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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“They did it!”
Juho smiled at the sounds of typing that came from the front. There was an empty page on the screen before his eyes. He was in the same place as everyone else in the room. Once he filled a page, a new blank page appeared. When he repeated that process, it eventually became a book, making him an author.
As he repeated the process, he became older. The time flew by. Wrinkles would form around his eyes. Maybe he’d slouch. He looked at his page filled halfway. ‘When I’m older, I really hope I can write in more peace,’ he thought. A cheerful sound accompanied the movement of his hand. Everyone else was typing at the same time. It sounded much better than the times when he had been alone in the room.
‘Clap, clap, clap.’
At the sound of clapping, Juho opened his eyes. What came into his view was the neighborhood elderlies and the woman with her guitar singing in front of them. It didn’t seem like there were any lyrics. Listening with his eyes closed, it sounded all the more ordinary and somewhat familiar. It wouldn’t take long to find another place where he could hear the same song. What really brought Juho to the park had been her voice. Though it hadn’t been special by any means, her voice was unique to her alone. For that reason, the only way to hear her voice was to go to the park. She started singing the next song, and it didn’t sound all that different from the previous one.
Struggling to grab the chords properly, she plucked away at the strings awkwardly. Listening to such crudely performed music, Juho thought of the story that he had recently written. While filled with sand, the story was actually about things that were impervious to change. Naturally, he had become curious about the woman’s voice. ‘Will it change with her age?’ though Juho, looking in her direction. She had told him that she was planning on singing until her death, and Juho wanted to hear her songs for a long time. He preferred to think that her voice would remain unchanged. He decided to believe that. Her performance did not last much longer.
As the concert came to an end, the audience started to go their separate ways one by one.
Juho still didn’t know her name, and neither did she know his. Because it had already taken place as a rule they had silently agreed upon, they would remain unknown to each other. After greeting her quietly, Juho turned to leave.
“Hold up,” she called after him. Juho turned toward her.
Juho walked her way.
“I won’t be able to come here anymore,” she said.
Juho couldn’t say anything in that moment. It hadn’t been long since Juho had decided to believe that her voice would remain unchanged.
“Are you going somewhere?”
“I got a job.”
“Oh, wow! Congratulations!”
He had forgotten that she had been looking for a job. Previously, she had told him that she sang because nobody wanted her.
“Is it a music-related position?”
“No, it’s a temporary intern position at a small company.”
Suddenly, the bitter reality came rushing in.
“Was today your last?”
She didn’t give an immediate answer. Instead, she just tilted her head to the side.
“I’m going to sing until I die.”
“Yes, you did tell me that.”
“I just won’t be able to do it here.”
“I know, but I’m still sad to see you go. Honestly, even a moment ago, I was thinking that I’d be able to hear you sing forever. Of course, that was strictly what I wanted.”
“I did too, until I got the acceptance letter,” she said. Though it was a goodbye to Juho, it had been good news for her. Juho smiled. With that, they didn’t say anything else to one another. She started packing slowly, resting her guitar in a case wrapped in black cloth, covering the strings with a small pouch. Though she seemed to be rushing, her movements were slow.
“Well, bye now.”
Having finished packing, she calmly bid farewell. Juho stood in his place, watching her get further away. Suddenly, she stopped in her tracks and turned around. Their eyes met.
“Did you forget something?”
“Do you think you’d have kept coming?”
“What do you mean?”
“If I didn’t tell you that today was my last concert, do you think you’d have come to see me still?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” Juho dragged on. After a brief time thinking, Juho said with a smile, “Probably. I’m your fan.”
“I see.” Although it wasn’t a definitive answer, she seemed happy. “I might come back.”
“How come? Is it because it’s a temporary position?”
“I haven’t gotten to sing my lyrics yet.”
She had expressed that there was something that she had been wanting to say. Yet, she sang songs with no lyrics. Quietly staring at her face, Juho’s lips parted, and he said, “I write.”
“I finished a short story recently, and I’ve been contemplating a title for it.”
“What’s it about?” despite looking puzzled, she asked.
“It takes place at a beach, and it’s filled with sand. What do you think the title should be?”
“Can you ask something like that of someone who hasn’t even read the book yet?”
“I don’t see anything wrong with it. An author has the freedom to name his work whatever he wants.”
“… Don’t expect too much from a person who can’t even sing her lyrics.” After a brief time contemplating, she added, “Grains of Sand.”
It was what sand was made of. It was usually too small for anyone to mind, but it was plain and simple .
“That’s nice. It’s easy to understand. I’ll consider it as a goodbye gift.”
She laughed and said, “Seems like I’m going to have to leave empty-handed.”
“I don’t have much to give, so I’ll tell you something instead.”
“If you think of me, read my books.”
“Yun Woo’s,” said Juho, smiling.
Her eyes widened and her mouth parted slightly, her white teeth peeking through. She knew what he meant.
“You are…” she murmured.
This time, Juho took the initiative to say goodbye.
“See you around.”
“I’ll see you around.”
With that, she left the stage in light steps. After starting her new job, she returned to the park within a month.
“I thought you said you finished?” Seo Kwang asked on their way to the computer room.
“Already??” Sun Hwa and Bom asked.
“I started early.”
“That’s still fast!”
Because they had just started working on the climax in their novels, Juho’s pace felt almost too fast. Since he was actually a fast writer, he didn’t try to deny them.
“I do kind of write fast… It is a short story though,” he interjected as Sun Hwa opened her mouth to say something.
