The World after the Fall - Chapter 240 - World after the fall (12)

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:17:02]
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Chapter 240: World after the fall (12)



As Jaehwan saw his mother’s body being sent to be cremated, Jaehwan felt hollow.


Was this it? Was this how life was supposed to be?


Jaehwan was in deep sadness as he looked at Yoonhwan and Seoyul holding back their tears, not to mention his father who did not even visit. His mother died three days ago.


If he hadn’t visited the hospital right away, he wouldn’t even have had the chance to say goodbye.


‘She’d been hiding it all along. It was already too late when the ambulance brought her here.’


Wasn’t cancer a disease often appeared in novels? Jaehwan couldn’t adapt to the sudden tragedy.


‘Mother.’


His mother’s presence was the reason and the purpose for him to become normal in this world. He adapted to this world only for his mother and lived in this world only for her.


-Jaehwan.


-Yeah, Mom.


-I was just worried about you… I’m sorry.


His mother left him words that he couldn’t understand.


-It was a mistake to have that doctor treat you. I was just…


-I’m okay, Mom.


-Your father never laid hands on you. The doctor was wrong. You are not unhappy. You are…


After the funeral, Jaehwan lost all will to do anything. He took a break from work and stayed at his mother’s lone home to clean it out. At the house, Jaehwan found a lot of things that he didn’t even think were there.


The Little Prince book that his mother used to read to him was one of those things.


Jaehwan read the book from the beginning again. He was able to understand a lot of things that he did not understand when he was younger. He now knew that this wasn’t just a child’s fairytale and it was clear what the author was trying to tell.


But that was it.


‘It’s just a novel after all.’


Reality and imagination were different. Even with a good metaphor and explanation, there was no way for it to trump reality. At the last page of the Little Prince, there were letters. Jaehwan was surprised to see who sent those letters.


It was from the doctor.


It was letters that came to him while Jaehwan was in the military. His mother kept all of them in here.


-Jaehwan. You are right and I was wrong.


-You are mistaken. There is a misunderstanding.


-Jaehwan, I know now. The tower is real. Please, let’s talk one more time.


-Jaehwan…


Jaehwan read the letters throughout the entire night.


“Are you serious? You took a break from work for a week!”


It was Inchan who greeted him angrily on his first day back at work. Inchan snapped at Jaehwan for the entire day and Jaehwan kept his silence. When the day was over, Inchan became a bit apologetic and forced Jaehwan to go to dinner with the other coworkers.


“I’m sorry about your mother.”


Inchan drank a cup of liquor and patted Jaehwan’s back.


“Everyone loses their mother some day. I did too. Everyone experiences it if you live for about 40 to 50 years. It’s like the military. It will all pass though. Wasn’t the military like that too?”


Inchan’s face was red. The smell of alcohol filled the entire pub. Jaehwan felt nauseous.


“Here! Drink! Drink for Jaehwan!”


And to Jaehwan’s disdain, the drinking kept going.


“So when I was your age…”


As some time passed, Inchan began his usual routine of lecturing. Jaehwan looked at Inchan silently. Inchan always loved to talk about the past as if that was the best time in his life. It was as if that was the only time when his ‘real’ self was there. But it wasn’t only Inchan who did that anyway. That was the characteristic of every old man in this world.


“HMPH! Look at your face! The death of your mother is not the end of your world! Think about the others around you! You still live another day for them! Then you get a good day, and you get energy from it to live another! HERE! Have another drink!”


Inchan poured beer in Jaehwan’s empty cup and held up his own empty cup. He then glanced over to Seoyul who was sitting next to him. Seoyul flinched at the glance.


“OH! Seoyul, I forgot you were here too. Come. Get me a beer.”


“…Okay.”


“You seem to be doing nicely these days. Do you know that there’s going to be a promotion soon? You know that I am quite close to the HR manager these days…”


Inchan’s hand that was on Seoyul’s shoulder began crawling down. It would have never been possible under normal circumstances, but the atmosphere allowed for it to happen. Seoyul bit her lip and glanced around for help. There were so many people but none tried to come out to help.


Seoyul met Jaehwan’s eyes at last. They both looked at each other for a short amount of time. And during that moment, Jaehwan understood everything that was happening within Seoyul’s mind.


Jaehwan felt the world shaking.


A rebellious thought popped up against this horrifying authority and it was a thought that he shouldn’t fight back. Seoyul was tied deep within herself and there was the future that she had to withstand. There was the sadness crumbled down, which resulted in giving up in the end.


Why?


Why did it need to be given up?


Jaehwan felt like he couldn’t hold onto something that was coming up. As if time space was being ripped apart, something inside him snapped.


“Huh? Jaehwan. What are you doing?”


Inchan had said some words about telling him to endure reality for loved ones, and his current action shook Jaehwan’s head in turn. Jaehwan glared at Inchan coldly. Inchan frowned as he tried to shake his hand off from Jaehwan’s grasp, and he soon smiled awkwardly.


“Oh, J-Jaehwan. It’s a misunderstanding. I was just…”


“Misunderstanding? What misunderstanding?” Jaehwan asked back in a cold voice.


“I didn’t misunderstand anything.”


He felt Inchan’s hand trembling.


“W-what…. Let go of my hand! What are you…!”


The turmoil quickly expanded to the people. Even the executives sitting at the other tables were now looking at them. Inchan frantically raised his voice.


“AH! You must be drunk! Haha! Yeah, I understand. You are sad! I understand! Drink! Here! Come on! Everyone, don’t worry. This is nothing. It’s nothing!”


Jaehwan saw Inchan’s awkward and cowardly smile, Seoyul who couldn’t bring up her face, and the people who quickly became bored. Inchan who succeeded in calming the situation which was now turning cold.


“Jaehwan, we will talk later. There are executives here. If you don’t act up… you know what’s going to happen, right? I will just let you go since this time you…”


Jaehwan closed his eyes slowly. His senses were cut off like magic.


Why was he still living in this world? He had lost his loved one, and so why was he still living in this world? An emotion he had been holding back exploded from the silence. Yes, he should have done this from the beginning. He couldn’t understand why he didn’t do this from the start.


“Jaehwan. I will just give you a warning, but if you do this again next tim….mmmmmughh!!! AAAARGH!”


Every cup on the table was thrown to the ground as beer and liquor splattered all over the place. Inchan was on the table after being thrown down onto it, squirming like an insect.


“UUgh…. Uh…”


People screamed. Seoyul’s eyes widened in shock.


And in the midst of people who were shocked, Jaehwan alone was standing against all the eyes around him. Inchan was barely looking up at Jaehwan, gasping. His mouth, that world, was still talking to Jaehwan.


‘Everyone lives like that. They all live for their loved ones.’


But in Jaehwan’s ear, those words did not come anymore. Jaehwan opened his mouth with an emotionless voice.


“Loved one? I don’t have one anymore.”


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