THE STARLIT NIGHT SKY AFTER THE STORM: YOSHI'S PRELUDE
Darn! It is almost eight in the evening. Who is it? Who’s this brave, disrespectful soul at my doorstep? As I hurried down to my genkan, a blurry image from my intercom showed a figure of a person wearing a cap and what seemed to be a utility suit.
"A delivery for Mr. Fujiwara. I apologize sending your package at this hour, we just had a bit of trouble in our logistics, due to the storm that happened this morning. I am so sorry; I hope you understand.” The delivery boy uttered as he carried a medium-sized box and rummaged for a pen inside his chest pocket.
"I actually wasn’t expecting this parcel to arrive ’til the day after tomorrow, because I know this is a parcel that came from overseas”.
"Yes, sir! It’s from abroad...please put your stamp in the boxes provided.” The delivery boy wasted no time and handed me the receiving forms.
“Okay.” I hurriedly reached for my hanko that is coiled with a braided string attached on a magnetic hook.
I threw the package on my couch. I can’t be bothered at this hour by a silly package.
Several weeks ago, I was so preoccupied of work. Rehearsals almost everyday, half-day on Sundays. Company promo tour in every major city in the country. Yesterday, I had to adjust my favorite Titanium- finished watch because it became a bit loose. Because of stress from work and relationship dilemmas, I lost a significant amount of weight.
I cannot whine about work though. This is what I have dreamt since I graduated from junior high school. Be a world-renowned theatre actor, perform in Broadway and win a Tony. Even just one Tony. I have completed forty-nine stage musicals since I became involved in a theatre company at the tender age of 17. Thirty-seven of those; I was the lead actor. And now that I am 32, I completed more than three hundred shows all over the country. I also have a sturdy fan base whose members are definitely not bitter, cyber-trolls and genuinely support my relationship with Ayaka. I could not count how many covers I have done for SUPERSTAGE magazine and other popular magazines as well. I have regular TV and radio guesting, and this stage musical that I am pouring tremendous amount of time and effort on, is my 50th and the first one that is going to be sponsored by an international brand.
To be honest, the job that I have now is something that I am really grateful for. My bread and butter. Every zero in my monthly talent cheque, is paid by honest-to-goodness hard work, steadfast dedication and hardcore perseverance. It is a blessing. A secured blessing that I know will make me harebrained if I lose it. Being a stage actor is the only thing I need to be in this world and I can not think of anything else. I am so stressed everyday because of the long hours of rehearsals, but I cannot complain; for I consider the stress that I get from work as therapeutic for my mind.
On the other hand, the stress that I get from my relationship with Ayaka is something that I wish is as therapeutic as what I feel from work. I thought that having a relationship with someone who is in a similar industry will be less worrisome. But boy, how can I be so wrong?
I love Ayaka. I am so in love with her. She is different from the girls I have dated. She is never the jealous type, someone who truly understands my short-fused patience and sincerely laugh at my dry and outdated jokes. Finally, a person who supports what I do 100% and undeniably the type whom you want to spend the rest of your life with. The most gorgeous woman I have seen, touched, kissed and fucked. No real man on this earth would not be aroused whenever she’s around. Slender-slim body, milky white complexion, perky breasts, tiny waist, a small doll-like face paired with a narrow nose and soft lips. And so, I get why there were less trolls, whenever there were leaked photos of me and Ayaka that surfaced the internet—because to people, we are two puzzle pieces that fit together. A gorgeous lass for an equally handsome lad. Physically, Ayaka and I really match, and I unquestionably feel that she wants to take this relationship to the next level. Same as me.
But lately, it is difficult to get a hold on her. We virtually spend lesser time with each other. She’s travelling South-East Asia to promote a lingerie brand which she is an ambassadress of. So, technically, we are in an LDR. It is hard enough being in this situation, but I feel that I am the only one who’s making a constant effort in communicating. Since she landed in Bangkok last month, the longest time we spent talking to each other on the phone, was about five minutes; and most of the time, our conversation consists only of Hellos, how-is-your-days? Eat-wells, and goodbyes. I wanted to tell her detailed stories about my work, but there’s this heavy, elusive feeling of hesitation and unswerving thoughts that I might be just bothering Ayaka and infringing her busy schedule.
As I applied a blue tack at the back of the polaroid from our latest trip, to put on our wall-of- memories, my phone rang. I tried to ignore it the second time it rang because Chiaki, my manager, shouldn’t be calling at this hour unless it is really something important...But there goes that third ring. Yes, I am aware that people are commenting non-stop about this old school ringtone but that’s the only way I can determine whether to pick up Chiaki’s phone call or not.
"Chiaki-san, what now?”
“Yu-kun, have you received a package today?” Chiaki’s voice seemed calm yet anxious.
"Yes.” I answered uninterestingly.
"You need to test it right now. It is a prototype of the product that we are going to use for the musical. Don’t worry, it is for free. That’s yours to use and it is customised. It should fit.”
“Oh, now I understand why we had to take that ear silicone mould the day before yesterday. Should I really test it now? Can’t it be tomorrow, Chiaki-san?”
“It must be now. So if it is not working, I can email the sender before midnight. Okay? Goodnight Yu-kun. See you at the agency tomorrow.” Chiaki, as usual, in her infamous demanding tone.
I opened the package and the item was enclosed carefully with layers of bubble wrap. It was a magnetic box. Hmmm. The packaging looks sleek and expensive. The item inside was a wireless earpiece mic. The earpiece is similar to an in-ear monitor,but the in-ears cartridge, is the lapel itself. Impressive.
Hmmm. What’s the brand? I looked for the brand of this ear piece and mic in one and the branding was too small and located at the right side of the box. It was presented in a small embossed font that says, www.jest-ears.ph.
.PH? A Philippine domain? Is this a product of the Philippines? Hmmm. I never thought that a developing country could produce an innovative product such as this one. I tested the mic and it is working just fine, but I doubt that this product is going to last.
Speaking of the Philippines, the polaroid that I last added to my wall of memories was from Cebu. A beautiful place that has everything, from clean parks to dirty slums, a bit of greenery but abundant of amazing beaches. Certainly a memorable place where Ayaka and I had lots of fun. The smile that Ayaka had on that polaroid was the most striking one. She said, her smile was inspired by the smile of the locals.
The people are definitely not the same as this product, I thought. I could not trust gadgets like this one if it’s not made in US, Germany, Korea and my country. Yes, it might work for now but probably not for tomorrow or the days after. Then my phone rang. It is Chiaki, again.
" Yes, I tested it. It is working fine.” I told Chiaki abruptly.
" How about the fit in your ears? Is it not too loose or too tight?”
" It fits well too Chiaki-san. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I examined the mic box for the last time and saw the brand’s social media pages written on a clear sticker placed at the bottom of the box. For no particular reason, just a pang of annoyance and irritation, I decided to sign in my Twitter and sent Jest Ears PH the following tweet:
I thought the Philippines can only export bananas. But I am astonished as it can export innovative products as well. Good job @Jest EarsPH!
I closed my twitter, and man...that felt good. The selfie of Ayaka as my home wallpaper and the unexpected fold of events this night, made me message Ayaka on a whim.
Ayaka-chan. I love you. Marry me. Marry me when you get back to Japan.
And that should be the cherry on top. I am so tired; I still need to take a bath before hitting the sack.
Rrrrrring. Rrrrrring. Rrrrrring.
"What is it again, Chiaki-san?”
"Yu-kun, you are a dead meat tomorrow. Pray tell, you’d still have audition invites after this musical!!! Prepare yourself tomorrow. You’re such an insolent little brat!”