felt that her concentration would waver if the scores were bad. The last exam was Korean and she had some time left, so she drew a picture on the blank portions of the test paper. She drew a rabbit, and the end result was quite cute. She felt good about it.
As soon as she folded the test papers and put it inside her bag, the homeroom teacher came in. The homeroom ended with the teacher saying ‘well done’ and ‘have a good rest’. The students then started rushing out while cheering.
She called Maru. As both of them finished their exams today, they decided to hang out. The two decided on a place to meet, and Maru decided to come here.
She wondered where they should go. Although both of them lived in Suwon, they lived on opposite ends, so it would take some time for Maru to come. As such, waiting for him outside was not really an option. As she was tapping on her desk with her fingers, something popped up in her mind and she put her hands inside the desk drawers. She found a small book at the very rear. It was palm-sized and very thin. This was a book she bought in a second-hand store at the subway station. She liked the size, which made her pick it up, and she decided to buy it after reading the title.
A Christmas Carol.
This was a famous book loved by many and it was written by Charles Dickens. This was her favorite story among the stories her father used to tell her while she sat on his lap. When she was young, she thought that Scrooge was just a foolish and a bad guy. If you have the money, you should share with others - that was what she thought at the time. However, after growing up a little, she thought differently. She was able to understand where Scrooge was coming from. He might be depicted as a miser and as someone without love, but he wasn’t someone that should be criticized.
“What are you doing?”
Someone asked as she was reading. Three of her close friends were getting ready to go home.
“Aren’t you going home?”
“I have an engagement, so I’m going to wait in the classroom for a bit. There’s air conditioning here, too.”
“An engagement?” Her friend tilted her head and asked.
She smiled faintly and said that it was a secret. When she did, the three friends whispered amongst themselves for a bit before asking ‘is it your boyfriend?’ She was a little embarrassed but she nodded her head.
“Is he the one that gave you your ring?”
One of them asked again. Wearing accessories was forbidden within school premises, so she didn’t put it on her finger inside school grounds, but she sometimes wore them when she met her friends outside. Although she told Maru that she found it embarrassing, she wanted to boast about it since it suited her tastes perfectly.
“Is he coming here?”
“Does he go to a school nearby? Central? Anji?”
“No, it’s much further than that. He goes to a place called Woosung Engineering.”
Then, her three friends brought chairs and surrounded her before sitting down. She panicked slightly as she looked at her friends.
“We were too ignorant about you until now, weren’t we? Okay then, let’s start investigating.”
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“Tell us everything; when you two met; what you like about him; if he’s handsome or not; his height and the like. We, your unnis, will evaluate him for you.”
The three of them grinned. She had told her friends that she had a boyfriend, but she never went into detail. She hesitated to look at her three friends in the eyes.
“Tests are over too, we have a lo~~t of time.”
“So be obedient and spit it out.”
She ended up raising the white flag due to her friends’ persistence.
“...I first met him in Daehak-ro.”
“Oho, you’re in the acting club alright. Does he act as well?”
“That makes sense. Did you two meet while preparing for a play?”
“No, that’s not what happened.”
She started stating things about Maru who she chanced upon. At first, she found it embarrassing talking about her boyfriend, but when she got into it, she found it actually quite enjoyable. When she came to, she found herself deeply enjoying talking about Maru.
“That guy’s quite something. He’s quite the man?”
“He’s all bulky, isn’t he?”
“Well, from how he didn’t utter a word despite getting burns, he does know his stuff.”
Her friends gave their own evaluations of Maru from what they heard about him from her. They were mostly positive. She felt good as well when she heard Maru being praised. When she continued talking about Maru in high spirits, her friends teased her saying that she was lovestruck.
“So, how about progress?”
Even she, who had been talking gleefully until now, had to stay silent at that question. She knew that silence would mean admitting everything, but the word ‘progress’ made her unable to open her mouth. She gave a glimpse at her friends, and saw that they all had lewd smirks on their faces. Although these three liked talking about lewd things, they somewhat overdid it this time. If she told them that they kissed… she didn’t even want to imagine it. After hesitating for a long time, she ended up telling them that they only held hands. Fortunately, they seemed to believe her, albeit with disappointment.
“But that’s interesting. So the first person to comment on your blog posts ended up being your boyfriend?”
“Yeah… I guess.”
She smiled as she spoke. She came across blogs in her first year of high school. There were no customizable spaces and avatars like Cyland, but she found blogs, where she could calmly narrate her stories, better. Blogs were like an evolved version of books to her. People well-versed in many different fields had summed up their experiences in their unique words. Each post, and each page would pile up and eventually become a long series of stories.
In that space, she mostly talked about things related to acting. She summarized not only the plays happening within South Korea, but by other famous acting troupes overseas. At the same time, she created a category where she could exchange opinions with people of her age who were also in the acting club of their respective high schools.
