At her reaction, I wondered if that kind of entertainment was really great. Were young people addicted to webtoons and web novels? But it seems Leon is also unaware of it. He said he’s seen webtoons before but doesn’t know web novels well. He was also in his 40s, but…
“What did you do?” Penelope asked, breaking me from my thoughts.
I smiled. “I was a freelancer,” I replied.
“Ah, I see. I worked for a company. I read webnovels to pass time whenever I didn’t feel like working. Only on my phone though, since it leaves a trace if I do it on the computer.”
Penelope giggled. Even though she was older than me and in our previous life, she looked much younger. She caressed the teacup, a relieved look on her face.
“Honestly, I was worried about your reaction last time. I thought I said something wrong… I feel embarrassed talking about something only I knew. Why didn’t you tell me!”
Penelope giggled even more. Her voice was low enough like a noble lady but her playful giggle was much like her daughter’s. I shrugged and smiled shyly.
“It was hard to say. You were talking so happily,” I replied.
“I’m usually like that. My husband says that I could talk all day. It’s a relief that he doesn’t mind me chatting so much. Even though he listens to people all day outside.”
“Were you married or had a child in your previous life?”
I asked, as she seemed so used to life as a parent. But Penelope waved her hands.
“The web novels were the only thing that made me happy in that life… and the protagonist was my only lover. My real life relationship was a mess. To think that someone like me is now married and has a kid…” she looked wistful. “The change was so much that I almost got postpartum depression after giving birth.”
“When did you start remembering?” I asked, changing the subject when Penelope’s face turned a bit sullen. She sighed.
“It was right after I gave birth. Giving birth… was a bit tough. No, it was a big challenge. They even needed nurses. I bled a lot and they said I almost died. Maybe I did die for a moment. It came like a flashback.”
I stayed silent. Childbirth is difficult. I did hear she had a difficult pregnancy. Penelope continued.
“In my current life I’ve been married for a few years and have a child, but in my mind… I was someone who was in her 20s from a place called South Korea. To be taken care of at home and not at a hospital… using cloth diapers instead of pads… and eating porridge instead of getting IV – it felt crazy. And the child… was unfamiliar. I couldn’t give her milk or calm her. I was wondering why I suddenly had to become a mother.”
Penelope’s voice was low as if she was worried that someone might hear her. I just nodded.
“I just kept on crying. It was my husband who consoled me the entire time. He kept on talking about random things, about the child, and even when we were dating. Then I started to distinguish reality and the past slowly. I started to get used to… my child and felt the love and happiness when I was pregnant with her. I remembered being worried that I wouldn’t get pregnant after the marriage.”
“Then does your husband remember all of your past life?”
Penelope chuckled and shook her head “He is a good person – kind and patient, but he has no imagination. He would just say it’s hallucinations from the fever. So I don’t tell him about this.”
I nodded. “Then, do you think that this place is similar to the world in a novel? And when did you find out?”
This was the part I couldn’t understand the most. It’s unbelievable. Penelope slightly frowned as if she understood my thoughts.
“I know. You think this doesn’t make sense right? That this is a novel,” she began. Penelope took a few sips and continued.
“I didn’t have the strength to rationally organize my thoughts at that time, but I just knew there was a difference between the past life me and the current me. After I finally adjusted a few months after I gave birth, Hugo and Ethan came to see the child. I couldn’t visit them for a while as I was sick. But the moment I saw Ethan, I remembered him. And I also remembered a woman…. I kept thinking until the illustration from the web novel came to mind. It was then everything came to place – I remembered the entire novel.”
I remained silent, eager to hear the next revelations. Penelope’s face suddenly got dark.
“But there’s a problem…”