Life, Once Again!

Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Maru’s mother, Lee Sunji, woke up in her bed in surprise . She reached out for the TV remote . When she pressed the on button, the TV sprang to life with a beep .

“What do I do . . . ”

7:50AM . Bada was fine since she could walk to school in ten minutes, but Maru…

“Why didn’t the alarm go off?”

Maru was going to be so mad at her . When she made her way out of the room, though, she was greeted with Maru doing the dishes .


“You’re up, mom? I made breakfast right here for you, so have some after you dress up . ”

Maru pointed at the fried rice on the plate . Sunji could only nod in confusion .

“Where’s Bada?”

“She’s over there . ”

Bada was watching TV in the living room while eating some apples . She noticed her mom staring at her and blinked a few times .

“You’re up, mom?”

“Y-yeah . Did you eat?”

“Mhm . Maru made breakfast for me . ”

“Phew, that’s good . ”

She sat down on the dining table with an exhausted look . Maru passed her a glass of warm water, earning another confused look amongst the many he’s received from her lately .

“What’s up?”

“I’m just… surprised . ”

“What’s there to be surprised about? I’ll be going now . If you want soup, there’s some on the stove . ”

“Soup? What soup?”

She looked at the stove with wide eyes .

“Just seaweed soup . I didn’t have time to make anything better . Just leave it if you don’t like it . I’ll eat it when I come back . ”

His alarm in the morning woke him up . He went to the kitchen where his mother was nowhere in sight . Upon peeking into her room, he noticed her still snoring in her bed . His younger self would have tried to wake her up for breakfast, so he cooked the one of the few dishes he made often, the seaweed soup . It wasn’t as good as his wife’s, of course… but it was good enough . At the very least, his sister ate it without complaint .

“I’ll be going,” he said .

“ . . . Sure . Be careful of cars,” his mom still sounded confused . Maru waved his hand at her and went outside . It was already mid-march, but the weather was still cold as ever . He could see little bits of ice form at the front window of a car parked near his house . He had been hoping for the weather to get better by now, but… the sky seemed to disagree .

Maru put on his gloves and started pedalling, music blasting in his ears . This was the path he’s taken for 3 years of his life . The path he’ll have to pass for 3 more years . After pedaling through familiar shops, trees, and people, he’s reached the school . Along the way, he noticed a few students talking while glancing his way .

“I feel so jealous of them . Casual wear and all . ”

“I hate my uniform . ”

Just wait a month, you guys . You’ll realize how great your uniforms are by then .

As Maru got off his bike, he came across a few students trying to get over the school fence . Ah, that waxy hair… the disciplinary teacher would punish them with a slap on the face at the very least . Maru didn’t have such a problem, of course . Having short hair made him feel like he was on the highway .

“Good morning, sir . ”

“Sure . ”

Maru passed by the disciplinary teacher without a hitch . He walked over to the bike stands to lock his bike in place . Right then, he felt someone approach him . Oh, it’s that road bike from the other day . He could finally meet the owner for once .

“Oh, it’s you,” realization dawned upon Maru . It was Dowook, who immediately turned towards him with a frown on his face .


“I was just wondering who had such a nice bike . Don’t lose it, man . ”

“ . . . . . . . ”

Dowook’s frown grew more intense . Maru just walked off before the boy could open his mouth . He could hear Dowook lock the bike in a violent manner behind him .

Maru took the staircase located on the right side of the building to enter his class . It was a loud scene that displayed everyone’s friendship with one another .

“You’re here?”

“Yeap . ”

Dojin greeted him with a candy toss . Ah, strawberry today, huh .

“Dude, your teeth are going to rot at this rate . ”

“No worries, I’m brushing three times a day . ”

“You do your homework?”

“Nope, I used that time to prepare my bribery for you . Can I copy your homework?”

“ . . . Bribery? Just this candy?”

“Want one more?” Dojin grinned at him . Maru just threw him his notebook . Daemyung approached the two of them from the first row along with his friends .

“H-hey Maru, can I see too?” he asked .

“Nope . ”

Daemyung’s face fell . Man, this guy took his jokes too seriously… Maru told him he was just joking, to which the boy responded with a grin on his face . The other boys behind him were looking at Maru with desperation .

“Hey! I had to bribe him, you know!” Dojin said, raising Maru’s notebook up in the air . Maru just snatched it out and threw it at the circle of kids .

“Just don’t copy it word for word . ” he said .

Man, to think such a day would come… He’s never done his homework on time during his high school years . He only did his homework by copying others or after being scolded . At this rate, he could probably aim for a B in his class . That should be good enough .

* * *

“Han Maru . ”

“Yessir . ”

“You got any complaints?”

“No, sir . I’m sorry, sir . ”

“Let’s not do this again, alright?”

“Yessir . ”

His hamstrings were burning in pain after each slap . Maru knelt on top of his desk, getting slapped by a wooden stick . Each and every hit burned uniquely . Just what kind of wood did they use for this stuff? It’s thinner than even his finger, but it hurt like hell . Even more so than getting hit in the butt by a PVC pipe . The English teacher had an apologetic look on his face, but that didn’t make the stick hurt any less .

“I’m letting you off with just this, since this is the first time . Alright?”

“Yessir . ”

“And for the guys who copied Maru’s homework today, I hope you won’t be doing this kind of thing again . ”

“ . . . Yes,” said a few of the students with a dejected voice .

