South Korea, lovers
Lovers from Korea
Matches with real heroes are just a coincidence!
The main character of my story is an actor, he is already over forty years old, he descends from the famous philosopher Kohgzi, a South Korean actor, but he descends from the Chinese philosopher Confucius. The actor is a famous person in Korea, so I give him the pseudonym Kunqiu.
«I have never been married, I have no children, but I am at the right age for these roles. You have to do not what I am good at, but what I am capable of. I think that such work is an advancement and a challenge. to yourself, whether you get bad reviews or not.»
From the author’s interview with the actor
REFRIGERATOR EMPTY POTS ARE COLD. IT’S TIME TO LOOK FOR A HOUSEKEEPER
This morning, Kunqiu again thought that he had run out of milk in the refrigerator and had not eaten the homemade food prepared by his beloved housekeeper, Mrs. O.
The housekeeper who took care of him for ten years left him a month and a half ago.
No, nothing terrible happened, just time, which spares no one, has reached Aunt O. For more than ten years, an elderly woman and a famous actor lived in perfect harmony. Very often, the aunt even stayed overnight at the actor’s house when her back hurt and it was hard for her to get home. She had her own room on the first floor. Auntie held on as long as she could, but time, as I said, takes its toll. A month and a half ago, my daughter took Aunt Oh to Busan. At parting, the actor made a generous gift to his aunt. He was in no hurry to look for a new housekeeper, because he was planning a big tour in Japan, but because of the coronavirus, everything went up and down and the tour was canceled. And now the time has come to think about who will help him to manage the household in the future. The most ideal would be if he could get married, and his wife would take care of all the issues related to everyday life, but the question of marriage was a painful issue.
Kunqiu stopped the treadmill, lay down on the floor and thought, he realized that finding the right woman to do the housework was hard enough. Laws, rules, barriers, other people’s views, closed doors, classified information, journalists who always poke their nose into his affairs — all this required being very careful. Even if he were an ordinary person, and not an actor, even then he would be afraid to bring a stranger, an unknown woman into his house, well, and in this situation he had to be very careful. Kunqiu understood that he could not make such an important decision himself, but would it be possible to dream?
A few hours later, his manager was informed that it was time to start looking for a new housekeeper. Age in this choice did not really matter, but the actor did not like to part with those to whom he was accustomed and therefore asked to find a woman of 30—45 years old, who would still be far from decrepitude and retirement. There was one more thing, one more requirement, the housekeeper candidate should not be a Kunqiu fan. Kunqiu genuinely loved his fans, but preferred to love them from a distance. Not that he had anything to hide, but the thought that a woman would appear in the house, who would spy on and eavesdrop, climb where she should not, terrified him. I think you now understand why the actor spent a month and a half driving away from himself the thought of a new housekeeper.
Kunqiu loved his home, but he had little time to seriously engage in everyday life, the work took all the time, sometimes, when the filming schedule was especially stressful, he stayed overnight at the studio or at the hotel, he simply did not have the strength to go home.
In the end, there were three candidates left in the selection process. All three women had a solid track record, all three were over forty, all three denied being Kunqiu fans, and…
Kunqiu flipped through all three resumes and found another one under the stack. It turns out that there was also a fourth candidate, her resume was quite short, it did not take even a page, but probably something interested his manager in this candidate, otherwise Kunqiu would not have read her resume now. The actor also tried to delve into what was written, but the lines blurred before his eyes. Still, the actor hasn’t slept for three nights. This was the time of the month when he could not sleep. Rather, he was asleep, but his sleep was shallow, he woke up endlessly, usually by three o’clock in the morning he stopped fighting and went to drink coffee. It would be possible to leave the care of choosing a housekeeper to the manager, but the woman who remains in the selection process will have to work in Kunqiu’s kitchen, clean his bedroom, wash and iron his linen. That is why Kunqiu understood that it was he who had to make the choice. He wished that with the departure of Aunt Oh, his housekeeper, the quiet times were over.
The fourth candidate who wanted to be his housekeeper was really unusual. She was Korean but lived in Hong Kong and Tokyo for twenty years and only recently returned to Korea. Judging by the resume, Ms. Li followed her stepfather, who was a famous pianist, with her mother. Ms. Li lost her father at the age of seven. The woman even got excellent
e education at one of the universities in America. It was not clear why, having such outstanding data, she decided to go to work as a housekeeper. Nothing was stated about this in the resume. Ms. Li said she would tell the employer if she was hired. After returning from Hong Kong, the woman lived with her maternal grandparents. Looking at the photo that was pasted on the resume, Kunqiu thought that the face in the photo was so young that he just couldn’t help calling Ms. Li a grown woman. The manager attached a note to the resume. After reading it, Kunqiu understood what the manager was interested in this girl. If you believe what the girl said, she never saw a single film with Kunqiu, or heard his songs, because she lived a lot of time abroad. The girl had little experience as a housekeeper, she worked in only two families, but if Kunqiu wants to take her, she can be assigned a probationary period. Kunqiu hesitated, the main goal of the housekeeper is order and comfort in the house, can Ms. Li be able to do this? Thoughts were confused and Kunqiu decided to leave the resume on the table for now, he wanted to make the final decision in the morning, but his sleep left him after three in the morning, and he trudged off to the kitchen. The resume lay on the kitchen table. The top summary in the pile was Ms. Li’s summary.
