Screening Humanity | 인간극장 – Nilu, You are my Destiny, part 4 (2015.10.29)


(Previously…) Geon and Nilu return to Korea after their wedding in Uzbekistan. Ms. Choi made some kimchi stew for Nilu to welcome her. I’m glad you two had your wedding. Geon and Nilu will be performing on the same stage. The final rehearsals are underway. A few days later, it was Geon’s birthday. He came home at dawn, and Nilu was upset. (Nilu, You Are My Destiny / Part 4) He tries to hold his wife’s hand… (Nilufar Mukhiddinova, 21) She gives him the cold shoulder. You didn’t know it was your birthday? (Hwang Geon, 37) I found out this morning. I don’t celebrate my birthday. It seemed like a poor excuse, but… (Choi Mija, 65) We’ve never celebrated is birthday before this. Life was difficult, so my son and I promised each other we wouldn’t do birthdays. I told them to celebrate it once they got married. Why? It was hard enough making ends meet. He really never celebrated his birthday. But on his first birthday after getting married, he came home at dawn. Imagine how his wife felt when she awoke early to make him fried cakes. I’m the birthday boy, but I feel so guilty. Come here, Pungsan. Come on, Pungsan. He suddenly wakes up poor Pungsan. Since Nilu adores Pungsan, Geon hopes he’ll help her forgive him. His plan worked. She takes the bait. She’s probably forgiving him because he’s trying so hard. She must have really forgiven him, because she gives him the gift she made. I made this myself. I wrote down reasons why I love you. A jar full of love notes. This is so romantic. She put a lot of effort into it. It’s a gift filled with love. I love you because you teach Ilhom taekwondo. And to think he stayed out all night, not knowing all her efforts. He’s moved by each and every word. She put forth so much effort buying the paper, cutting it up, and making each scroll. – One by one… / – She was at it for hours. She wrote down a reason why she loves me on each of the scrolls. She knows how to express herself. Let’s eat. Bon appetit. Enjoy, Geon. And don’t upset Nilu anymore. Anyway, this is Geon’s first birthday meal after getting married. Nilu really made all these fried cakes? Mother made them. I only fried them. They’re really delicious. (You’re not mad at him anymore?) Yeah, because he said it’s delicious. Now, it’s okay. What are you doing? After the stormy morning, Nilu finally gets some sleep. Ms. Choi’s doing laundry now. Is the washer broken? She’s pouring water from a big bucket. What’s that water for? This was water from a previous wash. It’s still clean, so I’m reusing it. The water’s still clean after a load of towels, so it’d be a waste to throw it out. Ms. Choi has lived her whole life scrimping and saving. This water has only been used once, but it’s clean, so I’ll use it for the toilet. We’re paying for water for three now, and we have to save money somehow. Because she’s lived a tough life, she’s become very frugal. When was this taken? Oh, when you entered high school. As it’s his birthday, Geon and Ms. Choi take a walk down memory lane. Time sure does fly by. She got divorced when Geon was 11 and she raised two boys on her own. She lingers on a photo of her boys as kids. It brings tears to my eyes. Looking back at our lives… (Choi Mija, 65 / Geon’s Mother) On the one hand, I’m really happy that Geon’s grown up and got to celebrate his birthday like this. I’m glad I was able to make him seaweed soup today at least. She left home after the divorce thinking she’d take them with her when things got better. Even so, it was hard for her to leave them. She missed them so dearly that she went to see them on the 15th of January. And she could not forget that atrocious day. Geon’s younger brother Daeho got home late at night looking as dirty as could be. I looked in the fridge and there was nothing in there but some kimchi. I took that out and gobbled it up like a madman. It broke my heart. I asked him where Geon was and he said he got caught stealing peanuts by a storekeeper and was being punished. When I left that day, I cried so hard. I had a really hard time leaving them. Back then, bus 70 went from Cheonho-dong to Myeongji, the starting station. My house was the last stop on the route. I cried the whole way home. I had no idea it was humanly possible to cry so much. I cried from Cheongho-dong all the way to here. The bus driver asked me why I was crying like that. I was too ashamed to tell him the truth, so I told him that my mother passed away. That’s how hard up we were then. So my sons and I decided celebrating birthdays was a luxury for us. I told them they could celebrate their birthdays when they got married. This is Geon’s first birthday celebration. His mother was forced to miss celebrating Geon’s birthday. That afternoon, the three head out to go shopping. What should we