Daemyung started talking easily with the other kids . Maru just excused himself a minute or two later to return to his seat .
“Ohh~ What a champ . ” Dojin smacked Maru’s shoulder with a smile . “He was bothering me, too . ” he continued .
“Why didn’t you talk to him, then?” Maru asked .
“I mean, it was entirely a personal problem . I didn’t want to really do anything . ”
Maru thought the same way in the past . Being bullied… was a personal problem . But at the same time, it was an entirely easy problem to get rid of . That is, if someone helped from the side a little bit . He was just ignoring it because it was bothersome . He remembered what the woman said before about him being a nice person .
Maru didn’t think of himself as a nice person . No, not at all . He was just a bit more responsible than others . After all, in the past, he completely ignored Daemyung’s plight . But now?
“I’ll call you a good guy from now . ” Dojin told him .
A good guy? It made him laugh, but it wasn’t that bad of a nickname .
* * *
“We’re choosing our clubs today, so start thinking carefully about it, alright?” the teacher announced to the class . He appeared out of nowhere during lunchtime to say this and left without saying anything else .
“What do we do?” one of the kids asked .
“Just get into the soccer club or whatever . ”
“Do they have a PC bang club or something?”
“I heard they have a game research club here?”
The kids were talking quite a bit among each other . Maru took a look at the list as well . There were over 50 clubs introduced in it . Since classes didn’t have any morning or night study sessions, clubs were quite active in this school… or so says the literature teacher .
[Students from other schools even come to visit during festivals . I’m talking about the ones from the all girls high school next door . They used to be called the ‘Dongsung Girls School of Industry’, but they changed to ‘Dongsung Global High School’ . Last year, they caused quite a bit of commotion by coming with their dance club . Heard they wiped the floor with the dance club at our school . That’s why our dance club here’s been working their asses off this year, or so I’ve heard . So if you guys want to lose some weight and befriend girls, go there . ]
Maru could remember just barely as well . There were a few clubs that worked very hard to look good in the festival .
‘The music club people were something else . ’ he recalled . He could remember hearing them sing right at the entrance of school during the festival .
“Yo, Maru, what you planning on doing?” Dojin asked .
Maru didn’t really have much of a plan . Previously, he picked the movie review club . It was a very average club whose sole activity was to go to see movies on Saturday, and then play games in the PC bang afterwards .
‘It wasn’t horrible,’ at least he got to watch movies every month . Maybe he should try for the same club? Nothing else really caught his eye . As he read the description for the movie club, the bell rang . English class, the war against sleep, was about to begin .
“Have some mint candy . ” Dojin threw him some candy . Maru popped it in his mouth without hesitation . It helped . The coolness definitely helped .
A chubby lady entered the classroom . She was their English teacher . Not anyone extraordinary, but a simple average teacher who chatted with the students every once in a while . The woman put on a few pop songs in the background and went on with teaching . In the middle of it, someone knocked on the door .
Knock knock . The class was interrupted by a group outside .
“Ah . ” the English teacher motioned the group in without saying anything else . She seemed to know what was going on .
“Hey, hey . Those of you who are sleeping, wake up . ” the teacher said .
Maru raised his head to look at the door . There were a few students walking in with a nervous face . Seniors, maybe? There were two girls, and two guys . The two guys walked in stiffly along with a girl . The last girl walked in confidently as if she owned the school . Maru’s attention naturally went towards the last girl . She had quite the long hair, almost long enough to break school regulations . Wait, hold on a second . She just curled her damn hair .
The girl had clear eyes, a pink nose, and a mouth that seemed to burst out into speaking mode at any second . She took the podium almost as if she was the teacher and called the other three over .
“Come on, guys . We don’t have time . ”
“Ah, right . ” the other three responded . The four of them took their positions rather quickly .
What’s going on? Maru watched the four with his arms crossed .
“One, two, three . ” the girl said . And .
“Hello! We are the acting club, ‘Blue Sky’!”
Well, that was loud . Loud enough to wake up all the sleepy kids, including him .
‘Ah… the acting club . ’ come to think of it, there was one, wasn’t there? The high school acting club . He couldn’t remember much about them other than the fact that they went to some sort of a competition .
“Nice to meet you . I’m Lee Yunjung, the president of the acting club . I’m a second year . ” the girl said . She put a lot of emphasis behind ‘second year’ .
“We came to see you juniors because we wanted to promote the acting club a bit . Our acting club’s talented enough to have won a gold medal in the national teenage acting competition in the past . We’re looking for new members willing to make some memories with our club . ” she continued .
“The acting club’s nice . They even have their own room, and they have their own segments during festivals, too,” even the English teacher butted in a little bit . The teacher motioned the girl to continue .
“We’re a bit short on members because all of our third years decided to quit . Anybody here watch a play before?” the girl scanned the class with a hopeful look . But no one raised their hand .
Plays, huh . Maru’s seen quite a few of them in the past . There was a time when he’s worked for a short time as a road manager in his time job hunting right after college . It wasn’t all that great . He was basically a servant for the actors and the directors . He even had to complete all sorts of random tasks for the chief manager as well .
