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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Fingers gently holding the cup. Shoulders that were not overly relaxed. A straight posture.
Juho could see why Hyun Do Lim was such a respected figure among authors. It had nothing to do with his appearance or books. He knew how to be considerate of others. While maintaining his boundaries, he understood what others wanted, creating a safe and comfortable environment for them. He never opened himself up rashly. He wasn’t in the habit of showing off, trying to prove himself. He was charming, but not very approachable. The only thing left, was respect.
Before there was even time to chew, the icy bits in Juho’s mouth melted away. In no time at all, there was nothing left in his cup.
As they walked out of the room, Juho felt a gaze in his direction. Though he had an idea from whom it could be, he made his way through the hallway without looking around.
“How was your meal?” asked Madame Song, who was standing by the cash register. She must have wanted to see Hyun Do out.
“It was great! I’m happy I know about this place,” answered Juho, smiling.
“I’m glad to hear that,” Madame Song answered, looking in his direction. She seemed like she had something she wanted to ask.
While Juho hesitated, Hyun Do stepped in and asked, “What is it?”
“So…” She hesitated, resting her hand on her cheek. She really looked like a cub.
“You’re not…Yun Woo, are you?” she asked in a whisper. “It’s just… Hyun Do never brings anyone to the restaurant with him, and you don’t seem to be older than a high school student. Yun Woo is the only author I know who is around your age, so… am I right?”
Her eyes sparkled with anticipation. Her reasoning skills seemed to be much better than those of Hyun Do’s fan.
Juho glanced over at Hyun Do, who was observing Juho’s behavior. With that, Juho turned his attention back to Madame Song and her cub-like appearance. ‘Maybe that’s why she’s still around Mr. Lim. She might let her curiosity get the best of her, but she never expressed herself in a way that was offensive.’
Like her, he lowered his voice to a whisper and asked, “Would you mind keeping it on the down low?”
Her eyes widened with surprise, taking turns looking at Hyun Do and Juho.
“Shall we?” Hyun Do suggested, leaving her behind.
As he followed Hyun Do, Juho turned around to say goodbye, “Take care, ma’am.”
“Come get what you like next time you’re here!” said Madame Song.
“Yes, ma’am,” Juho answered. The food had been to his liking, so he wanted to come back whenever he had the opportunity.
Together, Hyun Do and Juho went back the way they came. Leaving the luxurious exterior of the restaurant behind, they walked through a narrow alleyway and out to the main street.
“You must have taken the subway.”
“I’ll walk you to the station.”
Although it wasn’t necessary, Juho didn’t want to decline Hyun Do’s offer. Though he was walking side by side to Hyun Do, he didn’t really feel anything. The street was filled with the sounds of cars and people, but it all felt distant. Usually, he would have taken his time walking, observing every little corner of the streets in search of inspiration. He would have untangled the noise around him, digging for emotions and conflict.
If anything, walking beside Hyun Do felt peaceful. Perhaps his immense presence had something to do with it. It would take something just as large and powerful to bring down that wall of tranquility.
Upon arriving at the entrance to the station, Juho thanked him, “Thank you for everything. I had a great time today.”
“The pleasure’s mine,” said Hyun Do, looking in Juho’s direction. “Are you planning on writing when you get home?” he asked.
Because Juho couldn’t really grasp the intention behind the question, he decided to answer honestly, “Yes, sir.”
“What are you planning to write about?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
“Hm,” he made a distinct sound and added, “Kids, sometimes…”
Juho wasn’t entirely sure who he was referring to, but he listened carefully anyway.
“… tend to hate certain foods without even tasting them. When you ask them, it’s usually because they don’t like how it tastes. It’s fascinating. How can they know the flavor when the food hasn’t even touched their lips?”
“You can kind of guess, especially with food that looks mushy and squishy. Kids are sensitive, so they’re able to catch on quickly.”
Hyun Do nodded lightly and said, “You said you’re not a picky eater, right?”
“Then, I’m sure it won’t hurt to try other foods.”
Juho remained silent for a while. He knew Hyun Do wasn’t talking about food. Hyun Do’s eyes were fixated on Juho’s shoulders, and Juho studied his eyes.
“Your shoulders look tense.”
Juho immediately stretched his shoulders.
“Don’t be nervous about tasting new things. After all, I’m sure you’ll be able to digest it all, no matter what it is.”
After a quick time thinking, Juho asked, “Do you have a suggestion in mind?”
“I can’t stand giving testimonials. You’re on your own,” said Hyun Do, chuckling.