Looking at the photo, Kunqiu thought that his curiosity was a little piqued, he wanted to know something about the girl, in addition to what she wrote. A week passed and finally the manager brought the girl.
Kunqiu did not like awkward situations and therefore during the conversation he only smiled encouragingly and inserted short remarks into the manager’s explanations. The girl clearly and boldly looked into the eyes of Kunqiu, in those eyes there was no servility and delight of worshiping an idol. Kunqiu truly believed that Ms. Li had never seen any of his roles in films. The girl asked sensible questions, laughed in the right places, answered directly to the questions posed, that is, made a good impression.
Something confused Kunqiu, but he decided that it was due to the fact that the girl is young and sweet. But when the meeting ended, Kunqiu remembered the hairpin that he saw in the girl’s beautiful hair, and it seemed to him that he had once seen a similar hairpin in the girl’s hair, the memories of which were unpleasant and embarrassing to him.
However, on reflection, Kunqiu decided it was just a coincidence. Once upon a time, Kunqiu passionately loved that girl, and a hairpin in the hair of a strange girl stirred up memories. There was no filming today, it was that rare day when there was no need to go anywhere, you could just stare mindlessly into the fire of the fireplace, or even pour a quarter of a glass of expensive wine and inhale its thick aroma, reminiscent of love and summer. However, after drinking the wine, Kunqiu winced, it seemed to him bitter, the memories were to blame. Remembering the girl who was left in the past, Kunqiu became agitated. Taking out an album with old photos, he tried to find their common photos, but only he was everywhere. Many years ago, when this unpleasant story happened, one of his close friends, who was very worried then, decided that the girl was unworthy to be in the photo next to Kunqiu, and cut her off in all group photos. Therefore, now Kunqiu could only vaguely remember some details of the girl’s face.
To be honest, the new housekeeper was not his type at all. She was too, how to say, feminine, or something. Kunqiu liked girls who were not similar, not representatives of their sex. He did not like loud fools and cry, as he was afraid of hysterics and a showdown in a raised voice. He liked strong and harsh women, women who were independent, who knew how to set goals and achieve their goals at any cost.
Yes, the girl was beautiful, but she was too, how to say, ordinary, traditional, or something. Knowing the biography of the girl, Kunqiu expected something unusual, because the girl studied in America, spoke four languages, including Korean, saw and knew a lot. However, at the meeting, an ordinary girl was standing in front of him. A girl who will not even notice if she is in the crowd of fans.
No, he did not want, of course, that the girl had a tattoo or a nose ring, God forbid, he only hoped that at least the girl’s clothes would have at least some hint of her life outside Korea, but his wishes were not justified. Again, in front of him was an ordinary girl, dressed in the same way as all modern girls in South Korea dress.
Three days later, the girl started to work. Before this happened, the manager checked whether the girl’s resume was true. Everything was confirmed. The manager, Mr. Kim, even met the girl’s grandparents. The old men turned out to be very welcoming and treated Mr. Kim to dinner.
Everything that the girl wrote was true, and the moment came when she came. Having met the girl, Kunqiu did everything so that she did not worry, but the girl was calm. This amazed Kunqiu.
The girl immediately got down to business, which she had to do in the house, which was almost not cleaned in the last
her time. After a month, Kunqiu got used to the girl and treated her like a piece of furniture, furniture that moves. He was quite happy with this situation, it was convenient. Whether this situation suited Ms. Li, he did not know. Kunqiu rarely spoke to the girl. It seemed to him that due to the fact that the girl turned out to be so insignificant and ordinary, his interest in her passed, he did not even ask the girl those questions, the answers to which he did not find in the resume.
Usually, by the time Kunqiu returned home, the girl left. They collided only on weekends, when the girl worked until lunchtime.
Filming ended early that day. Kunqiu had a headache, it was again that time of the month when he did not sleep, so he refused to go with the other actors and the crew to the restaurant. Returning home, he saw that the girl was still in the house, her shoes were at the threshold. When the sound of the vacuum cleaner ceased, the actor could not believe his ears, the girl sang, and she sang the song that he had recently learned and sang at a meeting with fans.
The blood rushed to the actor’s cheeks, he decided that the girl had lied, she was a fan of Kunqiu and deceived him. The girl’s voice was not set, but rather pleasant, she even sang a few notes not very accurately in pitch, but she immediately laughed and corrected herself.
Kunqiu was a kind person, but he did not tolerate lies. He pretended not to notice the girl and went up to the second floor. Locked in the bedroom, he didn’t know what to do. The girl was conflict-free, and Kunqiu would not mind if she worked for him further, but here’s the fact that she deceived him…
He wanted to call the manager to deal with the girl, but then changed his mind, it would not be like a man. Having calmed down, he went downstairs to clarify everything, but the girl had already left. On Sunday, when the girl changed her clothes to go home, Kunqiu asked her to stay a little longer. The girl smiled and replied that she urgently needs to leave now, but if there are any questions for her, she will answer them to the actor tomorrow, if he does not mind.
The girl left, and Kunqiu remained with his mouth open. Now he understood how this girl was different from the others, she was independent. He admitted that, most likely, other Korean girls would behave in the same way in this situation, but there would be only a handful of them.