He wasn’t even in charge of just one actor, either . He was almost like a taxi driver for all sorts of actors . He’d taxi a side character on stage, and start completing all sorts of other jobs like carrying cameras, all the while suffering the treatment of a slave . At the time, he had to visit Hyehwa station (famous for plays) a lot to pick up side characters whenever the show ran short .
Naturally, he’s ended up watching a lot of plays in the process . He even dreamed of being an actor at one point, but he quickly gave up on that idea after getting a nice desk job at a small company .
Right then, Maru’s eyes met with the podium girl’s . Her gaze intimidated Maru enough to raise his hand .
“Ah, you’ve seen it?” the girl asked .
“Yes . ”
“How was it?”
“Well, some were fun, some not so much . ”
He decided to be honest . Thankfully, Yoonjung seemed content with that answer . She just seemed to be happy that there was someone who watched plays in the class .
“How many people were there?”
“A few monodramas . Most of them were under eight people . ”
“Whoa . ” Yoonjung leaned forward . She seemed to want to jump out to talk more with him right then and there . Maru flinched and leaned back a little from the pressure .
“You must like plays . ” Yoonjung said .
“What? Ah, no, not really . ”
“Yes . . . ”
“Do you hate it, then?”
“Uh… not really . ”
“Then let’s say you like it . ”
She just decided on an answer right there . Quite the decision maker, wasn’t she? Deciding what people likes or hates just then and there . And…
‘So energetic . ’ she was one of those kids that made him feel alive just being near them . The type of people that dragged others to match their pace in a conversation .
Maru took a look around the classroom . The students were focused at Yoonjung almost as if class was right about to end . The girl had a talent . The talent for drawing attention .
* * *
Yoonjung took a deep breath before continuing .
“Let’s cut the BS for a sec . All sorts of people are needed in a play . We have costumer designers, prop masters, stage managers, and actors… Of course, we make our own props and costumes in our plays, since we are a club . ”
BS? Maru found himself smiling at the girl’s straightforwardness . The other kids looked pretty surprised as well . To think a girl like her would say something like that… Yoonjung didn’t notice the crowd’s reaction, though .
“It’s hard . We have to get together at all sorts of times to work . We might spend a ton of time making props, and make our own costumes if we can’t rent it . We made our own props last year with planks and hammers . We needed to build a restaurant, you see . It took awhile to make something that resembled a house . Some of us got hurt as well . If you look here . . . ”
The girl extended her hand out towards the class . There was a long scar on her left pinky finger .
“Hey, Yoonjung, stick to the script,” the other girl pointed out, as she poked Yoonjung from the back . Yoonjung jumped back in surprise almost as if she were scalded by hot water .
She seemed to be the type that fell into her own stories . Maru didn’t dislike that . Those people were annoying occasionally, but more often than not they energized the group they were in . People like her… often shone brightly in a group . Yoonjung inhaled for a second before talking again .
“That’s why we’re requesting people to join the acting club . Things will get hard, sure, but I promise it’ll be worth it . I can’t even describe to you the feeling you get when you perform an act you’ve been preparing for months . Soon… you’ll even begin to love that entire process . ”
She was shining . Even the seniors standing next to her were . As she talked more about acting, they started standing straighter . Prouder .
“Of course! It will be difficult . I keep saying this for a reason . It won’t be easy at all . That’s why we aren’t looking for anyone . . . ”
Right when Yoonjung said around this much, a different girl jumped in . She was a girl with relatively short hair . Almost boyish . But this girl acted more like a girl than Yoonjung . She even had makeup on . Well, just enough to warrant trouble with teachers .
“Of course it’ll be hard . But it’s not just that . Plays are made by all sorts of people . Actors aren’t everything . Staff don’t require as much work as Yoonjung said . Since they just help out in between plays or practice . But without them, plays wouldn’t even be possible . So… if you’re interested, please give us a visit . ” the girl finished with a slight bow .
She seemed like a pretty calm and collected girl to Maru . If Yoonjung was the type that yelled “charge!!”, this one seemed to be the type to hold Yoonjung back . The type that was persuasive . When both girls stopped talking, the guys stepped forward . They seemed lackluster due to the energy the girls showed right before .
“We are the staff . We decided to help the crew more after our first year acting . You’ll be able to see a bunch of stuff when you come to our club room . They’re years of work that’s been created by our seniors . Like Danmi said earlier, we welcome anyone interested . We’re looking forward to working with you for one, maybe even two more years in this club . ” said one of them .
The other one stepped forward . Unlike the first boy, who had sporty hair, this one just had a flat nose .
“Please come if you’re interested . We even have a teacher that we hire to teach us acting . I’ll leave the form here . We’re accepting till tomorrow, so please come . Ah, and of course, you’re always free to visit us in the club room . And… if you’re worried about your looks, don’t worry about it . Just look at me . ”
The boy grinned . This one seemed to be the more charismatic of the two .