She felt so numb.
It shouldn’t have felt as bad as it did, but she was still numb from the night before. She felt as if she barely survived the graduation concert. It was dizzying to her to think that she had given two graduation messages for the same person. It was as if the company was hammering into the group’s brains that Goto Maki was leaving the group for good.
The new graduate was only leaving to promote her own career in the same agency. It wasn’t as if she was leaving everyone behind without another thought. Hello! Morning recordings were still a way to see her, but other than that…
Ai rolled onto her side and pulled her blanket over her head. Thinking about what the future would be like was strange, especially with one of the group’s heavy hitters leaving. She didn’t think she spent enough time with the older girl at all and she hoped that her inevitable graduation wasn’t as soon as it was. Her desperate hope was that maybe, just maybe, Maki would’ve held out until everyone (or a couple) from the previous generations graduated.
Reality was never that kind, anyway.
“She graduated and took an entire generation with her,” the young teenager muttered to herself.
The loud shrill of an alarm clock didn’t faze her as she stared off into space. She knew she had to get out of bed sooner than later, but she couldn’t be bothered. Things still hadn’t hit her, yet.
Then again, she wasn’t sure if the brunt of the graduation waves had already swallowed her whole and that she was merely bobbing in and out of the water waiting to break the surface. She thought that perhaps the initial tidal wave had hit her when news about the graduation was broken to the whole group, then everything after that kept pulling her beneath the reach of safety. Once in a while, ever since that day in the boardroom to the graduation concert, she found herself heaving for air from the water by means of crying.
They felt like meaningless tears to her because they weren’t really close friends. Despite the age difference, the gap seemed to be bigger than what it was. A generation separated her and Maki, while a year just separated their age, but it never felt as if their paths ever crossed in a more personal way.
It had always been a senpai/kouhai relationship.
Maki was (and still is) her idol and she didn’t know how the other girl thought of her.
“This is so stupid,” Ai grumbled in defeat. She rolled onto her stomach and screamed in frustration into her pillow.
All of her thoughts were jumbled into an incoherent mess. Everything seemed so trivial the longer she dwelled on it.
She pushed herself up and sat on her knees unable to stay underneath her blanket any longer.
People would come and go in the music industry, so there wasn’t much point in crying too hard about it. They were all expendable and only the lucky ones would survive through the scathing trials and tribulations the public (and life) had to offer.
From that point on, every graduation would hurt more. Everyone was like an older sister or good friend to her and the longer she stayed the more goodbyes she would be forced to say.
She didn’t want that.
She didn’t want to continue feeling so numb just when her music career merely started.
All she wanted at that point was to feel her lungs burning so she could swim to the surface and breathe again. She wanted—no, needed
to feel again so she could move on.
A graduation was a graduation and it was time for life to continue.
With an irritated glance at her still blaring clock, she saw that she had to get to work soon. No matter how much she wanted to stay in bed and do nothing, she still had work.
Nothing would really change except for the fact that there would be one less familiar face at the job.
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