The patriarchal upbringing in South Korea instilled in young men and women a certain pattern by which they lived. Obey your elders at home, obey your elders at work, obey your elders at university and school. Kunqiu was also an ordinary schoolboy, and then a student and passed all the stages of reverence for elders. Fortunately, there were no people on his path in life who humiliated or offended him when he was older, but he saw such situations and was very worried about his friends when they got into such situations.
Now Kunqiu was angry, then he wanted to immediately dismiss the girl without explanation, then a minute later he calmed down and persuaded himself that he had to wait, and the girl would explain everything.
And she did explain. It turns out that Ms. Li played the piano quite well, in the United States she studied at the Faculty of Arts, and when she heard Kunqiu rehearse at home, in the music room, and prepare for the upcoming meeting with fans, she wondered if she could find the accompaniment to that the song that the artist sang. The time of college students had long passed, and the girl’s fingers had not touched the piano keys for five years, so she doubted her abilities a little, and when she picked up the accompaniment, the song sat so deeply in her voice that she sang it even while cleaning.
That’s all. When Kunqiu confirmed that she was satisfied with the girl’s answer, she smiled sweetly and, not expressing an ounce of resentment from the fact that she had to make excuses, packed up and left.
Honestly, Kunqiu did not fully believe the girl, her answer was too fantastic. His first impulse was to turn to the manager again to check if the girl was lying about the fact that she studied at the Faculty of Arts, but he immediately dismissed this impulse.
DIRECT SPEECH OF THE ACTOR
I, Kunqiu, together with the author of the book, we agreed that I will appear on the pages of this book only occasionally, that is, I will speak in the first person. The rest will be told by the author. This book format was not chosen by chance, when I act in films and dramas, I live the life of my heroes, I feel comfortable working in this format, of course, when I play a role, I bring a little myself into it, without this the image would not be capacious and recognizable, but still seventy percent of the role is fiction, it is a figment of the scriptwriter’s imagination. Exactly the same ratio will be in this book, thirty percent is my direct speech, seventy percent is the story of the author. You must understand that there is me, and there are myths and fantasies about me! When I appear on the pages of the book, it will be true, when the author appears, this will also be true, but the truth that the author sees.
So, come with us, and let this path be easy and interesting!
Yes, wait! One more thing, for especially distrustful and picky readers, we decided to add a slogan that, all coincidences with real characters and places are just coincidences! Of course, you and I know that everything written in this book is true, but there are such readers… In short, start reading, and as you read, everything will become clear to you.
«When asked what strengths he can highlight as a partner, the actor said,» I don’t confess right away if I like someone. I’m the kind of person who would rather cherish this feeling than act based on it.»
From the author’s interview with the actor.
The penultimate chapter ended with the actor doubting the identity of the new housekeeper. Reassured, Kunqiu asked Mr. Kim to send him copies of the documents that were kept at the agency’s office — those were Ms. Li’s documents. Until now, he has only seen Ms. Li’s ID, and his education documents, insurance certificate and other documents were kept at the agency’s office. The manager was surprised, but did what the artist asked. And again, Kunqiu made sure that the girl did not lie to him, she really studied at the Faculty of Arts. After that, he breathed a sigh of relief, in fact, he did not want to change the housekeeper at all. And time flew forward again. So half a year passed.
The event that I want to tell you about happened on January 6th, so much snow fell that day that all transport stopped, and this is completely unsurprising, because usually the streets of the capital of South Korea are dry. The last abnormal snowfall was six years ago, and now the snow has piled up so much and in such a short time that the city admitted defeat. All the vehicles stopped, and the children went to play snowballs and make a snowman. Ms. Li was so engrossed in her work that day that she missed the moment when it was painless to get home. She didn’t even look out the window and didn’t see that it was snowing.
The artist told her about the snowy Armageddon when he returned home. Realizing that the girl would hardly be able to get home quickly, Kunqiu invited the girl to spend the night in the room where Mrs. O was staying at such moments. The girl was surprised, then laughed, and then categorically refused. However, her categorical nature came to naught, as soon as she opened the door and went beyond the threshold of the house. A blizzard began, it blocked the view of all those who were unlucky that day and who were forced to get home on foot, not to mention the hostages who were forced to sit hour after hour in car salons. Kunqiu once again suggested that the girls not take risks and spend the night in a room on the first floor. And here, for the first time, he saw confusion and embarrassment on Ms. Li’s face. The girl whispered almost inaudibly that grandfather and grandmother would be worried.
However, this problem was quickly resolved, the artist called the manager Kim, and the manager called his grandfather back. When this question was settled, Kunqiu, in order not to embarrass the girl, informed her that he was going up to the second floor and would not come down until the next morning. The girl, who cheered up after the manager had settled the issue with her grandfather, told Kunqiu that she did not need such drastic measures. If the artist suddenly needs to use the kitchen, let him do it without hesitation, usually at night she does not have a desire to rush around the house and use the kitchen. Kunqiu was again very surprised, he expected any reaction from the girl, but not such words. It seemed to him that the girl was burning with embarrassment, and, entering her room, would move the furniture to the door so that the uninvited guest would not come to her at night. The girl was not going to do any of this, she just smiled and wished the owner good night.
Hello my dears! I am the author of this book, or rather, I am a beautiful destiny disguised as the author. You have already met the hero, now it was my turn to speak. However, I will be brief for now. My speech is my book, which you are about to read. The only thing I want to add is that I do not like to borrow other people’s texts, and therefore everything that I did not come up with, but I use in this book, will be in quotation marks. So, I will summarize the first chapters.
The actor is single, but many circumstances prevent him from starting the search for the one he will love. Meanwhile, his housekeeper, Mrs. Oh, is quitting. We must look for another housekeeper. Manager Kim offers the actor a choice of several candidates, including the young and beautiful Ms. Li Mei. Actor Kunqiu chooses her. Well, what do you think happened next?
Cheek is swollen
This story happened when our heroine worked for only seven months in the artist’s house. Even then, she began to realize how much she liked her master. Each time she entered this house with a sinking heart, because she was attracted to this person. However, some circumstances prevented her from showing her sympathy for Kunqiu. Yes, and to be honest, she just didn’t know how to do it. She had almost no love experience. Moreover, from the artist’s attitude to his housekeeper, it was absolutely not clear that he somehow distinguishes her from other women. That evening, our heroine came to work in the artist’s house in a bad mood. She had a bruise all over her cheek. An abnormal mother threw a book at her, and the book hit the girl in the face. The fact is that she worked as a tutor and helped teach English to those schoolchildren who were not given this subject. Twice a week she came to see a boy who was in high school. The boy was diligent, but English was not given to him. Ms. Li used different methods to memorize words, but the boy was still struggling to learn English. Maybe it was in the high bar that his mother set for the student. The mother demanded that the boy had only excellent grades in all subjects at school. The boy tried his best, but the English language was a stumbling block for him. That day nothing foreshadowed trouble, but when the lesson was already coming to an end, the boy’s mother burst into the study room, holding some piece of paper in her hands. The woman, wildly rolling her eyes, suddenly ran up to the boy and began to poke this piece of paper in his face, and then grabbed his hair. The girl tried to protect the boy, but she also flew in. Mad mom grabbed the first textbook she came across and threw this textbook in the girl’s face. As Ms. Li later realized, Mom was holding a printout of the student’s six months’ grades. In English, the boy had a modest three. This pissed off my mother. Both the student and his teacher got it. The girl’s right cheek was swollen from the blow. Having collected the textbooks, the girl left the house without saying a word. Looking ahead, I will say that the crazy mother dashed off an angry letter on the English teacher. She threatened Ms. Li with all sorts of punishments, and promised that this teacher would not get a job anywhere else. However, the employees of the agency were also not bastard. The girl turned out to be crippled and could file a lawsuit against the agency that was her customer. Of course, Ms. Li wouldn’t do it, but the director of the agency was shocked. Upon learning that the schoolboy’s mother had hit the teacher, agency workers sent out the family’s data to all agencies, and the boy and his mother were added to the black list. After that, the woman tried for some time to find an English tutor, but she failed, then she literally crawled into the agency and bowed to the ground. She asked to return the English teacher, but of course the girl did not agree to this anymore.
But that was later, now the girl was trying to find at least a piece of ice in the refrigerator to apply to her swollen cheek.
But he was not there. The mood deteriorated even more. After all, quite recently the girl checked, the ice was in the refrigerator, but today it was not. It is good that Ms. Li discovered this in time, otherwise Kunqiu would have been unhappy, the artist asked the girl to make sure that there was always ice in the refrigerator. The door knocked, it was the owner. The girl turned away from him, her mood became even worse. She hoped the filming would take longer and she would leave before he returned. Well, since the owner of the house, she needs to become as inconspicuous as possible. As luck would have it, today she had to return home to her grandparents. This means that she will have to go on the bus with such a face, and then on the subway. It was not so bad, the disaster struck when the owner saw her swollen cheek. The girl was insanely ashamed. Serving food on the table, she struggled to turn her healthy cheek to the owner, but nothing came of it. The girl expected everything, but not such a reaction. Seeing Ms. Li’s face, men I stopped eating, and then finished my dinner altogether. The girl went to wash the dishes, and then saw that the owner was standing in front of her in outerwear. So, Kunqiu instantly put on his outerwear and handed the jacket to Ms. Li.
— Are we going somewhere? — asked the girl
— And where?
— In hospital.
— Not. Do not. Nothing terrible happened.
— It’s not even discussed. Have you seen your face in the mirror?
— Yes, but if I put ointment on my cheek in the evening, then by morning everything will be in order.
— And if you have damaged facial bones?
By the way, how did this happen?
The girl briefly outlined the situation.
— Maybe you want us to contact a law firm?
— No, I don’t want to make a fuss. The owner of the agency said he would punish the quarrelsome woman in his own way.
— Well, that’s as you wish, but I have to take you to the doctor.
Fortunately, everything turned out to be not so bad, the doctor said that the facial bones were not damaged, only soft tissues suffered, he wrote out a prescription for the necessary ointments, and soon the girl was already sitting in the car.
When it was not so far to the house, the car had a flat tire. The actor parked his car at the curb and called manager Kim. While the manager was driving, the actor invited Ms. Li to get out of the car and take a walk in the park, which was located near the Han River. The girl agreed, but asked.
— Aren’t you afraid that someone will recognize you?
— No, — handing the girl an umbrella, said the artist, — it’s evening, and besides, it’s raining. I don’t think there are a lot of people in the park now.
And so it turned out, the park was empty. During a walk, the girl several times caught herself wanting to take the artist by the arm, and it even seemed to her that the artist had the same desire. She suddenly saw a swing and looked inquiringly at Kunqiu, who smiled and nodded his head. While the girl swayed, Kunqiu stood aside under an umbrella and waited patiently. The lanterns were lit, Mrs. Li went to the parapet of the river, and leaning on it, leaned over the water. The lights of the city were reflected in the water, the water carried its waters, not thinking about those people who are now looking at it. The girl bent too low and almost fell into the water, or rather the artist thought that this almost happened. He took the girl’s hand and pulled her gently.
— Yes? — looking at the hand that lay on her arm, she looked inquiringly at the artist — what?
— Let’s go to the car, probably manager Kim has already arrived.
The girl sighed, she didn’t want to leave here so quickly. While she was looking at the water of the river, it seemed to her that this was not just a forced walk in a rainy park, but a walk in the park with a loved one.
The artist also reluctantly removed his hand.
«Having played the actor’s love for fishing, the interviewer wittily asked:" What is the only fish Kunqiu could not catch in the ocean of life? "Kunqiu replied, «You used fishing as a metaphor, but from the point of view of real fishing, I want to catch a fish that I have not caught before, very big.»
I am more and more nostalgic for classics, not only for fashion, but also for furniture and cars. Only after a lapse of time do you realize how amazing it is. I prefer simple and classic outfits like the ones I wore today, not over-the-top or trendy. It’s a natural look for someone my age.»
From the author’s interview with the actor
I think it’s time to finally get to know the artist more closely. Like his great ancestor, Confucius, the Kunqiu artist adhered to the principles of goodness and justice. The artist was a kind and fair person. Over time, the more he grew up, the more he thought about the roles that he played and will play again. He lived on earth for a little more time, but the further, the more he thought about why he came here to this land, and what mission he had ahead of. Previously, he tolerated criticism rather painfully, but now he did not care.
«When I reflect on my filmography, I think my starting point is compassion for people, including myself. I used the word „vulnerable“ a lot when I was filming „The Demon.“ I believe that humans are infinitely vulnerable animals. I don’t know if this sounds grandiose, but I think that everything is rather vague. Wouldn’t the world be more beautiful if we became more compassionate for each other?»
From the author’s interview with the actor
In each of his films, whatever his role, he talked about compassion, about compassion for children, women, nature, earth. These are of course general phrases, but that is exactly what Kunqiu was. Every film he started was a separate planet. Each of his roles began with the fact that he asked himself whether he believed in the proposed circumstances, was he ready to put a piece of himself into the image?
«I don’t have much greed. It’s such a cliché, but it’s hard to find another way to express it. I kept saying to myself: „It’s okay if I don’t do it right now. I do not want to rush“. And I think that now, at my age, you can bring these thoughts to life. I’m more relaxed and brave, so I can do what I really want to do without caring what other people think. I used to dislike being criticized, but now I don’t care. I realize that I missed out on so many nice things just because I was worried about what others were thinking. I think you can only feel better if you free yourself from it.»
From the author’s interview with the actor
MRS LEE MEI
I have already told you Ms. Li’s last name, and now I will tell you her name, her name was Mei.
After that snowy night, when the girl stayed overnight at her employer’s house, she now often stayed overnight if she did not want to travel across Seoul home to the house where her grandparents lived. Kunqiu was responsible for the girl in front of her family, and was very worried when Mei finished work late and took a long time to get home at dusk. May tried not to abuse the host’s hospitality, but it turned out that three times a week she still stayed overnight in Mrs. O’s room. In general, a good relationship was established between the housekeeper and the owner.
Meanwhile, the artist’s illness was getting worse. When the full moon rose in the sky, the hope for a sound sleep evaporated. The artist tried to go to bed early in order to get at least a little sleep, but the clock struck midnight, and the sleep went away. It seemed like someone malicious was taking hour after hour from Kunqiu’s life. Previously, he woke up at 3:00 am, but now the sleep time decreased, and he began to wake up at midnight.
Lack of sleep at night turned into a problem. Kunqiu looked bad in the morning. He fearfully waited for the approaching full moon this month. For the role in the new film, the artist lost a little weight. In the new film, he played a not very healthy person, and his chronic lack of sleep played into his hands so far. In any case, no one has yet noticed how poorly he orients himself in space in the morning. In addition to the fact that he slept badly, his dreams, his short dreams began to influence reality.
Lately he has dreamed the same thing. He saw an ancient Chinese city in front of him, felt annoyance mixed with pity, and tried to help the inhabitants of the city whom he saw in front of him.
Sleep shots changed. He heard the screams of a woman, the woman screamed in pain, but no one was in a hurry to run to help, he saw jets of water, saw a source that suddenly began to beat from under the ground, his sleep ended with a cry of a baby. He saw women’s hands, which dipped the baby into the waters of the spring in order to wash it. After that, the source ceased to exist, and the water went underground.
In the morning, having drunk coffee, he thought about sleep for a long time. The clouded mind did not want to delve into anything, but the artist nevertheless came to the conclusion that strange dreams tormented him, because he still had not fulfilled his main purpose in life. Kunqiu was already 41 years old, but he still has not been married. Perhaps the thought of a son who would one day be born to him gave impetus to his strange dreams. There was nothing terrible in these dreams, there was no hint of any horror, or something malicious, just the dreams were chaotic and at the same time very clear. Kunqiu still saw the branches of a mulberry tree in front of him, under which a baby from a dream was born. In fact, he saw only the source, only the mulberry tree, the very woman who came there to give birth to the baby, he did not see. He saw only the hands of a woman who were holding the newborn boy, heard the crying of the child, and heard the voice of the mother, who was soothingly saying something.
