Big Life-Chapter 189. The Bombing Starts (10)

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Chapter 189. The Bombing Starts (10)

“Hello. This is Park Hye-Sang at Strolling with Literature. It’s already autumn. What comes to mind when you think of autumn? A season of high skies and plump horses? Endless blue skies? Bountiful harvests?”

Announcer Park Hye-Sang’s beauty was shining before the camera at the entrance of EBC Broadcasting Station today, where they were filming for Strolling with Literature. She was in a gray dress that accentuated the curves of her body and matched the comfortable autumn vibe.

“Ms. Hye-Sang looks strangely fresh today.”

“It must be her hair. She looks like a university student, so pretty.”

The staff outside the camera angles chattered as they took sips of their dispenser coffee.

Park Hye-Sang was no longer in her well-known long hair; she was now in a light orange-red short hair ending at her shoulders that gave off autumn vibes and fluttered in the wind.

"...There is a four-character idiom originating from the Tang dynasty by a man called Han Yu: the light is friendly[1], who said this to encourage his son to start reading books as one can feel the refreshing night breeze while reading at night in autumn while sitting by a light source. I have the sudden thought that all of us living in this era now, using convenient lights powered by electricity, are in much better circumstances than Han Yu in the past."

While Park Hye-Sang continued with her filming, Ha Jae-Gun was standing outside the camera angle, fixing his clothes. He took a sip of water to moisten his parched throat and did not forget to calm himself down. He had adapted to going on screen, but he was still nervous right before going on camera every single time.

"...We have another important guest today here with us at Strolling with Literature. It is the currently most popular writer—Ha Jae-Gun—whose latest movie and novel, Gyeoja Bathhouse, along with many of his other works, is gaining tremendous popularity both in Korea and overseas. Hello, Writer Ha."

The camera panned and refocused on the bench. At the producer's signal, Ha Jae-Gun stood up and greeted the camera.

"Hello, this is Ha Jae-Gun."

"It felt just like yesterday when you first appeared on our show back in spring, and it's now autumn in the blink of an eye. It's the first time on Strolling with Literature that we have invited the same guest twice. The public's attention is all on you now. How have you been?"

"There's nothing special I can say here. But unlike the exciting news shown on the internet, my daily life has been relatively quiet. I'm working hard writing novels that I want to and meeting nice people while living life normally."

Park Hye-Sang smiled gently as their eyes met. Ha Jae-Gun noticed her eyes wavering at that moment.

Was it because Content Producer Bae had talked to her about it? There was no way Ha Jae-Gun could know if it was just his own illusion.

"I saw that your name is on the list of nominees for the Popular Arts Awards under the Minister of Culture commendation. There seemed to be a disagreement in the media's response to the announcement. I can't help but ask how you feel about this."

The microphone was then moved closer to Ha Jae-Gun. As it was a preempted question in the script, Ha Jae-Gun did not fluster and answered seriously.

"I'm happy and satisfied that I was nominated for a commendation at such an honorable event thanks to the work I have put out to the world. This feels like a gift from the heavens. I get tunnel vision whenever I'm working on my novels, forgetting about everything else around me, but to find out one day that I was nominated for such an honorable award was still a huge surprise."

Park Hye-Sang and all the staff around smiled warmly. The question and answer segment continued in an amicable atmosphere. They talked about Market Place, the recently decided full-length drama adaptation of Summer in My 20s, the production of the movie Storm and Gale by Teencent Pictures, and other works that had expanded into China and the U.S. markets.

The special episode's topic was Ha Jae-Gun from the beginning until it ended.


As the recording went on, a haggard-looking and skinny woman walked out of the main building of the broadcasting station. She lugged a bag that was far too large for her physique; it almost looked like she was on the verge of falling.

‘It’s so tiring...!’

Despite the cool autumn day, she was burning hot. She wiped the sweat from her forehead that was running down like rain pouring on her. Her wobbly steps were leading her to the next location where she was supposed to conduct an interview.

‘Why are there so many people gathered here?’ She thought while squinting her tired eyes, watching the dozens of people gathering at the main entrance.

She was at EBC Broadcasting Station, where they mainly broadcast educational programs. It was rare to have famous celebrities here capable of attracting such a huge group of people. Thus, it was natural for her to wonder.

“I brought all my books, waiting to get his autograph.”

“I just need my copy of Foolish Woman signed. And I must take a photo with him today. How do I look? Did my mascara smudge?”

The whispers from the gathering crowd came to her ears. Soon, a familiar word was registered in her brain, and she subconsciously stopped in her tracks. Her head turned to the filming site of Strolling in Literature.


There was a mixture of envy, jealousy, fear and hatred in her eyes. She watched the filming continue with complicated feelings. She realized that the huge crowd gathered before her was due to Ha Jae-Gun’s presence. The bag she was carrying felt heavier, like another huge stone had been added to it.

‘I... I should be the one standing there...!’ She gritted her teeth as if being tossed out into a cold. She looked down and saw her pathetic self at a glance: baggy shirt, dirty jeans, and sneakers with tattered insoles. It was deceitful.

‘Why should I be living like this...? What did I do to deserve this? Why did I not get that chance?! I'm a writer who can write decently as well! Until when should I be living on a 750,000 won monthly salary!’

She squatted down on the ground miserably. Thanks to the heavy bag, she lost her balance and fell backward. She did not want to get up again.

“Wow, look who’s here?”

She flinched at the sound of a man’s voice coming from behind.

“You must still be a writer, seeing how you look right now. Seems like the treatment you’re getting isn’t as good after creating such a huge mess and running away.”

The lady took support from the ground as she tried to get up.

Her weak fingers could only tremble. She was none other than Won Ji-Yeon. She was currently working for Local Culture TV, and she was here to deliver data related to her work to EBC.

"Are you tired? I would like to help you, but I'm afraid of getting arrested as a pervert." The man who chewed out at her was Lee Yeon-Woo. Unlike his cheesy tone, his eyes were full of spite.

Won Ji-Yeon avoided his eyes while struggling to get up.

“Hey, Ms. Ji-Yeon.”

Won Ji-Yeon’s shoulders dropped as she glanced at Lee Yeon-Woo, feeling intimidated.

Lee Yeon-Woo pointed a finger at her and then slid his thumb across his neck. “Nothing’s over yet.”

Won Ji-Yeon’s heart sank. She didn’t answer him at all and began to go on her way. There was nothing else she could do today aside from running away.


“You’ve worked hard today.”

“Thank you. You worked hard as well, Producer. Ms. Hye-Sang as well.”

The filming of Strolling with Literature had come to an end. Ha Jae-Gun felt quite exhausted, but he couldn’t rest immediately due to the readers who had come all the way here to see him.

He spent almost thirty minutes signing their books and taking photos with them before he could take a moment to have a cup of coffee.

“Hyung, shall I go with you?”

“No, you can stay in the car. I’ll head to the toilet quickly and get myself a can of coffee.” Ha Jae-Gun left Lee Yeon-Woo in the car and headed swiftly into the building. The lounge, with a view of the courtyard, was located beside the toilet.

Ha Jae-Gun pulled out his wallet and walked to the vending machine, but his eyes widened in surprise. Park Hye-Sang was sitting in the lounge all alone.

“Ah, you’ve worked hard today, Ms. Park Hye-Sang.”

“You said that earlier as well.”

“Did I? I was all over the place today...” Ha Jae-Gun trailed off, chuckling.

Park Hye-Sang glanced in the direction of the vending machine and casually asked, “You’re here to grab a coffee, right? Can you buy me one, too?”

“Is canned coffee fine?”

“Of course, I like that. Please get me a hot one.”

Ha Jae-Gun bought two cans and handed her one. Park Hye-Sang smiled and accepted it with gratitude before opening it.

“Time seems to pass quickly.”

“Yeah, I came to a sudden realization when listening to your opening comments. It felt like yesterday when I appeared on the show in spring, but we’re almost coming to the end of the year now.”

The trees that used to be infinitely green before had all turned yellow. Park Hye-Sang brought the can to her mouth and looked at the leaves fluttering in the wind. Her gaze looked both blank and full of regret at the same time.

“I think there’s a time for everything,” Park Hye-Sang said, sounding strange.

She felt Ha Jae-Gun’s gaze on her and continued calmly, “Like how there’s a time for grass to grow, there’s also a time to cry and a time to laugh. If there’s a time for silence, then there’s also a time to speak; the same goes for loss and profit. Have you heard of that poem before?”

“I vaguely recall reading something like that.”