With that answer, she closed her mouth quietly, and Bom asked, “What’s it called?”
Juho took a moment to think.
“Grains of Sand.”
“Grains of Sand?”
“Why Grains of Sand?”
“I guess it’s because there’s a lot of sand in the story?”
“That’s lame,” said Sun Hwa.
“You’ll get it when you read it.”
“Why would you say stuff like that? Now I’m even more curious,” grumbled Seo Kwang. Juho’s answer to Sun Hwa had ruffled Seo Kwang’s feathers. After all, he was the bookworm of bookworms.
“You’ll get to read it the sooner you finish writing,” said Juho, teasing.
“Hey, punk! It’s not that simple. I’m more of a reader than a writer. You know what, I want to stick to being a reader. Creative writing is NOT for me,” said Seo Kwang, whining sadly.
Once they had arrived at the computer lab, the club members each went to their seats.
“Considering how much pain you’re in, you are working really hard,” Juho told Seo Kwang on his way to his computer.
“That’s why this is killing me. I’m so exhausted, but I can’t stop writing. What is this?”
“You’re in love.”
“Is this what ‘too much love’ looks like?” Seo Kwang asked, complaining about his capacity as a writer.
As Sun Hwa quietly watched, she suddenly asked as if she had just thought of something, “Speaking of which, who do we show our novels to when they’re done?”
The room sank into a silence. Mr. Moon had never given them an explanation regarding who was going read their novels. Having been distracted with the writing, the club members began to wonder about their potential readers. What would come after once they had finished writing?
“Do you think we’re doing something at the school festival?” asked Seo Kwang.
“Who reads books at the festival? Let alone written by amateurs?” Sun Hwa snapped.
“I would…” he objected timidly.
“Maybe we’re just writing.”
“We’ve been working way too hard for that.”
Everyone immersed themselves in thought. At that moment, Seo Kwang said with his hand raised, “Maybe it’s for the compilation!”
“Huh! That sounds plausible.”
“Oh, yeah! I’d forgotten about that. I must’ve taken it seriously when Mr. Moon told us to forget it all. Hehe…”
The compilation. The word Juho had set aside in his mind had resurfaced. By the time the club members finished writing their novels, they would be going into the following year, which meant the compilations would be published by then.
“But would that be it? It doesn’t sound all that different from what we’re doing now,” said Bom, somewhat disappointed.
“Did you want to show it to other people?” Juho asked.
“I mean, writing exists to be read by someone else, so I’d be lying if I said no, but I’m not all that confident about what I’ve written… It’s my first novel, and I get overwhelmed just thinking about it… I still write it willingly but… Hm… I don’t know,” Bom said flustered. It sounded complicated, wanting to be read, but not wanting to be read at the same time.
“You should still show it to people.”
Bom turned her head in the direction of the voice. It was Mr. Moon walking into the room.
“I was planning on telling you all.”
He came bearing the explanation for the aftermath of their literary journey. Looking at the club members scattered throughout the room, he said, “If you guys see it to the end, your novels will be displayed in the library.
‘Library? As in the school library?’ Juho was surprised at the unexpected answer.
“Our novels are going to be on display?”
“In the library??”
Questions poured out, and in order to focus their attention, Mr. Moon raised his hand.
“I’ve spoken with the librarian. As long as you finish, you may decide to have your novels displayed whenever you wish.”
“People are going to be reading my novel??” Sun Hwa asked anxiously. The thought of her crude writing skill being exposed to the public made her feel uneasy.
“Don’t you think we’ll get made fun of?”
It was likely. Sun Hwa had had a firsthand experience with it, and Mr. Moon nodded.
“Possibly. You are going to have readers after all.”
“I don’t like that!”
“Then, you don’t have to do it.”
Mr. Moon quickly accepted her displeasure, and Sun Hwa felt almost embarrassed. Then, he continued, “Patience has never been your strength. I’m not done.”
“What else is there?” Bom asked carefully.
“I’m not giving you an ultimatum. Read what you’ve written and decide for yourselves whether it should be read by the public, or if you want to keep it to yourselves. You guys own what you’ve written. I can’t force you to make a decision. If you’re afraid of getting made fun of, then feel free to not display it. If you’re confident, then go for it.”
The air grew heavy. It was a difficult decision.
“I mean, you don’t have to be so serious about it now. It’s not as fancy as it sounds. You all know how quiet and empty the library is. There will only be one copy, so no one will be able to take it out of the library. People will be scanning through it at the most,” he added light-heartedly. “It’s up to you guys as writers to make the readers want to come back and read more, but I don’t expect that from you all, beginners.”
Beginners. The club members lightened up at the sound of that word. They were beginners, unskilled writers. Of course, it wasn’t clear whether the readers would consider that fact or not.
“Save the anxiety for afterward.”
“Uh… Does that mean Juho gets to be anxious now?” Seo Kwang asked as he turned towards him. The moment their eyes met, Juho immediately saw the comfort in his expression. He seemed to have decided not to have his novels on display. After all, it wasn’t his dream to be an author. Juho had no intention of interfering with his decision, but he opened his mouth and said, “Not yet. It’s not done until it’s revised.”
“Really? I guess we all have some time then.”
Juho agreed to Seo Kwang. There was enough time to think.
“Let’s take this slow.”
The air in the room had suddenly been changed by someone, and Juho thought in the midst of it, ‘I was planning on writing another book after this short story. What will it feel like once I finish writing the full-length one?”
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