“What I’m about to tell you uses me as the basis. None of it might apply to you. If you can’t sympathize with something I say, then just ignore it. That’ll be better for you.”
“First up, let’s have a look at what the problem is. Before that though, is Bitna going to be okay? She looks tired.”
Yuna looked at Bitna, who was dozing off.
“Bitna, are you sleepy?”
“I think you are.”
Bitna then stood up, saying that she wanted to go to the bathroom.
“I think she’s being considerate for her sister.”
“She thinks deeply. Sometimes, I can’t believe that she’s my sister. That’s why I like her.”
Yuna looked at Bitna until she entered the bathroom before turning around to see Maru again.
“This isn’t something worth talking a lot about, so let’s finish it quickly. Both you and Bitna need to go home.”
“Tell me what you’re troubled with in detail. While you’re turning your troubles into words, you’ll realize that most of the things you are thinking about aren’t actually that problematic at all. If there’s still something that remains in your heart at the end, that’s something you must think about.”
Yuna thought about Maru’s words and tried summarizing the events she experienced starting from when she started acting to now. While they were talking, Bitna returned. Yuna’s heart tingled when she saw Bitna trying to stay awake and felt thankful.
Like what Maru said, unlike when her thoughts were running wild everywhere, when she put it into words, she could clearly differentiate between the important things and the not important things. To be precise, she found something she couldn’t say easily, and that seemed to be her biggest problem. However, she did not know what it was exactly. Only a strange sense of rejection towards talking about it remained in her heart. She felt like she might catch a clue to resolving her current situation if she managed to put it into words.
“Give me some time to think. If there are things you couldn’t tell me, then think about those really carefully. Why couldn’t you tell me about them and how are they troubling you?”
Maru started writing something. Seeing Maru write, Yuna looked inside her.
‘I lack too much skill to enter the ranks of pros. That’s what made me worried and hasty. My technical skills are definitely improving, but the instructor told me that I have a problem transmitting my emotions to the audience. I wanted to seek Maru-seonbae’s help because of that.’
After thinking about that, Yuna sighed. Was that it? She felt like there was an even more fundamental problem. She still felt like there was something inexpressible with words cluttered up inside her. She felt stuffy. Even though it stemmed from herself, she couldn’t tell exactly what it was. This was the first time she felt like this. It felt like something completely different existed inside of her. A sense of displeasure spread out inside her.
“I’ve summed up what I heard so far somewhat, so hear me out.”
Maru started talking. Yuna exclaimed from time to time and nodded. Just listening to her own problems from an objective point of view cleared her head up a little. She found Maru amazing for summarizing and narrowing down the problem in such a short time.
“In the end, you feel uneasy because your emotional expressions in acting aren't improving even though you’re enjoying acting, right?”
“Yes. I think that’s what it is.”
“Good, then let’s start here. Before that, though, did you try doing what I told you to do? Organizing things that you couldn’t tell me?”
“Uhm… it might sound strange, but I can’t express what I’m feeling right now. I know there’s something important, but I can’t put it into words.”
“You can’t explain something that you don’t have a full grasp on, however, you instinctively know that you have a problem, so keep thinking about it for now. Also, listen to me while you think. I don’t want to drag this out, so I’m going to be as extreme as possible. First, why acting?”
“Because I like it.”
“Aren’t there other things that you like?”
“I like acting the most.”
“More than anything else?”
“Then second, why are you worried that you can’t become a pro?”
“That… I think, is a realistic problem. No matter how much I like something, I can’t help but think about the future. Just because someone likes playing around doesn’t mean that they can play around forever, right?”
“So it has to be a means of economics, you’re saying?”
“Why don’t you earn money through something else and do acting as a hobby then? These days, there are a lot of civil theater troupes and there are acting clubs in district centers too.”
“I want to become an actress.”
“So you want to live off your acting?”
Yuna replied ‘yes’ in a small voice.
“Third, what is the baseline of ‘living off your acting’?”
“I mean how much profit you want.”
“I just have to be able to live off it. I think it’ll be fine even if I’m poor as long as I can continue acting.”
“Do you really think so?”
Yuna nodded without hesitation. At the same time, Maru put down his pen. He locked his fingers and stretched his arms upwards as though everything was finished.
“Then we have a solution.”
“Regardless of the occupation, as long as you do it steadily, you’ll be able to live off it. This society isn’t that bad. You might not be able to eat things you want, nor have a house under your name, nor possess a car, and you might live in a semi-basement apartment without any hopes of getting married, but you will be able to live off your work. That was your baseline, wasn’t it? That you want to live off your acting; that you don’t care how poor you are as long as you can continue acting. If that’s your baseline, then there’s no need to worry. Congratulations, you can live off acting.”
Yuna became speechless for a moment. She opened her mouth, but she couldn’t say anything. Living off her acting. Yuna believed that she would feel happy as long as she could continue what she wanted to do even if she was poor. Nothing shook her faith in that until just now. The moment she heard a detailed explanation of what such a life would be like, she felt something twitching inside her.
