PART 2-YOSHI: BLACKHOLE PHASE 1
I don’t feel like going to the agency today. That dreadful tweet was already deleted yesterday night yet, it didn’t make me sleep. I even messaged Jest Ears and got no reply. It is now clear to me why a lot of people are saying, going all-out online is a disadvantage. The internet is really not a forgiving place. I just realized that now. Screencaps and memes of that tweet surely, plagued the internet in no time. I deemed it is something that is already irreversible.
Probably, if this incident happened to other people, they would’ve felt really bad and apologized a million times. Commonly, the influx of hate will just aggravate, and in Japan, the natural reaction to this kind of incident, is depression, that will eventually lead to taking one’s life.
Do I feel the same way? I honestly feel nothing about that tweet. I don’t feel any remorse nor a single drop of anxiety on what will happen to me at work this afternoon. For me, I’ve done all I could to get to where I am now. I am pretty sure that everything will be forgiven for the reason that I contributed an enormous fortune to the theatre company and my agency throughout my years of hard work. Laying me off, is just plainly treacherous... That, I am always conscious of and I constantly consider it as a fact.
The thing that occupies my mind right now is actually just Ayaka, and her nerve-wracking, will-be response. Being viral because of a silly tweet is the last thing on my mind, if I’m going to be honest. The three years that I spent with Ayaka are the most fruitful ones. I’d never felt so in love; like a teenager who’s surrounded by butterflies whenever he sees his ultimate crush. It’s been a month in this set-up; an LDR, yet Ayaka’s smile, scent, and the late night dinner conversations we had before, are still very vivid like she was just in my apartment yesterday.
I looked at my phone, there’s no response from Ayaka. Then it rang. It showed an unfamiliar number. I expect this to be Ayaka-chan, calling somewhere from South East Asia.
“Yu-Kun, it’s me. Didn’t you get my Line message? I told you that I am going to fetch you, right?” Chiaki said in a high-angry tone.
Oh, it is just Chiaki. My pulse rate suddenly steadied.
“Chiaki-san, did you change your number? Why didn’t you inform me firsthand?”
“Yu-Kun, what type of meteorite just banged on your head? Are you really this stupid? Where are you now? Head outside at this moment. I am waiting in a taxi in front of your mansion. Hurry up!” Chiaki, sounded pissed more than ever. I can feel that there’s something really bad going to happen.
I opened the taxi door and there was Chiaki. Her arms folded against her chest, her face covered in the scariest frown that I have never seen before. Damn Yoshi! This day is going to be tough, brace yourself.
The moment I sat, Chiaki’s sermon started. Did I expect this? Truth be told, I did not. But I listened attentively anyway, like a student who was caught cheating by her teacher that wants to guilt-trip him.
" Listen. You...you! Listen carefully, Fujiwara Yu. I hope you are aware of your status as a public personality. I didn’t know what type of evil spirit possessed you to make a Tweet like that. Have you posted a tweet like that before? Never, right? Because you are the type of person, whom I KNEW was considerate and gentle and who is so respectful towards his job and everybody else. Right? Yu-kun? So...This freaking racist comment... Where are you heading towards this tweet? Is there anything you want to prove? God, Yu-kun! I want to crack your skull open with my shoes! Answer me! Where are you heading towards this tweet? Why on earth you wrote something like that?”
Tears formed around Chiaki’s eyes caused by rage and disappointment. Her voice cracked. I feel so down and I am also disappointed in myself. I don’t think there’s a proper response to Chiaki’s questions. Man, what I did was so irresponsible. It felt good in a while, but never did I expect that the aftermath would be this. Chiaki, a person that I trust more than myself, being deeply hurt. It pains me to see her like this. All of her encouragement and advices went down the drain because I just want to feel good online, for a tiny split second. My mouth is dry and my saliva accumulated around my throat, that I feel it’s very hard to swallow- because of guilt. The nothingness that I felt this morning was gradually draped with weariness, nervousness, and shame upon entering my agency’s building.
My heartbeat went faster as Chiaki continued lecturing me as we walk. Her words were kind of muffled though. My heartbeat is becoming more audible to me than the list of my mistakes being blurted out by Chiaki.
Ding! The elevator door that came from the first basement, opened gently. There, stood a young woman, probably in her late 20′s or early 30′s sporting a soft wavy long hair that falls down to her breasts. She was dressed quite casually. An orange floral puffed blouse paired with pale-blue distressed jeans that was secured by the latest YSL white faux -leather belt, and she was carrying, what looks like a tri-color Loewe hammock bag. I know fashion that much, because of the countless photoshoots I’ve been in. Photoshoots to me, mean some clothes are free to take home. The perks of being an A-list theatre actor which surely directed to fade soon basing from this heavy ambiance and the sound of Chiaki’s utter disappointment, in addition to the surges of guilt and shame that I feel.
I looked briefly at the woman’s face. Hmmm. She doesn’t look like a typical Japanese. Maybe she’s a hafu? She definitely looked Asian, with those dark eyes, thin lips, small face and porcelain skin that shines; which is also a tad darker than the typical Japanese. Her eyes are not almond-shaped. It is more like marbles and what makes her face extraordinary is her tiny, but pointed noise. Yes, she is pretty. Very pretty indeed! A girl that you may take a few glances on, but surely not my type.
