“The children may get cold, so please come this way.”

“There are blankets here.
Please use them and return them after the performance.”

Maru turned his head around when he heard the voice.
He saw Sooil handing a blanket to a girl wearing a skirt.
The two looked at each other and smiled before moving again.
It was five minutes before the performance.
Maru walked around amongst the people. 

After guiding the elderly and the children to the heaters, he went up the temporary stage.
Sooil also came back to the stage after handing out all of the blankets.

“Then we’ll begin the performance now.
As I said before, those of you that want to participate should come up to the stage without hesitation.
This is that kind of stage after all.”

Ganghwan’s voice spread throughout the audience through an amplifier.
As soon as he saw that there were over four hundred people gathered here, Ganghwan made a call to someone, and not long later, a truck came, carrying various equipment.
The man, that installed the amps and the microphones, wished them good luck with the performance and was watching from a corner.
It seemed that he worked in a field related to stage equipment.

“However, it’ll be bad if you get injured while rushing up to the stage, so please take your time.
This stage is not going anywhere.”

Ganghwan put the microphone in the holder and took a step back.

“Well then! We shall now begin the performance ‘I want to listen to your story’ right now.”

An even clearer and crisper voice than when he used the microphone spread out to the surroundings.
The audience greeted the commence of the play with a round of applause.

Ganghwan and Hanna were wearing doctor gowns, while Maru and Sooil were wearing patient clothes.
The flow of the play did not change from their first run.
The start was a light skit.
After that, Maru and Sooil would talk about their own ‘worries’ and Hanna and Ganghwan would give them consultation in a funny manner.
After inducing participation from the audience by using some skits that required the participation of the audience, they would eventually hand over all control to the audience after a while.

The stories of the audience decided the characteristics of the play, so the performance they held last Thursday started and ended with laughter.
A woman in her thirties, who introduced herself as an accountant for a company, came up on stage, and after gaining total control over the stage like a proficient actress, she used her words to entertain everyone as though she was a standup comedian.
The only thing that Ganghwan and Hanna did that day was laugh their hearts out from the side.

Maru wondered what was going to happen today.
Seeing some people in the audience making serious expressions, he felt that today’s stage was going to be a little heavy.
Many people here came after reading the blog post.
It seemed that the story of the man that they met in the first run touched many people’s hearts.
That probably led to these people coming here for similar reasons as that man from before.

“Let’s enjoy ourselves today too.”

Ganghwan put his hand out with his palm facing the ground.
Maru put his hand on top, and Hanna and Sooil followed suit.

“One, two, three.”


After a short shout, Maru stood at the center of the stage and embraced the hundreds of gazes being thrown at him with a bright smile.

“There are loads of people today.”

He said his first line.

This was the start of the play.

* * *

She left the theater with a short sigh.
It had been a long time since she came to Daehak-ro.
The play she just watched was a suspense-mystery play about a murder crime that happened in the neighborhood.
She was so tense from beginning to end that she was fidgeting her fingers.
Moreover, since the stage was right in front of her, she was startled whenever she heard the bang of the gun.
She was so embarrassed that she couldn’t raise her head when one of the actors pointed at her after the play and said that he was also startled because of her.

‘But it was still good.’

She really liked plays after all.
She learned that there was a different kind of fun acting in front of the camera thanks to shooting the sitcom, but she still liked plays better since she was able to check the reactions of the audience on the spot.
The breathing of the actors, and the murmurs of the audience; such vivid sounds provoked her emotions.

She trembled as she remembered the expressions of the actors at the last part of the play.
Today, she decided to take only the big roads when she went home.

“Ah, right.”

After checking the time on her phone, she started walking hastily.
She was so absorbed in the play she watched at the theater that she had forgotten her original purpose in coming here.
She grabbed tightly onto her messenger bag and started running.

“Haa, haa… huh?”

She blinked her eyes several times when she saw the empty performance venue.
This place was definitely the right place according to what she saw on the blog.
The round stone chairs, the single-story building, and then there was the stage which was slightly elevated above the ground.

“How strange.”

She had heard that there was a performance on Sunday evening.
Was she wrong? She looked around before taking out her phone.

She wondered if she should make a call.
Actually, she had come here today without telling Maru about it.
She couldn’t find the time to come until now since the schedule for her sitcom shoot kept getting delayed to Sunday, but it seemed that the problem was solved as it was moved back to Saturday.
She was originally going to tell Maru so they could meet up on Sunday, but she became a little prankful and kept it a secret from him that she was coming here.

“Well, I guess there’s no choice.”

She felt like she was going to get angry if Maru told her that there was no performance today.
She pressed the number two on her phone for a long time.
Maru’s number, which she had saved on the number two, appeared on the screen and the signal beeps could be heard.

-The person you’re trying to reach is either unavailable or…

The stiff announcement came back instead.
She turned around with a short sigh when she saw a bunch of couples all heading towards one place.

“Apparently it’s over there.”

She immediately understood what they meant.
The Arts Theater right next to the ticketing office – the clearing in front of that building was filled with a lot of people.
Despite the fact that the sun had set and the weather was quite cold, that place seemed warm from all the people there.
She approached the Arts Theater in excitement but was unable to get through the crowd of people.