I will not intrigue the reader, those dreams that the artist saw were dreams about the moment of the birth of the great philosopher Confucius. The artist did not immediately realize this, but after comparing different moments from his dreams and the facts of family chronicles, he came to the conclusion that he saw exactly the moment of the birth of his great progenitor.
So, there are two interpretations of strange dreams, strange painful and chaotic dreams of the artist. The first interpretation, since Kunqiu was still not married, he thought that dreams were a hint that he would soon meet a woman who would become his wife and give birth to a son. The second interpretation is pictures from the past of the great philosopher and thinker Confucius.
There is a version that the events of the life of the progenitor are recorded in the genes of all his descendants, when these events emerge in the memory or in the dreams of modern people, this means that for some reason the ancestral memory came to life in a person. Whether it was true or not, the artist did not know, and would prefer not to know in the future, all he wanted now was to get enough sleep.
WHY IN SOUTH KOREA IS MARRY SO LATE
South Korea is an unusual country, to start with the fact that in this country, however, as in all Asian countries, there is a very tough selection, a very fierce struggle for a place in the sun. If young people in Russia can freely get married when they come of age, that is, at the age of 18, then in South Korea, girls and boys at this moment only awkwardly begin to glance at the opposite sex.
Education begins at colleges and universities. The learning process is so difficult and cruel that it leaves no time, or almost no time for personal life. In some universities, it is directly stated in the charter that students of a given university are not entitled to some personal preferences, that is, to put it simply, young people do not have the right to privacy, let alone sexual contacts.
In Russia, it is quite normal for a girl and a boy to live together before marriage to get to know each other better, and marry only when they find out that they will soon become parents. This trend is not only in Russia, but also in other Western countries.
In South Korea, if young people suddenly announce that they have decided to live together before marriage, not only older family members, but also their peers will look askance at them. About family, marriage, young men and women in South Korea begin to think about only at the age of 35—38, that is, at the moment when their studies are over and there is work, there is a good salary to support the family.
I do not give my assessments and do not say good or bad, I just point to a fact.
Of course, in South Korea, as well as in other countries, everything cannot be so unambiguous, someone breaks the rules, someone adheres to them, and I am only talking about a general trend.
That is, the story that you are reading now is about this, about people who have already crossed the threshold of their thirties and who hope that now, when they followed the path of life that the older generation prescribed them, they will have great love ahead and happiness. However, there is nothing definite in life, sometimes it happens that great love does not come in any way, and the clock is ticking, and the hope of running into the last carriage of the train called love becomes more and more illusory.
MEI WATCHING THE FILM OF KUNCHU
«I am not obsessed with politics or social problems. While filming, I always think: «I hope that someone will feel what I feel» and «Shouldn’t we think about it?» I like projects that provide an opportunity to reach out to people through the roles that I am offered. After reading the script for a film about unfortunate children from a boarding school, I got angry and thought: «Will people watch this? But I have to do it. "I had no idea it would have such a big effect, and the title of the movie would even be used for the title of the law.»
From the author’s interview with the artist
May asked the owner to reconsider her work schedule. The girl had another part-time job, and she also studied at some courses. An American diploma was not enough for her, having decided to live in Korea from now on, she wanted to get a Korean-style diploma.
The actor respected the girl’s request and her schedule was revised. On weekdays, she now worked in the afternoon, but on weekends, her schedule remained the same. Thus, on weekdays, she usually completed her work somewhere around 10:00 pm. If there was no bad weather outside, then the girl went home, but if she finished work late or it was raining or snowing outside, or all together, then she stayed overnight in Mrs. O.’s room.
Kunqiu, immersed in his problems, did not notice for several days that the girl’s eyes were red. Once, when he was having dinner, it seemed to him that the girl was crying, however, when he asked her what had happened, the girl replied that she was allergic, so lately she has been walking with red eyes. The artist did not insist, although he was firmly convinced that he heard the girl crying. Well, if the girl did not want to devote the owner to her problems, then this was probably only a plus.
Although the artist was a very kind and understanding person, human injustice made him indignant, but the matter usually did not end with indignation, several times in his life Kunqiu took measures to eliminate the injustice. One day he read a book where it was told how the workers of the boarding school abuse hearing-impaired children. It was a true story, but the book did not create much resonance. The orphanage workers only shook their fingers and nothing else happened. The actor was so indignant that he insisted that a script be written and a film was made according to this script, in which he played one of the roles. This time there was a big scandal. Not a single employee of the boarding school escaped responsibility, even laws were passed to protect such children.
But let’s get back to the girl story. Red eyes and tears were on Monday, and on Tuesday the girl was kind of fine. However, on Wednesday, when the actor approached the girl to find out if there was enough food for the party he was throwing for friends on Saturday, the girl’s eyes were red and puffy again. It might be hard to tell an allergy from just tear-stained eyes, but the actor was sure that he saw what he saw. But this time, too, he did not insist. The thought occurred to him that there might be a problem in him, maybe he was not attentive enough to May, or he was overloading her with work?