She met Maru there. Maru was also running a blog related to acting. Thinking about it now, it was a tremendous coincidence. After all, back then, the two didn’t even know each other.
“I asked you several times to make a Cyland account, and you rejected me. And now, you’re telling me the reason is actually because of your boyfriend?”
Her friend poked her cheeks. She smiled awkwardly.
“Oh yeah, if I remember correctly, your ID was Black Swan, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah,” she nodded her head.
“What are swans again?”
“You idiot, they’re birds. Though, they’re mostly white.”
“So Black swans are black white birds?”
“I guess that’s it,” the three talked amongst themselves. The girl that first brought up the ID asked again.
“Isn’t ‘Swan’ prettier? Black Swan sounds weird to me. It’s a black bird after all. Isn’t it ominous like a crow?”
While she understood where that girl was coming from, she shook her head and explained.
“Everyone once thought that all swans were white. After all, they’ve only ever seen white swans. Then, they discovered black swans. Everyone was shocked. Since then, people began to use the phrase ‘black swan’ to refer to something precious.”
“Oh, precious? That’s what you consider yourself as, huh?” One of her friends joked.
She smiled faintly before speaking,
“No. Black swan has a different meaning as well. The impossible becoming the possible; the unexisting become the existing.”
“So, a miracle?”
Her friend, who always ranked first in the school in terms of scores, replied immediately. She nodded her head.
“It’s not specifically used to refer to miracles, but I created my ID based on that meaning. It felt nice. The impossible becoming the possible.”
“Now that you say it, a surprising black swan sounds better than a noble white swan.” They all started giggling.
“In that sense, isn’t Pwincess Yoonjoo too childish?”
“Your ID is Squishy Apple. You’re no better.”
“At least I have my name on it. Don’t put me together with you.”
Her three friends started mentioning each other’s Cyland IDs and argued with them. They were trivial conversations, but perhaps that was the proof that they were close friends.
“Oh yeah, what were you reading?”
“Oh, this? A Christmas Carol. It’s the one with Scrooge.”
“Ah, the one where he turns a new leaf thanks to ghosts?”
“I really hate that story.”
“It’s like forcing you to be a good kid. I have my own path, you know? Moreover, a ghost appears and shows him the past, the present, and the future, to induce him to change his decisions? Doesn’t a ghost have something better to do?”
Hearing the cynical answer from the top student of the year, the other two friends told her that she lacked dreams and hopes.
“It’s not about dreams and hopes. Look at Scrooge. He worked so hard to earn that much money. The story doesn’t say that he stole that money, does it? In my opinion, forcing people to donate the money they gained through rightful business is a form of violence.”
“I guess that’s true.”
“And also, ghosts. That’s so oldschool. They’re completely unrelated to Scrooge. Of course, it’s an old book, so using Deus Ex Machina was the norm back then, but if you’re gonna use ghosts, at least use scary ones! The ghosts in that book are all depicted to be some kind of gentlemen.”
The girl shook her head. At the same time, her friends started tickling the complaining girl’s waist. The girl surrendered immediately and admitted that ‘Scrooge is the bad guy!’ unwillingly.
She picked up her phone that was vibrating. The caller was Maru. He told her that he’d be here in 20 minutes.
“Yeah, he’ll be here soon.”
“Haa, you’ll get mad at us if we follow you, right?”
“It’ll be quite disappointing if we decided to butt in when you two are meeting after tests, huh.”
The three friends left the class after saying that they should hang out later. She smiled and looked at the class clock. Thanks to her friends, she wasn’t bored as she waited for Maru.
She closed the book ‘A Christmas Carol’, that she had read several times and put it back inside her drawers.
‘The ghosts, huh.’
She rested her chin on her hands and looked outside the window. She had a different opinion. She thought that perhaps the three ghosts were actually Scrooge himself; that the Scrooges from the past, the present, and the future were trying to save him. Of course, this shouldn’t be the case, but she thought that it might have been better if it was actually written that way.
“And also, Scrooge really isn’t that bad of a guy.”
She smiled faintly as she thought about the friend that stood on Scrooge’s side. The reason Scrooge was able to meet the three ghosts was because of his dead friend Marley, who had warned Scrooge that he shouldn’t turn out like he did.
‘Perhaps Scrooge’s life wasn’t that bad after all if you think about how he had a friend who came to help him even after his death.’
The book mentioned that Scrooge was a kind man in the past.
She hummed to herself as she fell into contemplation. Then, she stood up after realizing that it was time.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
My tests are over too! What a coincidence.
Okay, this chapter may be really confusing because the only girl that's got a name for herself is 'Yoonjoo' and that's from her ID too... I had no choice... I'm NOT putting italics on every 'she' and 'her' that refers to Maru's GF, that's too much of a pain.
Edit: PLOG BOATS NO MOAR