Yoshi (extras) (07)

Yossi stopped in front of a door which read ‘V-U-Den & Tsuji Nozomi’ on a piece of paper pasted on the side. The protocol she shared with Rika remained fresh in her mind, but the urgency to see Rika right away preceded everything. She placed her hand on the handle and turned. It didn’t budge. The door seemingly to be locked from inside. She tapped lightly on the door and waited. Soon she heard a voice asking for her identity and before she could reply, the door opened.

When the door opened, Erika popped her head from behind and was not hiding her surprise when she saw Yossi. Without much ado, she quickly stepped aside to allow the unexpected guest access into the heavily-scented room.

Holding a smile, Yossi remained where she was but allowed her eyes to peer over Erika into the room behind. When she saw Rika and also the imperceptible frown forming, she braced herself. She knew her girlfriend wasn’t too happy now, but guessed Rika should understand after listening to her explanation later.

“Yoshizawa-san, what’s with?” asked Erika, who getting awkward as whether to close the door or to hold it open like what she was doing now, since doing the former would be very rude.

“Sorry, I just need a word with Ishikawa-san,” Yossi said apologetically. And when she realized Tsuji wasn’t around, she was more glad than surprised. Since whatever propriety she was putting on now would be useless against the blabber-mouthed girl. Then turning to Rika, she said. “Ishikawa-san, chotto?”

Rika placed her iPod on the table and followed Yossi out of the room. After making sure the door was well closed, she dropped all pretenses and hissed. “What’s so urgent?”

Yossi said nothing and gestured Rika to follow her. After a few turns here and there in the maze-like backstage corridor, they came to a dead end. But Yossi still hadn’t talked. She looked around cautiously. And when she was sure they were quite alone, she leaned her back against the wall and sighed and allowed herself to slide down into a squatting position.

Rika watched every action with apprehension. And inside her, her premonition grew, telling her that something bad must have happened. And all the secrecy just seemed to say it. Rika squatted down too.

“I was with Sakimoto-san just now,” Yossi finally said. “He passed me the envelope.”

“What! You’re kidding right?”

Yossi looked at Rika, who was staring wide-eyed at her and sniggered. Rika’s reaction was already something she had expected.

“No, I’m not,” she said.

“But…” Rika found no words to continue. She eyed Yossi carefully, looking out for signs.

“What an irony.”

Rika couldn’t get it. “So… when is it?” she asked.

“May, next year.” And when Yossi heard the crack in her own voice, she realized she wasn’t taking it better than she had expected. “They will announce it next week, during the concert.”

Rika placed her arm around and hugged Yossi. “What reason?”

“No, nothing.”

Rika nodded slightly. “They just want you to leave huh…”

Yossi then felt her eyes burning. She closed them to stop her tears, if any, from flowing. She knew graduation was inevitable, especially in a pop group like Morning Musume. Just that it was only now that she understood how others must have felt when they were told to leave. It is not about leaving a group of people whom you have spent years bonding with, and whom you sometimes feel closer than your family, but what she felt was the inhuman way the company had carried out each graduation; like each member was just a pawn, to be sacrificed the moment it has outlived its usefulness.

And others had it better than her. At least they all left with a purpose. But not her, she didn’t even know why she had to leave and she didn’t even know what’s in stall for her…

“Could it be…” Rika stopped. She couldn’t bring herself to voice out her fears; that she might be responsible for her girlfriend’s forced graduation.

“Don’t be silly.”

When Rika turned to look at Yossi again, she could no longer control her tear from falling.

No comments: