Big Life - Chapter 29

[The Runner Ups]

The Lonely Man of Seoul – Ahn Sungwoo

Child of the 90s – Ha Jaegun

The Day of Summer – Sin Jungok

‘Ha… Jaeee…. Gunn….?!’

Myunghoon couldn’t shut his mouth at one of the runner up’s names. Ha Jaegun wasn’t a very common name. At least in his life, it wasn’t.

But Myunghoon knew the name of ‘Child of the 90s’

It was the short story that Jaegun was writing since college.

From what Myunghoon remembered, Jaegun couldn’t finish the book in college. So he was more baffled. A story that should have been buried is seen at a Digital Literary Award like this. And in the same place as a person like me.

‘This guy…!’

Myunghoon remembered the face that Jaegun made in the writer’s meeting and shivered.

It was a different Jaegun then he remembered. He sent multiple insults at him, but he didn’t respond. In fact, Jaegun countered and Myunghoon himself got shamed because of a word mistake.

The memory didn’t stop there.

He could remember every word that he said to Jaegun that day.

  • As a writer, I am recently writing a work that has quality to not shame the name of a writer.
  • Just, at this time there is a Literary Contest. I saw the other awards so I feel like I’m going to win it pretty simply. Probably have one more one on my career.

‘Dang it….! I said something stupid.

Just thinking about him made him feel embarrassed. The embarrassment completely pressed on his entire body.

Myunghoon covered his head with his two hand. And then he repeated slammed his forehead against the desk. In a same literary contest, especially the same award, he had no idea at all.

Myunghoon checked the award list many times.

The winner was was called ‘A Dumb Woman; but he didn’t even care about that. His entire attention was on Jaegun who got the same runner up award as him.

‘It doesn’t matter! Mine is something that I wrote in 3 months. Ha Jaegun, that guy, wrote that for 7 years. 3 months and 7 years can’t be compared. I’m better. I write so much better!!!’

Myunghoon kept thinking that to himself.

He was already thinking what to say in his award speech.

‘I need to appeal that I’ve written this in 3 months. If I had more time, I could have won it, but I was busy. I’m gonna mix my regret with some humor and end it cooly.’’

Myunghoon rolled his head while keep knocking his fingers on the desk. He was trying to show himself off.

‘Dang it, Jaegun has to say his speech before mine. Then I have time to counter his speech. I can add some more stuff in. I’m wishing he says it took him 7 years. At least it might show mine off better.

Myunghoon opened word furiously.

His ten enraged fingers typed out words and sentences at a fast pace.

His speech filled with justifications of himself. It was a comfort from getting the same award as someone like Ha Jaegun. .


At a moment, Myunghoon stopped and put his head up.

Jaegun probably knew the results by now. It was fate that they were going to see each other at the ceremony.

‘Let me greet him first.’

It was a fate that he had to go through

It felt better to tell him that Ahn Sungwoo who made ‘The Lonely Man of Seoul’ was Myunghoon.

It was a thought because at least he wouldn’t hear insults about how he was too afraid that he would lose so he used a pen name.

-Jaegun, I heard you won the runner up prize at the Digital Award Contest. Good job.

He sent a message. Myunghoon was waiting nervously biting his finger. He chose message because he thought his voice would be shaking.

Jaegun’s reply came faster than he expected.

-How did you know? Thanks.

-But you have to congratulate me too. You know ‘The Lonely Man of Seoul’ in the runner up? That’s written by me. Heh. In 3 months.

-Ah, that Ahn Sungwoo was yours. The contest that you were entering, it was this. Yeah, good job to you, too.

-I was just saying, guy. It’s only getting a runner up for a measly small award so no need for a good job. I’m sort of shocked that I won because it was just something I wrote down easily. I was randomly writing for about 3 months and I threw it in. And I won apparently

-Yeah you do write well.

Jaegun’s praise felt more like banter to Myunghoon

With a crumbled face, Myunghoon furiously pounded the touchscreen.

-At least your work paid off. Man, I still remember the ‘Child of the 90s’ Wasn’t that a project that you were holding for 7 years? Hehehehe at least you finally found the light, isn’t that good? Now you finally have at least one line in your career. Hehehe

-Yeah I’m feeling good

Nothing else came after that short message.

Myunghoon’s anger didn’t fall easily. It felt to him that Jaegun was laughing at him right now. Thinking about how to end the conversation, Myunghoon finally sent the last message.

-I’ll see you at the award. Wear something clean. Don’t live showing off that you’re a writer in a room. Today’s world is a world where even writer’s wear something nice.

-OK, thanks, good work to us.

Myunghoon breathed and glared at nothing. He was confirming his superiority in his disarrayed mind.

I’m better at everything

I already have awards before.

He wrote that for 7 years but I wrote this for 3 months. It’s not the same value of award.

‘Lee Suhee…!’

Suhee’s face came to mind

It was true that feat was great enough that he need to get congratulations from others.

Removing the anger about Ha Jaegun, everything else was basically innocent happiness.

Myunghoon instantly picked the name that he wanted to get praise from. Being nervous, a bell started to ring.


“What’s up? Are you happy about that money?”

Jaegun asked with a laugh. In front of him, Jaeyn was staring blankly like there was a ghost inside her.

“Say something. What’s with that reaction?”

It was the house at Suwon.

Jaegun ran to the subway to the house as soon as he got the results to the award. He wanted to send these results to the family as fast as he could.

“Now the brother is getting award experience. This is accepted by the Ministry of Culture. It’s not the biggest or has the biggest honor, but it’s pretty well acknowledged.”

Jaeyn covered her face. Her nose was turning red and her two eyes were pouring.

It didn’t matter about the size of the award. She was just sad. She needed to compliment her brother, but no words could come out of her mouth.

“Everything’s gonna get better. Totally better. This is the beginning. Say this is a marathon. I’m only at the 100 meter mark.”


The door opened with the door lock sound.

His mom who went to get his dad came back.

“Ah, son! What are you doing here!”

His mom saw Jaehn ane went into the house happily. Her two eyes captured Jaein’s crying face.

“Jaegun, why are you crying? What happened?”

“Mom, Jaegun…”

“Jaegun? What about Jaegun? What happened? Say something.”

“Jaegun… won a literary award.

Jaegun explained barely with her voice.

His mom opened her mouth. For a while, she was like that, like a lost person. Then she screamed and hugged Jaegun proudly.

“Ahh! My son! My amazing son! My writer song! I knew you were going to succeed! I knew it! Not because you’re my son but I knew you could do it!”

Mom kissed her son’s cheeks repeatedly. EVen though he was all grown up, he was still cute and she still worried about putting him in the world. In the laughter, mom was crying as well.

The person who was dad just now organized his shoes and was going up at the living room. There was no smile on his face. With a glare that looked through the living room a few times, he said nothing and went straight to his room.

“Honey! Jaegun’s ceremony is on Saturday!”

Mom with a few tears shouted at the door.

There was no answer except for changing clothes.

“Honey! Saturday is Jaegun’s ceremony!”

“I have morning shit”


“Go with Jaein.”

“That man is seriously…!”

Mom bounced up and went into the room.

All that could be heard was mom’s scream from the room

Jaegun was bitterly laughing waiting for his dad’s silent voice. Jaein was holding her brother’s hand.

The ceremony was at the Hehuadong National Science & Technology Museum.

Myunghoon arrived there early with his car.

He didn’t tell his family. He didn’t tell his colleagues or other people. It bothered him that Jaegun got the same prize as him. He didn’t want a sliver of additional attention given to Jaegun.

It was already fall so the weather was pretty cold.

Just then across the place, a white care was coming in. Myunghoon looked in as it looked familiar, the car door opened and Suhee came out.

“Lee Suhee?!”

Myunghoon called out Suhee’s name without realizing it.

Why is Suhee who said she was busy with work and rejected his request coming all the way out here.

It didn’t take long for him to realize why. Even with the cold weather, Myunghoon’s face was heating up very fast.

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