do? Mom. Nilu, bring mom. Mother. Mother. Nilu and Geon decided to celebrate by getting Ms. Choi a gift. Mom, get an outfit you can wear to go out for reunions and such. Should we get a fall outfit? What would look good on her? Nilu’s looking hard for something. Nilu keeps going back to this one. – Do you like this one? / – Well… She doesn’t seem to like it much. It’s too plain. Touched by their gesture, she tries one on. What do you think? It’s nice. The collar? It’s to be propped up. You have to pop the collar. You should pop the collar. I don’t fancy it. I can’t find anything. She’s a woman who knows what she wants. Does she normally go shopping like this? Never. She used to wear men’s army coats for a whole decade. She doesn’t wear makeup, either. I saw her wearing makeup for the first time at my brother’s wedding. She’s never been one to put on makeup or care much about clothes to begin with, but she also does it to save money. Is this too dark? If it was any other day, Ms. Choi would’ve said she didn’t need anything. But today, she tries on a few things because Nilu’s picked them out for her. – Do you like it? / – Yes, I do. Mom, I’ll get you pants next week when I get my paycheck. I’ll get her a pair of black slacks to match this. He’ll go shopping for her again on his payday. (Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul) The next morning. Nilu is still a college student. She’s eating a quick breakfast before school. Geon’s making her dessert. He makes a banana shake for her with a banana, milk, and honey from his in-law’s. Banana milkshake. When Nilu first came here, I used to make her breakfast like this. I’ve tried all sorts of fruits in with milk and even tomatoes once, but this one tastes the best. Taste it. (Nilufar Mukhiddinova, 21) Whoa! Wow. It’s a milkshake with honey. It’s good. That’ll be $3. $3? That’s too expensive. $3… The two are in wedded bliss. It’s as if they’re playing house. Next, Geon packs her some snacks in her backpack. Nilue likes sweets like cookies, so she can eat these later. Bye. Bye. – Bye. / – Bye. She happily heads to school with her book bag filled with sweets from Geon. Just then, Ms. Choi can’t hold back her curiosity back any longer. She must’ve wondered about those scrolls. I love you. Should I look at one more? None of them are in Korean. What does it say? They all start with “I love you.” They all say “I love you.” She was up all night making these. That’s amazing dedication. There are dozens in there. Having Nilu live with her brings her such joy. (Choi Mija, 65 / Mother) These days, it doesn’t feel right if Nilu’s not home. I’ve grown so fond of her after living with her for a year. And she does everything I ask of her, unlike Geon. Geon never heeds what I say, whereas Nilu always does what I ask her to. But today, Geon is diligently cleaning the house. He cleans everywhere from the living room to his wife’s study. She’s still in college, yet she made Geon her first priority, and for this he feels grateful. Every passing day is blissful, as if it’s a dream. Here it is, “You Are My Destiny.” It’s an old video I recorded of ” You Are My Destiny.” Yes, Nilu. You are my destiny. (Hwang Geon, 37) She really is my destiny. We didn’t think about what would happen. We didn’t try and figure everything out. We didn’t know what would happen. But I thought, “She’s the one,” so I didn’t think about how I’d overcome the long-distance relationship or anything. I just wanted to make her mine. Are you going to meet Nilu? No, I have to go to a meeting for a movie. A movie? I have a rehearsal for a movie. When’s Nilu coming home? She’ll be home at 8 after her classes are over. Perhaps Nilu is Geon’s good luck charm, he’s gotten more roles since getting married. She’ll be home soon. – Have a good day. / – You, too. He’s been getting a lot of roles lately. I wish it were always like this so he could make enough. Are you the assistant producer? Hello. I found the right place. Geon got a role in a new independent film. It’s his first meeting with the production crew. In the first scene, it says the couple sways while hugging. Is that dancing to music? Yes. I was thrown off by the “sways.” It’s something you two would be okay with. You’re newlyweds, so I’m sure you’d be okay. I’d like for you to show every emotion very clearly. So every gesture’s important. Right, as it should be, but I don’t want it over the top like a play. I don’t want that. Geon’s renowned in the theater world. And he’s building up his resume on the film scene, too. I’m hungry. Nilu. She came to meet him, though it’s dark out. Pungsan is her bodyguard. Look at him jump for joy. Stop. Hey, Pungsan. Hi. Want to get some fried chicken? It’s chili something… – Crispy chili fried chicken? / – Yeah. – Not honey curry? / – No. With his new movie underway, he wants to celebrate it over fried chicken. – We’ll have it to go, please. / – Okay. I missed him. What? I came out because I missed him. (Hwang Geon, 37) Her shy confession relieves all the stress from his day. She’ll come out for me at 1 a.m. even. If it’s past 2 or 3, she can’t, but Nilu comes to greet me if I get done before 1. And when Nilu gets home late, I wait for her at the subway station with Pungsan. Let’s go. He smelled it. You enjoy, Nilu. Eating this late gives me indigestion. Just have one piece. I don’t want any. I’ll get sick. You’re not having any? It’s not good to eat that at this hour. It’s not for you. Then, we’ll save you a few pieces. You don’t have to. It’s not as good the day after. Finish it. It’s not even that much. She’s leaving them alone to have some alone time. No! No, Pungsan! Pungsan couldn’t resist the delicious scent, so now he’s been pushed aside. After your Korean class, have dinner with your friends. Hang out with them. I did hang out today. You did? What’d you guys do? We talked over coffee. – At school? / – Yeah. – At the cafe on the second floor? / – Yeah. Nilu’s not the type to call from school and ask, Where are you?” and such. We only text each other when we need to. We text what happens during our day. You texts are too short sometimes. Your texts used to be longer before. She’s saying my texts have become shorter. Yeah. I don’t like that. Okay, I’ll make them longer. Why do you like longer texts? Because I love him. What? Because I love you, I’ll write longer texts. She’s on cloud nine, it seems. It was yet another blissful day for this pair. (Sejong Culture Center / Jongno, Seoul) The performance is just a day away now. There’s a dress rehearsal today. Hello. Where’s green room number 2? Over there. The one over. But this is number 3. Oh, got it. A performance with his former college club. Hwang Geon is up there alongside all the club’s other good actors. The actors have practiced religiously for over a month now. And tomorrow night, they’ll get to show off the fruits of their labor. (Hwang Geon, 37) The stage isn’t the same size as the one where we practiced, so we have to adjust our movements while we’re on stage. So I have a lot on my plate right now. We’ll come up with our shoes on during act 3. Geon’s even dressed for the part now. But he’s left the building. Are you wearing red? I’m here. Nilu will be playing the violin today. He came out to get her because it’s her first time here. You look cute. I do not. But you do! You don’t have to run. Everyone seems nervous though it’s just a rehearsal. Nilu is providing the music for this behind the curtains. Here, my grandsons and great grandsons will… The real dress rehearsal’s begun. Begin the music! She plays her violin upon Geon’s command. Nilu and Geon are performing on the same stage like they did that first night they met in Uzbekistan. (Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul) It’s the morning of the show. 2 pills. 2 pills, right? Every 5 hours, right? Is he not feeling well? Who is the medicine for? 2 pills. 3 times, every 5 hours. After meals? Yes, after meals. How are you feeling? Do you have a fever? You don’t. Your throat hurts? Yes. Say something. Cherry Blossom Hill is mine. Cherry Blossom Hill is mine. Your voice is back. You’re better. Thankfully, she’s gotten better. Is it because the climate here’s different? Yes, the air is different. And she’s been exposed to a lot of air-conditioning. I found her outside rather than in the green room. The indoor air was too cold and dry. Her cough sounds awful. If you’re going to see a doctor, you shouldn’t take any medicine. You should go see a doctor after we eat. I’ll be fine. I said you’re not fine. The doctor? Yeah, she needs to see a doctor. Her cough sounds awful. Go sit down. You’re just getting in the way. You should take her to the doctor’s when her cough sounds that bad. You frustrate me. She was sleeping. Besides, it didn’t seem like it was bad. Not bad? Her cough sounds awful. She’s got a terrible cough. If she takes medicine, gets rest and plenty of water, she’ll be fine. You’re not a doctor. How would you know? (Choi Mija, 65 / Mother) Geon wouldn’t take her to the doctor’s, fearing she’d be given antibiotics, so he just left her to rest at home. I had to be the one to take her. If I hadn’t, she wouldn’t have made it. Listening to him won’t do anyone any good. Hearing them argue about her gives her a headache, though it was just fine before. (In the next episode…) It kills me whenever any one of you are sick. I hope my mother feels proud when she sees me working so hard onstage. I should be better to him, but… I shouldn’t nag him so much, but… It looked like hard work. Cheers. It’s the best part of my life. Mother. Hello. See you in Seoul.

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