This time he decided to act differently. He invited the girl into the living room, sat her down in front of him, they chatted about meaningless things, about the girl’s life in America, about her studies, and when he felt that she was ready to answer, he asked her a direct question. The answer was in the usual manner of this girl, she smiled and said shortly «no». After that, she returned to work. Kunqiu felt that the matter was amiss, but he could not get the girl to talk. A week has passed. Now the most difficult shooting of the film was taking place, the actor came home utterly exhausted, all his thoughts were where the scenery for the film remained, but that evening he came early, the shooting was canceled. Walking into the living room, he was dumbfounded, May watched the movie I mentioned earlier and cried. Seeing the owner, she wiped her tears, got up, and not a word, not a word, went into the kitchen. She didn’t turn off the TV. She was probably washing the dishes, but the sound of pouring water could not drown her sobs. The actor turned off the TV. Climbing to the second floor, he leaned back exhaustedly in his chair. He did not understand this girl, he desperately wanted to feel sorry for her, but he could not find a way to do it. Soon the cleaning was finished, and the girl went to her room.
«I didn’t appear in romantic TV series that often. This project became significant because many viewers liked it. I felt happy and burdened at the same time. It was a project that I got at a time when I was in doubt about my acting career. I worked really hard to be sure. I wanted to be a unique and memorable artist, so I was very worried. But this project has awakened my fading passion, so it has a special meaning for me.»
From the author’s interview with the actor
The party was planned for a small circle of friends, but this time the small circle was suddenly wide. Many more people came than planned, several friends came from America, whom the artist had not seen for a long time, and at the last moment the list of invitees suddenly expanded. The party was great, Kunqiu rested his body and soul
Uk, also an artist and close friend of Kunqiu, wanted to be a DJ, and this man knew how to amuse. The jokes flashed in the air, and the lawn shook with bursts of laughter from the satisfied guests. A team of waiters was invited for the party, but manager Kim refused the services of an administrator. It was decided that May would lead the household part of the party. And the girl did an excellent job with the role assigned to her. Waiters and service staff were placed in such a way that no guest was left unattended. The party was already drawing to a close when one of the American friends, who got pretty drunk and tried to swim in a decorative lake with fish, was inflamed with a passion for May. He suddenly pulled the girl to him and tried to kiss. The girl at that moment bent over the table trying to adjust the stand with starch napkins. The table was on the outskirts, almost in the shadows, and further events were seen only by the artist, who from time to time glanced in the direction where the girl was.
So, at that moment, when a friend from America tried to give May his kiss, the girl twitched and tried to pull away, but she failed. The drunken man dug into the girl’s lips. Kunqiu rushed to Mei’s aid, but only made it towards the end of the action. There were still twenty steps to the scene of the action, he did not hear what the girl said, but he saw that the man was sitting on the ground and he was bleeding from his nose. Having reached the arena of the battle, the artist heard that the girl was laughing and saying something in English. The guest was sitting with a red face, probably the girl’s words touched him even more than a blow to the nose, he began to rise, his expression left no hope for a successful outcome of the conversation. At that moment, Kunqiu finally ran to the scene of the conflict. The guest was eager to fight and promised to teach the arrogant waitress a lesson. The artist tried to explain to his friend that the girl was not a waitress, but the guest was already in such a state that he simply did not hear what he was being told. He rushed at May, but the girl, instead of fleeing, again said something mocking in English. The situation was getting out of control, the American friend was the same height as Kunqiu, but his weight clearly exceeded the owner by seventy kilograms. Despite this, Kunqiu would of course have covered Mei with his body, but this was not necessary. Manager Kim finally saw that the case was amiss and the drunk man was first calmed down and then taken home.
May took a napkin, brushed her lips furiously several times, and then smiled at the owner and, as if nothing had happened, went on to manage the party.
When the guests had departed, it was time for the waiters. It seemed that May was in several places at the same time, so quickly she moved from one end of the terrace to the other. When everything was finally cleaned up and the team of waiters left Kunqiu’s house, the artist decided it was time to rest. As he poured the coffee, he suddenly remembered the note that one of the waiters had given him. The waiter found this note under the tablecloth of the table where the artist was sitting with his friends. The note was clearly addressed to the artist, because it was lying under the tablecloth, exactly in the place where the dishes from which Kunciu had been eaten.
The note was found at the moment when the tablecloths were being removed from the tables. The artist did not immediately have time to read it, but now that time has come.
I wrote it so solemnly, but to be more precise, the note was handed over to the artist five minutes ago. So, the artist poured himself a coffee, stretched out his tired legs and opened the note. The note read:
«By credit card or cash?
Who will pay?
It doesn’t matter who pays. Both of you will pay a heavy price for this!»
At first, the artist thought that someone wanted money from him, and the extortionist left his demand in this original way. But on reflection, he suddenly became confused, and remembered that these are the words said by one of the heroines in the film in which he played the main role.
Oh, that was one of the key moments in the film, it was a little connection to the action, where, by the way, his close friend played the angel of death, the one who was at the party today. I mean Uka.
The hero and the heroine meet on bridge, their hands simultaneously reach for the ring, which is being sold by a jewelry merchant. The heroine and hero, once, several centuries ago, held this ring in their hands. The jewelry merchant is also a difficult woman, she is a deity who can take, when necessary, the appearance of a beautiful and mysterious woman.
In general, the phrase that was written in the note and, which, at first glance, looked so threatening, was just a phrase from the film that the screenwriter once invented. But, nevertheless, the situation remained incomprehensible, the artist did not understand what this note means, if it is a threat, what is the extortionist asking for? And if it’s a joke, what’s the point? The party was over, the extortionist did not show up, and therefore the artist, in the end, decided that the note was just a stupid joke.
