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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
While the man’s words were still fresh on his mind, Juho turned toward the woman. With a stutter, she answered the man timidly, “I’m… not g-going any-anywhere.”
‘That’s a good answer too,’ Juho thought. Though he accepted her answer, the man seemed rather displeased by the woman’s attitude.
“What the hell is wrong with her?”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Why are you being so nitpicky?”
“Because I can’t understand her. I can’t stand her.”
The wind blew violently on his shiny hair. He seemed to have a lot to complain about.
“What can’t you stand about her?”
“Her behavior and attitude. She’s wasting time.”
His behavior and attitude hadn’t been so great either. Chuckling, Juho fired back, “That’s your point of view. Have you ever thought of it as her way of utilizing her time?”
“No,” he answered without hesitation, storming past Juho toward the woman. “Hey, what’s your name?”
She didn’t respond. Suddenly, without introducing himself, the man put his face recklessly right up against the woman’s.
“Hey!” he said intimidatingly. “Listen carefully, lady. Squatting like that not only makes you look pathetic, but it’s terrible for your back.”
He stared at her up and down as she sat quietly, not responding to him.
“Did you do something wrong?”
Her head turned toward him ever so slightly, glaring fiercely. Having a timid voice didn’t necessarily mean that she wasn’t capable of being angry. Though he saw the disapproval in her eyes, the man didn’t back down.
“Then, why can’t you be more confident?”
“I am… I’m just not in the mood to talk… You’re treating me like a criminal. I know I should have said something…” she said timidly, not enunciating her words clearly.
Though it was hard to make out what she was saying, Juho still felt angry. When he looked in her direction, she was holding a handful of sand. Predicting what she would do next, Juho jumped in between them. At that moment, she swung her arms in his direction. He felt the sand grains on the back of his head, rolling down his neck into his shirt. The woman swallowed nervously. While Juho comforted her, the man smiled as if he welcomed her behavior. Juho had to stop them before things got too rough.
“All right you two, cut it out.”
‘I better separate them. They’re affecting each other,’ Juho thought. Too much of anything wasn’t a good thing. Again, he stood between the man and the woman, creating a gap about as wide as the one between a train and the platform.
“Hey! You listen lady. I said I don’t understand you. Why aren’t you communicating with me? If you’re pissed, then show me!” Despite the distance, the man shouted all the more. The woman, however, had returned to her silence.
“Haven’t you had enough for one day?” Juho asked the man, who was infuriated, unlike the woman, who hid behind her silence.
“She’s ignoring me!”
“You don’t need to yell!” He was rather impolite, and Juho added as he covered the man’s mouth with his hand, “That’s enough. You’re from another world, which means you should speak in another language.”
By the time he had shook Juho’s hands off, it was too late. He could no longer understand what the woman was saying. In order to get a better grasp on the situation, he took a step back. At that moment, Juho took the opportunity to talk to the woman.
“Tell me what you want.”
He fully intended on realizing her deepest wishes. He wanted to write in a way that she would find desirable. In order to make that happen, he called out to her. After a brief moment of hesitation, she said, “Please, leave me alone.”
“You got it.”
‘So be it.’ If that was what she wanted, then Juho was more than prepared to write about her quiet everyday life, where nothing really happened. No danger. No climax. Simply as it was. Seeing Juho readily accepting her answer, she felt a little safer and opened up.
“It’s fine, just… write the way you want to.”
“Sounds good. I like that we’re being considerate of each other.”
She nodded quietly.
“You can say more, you know.”
The wind blew on the sand,
“Then… please don’t… write about me… too much…”
“I’ll keep it short.”
“I… am not fond… of talking to… people.”
“I’ll make sure you don’t have to talk to anyone,” Juho answered light-heartedly.
The woman asked timidly while studying his expression, “… Can I not… really?”
A weak, barely noticeable smile spread across her face.
“I hope… you… don’t try… to change… me. I d-don’t want to… change.”
“And…” She hesitated for a good while. When Juho started to see signs of her retreating to her silence, he gave her a gentle nudge.
“And…” She seemed embarrassed.
‘What does she want?’ thought Juho.
Her eyes were fixated on the water.
“I… want… to be b-back here…” She must have been fond of the beach.
“Of course. That’s not hard at all.”
“I… want to… come alone.”
“Yeah, I don’t blame ya. It was a little rowdy today,” said Juho, glancing over at the man. At the sight of her nodding timidly, his face scrunched up all the more.
“How should I dress you? It’s a gift. Tell me whatever you’d like to wear.”
“I… like pants.”
“It’ll get cold at night.”
“I’ll… bring my blanket… from my… my place.”
“I’m guessing you’re not in the habit of wearing makeup?