Juho had heard from Nam Kyung that Hyun Do had turned down his testimonial request. With those words, Juho bowed to say goodbye. Watching Hyun Do calmly going about his way, Juho slowly made his way down the stairs into the station. As he entered the dark, his footsteps grew louder. Midway, he looked back. Somehow, the sky peeking through a small opening resembled Hyun Do’s black and silver hair. It almost looked like he was standing in snow. Looking away, Juho continued on his way in search of food he had yet to try.
“Oh, yeah! I forgot about the autograph.”
Yun Seo watered the plants in her small vegetable garden. The water droplets shone brightly on the fresh vegetables. Sitting down on the dirt, she watched an ant crawling by.
“What’s the hurry, little one?”
The ant was taking a dead worm back to its nest.
For the first time in a long time, she had the day to herself. There was no class, and both of her pupils were out. She no longer wrote novels since she had started feeling that she had used up all she had as an author. She no longer had the strength to write anything elaborate. However, she felt more relieved than sad. It was the satisfaction of having poured everything out, writing as much as she could.
Now, the only thing she wrote about was her everyday life, which piled higher with age. ‘Maybe I should try writing an essay when I’m even older,’ she thought. Writing about her garden wouldn’t be so bad either. ‘Maybe I should go on trips before it’s too late, so I can write about it.”
‘Bark!’ A dog barked in the distance. It had to be the large dog that lived nearby. Though the breed wasn’t clear, it was a rather adorable dog with a spot that covered its right eye. Whenever she heard it bark, Yun Seo thought of her husband – an author who had had the ability to raise the spirits of his readers with his writing. Lately, she had been reminded of one more person. Having already published his second book recently, he was still a young author…
… Yun Woo.
He had many similarities to her husband, who had passed away at an early age. A sixteen-year-old boy. An award-winning, celebrity author. Her pupils had also mentioned his name on several occasions. At first, she had read his book out of nothing more than curiosity, but the young author drew out a sense of longing in her heart.
It had been fascinating. Despite the distinct styles and atmosphere of the two authors, their writing kept overlapping in her mind. When she read Yun Woo’s writing for the third time, she finally came to realize why. They both had a similar approach to writing. Hyun Do had felt the same way when she shared it with him.
He had said, “It’ll be a while before his next book comes out. It takes time for a writer to gather that much emotion to the point of reaching the bottom.”
The ant kept crawling by. When she first met Yun Woo, he had already been working on his next book, nearing its completion. Before reaching the one year mark of his debut title, his new book was published. The world was filled with Yun Woo now, and she was somewhat delighted by her friend’s misjudgment.
“What’s so funny?”
Yun Seo looked back. The voice belonged to her friend, who kept looking better with age.
“I was thinking about my husband.”
“Then, it makes sense that you’re smiling.”
Hyun Do tended to be mischievous at the mention of Yun Seo’s husband. Despite that, she kept bring up her husband to him. Perhaps she was entertained by it somehow. Because of Hyun Do,
her memories of her husband had remained intact, even decades after his passing.
“How’s Madame Song?” she asked.
Madame Song’s food was an amazing source of energy. When Hyun Do was busy writing, he ate there regularly. Even after he finished a book, he ate there to reward himself for completing the long journey. Somehow, Madame Song’s appearance resembled that of a bear cub. Upon hearing about it, Yun Seo had exclaimed cheerfully, “That’s such an adorable nickname!”
“It’s been a while since you’ve been there. Next time, we’ll go together.”
“If I have time.”
“Look at you sounding all busy,”
The two sat on the wooden bench, and the wind blew gently on the leaves.
“So, how was it talking with Yun Woo?” she asked.
“It was fun. We spoke a similar language.”
He seemed genuinely happy, and she stared at that unusual sight.
“He’s a light eater.”
“That can’t be right. He has a good appetite. I saw him eat when he came over.”
Despite her puzzled look, Hyun Do continued, “It’s not like me to do it, but I did give him advice.”
“What kind of advice?”
“I told him to be more versatile.”
“It hasn’t been that long since his new book came out. It can’t hurt to let him rest for a bit,” said Yun Seo, concerned.
“He doesn’t think of writing as work. If anything, it’s closer to rest. It’s a digestive process.”
Digestive process. It was an analogy her husband had used frequently. He liked to compare his writing to digesting. Hearing that familiar expression, she couldn’t help but laugh.
“You were so annoyed then, saying that it was overly complicated!”
“I still don’t like it. I’m just coming to understand it now,” he said.
“All right. Are you sticking around for dinner? I’ll cook.”
“You should rest while you can. Joon Soo and Geun Woo don’t seem to be around today either.”
“Better to have more than less.”
Regrets about not leaving enough memories tended to sting more. Facing the end was always sad.
Reminiscing the friendship they had had while her husband was still alive, she stood up and said, “I should probably make enough for three. Nothing’s sadder than not having enough to eat.”
Hyun Do didn’t say anything in return.
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