The woman in the elevator shuffled a step behind, when Chiaki and I entered the glass elevator. I looked down and as the people become smaller and smaller from above, more people went in. I had no choice but to step back and be closer to the woman. I can smell lime notes from her perfume. It seemed fresh and light, yet too strong for a Japanese nose. No, this woman is definitely not Japanese. She doesn’t know the usual small-public-space etiquette. I checked on her once again. Her body frame doesn’t really fit into this conformist society. She is curvy, but definitely not chubby.
She unexpectedly glanced at me and smiled. Those tiny dimples just below her lips are sure enough to melt any man’s heart. Please don’t do this to me. I love Ayaka and she’s the prettiest!
My admiration to this gorgeous woman ceased, when almost all of the people in the elevator dispersed in the same floor. It is back to me, Chiaki and that gorgeous gaijin. Then, Chiaki started to nag about the incident yesterday. She probably knew, that the lady in the elevator with us is not Japanese. So Chiaki, with her brave soul never hesitated and proceeded on interrogating me.
“So Yu-kun, why did you do that again? I haven’t heard your answer yet.”
Pissed, I answered Chiaki back,”Will you believe me that I did that out of nothing? Just because I am bored? Chiaki-san, I already sent an apology to Jest Ears. They didn’t reply! And why are you so affected by this? Because it is racist? Haha. What is this Jest Ears anyway? This company...I’ve never heard of it. I even checked it online. You know, they released these in-ear units only in Singapore, Qatar and the Philippines. Not even a single Broadway actor follow this Jest Ears PH. So, I don’t get the trouble I am experiencing as of now, because of this small company. What I stated are facts Chiaki, and it is nothing racist.”
There you go, I just added fuel to the already blazing flame. Chiaki’s jaw dropped in shock. Yes, Chiaki! It just came from my mouth, you heard it right.
“You... I can’t believe this. The reason, I changed my number because the moment you posted that tweet, Michimiya-san and Sekine-sensei were calling me nonstop. I couldn’t sleep. So now, you are telling me that you have no qualms about your Tweet being racist? Are you for real? Fujiwara Yu, I am speechless.” Chiaki nod her head in disbelief, her hands shaking in anger and irritation, her teeth gritted when she talked.
17th floor. The elevator door opened. I feel like entering this floor and use the famous VIP smoking area there, just to release a bit of stress. Stress from Chiaki’s nagging, and this whole situation. Then, the woman in the elevator who still carries that smile just walked out. Surely, with our very brief encounter, I am going to miss her for a tiny bit. I am hoping to see her again. Then I shook my head. I have to remember Ayaka-chan’s face.
18th floor. Our agency office. My heart really raced this time. Chiaki suddenly clammed down. Once Chiaki opened the door, Sekine sensei, the theatre company manager, came rushing towards us, grabbed my arm, and pulled me to the pantry.
“What happened to you all of a sudden Yu-kun? What was that Tweet all about? Don’t you know that we only use Twitter for promotions? Have you read your new contract about that?! Listen well Yu-kun, I heard that a representative of our international sponsor is bound here in Japan to clean this mess and to discuss all of these with Michimiya-san and me as well. They called us for an emergency meeting! What can you say about this? Huh, Yu-kun?
I could not count the saliva droplets that was sprinkled on my blazer. Sekine-sensei is in a panic mode and this just means one thing- I am really really in deep trouble and that seems to be an understatement. Never in my 15 years being in this theatre company, that I have been shouted at, like this. I could smell the reek of cigarette from Sekine-sensei’s breathe. Sekine-sensei had quit smoking five years ago. He is more stressed than I am.
A while ago, I felt so nervous, but now, the shame and embarrassment overpowered it. I can only think of going home, open a can of beer and just lay in my ofuro the rest of the night. I can not take this anymore. I think, I have enough of this.
"Sekine- San, you are needed in the conference room. Please bring Fujiwara-san with you.”
The agency secretary called us out.
“Listen Yu-Kun,” Sekine-sensei whispered.
“You are lucky to be even playing a role for the stage, two weeks from now. If you want to continue working for future acts...I want you to kneel down and bow. Apologize like your life depends on this day.”
I am not sure if it was a threat, but I am so sure that I am not prepared on anything bad that’s going to happen. I think I am going to lose my mind.
Sekine sensei, Chiaki, and I quietly headed to the conference room. I feel the heat on my face, my heart thumping really fast. Chiaki’s fist clenched and her eyes were red from crying. Sekine-sensei gently and slowly opened the opaque- sliding glass door of the conference room. In the conference room, I saw a glimpse of a moping Michimiya-san (the musical director), Kenjiro Sugiyama, a co-actor of mine, and... someone whom I just saw a while ago was sitting beside him. I am appalled.
The woman in the elevator is sitting beside Kenjiro. My eyes widened and I was really shocked. I asked myself, what the hell is this lady doing here? What on earth is happening?
" Please have a seat.” Michimiya-san pointed out three empty seats beside him. Then he went on, “Before we start our emergency meeting, let me introduce to you OUR MAJOR SPONSOR...”
The lady from the elevator suddenly stood up, cutting Michimiya-san’s speech, smiled and said in English, “Thank you Mr.Michimiya. I’d rather do that myself. Good afternoon everyone, I am Erisse Gamboa. I am the CEO of Jest Ears Philippines.”
I think I just died.