May was crying, the artist heard this, the girl was in her room, but was about to go home. After the party, Kunqiu apologized for the drunken guest, and then asked what the girl said so insulting to the guest?
May said she accepts the apology, but has absolutely no memory of what she said. The words were spoken out of spite, and as soon as the guest left, the girl immediately forgot them.
But it turns out that the girl lied to him, she had not forgotten anything and was now crying from the experience of fear and humiliation. In order not to embarrass Mei even more, Kunqiu hastily grabbed his coffee mug and went up to the second floor.
«Both actors admitted to sending messages to their ex-girlfriends in the middle of the night. When asked to choose between love and friendship, Wook chose the former and Kunqiu the latter.»
From the author’s interview with the actor
It was high summer outside, July, Mei rarely stayed overnight at Kunqiu’s house now, because the weather was unusually fine outside.
However, one evening the actor invited May into the living room and announced to the girl that, in three days, it was his birthday. The party will take place in a restaurant. Since the artist is a public person, it was decided to rent the entire restaurant so that outsiders would not enter the party. There was silence in the living room and suddenly the artist said
— I want to introduce you to my family, and therefore I also invite you to my birthday. Ms. Oh was like a family member and I want you to get to know my whole family too. Judging by your expression, I can see that you want to refuse, but take your time! I told manager Kim that I was looking for a housekeeper for a long time, and therefore I want you to be aware of all my family affairs. Mrs O was friends with my mother, I hope that you will also be friends with her and my other relatives. Well, what have you decided, will you go?
May was as laconic as ever. The artist wanted to ask something else, but the girl had already got up. Soon the front door slammed and the house was empty.
The birthday was set for Saturday. A lot of people came, as in the case of the party, there were many guests whose visit was not planned in advance. These were distant relatives whom Kunqiu’s mother decided to invite at the last moment. Naturally, the son did not even think to argue with his mother. It was a round date, and therefore even relatives who lived outside of South Korea came. It was fun, noisy and crowded. The rumble did not subside, which was replaced by bursts of laughter. Finally, the music began to play, and the master took the floor.
The actor looked around the hall, besides the others, there were about ten people in the hall, whom he had never even seen. Mom said that he simply forgot their faces, with some of these people he met only in childhood. The celebration went on as usual, when suddenly one of the elderly relatives ran into the hall. She turned pale and looked bad. A commotion began. It later became clear that someone had written the words of threat on the toilet mirror. Kunqiu’s first impulse was to call the police, but his film partner, who was also invited to the birthday party, suddenly approached him and told him that nothing terrible had happened.
On the mirror, only a phrase from the film was written in lipstick. The inscription was in the women’s toilet, the actor did not dare to go there, and therefore the actress showed him a photo on the phone.
The caption read:
«Tell me your death, and I will report my grief»
And below the inscription was a sword.
An elderly relative decided that the artist was threatened with death from a knife.
May sat apart from the artist, along with manager Kim and two agency employees, and watched the commotion.
Manager Kim, who, of course, could not stay away, soon returned and talked about what had happened.
Looking in the direction of the artist, May raised her eyebrows inquiringly, the artist smiled at her and began to rise from his place, his intentions were clear. Kunqiu wanted to approach the girl, but she shook her head.
By the way, due to the turmoil that arose due to the inscription on the glass of the mirror, the artist did not have time to introduce May to his mother and other family members. However, May was only glad of this.
The police still called, this was the second message that worried the artist. The police arrived and left, the police assumed that the inscription on the toilet mirror was written by a woman’s hand. If a man wrote this message, he would have to wait a long time for the toilet to be empty. Therefore, the obvious assumptions were still not so obvious. The incident with the inscription did not spoil the party very much; towards the end of the party, the invariable DJ of all parties, the soul of the company, a close friend of the artist, Uk, appeared.
Uuck had a shoot, but he still made it to the party. With the arrival of a friend, the party suddenly became interesting, and in fact some of the guests were about to leave. But it turned out that all the fun is yet to come. Uuck had a lot of surprises that he came up with especially for the birthday boy.
The party ended well after midnight. When the artist looked back at the place where Mei was sitting, he did not see the girl. Kim’s manager said that May left a long time ago, just after the commotion over Wook’s arrival started. The artist was disappointed, he was sad that the girl left so early.
DO NOT PRAY. NO ONE WILL HEAR.
Every year, at the same time, the actor invited a cleaning team to his house. A five-year contract was signed with the agency where the team worked. Of course, Mrs. Oh, and then later May, tried to clean the house very carefully, but they could not foresee everything. That is why the cleaning team, during the general cleaning, looked into all the cracks, and then later left the artist with written recommendations on where to make cosmetic repairs. Such conditions were spelled out in the contract.
Mei could not be present during the cleaning because she had an exam. But in fact, she was not needed here today.
Every year when the cleaning team came, Kunqiu gave Ms. Oh a day off. This made sense because Ms. Oh and the agency workers had different views on cleaning. The artist believed that it doesn’t matter where the cleaning starts, from the basement or from the attic, the most important thing is that the house after this cleaning is clean.
The fact that Mei had an exam also played into the hands of Kunqiu, knowing the girl’s character, he was afraid that the disagreement about the cleaning methods would not turn into a showdown.
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