“No… I just… want to… come as I am.”
The wind picked up, blowing the hair that covered her face aside. Then, the wind blew again, but over the sand this time. Juho closed his eyes from the sudden sandstorm.
With those faint words, she vanished from the beach. Staring at the place where she had been, Juho turned toward the man. He stood quietly, still looking displeased. Then, he opened his mouth and asked, “You have something for me too, right?”
Juho grinned and said, “You understood, didn’t you?”
The man answered proudly, “You just gotta listen.”
“You’re sensitive to languages, like me.”
“Don’t you give me that crap,” the man snapped at Juho, and his face scrunched up even more into a scowl.
“How about you work on some anger management?”
“People don’t change.”
“Nothing lasts forever.”
Looking puzzled, he raised an eyebrow.
“That’s not what you said to that lady earlier.”
“You said you’ll keep her from changing.”
“That, I did.”
She had asked Juho not to change her in his writing, and Juho had granted her wishes, so the man looked even more puzzled.
“Are you contradicting yourself? Were you lying to her?”
“Nonsense. I intend on keeping every word I said to her.” Juho added as the man stayed hopelessly confused, “People don’t change. Nothing lasts forever. They’re both right. They’re both what people want to hear.”
There was no right or wrong in neither statement. In this case, one’s belief became the truth.
“That’s why I called for you both,” Juho said to the man. “I’m writing about you both.”
One who longed for the present to last for an eternity. One who realized nothing lasts forever. He wanted to write about both of those people. One short. One full-length. A peaceful daily life on one book, and a perilous adventure on the other. Together. Alone.
“The story is part of her life, and not wanting to change is what she wants. Everyone longs for something to last forever.”
In the end, the man and the woman crossed paths eventually. Everybody longed for something to remain unchanged.
“… But everyone grows old. We all die eventually,” he snapped.
“Are you contradicting yourself?”
The man didn’t give him an answer. He started aging slowly, growing slightly shorter, his voice sinking. His once luxurious clothes became somewhat old and ragged. Though his eyes remained sharp and fierce, his glare lost its edge. He seemed disappointed by something. He had changed.
“Nothing lasts forever,” he said calmly.
“You think so?”
“Time’s ticking as we speak. Before you know it, death draws near.”
Juho felt the air the surrounding the man changing with the wind.
“When will I stop being human?” he had to be talking about changing.
“Are you afraid?” Juho asked. Time flowed by mercilessly.
Wearing an ambiguous look, the man answered, “Not really.”
Although it was hard to tell if he really meant it, Juho decided to play along.
“I wonder what I should be doing then?”
Irritated, the man threw his head back and said, “Pray to God or something!”
He was no longer irritable or raging uncontrollably or taking somebody by their collar. He had grown more mature, but his temper still remained intact deep within. Juho felt the wave on his shoes as it were rushing toward him. Though it couldn’t reach him earlier, it started to rush past his ankle now, making his feet cold. He moved away from the wave to where it wouldn’t be able to reach him. Before he knew it, he was alone. The woman and the man were nowhere to be found. The sun started to set, and the dark approached. The wave grew taller, wetting the sand. Juho sat there and watched the scenery quietly.
The door opened and closed. With that, the train started off again.
“Mom, what’s he doing?”
“Ah, he’s doing homework. Let’s be quiet now.”
Being completely oblivious to the conversation between the mother and her young son sitting next to him, Juho kept writing away. He had been carrying his notepad and manuscript paper in his bag at all times, as well as writing tools, so he didn’t have to worry about running out of paper. First, he started writing about the woman at the beach.
‘Another day of longing for things to remain unchanged forever. It was the monologue of a woman who had made an impulsive trip to the beach, wearing a dress given to her as a gift. She didn’t talk to anyone. On her way to there, when she bought herself a bottle of water, during the day, at night, whenever hot or cold, she had always been alone, even as she longed for something that would last forever. Though she crossed paths with countless people, she kept to herself, going about her way, alone.’
The train stopped; the doors opened and closed, and it started off again. It took in people while sending them away simultaneously. Juho felt his feet growing colder. The wet spot on his shoes was disappearing while the water evaporated. He thought back to the scenery he last saw. Everything came alive again. The salty air. Waves breaking. The boundless horizon. It had all been intact, and it would be an everlasting memory.
He moved his pen busily, writing about what he wanted to write about as well as what needed to be written. ‘Is this new? Will I get used to this?’ There was no need to ask such questions anymore. Writing was his greatest joy. ‘It’s time to let go of my greed. I need to focus on writing.’ He fully intended on putting his heart and soul into it. The corners of his mouth turned. When something unclear began to take shape, that was when joy came rushing into his heart.
By the time Juho stopped writing, his stop was long gone.
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