“Being a housewife is hard, you know? Isn’t that right?”


She could hear the voice of a middle-aged woman through a speaker which was installed on a platform that seemed to be the stage.
She tip-toed.
She walked around a lot until she found a place where she could see the whole stage.


She could see Maru standing on the stage from afar.
He was wearing a patient outfit and was nodding as he listened to the woman’s words.
She wanted to watch from a little closer.
She frowned and started to make her way through the crowd but was pushed back after being hit by a sturdy man’s shoulder on her forehead.

“Are you okay?”

“Ah, yes.
I’m fine.

She rubbed her forehead and smiled.
The man looked at her with pity and with a strange smile.
She was embarrassed and felt awkward so she left immediately.

The voice from the woman on stage, the woman herself, and the laughter of the audience made her want to watch the stage even more.

She tiptoed and started walking around again.

* * *


The figure that Maru caught when he squinted his eyes was the figure of a girl whose head poked out at the back of the audience from time to time like whack-a-mole.
Sometimes, the figure jumped like a rabbit.
She could be seen on the left at times, and a while later, she peeked over the audience from the right before disappearing again.

Maru chuckled.

“Sooil, I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?”

“I found a strange guest.”

“A strange guest?”

“Anyway, I’m off.”


Thanks to the housewife ranting about her hardships on stage, it wasn’t necessary for him to stand on the stage.
Ganghwan was fanning the woman to talk more about herself from the side.
The man who presumably came with the woman, in other words, her husband, was lowering his head right underneath the stage.
He could hear him say ‘Minsoo’s mom, please stop already.’

Maru smiled at the little child who waved at him before walking around to the back of the audience.
He could see the figure of a girl busily moving around amongst the crowd which kept increasing in number.
Actually, as she had done dancing since young, she had a good figure and her stature wasn’t that small either, but thanks to her cute face and the thick coat she was wearing, she looked quite small.

Maru watched her, who was tiptoeing and hopping on the ground, for a while before taking out his phone.
He made a call before waiting.
She stopped her steps and picked up her phone.

“You called?”

“Huh? Yeah.”

For some reason, she crouched on the ground.
Was she trying to hide?


“No reason.
I just wanted to call you.”


But what are you doing right now?”

“Right now? I’m doing the play.
The one I told you about before.”

“Oh, that.”

She moved her phone away from her mouth before smiling a little.
After taking a deep breath, she spoke,

“Is it going well?”

“It is.
What are you doing?”

“Me? Resting at home.
I’m tired.”

“Oh, you’re resting at home? What about the shoot?”

“Right, I didn’t tell you about it, huh? It changed to Saturday.
Yesterday was the shoot and today I’m resting.”

“That’s good.”

“What’s good?”

“Resting on a Sunday.
You hate waking up early on red days more than anything, don’t you?”

“It’s not that bad you know?”

“I wouldn’t be so sure.”

Maru slowly walked up to her.
The murmurs of the crowd hid Maru’s presence.

“How’s the performance, is it fun?”

“It is.
Though, the audience likes it more than we do.”

“That’s a good performance.
What a pity, I wanted to watch as well.
It’s far away so it would be too late to go now.
I should just rest at home.”

“You aren’t coming to see me?”

When he asked that question, she covered her mouth and smiled.

“Me? See you? Forget about it.
I’m going to rest easy at home.
I’m going to watch a movie on the sofa in the warmth of my home.”

“Wearing what?”

“Clothes? What kind of perverted things are you going to say now? I’m going to be fully covered, so don’t think about anything strange.”

Hearing that, Maru killed his footsteps and went right behind her.
Then he lowered his phone and stood still.

“Hey, hey.
Han Maru.

She called out into her phone a couple of times before standing up abruptly.
She watched the stage while tip-toeing before closing her phone with a sigh.

“You definitely are fully covered.”

Maru spoke into her ears in a small voice.
She was startled and turned around.
Maru could see her reddened cheeks and nose due to the cold.
He sighed a little before covering her cheeks with his hands.

“Aren’t you cold?”

“Huh? Yeah.
No, wait, how are you here?”

“You’re an idiot aren’t you? Think about the height of the stage.
Then tell me whether I’ll be bothered about someone hopping at the back of the crowd or not.”

She said ‘aha’ in a small voice before making a sour expression.

“So you called me on purpose, huh?”

“I could clearly see that you were lying, so there’s no way I wouldn’t start teasing you for it.”

“You are such a…”

Her curled hands immediately jabbed into his waist.
It was a rather accurate recreation of a right hook.
She smiled in joy for some reason after hitting him.

“Wow, didn’t that look good just now?”

Maru immediately covered his aching waist and nodded his head.
This was why he had originally held his wife back from trying to learn boxing after they married.
He didn’t want to be cornered in a marital fight after all.
Since she was a woman with good reflexes, her fists would be quite fierce if she learned.


Maru grabbed her hand.


“I’ll bring you to a VIP seat, so be obedient.”

She smiled with a bright smile.

[1] A shout to get themselves fired up.

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