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Chapter 139 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

“So modest.”

The grave without a cross.

While other graves are covered with flat, wide stones in the European burial style, with stone crosses and tombstones on top, Vincent and Theo's grave only had a small stone marker, and the grave itself was like a flowerbed with grass and flowers.

I even passed this area earlier.

Naturally assuming it was just a flowerbed, I had walked past it, but there it was – the grave with both their names engraved.


Vincent Van GOGH


ICE REPOSE means 'here lies'.

A humble grave without even a simple epitaph. Standing in front of the grave of the impoverished van Gogh and his brother, who died from illness just six months after him, I was lost for words.

Van Gogh, who sold only one painting in his lifetime.

And that too, for merely about two months' worth of living expenses.

A lonely painter who couldn't even afford paint without his brother's help during his 10 years as an artist.

In fact, van Gogh only gained fame after both brothers died, when Theo's wife, Johanna, published the letters they had written to each other and worked hard to organize exhibitions of van Gogh's work.

“I suppose it would have been easy to resent a relative who only seemed to burn through money.”

What wife nowadays would continue to provide living expenses for her husband's brother for ten years while also giving continuous support?

The reverse is also true. You see a lot of stories online about husbands who are bent over backwards financially supporting their wife's family, considering divorce out of frustration.

But in those times, Theo's wife loved van Gogh's paintings and supported him despite the hardships, always encouraging him that his style was improving even when his paintings didn't sell.

Perhaps the van Gogh we know might have been forever forgotten and unknown if it weren't for her.

I clasped my hands and silently paid my respects for a moment.

Van Gogh, who once said that dying might be a way to get closer to the stars, to heaven.

I hoped that he had reached the stars he so longed for.

* * *

Incheon Airport.

I took a deep breath of the familiar scent and the longing scenery as I passed through the arrival hall, still not having left the airport.

"Ah, this is it. A Korean should live in Korea."

Honestly, I gained a lot in Italy, but it was too hard.

I did go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, but I was so afraid of being recognized that I wore my hat low and glanced around before hastily boarding a plane back to Korea.

Now that I thought I could wander around more freely, my suppressed free will slowly emerged, on the verge of exploding.

I grinned as I walked towards the automatic doors of the arrival hall.

"I should go home and have doenjang jjigae and samgyeopsal with mom and brother."

There's a pretty decent meat restaurant not far from home, so that would be the place to go. I've earned a decent amount of money, so I'm planning to treat them properly.

The same goes for Youngju and the others at the company.

Having passed through the arrival hall, I had taken off my hat, sunglasses, and mask.

It feels so comfortable to show my face like this after a long time.

"Korea is the best, after all."

I was ready to go home and breathe the refreshing air.

I was light-footed as I stood in front of the automatic doors of the arrival hall. The moment the doors opened, I looked forward to see the Korean land I missed, but I had to step back and cover my eyes due to the sudden burst of a blinding barrage of light.

Click, click, click, rustle.

"It's Ban Jeong-hoon!"

"He's finally back!"

"Mr. Ban Jeong-hoon! This is Shilla Daily, can we have an interview?"

"We understand you returned from France via Italy! What kind of work did you do in France?"

The crowd's clamor was heard.

I couldn't see anything because of the flashes.

Was it because of my longing for freedom? Without realizing it, I covered my eyes and cursed.

"Damn it."

* * *

On the highway from Incheon Airport to Paju.

Sitting in the passenger seat of Youngju's car, I looked out the window with a tired face.

Youngju was happy to see me, but I was held up by reporters at the airport for two hours.

Sympathizing with my plight, an airport official set up a place for a group press conference, which ended in two hours, or else I would have been held up for ten.

Youngju handed me an iced coffee, saying, "You've worked hard, drink this."

"Ah, thanks."

"Our boss, now a real celebrity, huh? Even reporters were waiting at the airport."


I hadn't expected to experience this in Korea.

I was looking forward to walking freely on the streets without a hat, sunglasses, or mask. But my little dream was shattered.

Youngju, driving, glanced at me and cautiously asked, "Did something happen in Paris?"


"Then why are you upset?"


I sighed, reclined the passenger seat, and lay down.

“Just, I liked it better when nobody knew me.”

Am I about to get scolded?

Accused of being ungrateful, of forgetting where I came from.

I prepared to ignore Youngju’s words, using my arm as a pillow. But Youngju, focused on driving, remained silent.

Feeling a bit embarrassed, I turned to Youngju and asked, “What's up? Not going to scold me? I thought for sure you’d give me an earful.”

Youngju glanced at me, then looked ahead and patted my shoulder, “No, you’ve been through a lot. Take a few days off at home. You look really tired.”

Warm consolation.

Although she might not understand how I feel right now, my friend Youngju comforts me with few words. I appreciate her understanding, but I am really exhausted.

I nodded in acknowledgment, then lay back in the passenger seat and quietly closed my eyes.

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