“Yes... It should be applicable to meetings between people as well.” Park Hye-Sang nodded as if understanding its meaning. She smiled lightly and then finished her coffee.

“Thank you for the coffee, Mr. Ha. It was delicious.”

“It’s just a can of coffee.”

Park Hye-Sang approached slowly. She looked at Ha Jae-Gun with a warm smile and reached a hand out for a handshake.

“The dinner back at Itaewon was delicious. I won’t be able to forget it.” Park Hye-Sang’s voice trembled. She knew that their relationship wouldn’t progress any further. That was the best of her feelings that she could show to Ha Jae-Gun.

Ha Jae-Gun smiled and shook hands with her; their hands shook slowly like plants in water.

“I hope you’ll always be happy.”

“I wish the same for you.”

Park Hye-Sang bowed respectfully and turned around. fr(e)

Click clack.

The sound of her shoes slowly drifted away as she walked toward the studio.

Ha Jae-Gun turned around and headed back to the car as well.

“What took you so long?” Lee Yeon-Woo asked as soon as Ha Jae-Gun got in the backseat of the car.

He offered Lee Yeon-Woo a can of coffee and said, “There’s some time until the recording, right? Let’s have a good meal.”

“Shall we eat somewhere near the broadcasting station? The sushi we had back then was delicious, too.”

“Sure, let’s go there.”

Ha Jae-Gun was scheduled for a recording at MBS Broadcasting Station three hours later. It was also a surprise gift that he had prepared for Park Do-Joon.

“Right, hyung. I was contemplating whether to tell you this...”

“What is it?”

“I saw Won Ji-Yeon earlier while you were recording for Strolling with Literature. She seemed to be working as an assistant writer for somewhere else.”

“Hmm, is that so?” Ha Jae-Gun replied with an aloof tone.

Lee Yeon-Woo steered the car toward the exit and said grudgingly, “I snapped at her, but I don’t feel relieved at all. It’s irritating to see someone with a trash personality like hers still working as a writer.”

“Forget it.” Ha Jae-Gun then leaned back into the seat and added, “She'll eventually self-destruct if she stays like that.”

Ha Jae-Gun then closed his eyes with ease. He had already put Won Ji-Yeon’s incident behind him. The time when he had cared about every little thing had passed for him.

The car began speeding up as they got onto the main road.

*** 𝙛𝒓𝒆𝒆𝙬𝒆𝒃𝓷𝙤𝙫𝒆𝓵.𝒄𝙤𝒎


— Why aren’t you answering the phone? Are you not going to pay rent? Aren’t you at home now?!

Won Ji-Yeon grabbed her phone, shaking. It was the building owner of the studio she was living in. The owner was also banging on her door while shouting.

— I’m really sick of you! Why are you living like this when you’re still so young? Do what you will if I don’t hear from you in three days! Do you really think that I can’t open this door right now?! Urgh, this is so frustrating!

The call was ended unilaterally.

The curses from the owner outside her door grew smaller. Won Ji-Yeon hid underneath her blanket, calming down her heavily pounding heart.

‘What should I do...!’

She could pay the rent, but if she were to do that, she wouldn't have enough money for food. She couldn't get her salary from the broadcasting station before quitting, and the money Bo-Ra had given to her had already been spent on moving.

‘I can’t wait any longer...!’

Won Ji-Yeon steeled her heart and dialed Bo-Ra’s number. The ringtone of an unknown pop song rang on the line. However, the robotic response of an unanswered call returned. She dialed Bo-Ra’s number a few times to no avail.


Just as her phone dropped onto the bed, Won Ji-Yeon felt a strand of reasoning break; she realized that she had been abandoned and that the call she had been waiting for wouldn’t come.

The half-empty soju bottle she had left came into view as she opened the fridge. Won Ji-Yeon took that and started drinking from it. She spat the remaining soju in her mouth after taking in a few mouthfuls, wetting the cold floor.

‘I won’t go down on my own...!’ Hot tears welled up in Won Ji-Yeon’s eyes. The burning intoxication turned into courage, and she turned on her laptop.

- I’m a failed screenwriter.

Tadadadak! Tadadak! Tadadadadak!

Her fingers flew across the keyboard as if possessed by a ghost. Won Ji-Yeon filled the screen with words as hatred filled her heart, and her stomach turned with ferocity.

1. In Korean: ???? ?

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