“What about getting cast in a good work and….”
“I told you. I am going to be extreme here. If that’s what you want, this conversation was unnecessary in the first place. You have the potential to display good acting, you have the potential to solve this problem easily, and going further, you have the potential to become a huge star. Everything in the world is your potential. When you want to know about the essence of a matter, you should exclude abstract things. You should think about the extreme case scenario. If you wanted to hear a hopeful story, then I guess I shouldn’t have said any of this. I thought you looked a little desperate. I know that vague hope is essentially the same as poison to people who are desperate. That’s why I started off with the extreme, but if you aren’t ready for that, then I think we should stop talking about it here because no matter what I tell you, you will dream of the moment the sun shines in your little rat hole. There’s only one thing I can say to someone like that.”
I’m sure you’ll do well in the future - Maru said with a smile.
He then grabbed his bag and stood up. He tucked his chair in and slowly turned around. Yuna watched him turn around in a daze. Was this what she wanted? Did she need someone to console her to make her feel better?
‘What I wanted….’
Yuna abruptly stood up and grabbed Maru’s sleeve. She felt like she would regret this moment forever if she sent him off right now.
“Mark Twain once said: ‘It isn’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just isn’t so.’ Sometimes, you should doubt things that you’ve never doubted before. You’ll get unexpected answers from unexpected places.”
The moment she heard those words, Yuna felt like the lump of indescribable emotions inside her dissolved away. What she had blind faith in, what she never thought was wrong, what she thought that there was no way could be true.
She thought about herself acting. That self was smiling and enjoying herself. She felt like she was able to overcome any kinds of trials and pains as long as she hopped into the pond known as acting.
That was why to her, acting was a sanctuary. It was a perfect place that could not be tainted or become imperfect. She put a barrier around it so that sadness and pain couldn’t enter the realm of acting. Acting was always something enjoyable and happy - that was her faith when she did acting.
But what if acting was painful?
That couldn’t be. Acting had to remain an eternal oasis. The source of the pain lay in something else, not acting. The instructor’s words, her lack of skill in emotional expression, the pressure that she had to become a professional. Those were the problems while acting itself was something pure and clean without any malice. No, it was ‘supposed to be’.
“...I’m fed up with acting.”
The moment she said those words, Yuna could no longer control her emotions. Her head felt chaotic. She felt like the only way she could quell the chaos in her heart was by letting the boiling emotions inside her out. When she came to herself, she found herself crying. The tears she had such a hard time seeing when she tried to cry while acting, flowed out uncontrollably right now. She wanted to cry out loud as well. She didn’t want to cry ‘prettily’. She wanted to bawl her eyes out, with her snot dripping everywhere and drool flying everywhere while crying in a disgusting fashion. However, there were too many people around her for that. Even amidst the world-turning shock, her pride still raised its head up high.
Yuna needed somewhere to lean on, and Maru happened to be right in front of her. She took a step forward and reached out to Maru, who was making a difficult expression right now. She thought that it couldn’t be helped even if she wasn’t accepted, but she couldn’t stop there. Her body was just that uncontrollable right now.
A warm hand gently patted her back. Yuna buried her face into the chest right in front of her until she felt suffocated, and cried while clenching her teeth. She felt like she would be embarrassed to death after this, but she couldn’t help herself right now.
“Just cry without minding about others. You just have to come here wearing a mask next time, isn’t that right?”
“Even if I wear a mask… people will… recognize….”
“Forget it. Let’s not go there. Are you done crying?”
Yuna grabbed Maru’s sleeves again and cried until she felt her throat go numb. She saw Bitna looking at her worriedly amidst her hazy vision. In her hand was a piece of tissue.
“Mom said that you’ll become sick if you can’t cry when you want.”
Yuna sniffed and nodded.
“Why don’t you be the big sister starting tomorrow, Bitna?” Maru asked.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Another short chapter, but I think that was the right ending to this chapter.
Since we're at (or nearing) the end of Maru's interaction with Yuna, let's talk about her (and Bitna too!)
Well, first off, I don't think Yuna will fall in love with Maru like that time with Chaerim. The whole interaction between the two of them just didn't give me any of that vibe at all. (Also Bunbun's punches are strong, xD). I also feel like Maru was the perfect person to shake her up a little and make her face reality, which I find really nice, to be honest. I really hope she shows up more in the future. She really looks like an interesting character. Tell me your thoughts!
Also, Bitna is just too cute, and nothing like the other Bitna (if you don't remember perhaps '(Lim) Bitch-na' will jog your memory a little). She came off as just a docile girl during Apgu, but she became way more adorable after we read the interaction between her and her mother, as well as her sister.
Author, please. Make them stay for a long time. I haven't loved new characters this much in so long. Yuna and Bitna are such good additions. Please keep them around. Heck, make Yuna join JA. I would love it if we finally get a new disciple who's actually such a top tier character. We get Bitna as a bonus little sister too. Author, please don't let me down.