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Chapter 110 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

Coming out of the dream, I walked down the forest path holding Lea's hand and returned to the village.

It was late after dinner, so I went to Lea's house to take her home and squatted in front of her, making eye contact.

“Next time we go to the museum, I'll definitely take you, so you don't need to spy on me, okay?”


Lea with her round eyes seems not to understand and tilts her head. But soon, as her mother's voice is heard inside, the child scampers off.

She looks back regretfully and waves her hand again. Ah, so cute.

Just as I was about to return home, I suddenly remembered that I skipped dinner. It's eight o'clock in the evening. By now, the busy crowds would have thinned. Monica and I first arrived in this village at nine o'clock, so they should still be open.

As I go to the village square, it's quieter as I expected.

Uncle Augusto, enjoying some downtime after a whirlwind of activity, sits at one corner of the restaurant drinking coffee.

As I wave, he sees me and waves back.

I make a gesture of eating, and he laughs and gestures for me to come in.

Sitting close to the square, I order a suitable menu item and remember Monet's words.

“If it's not about making money, don't think about money from the start. Do what you want to do.”

Of course, as someone who struggled financially for half their life, he didn't mean to stop making money and just do what you want. It means at some point in life, put aside thoughts of money and move. That's where happiness lies.

I rested my chin on my hand and looked at the square.

What do I want to do? What do I want to paint?

Others have things they want to do but move for livelihood.

Sadly, I don’t know what I truly want to do.

No, in truth, what I really wanted to do was to take care of my family.

I've already accomplished that. Even if I can't live like the rich, it's enough not to worry about meals and live in a good house.

I give my mother 3 million won a month for living expenses.

Of course, that doesn't include pension insurance, health insurance, property taxes, gas, maintenance fees, or communication expenses.

It's just money given to spend on food and clothes.

On social media, it seems like there are countless people earning over a thousand a month. It's uncertain if what they say is true, but anyway, I earn more than them but can't live like they do.

How do they manage to drive sports cars, eat in fine hotels, and enjoy nights in swimming pools at sky lounges? When I simply calculate, I earn more than them. Were they born rich, able to spend more than they earn?

After paying comprehensive income tax, health and pension insurance premiums, and deducting living expenses for the house, not much is left. Of course, there's enough to buy a bag for mom, but to live a life dining in hotels costing 300,000 won and enjoying pools, I'd need to earn twice as much.

Maybe, it's not about the money, but me.

Even if I earned double, I probably couldn't live like that. I'm too timid, after all.

Anyway, every time I give mom living expenses, she would say this.

"I only dreamed of spending a million won a month on living expenses. Thanks to you, my younger son, I'm living well in my later years. Thank you, son."

It's both gratifying and sad.

So modest was mom's wish.

Then, I sense someone nearby.

Expecting it to be the waiter with the menu, I turn my head, but unexpectedly, it's Monica.

"Monica? Are you just arriving?"

She's wearing quality clothes, but her shoulders are covered in white dust. She must be exhausted from managing and directing all day at the factory construction site.

Monica, looking a bit tired, fixes her disheveled hair.

"May I sit?"

"Of course."

I pull out a chair for her, and as she sits, she looks at the menu.

"Haven't you eaten yet?"


"It's nine already?"

"Better late than never."

"Ah, yes."

That's true.

Monica asked.

"What did you order?"


A hard-to-read Italian menu. I ordered without knowing what it was. There's a detailed description below, but it's in Italian, which I can't read. This city isn't for tourists, so there's no English menu.

Monica nods and says,

"You're not very hungry, I guess."

"Huh? I'm quite hungry."

"This is ice cream."


Wait, did I order ice cream?

Seeing my baffled face, Monica, guessing the situation, smiles and says,

"How about seafood stew? Do you like it?"

"Ha-ha, anything's better than ice cream."

"Then let's go with this. Cacciucco, a stew with seafood, meat, and vegetables."

I nod quickly, and Monica goes to the kitchen to change the order herself.

I'm impressive, ordering ice cream for dinner.

Returning from the kitchen, Monica sits back down and looks out at the square. Just a while ago, a few people were visible, but now none can be seen. Nights come early in a rural village.

Monica murmurs while gazing at the square.

"A village where nothing has changed. I like it, but will those returning feel the same?"


I understood immediately what she meant.

The news of a factory coming to the village would have spread to those who left, through the words of the residents. She's asking how those who left for jobs will feel about the unchanged village.

"Isn't it good that it hasn't changed, your hometown?"

Monica looks at me tiredly.

"Would you like a hometown you left because you hated it, even if it stays the same?"


That's true. They left not to earn money or chase dreams, but because they hated the town with no future.

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