Maru sat down in his chair to massage his throbbing legs . Sharing his homework was fine, but he glossed over a major problem .

He was ass at English .

He solved the problems on the homework with some unorthodox grammar rules, and the other boys copied them word by word . The teacher probably felt ridiculed after coming across the eighth kid with the same mistake .

“Yo, does it hurt?” Dojin whispered to him .

“Hurts like a mother . ”

“Damn though, I didn’t think he’d just check it on the spot like that . Let’s not copy each others’ English homework from now on . ”

“ . . . Oh, you’re telling me?”

“Sorry . ”

The English teacher returned to his podium . Maru thought the class would resume there, but he was mistaken . The English teacher’s mouth curled down into a frown . Another one, huh .

“Kang Dowook, Lim Jichul . ”

Two this time . Dowook and Jichul stood up from their seats .

“Eh? We had a guy like that?” Dojin exclaimed . He was looking at Jichul .

Maru was pretty surprised, too . He thought he knew everyone, but he hadn’t even talked with Jichul before . The boy was incredibly skinny, wore metallic glasses, coupled with long hair to Maru’s notice . Jichul probably didn’t get caught by the disciplinary teacher because he looked so normal .

“Who copied?” the teacher asked .

Maru could tell Dowook was the one who did it . The others probably thought the same . After all, Dowook’s established himself as the delinquent pretty strongly since the first day . Jichul, on the other hand… seemed to be one of the outsiders . There was no way a kid like that would ask Dowook to copy homework . Maru doubted that Dowook would’ve done his homework to begin with either .

‘No, I’m just assuming things again,’ he realized .

Maru decided to watch for now .

“I asked who copied the homework,” the teacher said . He was sounding pretty pissed now .

The students called this teacher the pink pig, Maru recalled . Not because the teacher was fat, but because the man’s cheeks always had a pinkish hue to it . Right now, those pink cheeks were starting to turn crimson . The stick in his hand was starting to tremble from how hard the man was gripping it, too .

Man, that’s gotta hurt . Maru massaged his legs again .

Right then, he saw Jichul’s hands move a little bit . He was probably planning on confessing .

“I did it . ” The answer came from somewhere else, though .

“Dowook, you?”

What a surprise . Dowook raised his hand?

“Yessir . ”

“Ridiculous . You guys should realize that I’m not giving you homework to keep you kids busy, I’m giving them because they’re much needed practice for you . You get it?”

“I’m sorry, sir . ”

“Get up on your desk, Kang Dowook . Don’t you know how much I hate people who let others copy their homework?”

Dowook got up on the desk without another word . Maru looked at him with a surprised face . Did Dowook really let Jichul copy his homework? Nope, couldn’t be it . Jichul was standing in his spot with a very surprised look on his face as well . Then why did he confess?

‘To get hit in Jichul’s place?’

Maru looked at Dowook thoughtfully as the teacher’s stick whooshed down with brutal retribution .

* * *

English class ended . Maru let Dojin and Daemyung leave before him to keep an eye on Dowook . It felt like the boy became a loner after just a day . He used to be pretty loud between classes, but now he was just reading comic books by himself . The kids he used to hang out with were talking by themselves, with the beanie guy being at the center of the scene .

Jichul stood up from his seat to approach Dowook quietly . Maru pretended to look out the window as he eavesdropped between their conversation .

“Um . . . ” Jichul started off .


“Why did you . . . ”


“I-it’s nothing . ”

Jichul walked back to his seat . Well, that ended pretty quick . Right then, Maru noticed a new development . Dowook’s old friends were walking over to Dowook’s seat . They took their place right in front and started talking with each other .

“Hah, what a bitch . I didn’t even know a kid like that existed here,” the beanie guy started .

Maru scrolled through his memories for the beanie’s name . Ah, Jung Changhoo? Was it?

Changhoo, Changhoo… Wow, just the name made him feel disgusted . Almost like he took a suckerpunch to the back of his head, and he was greeted with a smiling face when he turned back? He couldn’t remember too well why he felt disgust at the name . Definitely not for a good reason, though . Come to think of it, wasn’t there a really bad delinquent in his class in the past? He couldn’t remember so well . But a growing suspicion told Maru that it was Changhoo .

What about Dowook, then? Was he misunderstood?

“Turns out that the skinny bitch had a friend though, huh?” Changhoo continued, as he gave a quick glance at Dowook . The boy’s friends laughed along .

“Hey, don’t be like that . Even little bitches can have friends . ”

“It’s a world where cripples have to stick together, after all . ”

“Hey, hey, it’s rude to make fun of disabled people, bahaha . ”

The group laughed for a bit before collectively turning to glare at Dowook for a second . They stood up to leave, walking towards the direction of the deli . And Dowook was left alone with his pencil, which his fury was vented upon as he gripped it to the point of snapping . Dowook’s eyes followed the group as they left through the door . Something drastic would happen at this rate . Maru walked over to Dowook .

“The hell are you doing?” Dowook asked . His eyes were still locked upon his former friends . “You… Fuck, you have something against me or something?”

Dowook stood up to glare at Maru .

[So annoying . What the hell’s up with this guy?]

Maru could practically feel the annoyance from the word bubble . It didn’t offend him or anything at all, though .

“Don’t stoop to their level,” Maru said .


“Don’t let yourself get provoked by cheap taunts . ”

Dowook’s face morphed into one of confusion . Maru just smiled a little and pat the other boy’s shoulder .

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