내가 자신의 첫사랑이라고 주장하는 녀석의 모친상에 갔다가 내가 자신의 첫사랑이라고 주장했던 다른 녀석의 근황을 들었다. 업계의 거물이 되어 있단 말에 기분이 묘했다. 20년쯤 전 마지막으로 보았을 때 녀석은 말했다. 학교를 졸업하면 전문 자격증을 따서 부모님이 계시는 작은 도시에 사무실을 내고 주말이면 농삿일을 거들며 사는 것이 꿈이라고. 해서 그 녀석을 간혹 떠올릴 때 함께 나타나는 이미지는 나락을 볕에 내어 말리는, 그런 것이었다. 그곳에서 그리 살고 있으리라 믿어 의심치 않았는데, 업계의 거물이라니.

그 소식을 듣고 행복하니? 묻고 싶었다. 행복하지 않다고 한들 내가 뭐 해줄 것도 아니면서 아니 물을 길도 없으면서 이건 무슨 선입견인지, 어째 소원을 이루지 못한 그는 행복하지 않을 것만 같았다. 글쎄, 어쩌면 그건 바쁘고 돈 많고 '성공'한 사람은 행복하지 않을 거라는, 아니다 좀 더 솔직히, 행복하지 않길 바라는, 선입견 때문일 수도.

그런 저런 생각을 하다가 20년쯤 전의 나는 마흔 무렵의 내가 이렇게 살고 있을 줄 상상도 못했다는 데 비로소 생각이 미쳤다. 그렇지만 나는 그럭저럭 행복하게 살고 있다는 데에도. 어쩌면 그도 아마 그럴 것이다. 20년 전에는 짐작도 못했던 삶을 살고 있지만 행복할 것이다. 서로를 위해 그렇게 믿자.

연이어 이런 생각도 들었다. 그가 나를 좋아했단 걸 그 당시에 알았다면, 그리고 그래서 내가 적극적으로 그와 사귀기로 마음먹었다면, 나는 지금쯤 업계의 거물의 '사모님'이 되어 있었을까? 아아 이번 건 좀 더 쉽다. 지금껏 살면서 주류와 함께 흘러가거나 그 흐름을 적극적으로 이끄는 사람에게 끌린 적은 단 한 번도 없었다. 그는 그 당시에 이미 사회적으로 매우 알아주는 머리와 알아주는 학벌을 갖고 있었지만 그뿐. 그러므로 그런 일은 벌어지지 않았다. 그런 일은 앞으로도 벌어지지 않겠지만, 이제 와 성공한 그 거물이 다시 내 앞에 나타난다고 해도 나의 선택은 언제나 내 편에 서서 영감을 주는 '그분'이다. 이러니저러니 해도, 나는 이렇게 생겨 먹은 인간인 것이다. 나는 이편이 더 행복하다는 걸 안다. 그리고 나는 이런 내가 어쩔 수 없이, 참 좋다.
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2015/05/06 15:47 2015/05/06 15:47
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